Feral Vinifera
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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American Wild Ale
4.48 | pDev: 8.04%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Feral Vinifera is our foray into a new and exciting adventure in the Santa Ynez Valley, that expresses our collaborative efforts with local grape growers and winemakers. Its journey begins with the sourcing and pressing of grapes from David Walker’s vineyard, co-fermenting the juice with a wheat-based wort, inoculating with proprietary wild yeast and bacteria, and allowing for a long fermentation and maturation in French Oak barrels. We have carefully fermented, matured and blended this beer with the collaboration of our friend, Andrew Murray, proprietor/winemaker at Andrew Murray Vineyards. The resulting cuvee; a partnership of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Muscat grapes co-fermented with wheat based wort-bends the mind and senses. Pineapple, mango, guava mingle with Meyer lemon and gooseberry. A funky savory yeast bouquet lays down a firm foundation, fruity esters and tart acidity lend body and structure. Finishing with a flinty minerality, woody tannins and vinous perfume.

Barrel Blend Ratio Maturation time

French Oak Sauvignon Blanc/wheat beer 35% 12 months

French Oak Chenin Blanc/wheat beer 35% 12months

French Oak Orange Muscat/wheat beer 5% 12 months

French Oak Bretta Weisse 25% 8 months
View: Beers
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 160 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a review of batch 2. Twas the last bottle we popped together when leftpaw came out here for his reunion this summer. Pours a golden color like a mix of your favorite adjunct lager and white wine, thin white head 1/5" that goes away right quick.

The nose is very nice. So much layers, hay, brett, french oak very discernable and appropriate, pear, lemon, grape. Just a good smelling mix that lends itself more to the wine probably than anything else. Hides the alcohol amazingly well, slight acidity isn't a hindrance. Sour right about a 5.5 on the 10pt scale. Some varied citrus notes envelope the palate as this keeps going on effortlessly, but don't you start thinking there is anything sugary or sweet about this beer.

I am very impressed with some of the wine/beer hybrids from the Bruery and FW. Very good, unique stuff, even at this big price point ($15/375). I wouldn't buy a case of it, but I could see picking up 1 bottle every time I can get my hands on it just to blow some minds.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle poured into a teku
Batch 1

A- pours a clear golden color withstand one finger foamy white head that has short retention

S- funky Brett yeast gives some barnyard on the nose, as well as lemon peel and dried hay. Plenty of tropical fruit aromas of mango, papaya, pineapple and guava. Vinous white wine and oak close out the nose

T- wine notes are immediately present with a juicy grape note that dominates up front, followed by a yeasty Brett funk that gives notes of dried hay, earth and lemon. The finish gives some tropical fruit notes of juicy pineapple, mango and guava. Lingers of oak and more grape

M- medium-light body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a dry tart finish

O- the wine notes really come through on this one, a successful attempt at blurring thr lines of beer and wine

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Photo of DaverCS
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is super sweet for a sour. It reminds me of a Fruit cocktail in syrup. Fantastic!

Taste is much sweeter than classic offerings by FW in regards to Sours. Nice amount of tropical fruits and fruit cocktail.

It gets a 92/100.

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Photo of TomMorris
4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Beautiful golden chardonnay appearance; visible carbonation and zero head. Hugely complex flavor profile that transformed with everything sip. In general though, it begins with a tart smack of vibrant tropical fruits, before segueing into some more vinous, white wine characteristics. Finishes dry with lingering oakiness and acidity.

Phenomenal sour, perhaps the best I've ever had. Would love to acquire more of this.

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Photo of drew42e
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours gold with little head. White wine, bit of funk on the nose. Sparkling wine taste with some oak, medium tartness and decent carbonation. Just a hair behind Beatification for my favorite sour

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Photo of winningwes91
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thanks to Aaron for the beer. Super excited. Pours out a beautiful light orange color with tons of carb streaming up. Barely any head, but the head that's there fades quickly. Smells of sour grapes and peaches. Wow. The taste is amazing. Drinks like champagne and has a wonderful backed of sour peaches. There's a reason that firestone is my favorite. Right up there with consecration. Amazing

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thank you Jose! A gem

Wild desert, white white barrel notes, oak, expressive grape, no hint of alcohol, dusty and firm, supremely cohesive.

Just fantastic....this is one of, if not the best, beer I've had this year.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Acquired at fair value via trade.

The flavor is sour lemons with a strong grape/wine barrel presence.

A nice introduction into the world of sours of beers by FW.

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Photo of charlzm
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Consumed from a corked and caged bottle on January 9th, 2015. Served in a sexy Barrelworks Teku glass because yeah. Served at approximately 50 degrees F.

Beer pours a cloudy pale yellow that clears up a little during consumption. Must have stirred up a little too much sediment. No head to speak of.

Aroma is sour (duh): tart white wine, bordering on the vinegar. Slight funk.

Flavor is bracingly tart Acidic, wincing sourness strikes first and hard, while a white wine character fills in behind it. A dash of cracked black pepper on the finish. Low bitterness with lingering white grape finish.

A little dry; could stand a touch more carbonation.

Very impressive sour beer.

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Photo of tprinzing
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wow! This was really really tart. I shared this with others and all liked it, but nobody wanted more than 3oz at a sitting (served in 6oz snifter). I made some seriously hot pad thai which paired very well with this beer which had really strong lemon appeal. To me this tasted more like a white wine than a beer, but it had the look of a beer.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Lovely expression of white wine grapes in a slightly tart barrel aged beer. The grape flavor dominates both the aroma and taste, the carbonation is perfect, and the overall taste is excellent.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.07/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Light yellow and a little hazy. Medium white head and a medium collar.

Smell - Really grapey. Lightly musty. Some vanilla, oak, and wheat.

Taste - It's like a blend of a really fruity wine and sour wheat. Sweet grapes. Sour lemon flavor. A little oak in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium light body. Crisp, aside from the sweet grapes. Medium carbonation.

Overall - The sweet grapes and tart wheat beer work very well.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

9.6% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky golden-orange with a foamy bone head that fizzles out to nothing. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour with grain, wine grape, earth, tropical fruit, funk, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with sour wine grape, tropical fruit, acidic, and slight funk and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and dry mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with fantastic sour grape and tropical fruit characteristics that make this one super tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Ryanwi11iam
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Usually not a fan of white wine beers. This one knocked it out of the park though. All the positive attributes of a white wine- dry, slightly fruity, with the good things that come with a well brewed and aged wild ale- slight tartness, medium body, and no hint of the 9.6% abv. Huge bouquet of flavors from the 3 different wine barrel components all smoothed out by the Bretta Weisse addition.

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Feral Vinifera from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 160 ratings