Old Sour Cherry Porter | Rivertown Brewing Co.

very good
30 Reviews
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Old Sour Cherry PorterOld Sour Cherry Porter

Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
From Rivertown’s Barrel Aged Series, brewed exclusively for Party Source. (Per the label) "We combined our Imperial Porter with fresh dark Michigan cherries, and then aged it for over three months in a bourbon barrel inoculated with wild yeast. This is a bottle conditioned ale, and can cellar for over five years. Enjoy!

Added by womencantsail on 08-13-2012

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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 153
Photo of macrosmatic
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Tampa Bay Brewing Company snifter glass.

A: A murky dark brown, with low visible carbonation and a thin tan head that rapidly become floating foamy patches. Not particularly attractive.

S: Acetic acid and vinegary tartness with sour cherries and sour apples. Some sweet malt aroma underneath.

T: Acetic tartness and sour cherries with a tannic acidic burn. There isn't a lot of porter character – a slight roastiness maybe, but the malt sweetness is overridden by the acid and sour characteristics. This stays quite acidic after the swallow and into the hang. This has an acetic cherry flavor, but I don't get a lot (or any?) of actual fresh cherry flavors.

M: A medium body overall, but is thin for an actual porter. The alcohol seems a little obvious, and has carbonation sensation on the low side of average.

O: Look...to me this is a Flanders brown/Oud Bruin. Call it what you want, but that's a style into which I think it would fit better. There's isn't a ton of cherry flavor, and there really isn't any porter character at all. Not unenjoyable though - just decent, and nothing I'd actively seek out.

NOTE: Apparently this is bourbon barrel aged. I didn't know that going into it. Going back again armed with the new knowledge...I still get no oak barrel character, but I guess a bit of bourbon flavors which makes the alcohol notes seem less fusel, and more attributable to bourbon. But overall, not a big change in how I felt about it.

SECOND NOTE: As it warms, the acidic burn dies down some, and some natural cherry flavor finally starts to come through.
Scores given reflect my opinion after the updates. I would certainly recommend letting this warm up significantly from refrigerator temperature before even bothering to taste.

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Photo of BEER88
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: murky brown with little head, but it's a sour, show me sour with head!
Smell: LOTS!! Bourbon, vanilla, funk, cherries, some vinegar, subtle malt.
Taste: same as smell but super balanced and the cherries are sticky in the back end.
Feel: acidic and slick, low dryness
Overall: awesome sour, wish I had more and I also don't get the low scores!!!! It's an awesome sour! Mine may have tasted better because it was a 2015 vintage bottle sitting for over a year. But it was SOLID!

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Photo of gcamparone
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a muddy brown uncarbonated body with no head/retention.. a few floaties in there too.

Smell is sour lactic, sweet molasses, dark fruits, cherry, vanilla. On the tongue is tart, sour cherries, caramel sweetness, molasses, finishes tart but somewhat sweet caramel, tobacco. Zero carb medium body.

Decent, sour, a little on the sweet side and could use more carbonation.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2013 poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip
A: Opaque dark brown with no head
S: Sour cherry, burnt sugar, a bit of oak, bourbon chocolate and funk
T: Matches the nose with the same emphases on flavors and a fairly intense sour component
M: Medium-bodied, sour
O: Overall I like it I just can't tell if it is drinking well with a bit of age or if it would have been better earlier in its life

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Photo of Sabtos
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with burnt red edges and no head.

Acetic cran-cherry aroma. Bourbon is thankfully taking a backseat, maybe lending a little smoke, and mostly allowed for a platform for the souring.

Taste is near spicy, maybe some oak, but a lot of cran-orange cherry.

Very nice and dry finish. I know this was basically an accident, but, well done recognizing a good sour when you have one. Now to consistently keep it coming.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours - black with thin tan head that quickly dissipates not much lacing.

Smell - Tart sour cherries, little but of oak, slight bourbon smell, very tart and wild smell.

