Tristessa | McKenzie Brew House

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8 Ratings

Brewed by:
McKenzie Brew House
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by yourefragile on 08-14-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8 |  Reviews: 8
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to G311 for the share of this fantastic brew. I have sampled a few Wild/Bretted IPAs, with varying degrees of success, or lack thereof, exhibited thus far; this one, however, is very very good. Firstly, I must make a comparison to Orval, for though Tristessa doesn't taste like it (though it does look like it), it seems to share similar inspiration and execution. The brew is definitely hoppy, tending towards fruity and orange-citric, and the Brett lends an exotic pineapple-y note that really melds well. The base is pilsner-esque, dry, earthy, and mineral-y, with just the smallest dose of breadiness. The wine barrels, besides adding the Wildness, add very understated fruity-vinous notes, in the range of dried and golden orchard fruits. Oakiness and tannic notes are restrained. This beer is fantastic; hugely drinkable, complex, distinctive, and totally balanced. Overall, McKenzie may be the greatest kept secret in the game, ca. late 2011.

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Photo of Luk13
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Ari. Aroma: Rather hoppy, belgian yeast, awesome floral profile. A: Blonde beautifull lasting white head. Flavors: Mostly bitter, floral hops dominates with a nice yeasty signature. A little too hoppy, I would have let more place for the yeast to shine. Palate: Just like a saison should be. Lively carbonation, medium-full mouthfeel and dry finish. Overal: My type of saison. Excellent.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike and Nathan for this. Apparently, it's a Belgian IPA aged in wine barrels with a little funk.

Clear copper-orange with a dense, white head, this looks great. The nose is surprisingly bright and citrusy, with a prominent orange and tangerine character. A light Belgian funk is present, less Brett-like and more like a spicy, mildly phenolic yeast strain in conjunction with warmer fermentation temperature. A little honey is present as well. The palate opens bright with plenty of fresh citrus, a moderate yeasty flavor and some honey. A little tartness is present as well, but this is mostly a spicy and citrusy beer. Medium-light in body, this dries up of the finish that's got some tartness and citrus. Quite excellent.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a yellow color with a huge white head. The aroma is very heavy on the brett. I also get notes of leather, lemons, pineapple, funk and wheat.

The flavor is just as complex, if not even more so. I get quite a bit of tropical fruit, as well as some grain, wheat, lemons and flowers. The brett also stands out in the flavor. There is quite a bit of hop bitterness, as well as hop flavor.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

You can definitely tell this beer was an IPA before it was turned wild. An excellent experiment and very well done.

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Photo of craytonic
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't think I would put this in the wild ale category. I'd almost call it a Saison.

Pour: Straw-yellow-gold, huge white head that leaves some nice lacing down the glass and craggy foam in the middl.e

Smell & taste: Very oaky and fruity with a faint funk backdrop. Somewhat of a vineous element.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, smooth and soft

Drinkability: Easy drinking, even at 7%. I am surprised this one is completely off the radar, I received mine as an extra in a trade.

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Photo of JAXSON
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750ml bottle, pours a clear light gold with a thick meringue head. Nose is lactic and full of light fruits like peach, apricot, maybe lemon, with some hay and grass. Mouth is young and a bit astringent, though a lot of the sour, fruity components do shine. Almost a bit of bitter grassy hops, as if this is a cross between a saison and a sour ale. Kind of similar to Grisette Brux but not as well-integrated at this age.

I let a bottle of this age for another few months as it seemed young and the wild yeast rather thin last time. After hearing someone describe this as a "wild Belgian IPA" or something, I think I understand this more. Time has allowed the brett to blossom and it's quite better now than it was fresh. Grassy hops, kind of grainy, rye almost. Sourness really meshes well, as this style is tricky to pull off, but I like this one. Lots of light citrus, especially lemons. Not incredible, but good, and I'm bumping the score up a bit.

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Photo of 321jeff
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Long time drinker, first time reviewer... here we go...

Served from a red wax dipped 750ml bottle. This one was a slow gusher once I got it open, could have been that I agitated the beer while getting the wax off.

Pours a somewhat dark amber with plenty of off white head that recedes to a ring after a couple minutes.

Aroma is mostly from the oak and the red wine. I can detect some hop aroma and a light funk, but the oak and wine dominate here.

The taste follows the aroma in that the red wine and oak dominate, but then things get interesting. There's quite a bit of bitterness mixed in with a light sourness before a pleasantly dry finish. The tannic aftertaste lingers long after it goes down.

Mouthfeel is smooth with moderate carbonation making it easy to down this whole bottle without batting an eye. I'll have to grab another bottle of this and see how it develops over time.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL, capped, red wax dipped bottle. Description from the bottle: "A golden colored ale brewed with a high dose a American hops and Belgian candi sugars, aged in a French oak wine barrel for 3 months where brettanomyces bacteria and an additional dose of hops add further layers of complexity. 14.7 plato 7% abv 75 IBU". So I guess they call it a wild, barrel aged Belgian IPA, though I figured American Wild Ale was the most appropriate descriptor here.

Pours a pale, translucent straw golden color with a massive frothy white head that has long lasting retention and produces thick clumps of lacing. Initially I have trouble distinguishing the aroma of this beer from some of the other McKenzie beers as the French oak wine barrels they use are very distinctive. The aroma is dominated throughout by sweet oak and fruity vinous notes, with a strong hoppy finish. As the beer warms, there is light earthy funk but overall the aroma is fairly mild and boring compared to some of their other beers.

Body is medium thick, with soft carbonation with a fairly thin dry and hoppy finish and no alcohol presence. This beer tastes fairly young and raw, in need of some aging. The flavor has a strong lemon and earthy sourness with a fruity and oaky background from the barrel aging. There isn't much in the flavor from the Belgian candi sugars, though there is a very strong hop presence similar to 2 Threads. I would describe this more of a strongly hopped, sour Saison, than a wild Belgian IPA, but that description probably makes this sound more interesting than it is currently. Definitely tastes like a McKenzie beer, and the strong hopping makes this unique, but not among the best of their recent offerings.

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Tristessa from McKenzie Brew House
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 8 ratings
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