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Pestilence | Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House

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39 Ratings

Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Ohio, United States

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pestilence is a sour brown ale brewed with 7 varieties of malted barley and wheat, organic whole Hibiscus flower pedals and spicy hops from the Hallertau growing region of Bavaria. The name Pestilence is derived from the ancient biblical term for infection or plague. Through a natural process called sour mashing, we expose the mash to airborne elements for a period of 48 hours allowing for a natural infection to arise causing the beer to sour. After this process is complete, we collect the sweet, sour runnings and introduce the spicy hops. We then boil it for a period of 1 hour and steep it with fresh hibiscus flower pedals. The end result is a wonderfully aromatic blend of fresh botanical herbs and mouth puckering sourness.

Added by deadonhisfeet on 03-03-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 39 |  Reviews: 17
Photo of Mark000
1/5  rDev -58%

Photo of seeswo
1/5  rDev -58%

Photo of alexknuckles
1/5  rDev -58%

Photo of Ryan011235
1.18/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

On tap in tulip at Bodega on 4/26/12

Medium, rusty brown color. A one half finger head leaves only bubbles around the collar and a few drips of lace.

This smelled like Jolly Ranchers and trash can at first. Then like sour candy. It's waaay sugary. Floral overtones and dirty water. This smells like bad candy, not beer. Oh boy, it tastes like bad candy, too. Tart dark fruits and sour apple. The finish has a puckering notion rattled with musty, dirty lingerings. Carbonation is brash, hurtling anger amid the sourness. Light body with an unpleasant finish.

If sour candy is your thing, you might like this. It ain't for me though. The base brown ale is basically not there.

There's a reason this stayed on tap at Bodega for weeks and weeks. No one was buying it because it sucks.

 785 characters

Photo of Urbancaver
1.2/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours out of the bottle looking like a fairly normal beer. I try normally to review the appearance before the aroma but with this beer I just can't....
The aroma dominates. Puke is the only thing that comes to mind. Bile and vomit and acidic aromas overtake the whole room.
I out my nose near this beer attempting to sniff it and I feel immediately like I am going to vomit. It's very hard but I'm going to try to the a sip
Sip went off horribly. It honestly tastes better than it smells.. By a lot. But still not good. That and the mouthfeel is weird. Overall this is one of the worst beers I've ever had. Worse than triple bock by a lot. A huge fail of a beer

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Photo of Caterwaul
1.25/5  rDev -47.5%

Photo of jampics2
1.52/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Hands down the worst beer I've had in ages.

This beer is pestilence personified. A plague in a bottle.

Poured a rich brown color with slight hints of red when illuminated. No head at all. Decent enough look for a Flanders Bruin.

The smell was the first sign that something was wrong. Very wrong. Candied walnut, blue cheese and vomit. Disgusting. Where's the fruit? Where's the acetic or lactic? Alls I gets is gastric acid.

The taste followed. There's moderate acidity. There's some hibiscus adding floral tartness. But this honestly tastes like dead baby's vomit. Seriously, stuff me full of walnuts, hibiscus and blue cheese and give me an hour and I'll puke up this beer. So much butyric acid it's not even funny. This should be pulled from shelves.

Mouthfeel was OK. Carbonation was light and airy.

Overall, avoid this. Or drink it if you're into atrocious beer. I'd drink Crazy Ed's and Mama Mia every day for the rest of my life if I never had to have this again. Piss poor, especially considering the greatness of the Rivertown Lambic. We know you can do better, Rivertown, don't sell beer that you *have* to know is just really, really bad.

A beer so bad I had to come out of review retirement to write this.

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Photo of Envelopes
1.75/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of Boilerfood
1.75/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of nlmartin
1.87/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I snapped a few of these up on the based on the quality of Rivertowns Lambic. After a brief chilling the beer was served in a snifter.

Ap- The beer had a head that was white and briefly lasted. So basically I am looking at a glass that looks like effervescent ice tea.

S- The base of the beer is a nutty cocoa aroma. Lactic tones begin to announce a prescence but not enough. If you guys are going to make a sour brown or a wild ale go big or piss off. The beer gets a 2.0 for not being funky enough.

T- The flavor of the beer leads with subdued acitic and lactic sour green apple flavor. The beer takes a brief turn towards cocoa and then finishs up with lemony tartness. Its not terribad. I sense that the brewer has held back instead of going for broke.

M- The body of the beer is light and effervescent. The tartness lingers around nicely in the finish.

O- I really wish the brewer had went for broke. The beer isnt a drain pour but I didnt particularly enjoy drinking this beer.

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Photo of cbeer88
1.89/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Tasted blindly courtesy of the Blind BIF. Poured into Founders snifter.

Appearance: Color is somewhere between dark amber red and brown. Very thin head, and very little lacing.

Smell: There is something rather foul in the smell. I'm not going to go so far as to call it poop, but it is in that general direction. Let's give it the benefit of the doubt and say basement must, but I have never smelled this before in a beer. Slight fruity berry flavor, in a "these strawberries have been sitting in the fridge for a month" kind of way.

Taste: Oxidized to hell and back. Wet cardboard dominates the backend of the sip. Up front there is a very acetic tartness, and a bit of a mild fruity berry flavor. Decent malt profile, the beer is kind of sweet in spite of the tartness. Really stale aftertaste that I don't like at all.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, and pretty well carbed despite the lack of head.