Taste - Tart sour cherries up front, very nice warmth from the bourbon, oak.

Feel - Medium body, nice warmth from the bourbon, slightly dry on the backend.

Overall - This is a really solid wild ale, not much like a porter even though that is on the label. I love the tart cherries.

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Photo of FBGordon
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. 2014 Vintage.

A: Pours a dark chocolate brown with faint ruby highlights but doesn't appear thick or heavy. Large, chunky bubble create an irregular head that settles into a ring around the edges. No lacing.

S: Funky, a little wild. Strong dark cherry smells. A pretty good whiff of alcohol. Some oak notes and light bourbon notes. But everything takes a back seat to the cherries.

T: More funk and a trace of bourbon. Dark, sour cherry notes. A little papery. I think this one probably started oxidizing.

M: A little slick and oily, leading to an astringent feel. It's most likely started to go bad.

O: I can't fault this beer because I took too long to drink it. I had a newer vintage on draft not long ago and was impressed, I just wanted to do a more thorough tasting. But from what I smelled at tasted it seemed like a solid beer.

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Photo of rudzud
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to JLindros for sharing.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown almost black hue with a thin off white head that fades to leave light wisps.

S - Aromas of nice chocolate, solid tart cherries, faint woody notes, good light bourbon.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, chocolate is faint, nice cherry juice, lactic acid, very little barrel and bourbon notes.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, bit thin.

O - Overall this was a solid sour porter, good cherry notes but other than that it was really weak.

Serving Type: bottle

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Photo of jlindros
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Little fizzy head fades quickly, dark semi clear mahogany chestnut red color.

Nose pretty light, a sour cherry juicy, straight up cherry juice, tart fruit, sour brown malts, little buttery toasted oak, faint chocolate, creamy lacto funk.

Taste brings sweet syrupy malts but soured brown malts, creamy lacto funk little flemmy and lactic acid, little powdered cocoa, into big cherry juice, tart cherries, sticky and flemmy finish, little lactic acid and creamy, touch of buttery oak, sour funk and cherry juice lingering.

Mouth is med bod, decent carb, little lactic acid and syrupy sour feel.
Overall not bad but nothing special, pretty much no barrel.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color with no real head and looks real thin. Tart cherry scent. Very tart taste with cherry. Medium light body and carbonation. Ok but to sweet.

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Photo of Tommo
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not a huge fan. Very acidic with little character or back bone, almost no bourbon flavor at all. Cherries loom in the background, massacred by the overwhelming sour maltiness of an unbalance sour porter

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Photo of barczar
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma is full of cherry, acetic, and big lactic notes, with toasted, woody notes from the barrel adding depth. There's a definite sweet cocoa presence from the base beer.

Flavor is extremely lactic sour, with an acetic base that is mellowed a bit by the cherry undertones. The finish is lightly roasty and dry. The sourness lifts the flavor off the palate a little too soon. Would like to have had this younger, before the acid overtook the balance. Those chocolate notes round out the profile nicely, complementing the vinous character well.

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Photo of GOBLIN
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Probably a little bit better than the scores would indicate . . . Including mine, but it is what it is. This beer was my first sour beer and it did not disappoint.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2013 vintage bottling. Pours nearly pitch black color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big sour cherries, green apple, cranberry, red wine vinegar, oak, clove, chocolate, light roast, hay, straw, leather, musty funk, light bourbon, and yeast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity of fruity/funky yeast, sour cherry, and light-moderate roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big sour cherry, cranberry, green apple, red wine vinegar, hay, straw, toast, chocolate, light roast, vanilla, oak, clove, leather, musty funk, light bourbon, and yeast/oak earthiness. Good amount of fruity/earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of sour cherry, cranberry, green apple, red wine vinegar, hay, straw, leather, toast, light roast, vanilla, oak, clove, musty funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance, robustness, and complexity of fruity/funky yeast, sour cherries, and moderate roasted malt flavors; with a nice sweetness/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth and moderately creamy/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice sour porter style. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/funky yeast, sour cherries, and moderate roasted malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV with the balanced acidity. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of falcon1
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I was somewhat surprised with Rivertown Brewing Company's Old Sour Cherry Porter. The appearance, aroma, and taste reminded me of a Flanders Red Ale, especially Duchesse De Bourgogne. However, as a porter it was disappointing to say the least. It does not display the traditional characteristics of a porter, the creamy roasted and malted flavors of the style is significantly absent on the palate.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.5 A: Dark brown color. One finger of fizzy light brown head. Retention is below average and minimal lacing is left.

3.5 S: Right off the bad you get a big punch of acetic acid. Cherry fruitiness with hints of lactic acid. Roastiness with a dry tostiness. The bourbon doesn't come through very strong, but the oak is a little more prominent.

3.5 T: Again there's a solid acetic component. Cherry fruits along with some berry notes. The bourbon is a lot easier to detect and there's also more vanilla. There's a bit of harsh astringency and bitterness in here which is probably due to equal parts bourbon, roastiness, and some tannins from the barrel. This lasts well into the aftertaste. Some farm notes with musty basement and dry rotten sweat socks.

3.75 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Good moderate carbonation with a pleasant creaminess to it. Quite nice here.

3.5 D: It's good enough all around. Worth a try, but it probably won't blow your mind.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a Unibroue tulip, the beer pours dark brown with a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. The brew smells like tart cherries, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and a bit of roasted malt. The taste pretty much follows the aroma, it tastes like tart cherries, bourbon, oak, chocolate, roasted malt, and some plums. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's syrupy and has moderate carbonation. I liked this brew, I thought it was a good wild/sour ale. I like what Rivertown is doing with their limited release beers, it's certainly worth trying if you've never had this one before.

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Photo of taylor714914
1.96/5  rDev -49%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Was this a mistake but bottled anyway? Wow, absolute nasty. Ended up being a drain pour for me and a fellow BA. Smell was tart and booze, but some odd bitter acrid notes in the middle and end really destroyed this beer. There was a brief moment of cherry-picked goodness that I thought would salvage this otherwise horrendous beer, but that cherry pie deliciousness was taken over by the bitter acrid malts and some funky off flavors, rounded out with a cheap bourbon note.

Bottom line? Avoid.

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Photo of macher0
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Fresh.

A: Very dark brown, not black. Barely translucent. Very small head that quickly retreats to a thin rim. No lacing.

S: Tart/sour. Bretts. Tart cherry. Slightly oaky.

T: Follows smell. Tart/sour. Cherry on the back end that becomes more apparent as the beer opens. A little oak. A little too syrupy.

M: Smooth. Moderate body. Fine carbonation.

O: This is an untraditional porter. A lot of flavors going on here with the cherry/oak/sour, and they work fairly well. This beer is very balanced with none of the flavors overpowering the other. If you are a sour/kriek fan, this is worth a try. The syrupy finish this beer has builds up and gets almost unpleasant. I would certainly try this ale again, but I doubt I would drink more than a single glass.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown color with about a one finger, tan colored head. The head sticks around a fair amount and laces well, even in the plastic hotel cup I have. Held up to the light, some red colors get through the mostly deep brown body.

S- Intense sour cherry notes up front. Cherry is the dominant flavor throughout, but the bourbon barrel notes make a slight appearance in behind the cherry. Hardly any of the original porter's malts are recognizable through the cherry. The cherry scent is so intense that it reminds me of a Belgian kriek.

T- Starts with a strong cherry flavor right up front, that is medium in the sour department. Quickly moves into a blend of cherry and bourbon flavors. Primary bourbon flavors are strong oak, followed by light vanilla mixing in. Towards the end, the dark porter malts shine through a little with some bitter chocolate and coffee flavors. A really complex blend of flavors throughout.