Drinkability: Not very good - this beer is past its prime.

Overall: I think there was perhaps once something tasty here, but age has not been kind.

 1,050 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
1.93/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Random pick-up from a random shelf in a random bottle shop in Muncie, IN. Naturally, No hype, no background, no idea what to expect – the way beer should be sampled.

A: No head; what’s going on here? Just a spritzing of bubbles along the edge of the glass and that’s it. Odd. The body color is dark brownish-red, with a coffee-like texture (though not as thick-looking).This does not look very appetizing.

S: Whoa, that’s a pungent funk – stinky cheese and fatty yogurt. It’s unlike anything I’ve smelled before; at first, it’s completely unappetizing, though it’s a bit better after the initial shock is gone. Below that is a dull mix of dark fruit jam, floral notes, chipotle-reminiscent hops, and a molasses malt. This is one interesting nose, but not appetizing at all; that funk is stomach-churning.

T: Quite sour, with a big lemon tartness. Unidentifiable berry comes through, as well. Some spice comes through in the hop profile, pepper and chile, but with an unmistakable flowery character; that, plus light wheat, caramel, and toasted grain is really all that I’m getting. It ends on that same cheesy funk note from the nose, finishing in a very unappetizing way. Couldn’t finish the bottle.

M: Fairly oily, though it’s refreshingly light in its slickness. No carb, as expected.

O: Well, this one does have a good tart character in its palate; unfortunately, that one off-flavor completely kills it for me. My stomach still hasn’t settled, even after pouring it out.

 1,506 characters

Photo of csustar001
2/5  rDev -16%

Photo of meanmutt
2/5  rDev -16%

Photo of MSandahl23
2/5  rDev -16%

Photo of Brew33
2/5  rDev -16%

Photo of vrbulldog22
2.25/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of NateMac13
2.25/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of emerge077
2.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Thanks Patrick for leaving this one behind last weekend...

Deep reddish orange brown when held to the light. A wispy layer of tan skim sits on the surface, soon becoming glassy.

Smell starts out a bit weird, with some cider vinegar and sulfur/ammonia notes of overripe cheese, settling down more into some dried mushroom, buttered biscuit, and mushy stone fruit territory. Something in there vaguely reminds me of apple butter and Rodenbach, but ultimately it just seems off.

Bright sourness, crisp at first then quickly becoming watery with an odd smoky note. Citric acid and some weird smoky, vegetal dandelion notes in the middle, dry finish with a (thankfully?) nonexisitent aftertaste. Very sour initially, astringent, then oddly bland and fleeting.

Not sure what to make of this Sour Brown Ale/Oud Bruin, it definitely needs some finessing to make it work.
Out of 40 Oud Bruin reviews so far, this was the second worst.

 934 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
2.42/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle. Served in a Unibroue tulip, the beer pours a reddish/brown color with a half inch light tan head that stayed around a little while. Small amount of lacing. The aroma is well, interesting. The beer smells like funky cheese and vomit. Well, maybe a little more cheese than vomit, but I don't think it's a nice smelling brew. Luckily, the taste is somewhat better than the aroma. The brew tastes like tart cherries, dark fruit, nuts, and unfortunately still a bit of vomit. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick with moderate carbonation. Overall I didn't care much for this brew. It reminded me too much of vomit for me to enjoy it, but then I did finish the bottle with no problem so I guess it wasn't truly horrible. $2.99 a bottle. I'm certainly not going to buy this again, and I'm hoping the other beers in this series aren't as bad this one.

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Photo of Zonian1
2.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of FalconA
2.5/5  rDev +5%

Photo of gpawned
2.5/5  rDev +5%

Photo of prototypic
2.51/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pestilence pours a darker, nut brown color. It looks mostly clear. Backlighting shows some crimson highlights. The color isn’t bad. Unfortunately, a head never materialized. A few white bubbles collected on the surface, but disappeared just as quickly as they arrived. Disappointing. Makes for a rather average look overall.

The nose is actually below average. It’s not very aromatic at all. It desperately needs more strength. UP front, it smells mostly grainy. There is a bit of funky scent to it. It frankly smells rather bad. It smells a little tart. There’s a bit of brown malt throughout. Very light, subtle floral notes are present. Alcohol doesn’t smell very strong. Eh. This one doesn’t smell good at all if you ask me.

The flavor is marginally better than the nose. Still not very good. It is grainy and a little malty initially. The malts taste a little cocoa-ish. It’s not sweet. There’s definitely a musky, funky flavor to it. It’s really not that tart though. It’s just kind of there. Doesn’t add anything positive to the mix. It’s definitely floral. I’m not all that crazy about that aspect either. A little tartness emerges at the secondary level, but it’s very subtle. Alcohol is masked well. Doesn’t taste all that strong. I’m not sure of the abv, but I’d be shocked if it were above 6% or so. Just a guess. Finishes grainy, floral, and slightly tart.

Pestilence has a lighter body. Carbonation is very light and restrained. It needs a little more body to feel smooth. It’s not a bad feel though. It may well be its best attribute.

To my knowledge, a pestilence is a fatal disease. I wouldn’t go quite that far in characterizing this beer, but I will say it’s not good. Needs a lot of work in just about every respect. Skip this one.

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Photo of NW2285
2.75/5  rDev +15.5%

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Pestilence from Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Beer rating: 2.38 out of 5 with 39 ratings
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