M- Somewhat thinner feeling than expected, but still fairly smooth and low in carbonation. No alcohol is detectable in taste or feel, aside from a tiny warming sensation as the beer goes down. Pretty drinkable, with the sour cherry and heavier malt bill being the only limiting factors.

Overall, this is a pretty good fruited porter. The combination of dark beer (porter/stout) and fruit still puzzles me a little, but this is done very well. I think combining the bourbon aging and cherries is a great idea, and I'd really like to try a barrel aged version of the regular porter.

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Photo of screamking
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber poured into snifter

Appearance-pours thick dark brown with a minimal khaki head. Small lacing around edge of glass. 3.75

Aroma-right off the bat you get a blast of cherry, it's not overwhelming but is potent. Once you dig into this a little you can get the barrel notes, oak and vanilla are two of the strongest. 3.75

Taste-Cherry is the main thing going on here and its a very tart cherry at that. As it warms the barrel notes come out to play and squares the taste up. I was a little worried the tart would be to much, but after a few sips my mouth seemed to get used to it. 4

Feel-light bodied, sour mouthfeel, ABV is barely noticeable, light on the carbonation. 3.75

Overall-I was really worried I wouldn't like this, this my first sour of any kind. I was very relived after the first taste. It turned it out to be a very balanced beer overall. I wouldn't drink this a lot, but it is worth a try from time to time. 3.75

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Photo of edfish
4.81/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Poured into pint glass.
Dark dark dark ruby, had about a 1/2" head . Laced the glass , measuring each sip I took.
Smell is a lambic fruit type with just a hint of coffee.
If you like sours this tastes fantastic! Nice bitterness to the dry finish.
Almost full mouthfeel.
If you like sours it is worth the 14$. If you want to try a sour ditto. This is a very drinkable brew so be carefull of the 9% abv. It definately doesn't have the alcohol burn or taste , but it will warm your belly. Fantastic Beer.

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Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer comes in strong with both roasty and sour aromas. I was slightly skeptical at first, but after a few sips and some warming up this beer showed up on my palate as world class. I would call this brew Tart of Darkness' little brother. Bravo for an Ohio brewer with sour balls!

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With seeing success in the Ville De Rivere Geuze and Ojos Negros Lovin' sour ranges, Rivertown Brewing takes on more adventurous sour arenas in Porters and cherry ales. One thing's for sure- we're in for a wild ride!

Medium brown but not strong in its hue, the ruby ranges register with hazy overtones. Where the beer struggles in its head formation and retention- its loosely knit over sized bubbles sit on the beer awaiting the wine -like attributes to take hold. Modest retention and no real lace is more a testament to the ale's wine-like acidity than beer.

Simple chocolate aromas are soon overtaken by souring agents- dark cherries, concord grapes, red wine vinegar, sea air, light horse hair, balsamic notes, toast char and coffee grounds start to sculpt the flavor through aromatic forgivences.

Deliciously judicious, the tastes acts in reverse than in aroma: supple sweet chocolate and toffee notes lay lightly on the taste while a quiet build up of apple cider, white and red wine, balsamic, lime, black cherries and almond and poke at the mouth with varying levels of intensity. A late whimsical taste of cork-like wood, sandalwood, and oak give an echo of taste even after the beer finishes.

Medium bodied throughout- the initial mouth sensations are of mild flatness that soon transitions to acidic sweetness, and a progression toward dry sourness to conclude the after texture. A long draw between early palate sensations and late dryness is long and lumbering and is only a shell of what true Belgian sours exhibit.

Where this sour porter is cherry-infused and properly inoculated, it is a tad shy in its raw and unadulterated brashness that those from Belgium provide. This is a formidable ale that has some growing up to do.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: coppery/red color, clear, nice light tan color head
S: mild nose, some tartness noticeable, good malt backbone
T: very interesting beer, good tartness and malt backbone but was hoping for a bit more malt base, but still very good, definite cherry undertone
M: highly drinkable and refreshing

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Old Sour Cherry Porter from Rivertown Brewing Co.
3.84 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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