Cascade Bourbonic Plague | Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub

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Cascade Bourbonic PlagueCascade Bourbonic Plague
613 Ratings
Cascade Bourbonic PlagueCascade Bourbonic Plague

Brewed by:
Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This blend of strong dark porters was aged in oak, wine and Bourbon barrels, then blended with a dark porter that had been brewed with vanilla beans and cinnamon. The blend was then aged an additional 14 months on dates.

Added by Floydster on 07-03-2009

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 613 |  Reviews: 136
Reviews by MbpBugeye:
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have gford217 to thank for this one.

This is a perfect example of cutting edge creativity. Using barrel aging, wild fermentation, spicing, blending and aging in all new and interesting ways. Luckily these risks worked out, and as such, this beer knocked it out of the park.

A- This beer is quite heady. It sports a loose khaki head comprised of loosely packed, coarse bubbles. Lacing is heavy, droopy and sporadic. The beer is a deep fig color. Like a porter with hints of purple and umber.

S- A bizarre, but wonderful blend of wine elements from wine barrels and dates, smooth elements from bourbon barrels, oak, porter and vanilla and spice from cinnamon and some booze. Its all tied together with a lactic sourness. Some funk and minor acidity is picked up as well.

After reading the description I just wrote I think many people wont believe me that it needs to be scored a 4.5, but yes. Some how all of these opposites meld rather than clash.

T- Wow, I was a bit skeptical on this one. I figured lots of the scores were swayed by rarity and hype. Not so. Let this one warm gently in a tulip and it backs up all of the talk. A wonderfully smooth creaminess. Vanilla, oak, bourbon with a tiny smidgen of roast. Nice wine-like elements of cherry, dates/figs and red wine acidity. Sourness isnt massive but this is totally a sour beer. Its a very manageable, lactic/cheesey type of sour. The cinnamon is much more perceivable than I had though, and in this case it works very, very well. It provides another layer of complexity in the form of a sweet spice element. Being that a portion of this beer was aged in bourbon barrels and wine barrels alcohol is big as compared to other sours. Its nothing obtrusive, but it hides in back and turns this beer up to 11.

M- Mouthfeel, the 4th category of scoring on BA and the 4th category that this beer breaks free of. This is a full bodied beer, especially in the world of sours. It really helps to accentuate that creamy smoothness that makes the vanilla flavors so great. It helps build a long, incredibly smooth finish. Carbonation, while creating a billowy head, is light and fluffy. Sourness induces a moderate level of pucker and alcohol provides a bit of heat that is paired nicely with the inherent heat of cinnamon. Despite this the alcohol is quite well hidden, and many beers with bourbon aging have much stronger levels of booze. My bottle says that its 12.1%, if one were to hazard a guess it would be damn shy of that mark.

D- While this beer may hide its ABV quite well and drink very smoothly and offer a myriad of interesting new juxtapositions, it is best savored. As I mentioned, take your time on this one, give it time to open up and warm slightly. If your experience is like mine you will find this beer's "eureka sip", and it will all click. Besides, it should take you a while to nail down all of this beer's complexities.

This beer is fantastic. I havent had a beer take my expectations and body slam them the way this beer did. After sipping on this for a while with my girlfriend, we both made the assessment that this might not be a beer for everyone. It is certainly not a beer for beginners at all.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Antg8989
4.76/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. What is life? A sour porter? This is truly some Gypsy Magic. 5oz. pour at the tip tap room. Pour is black with a brown head. Aroma is all sorts of berries, chocolate and vanilla. Taste is all of the above with the essential tartness and a semi creamy taste. Feel is medium carbonated. Overall, I wish I had more so I could really really dive into this masterpiece.

 369 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tectactoe
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of ehammond1
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Beachwood BBQ
Seal Beach, CA

Dark brown nearly black with a thin khaki head. Lots of spotted lacing down the glass.

Surprisingly not particularly aromatic, though I'm happy to say the other features of this beer make up for it in spades! A muted combination of bourbon and sour notes make up the aroma, but nothing is leaping out, even after warming.

This is quite the journey. Never before has a beer changed so drastically from start to finish. At first, this is a sour porter, with hints of roasted malt and chocolate coming through, along with sweet fruits and biting sourness. Then, after swallow, a new, delicate, earthy, woody bourbon flavor fills the mouth and stays and lingers. Magnificent!

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

A spectacular beer and (like with many Cascade offerings) like nothing I've ever tried before.

(I'm looking at you, The Bruery! Time to bourbon-barrel age some Tart of Darkness!)

 930 characters

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of HopsForBrains
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Soonami
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cascade bourbonic plague is such an interesting beer. It is for sure the most complex sour beer I've had to date (hehe). This is a dark brown beer with a sand colored head. The beautiful aroma just bursts out of this beer--it's a lot like a loaf of baking fruit cake with spicy cinnamon, clove and vanilla, sweet dried fruit and slightly sour like overripe bananas. The beer tasted like it smelled with a lot more pronounced vanilla and oaky bourbon flavors. There is a nice molassesy sweetness from the dates and a warming spiciness. The alcohol is very well hidden in this very complex beer with just a slight warming feel on the back of the throat. Very complex and although the ingredients don't seem like they should work together they really come together grounded by the very good base porter

 799 characters

Photo of 01001111
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of elliot23
4.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Poured into a snifter at the Barrel House. Great color for a sour. Super dark, almost like a cup of coffee. Redish hue to it as well. Looks great.

N. What a nose. I can't keep my face out of this one. Lots of dark fruit. Some cinnamin and vanilla in there. A small touch of alcohol, but pretty mild considering the abv. Some bourbon and oak can also be pulled from this as it warms.

T. Amazing on all fronts. Very aggressive beer. Really unique. Never thought I'd have a barrel aged sour porter. Lots of oak and vanilla in the taste. I can also pull out some strong dates in there as well. A little dark cherry and some alcohol finish round this one out. Amazing how the 12% abv is hidden though.

M. Pretty full for a sour. Good carbonation as well. Pretty warming on the mouth. Good stuff.

After one glass I can feel it. To be expected though. Goes down dangerously easy though. Can't wait for bottles of this one!

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Photo of rack0flamb
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of OKbrew89
4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Holy barrel aging batman. Gorgeous dark brown pour with a monster head that doesn't fade and leaves a ring of lacing. Nose of bourbon, oak, and more bourbon. Taste hits dark fruit, cinnamon, and sour with a whisper of bourbon on the finish. Light body and medium carbonation.
It reeked of barrels but actually came through with a sophisticated and layered beer. Balanced and enjoyable, and definitely not straight bourbon.

 427 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of ste5venla
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of roostor07
2/5  rDev -52.9%

Photo of switzer
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of dmachado
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
3.86/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Griffith
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Metalmonk
3.94/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sent by msubulldog25 in a recent trade, the text immediately intrigues, as does the great name: "Bourbonic Plague - Northwest Style Sour Ale - ale brewed with spices and aged in used oak wine and bourbon barrels on vanilla beans and cinnamon then fermented with dates." Additionally, the label says this is a "huge, spiced double porter...lactic fermented in select barrels for over 12 months and fed on a rich diet of dates."

Huh. You can just imagine dead beer traditionalists rolling in their graves. Its likely too much for some of the living as well.

I expected this bottled conditioned beer to gush, and it did. I was prepared but spent some time babysitting it until it chilled out, which included pouring a full glass then having to push more into a second glass until things settled down in there. So, what results is a huge head, rocky and stiff and tan, quite beautiful actually, like an airy ice cream. Liquid is a super murky dark brown, looks wonderful.

Aroma is a hugely vinous thing, more tart than sweet, more green than something this well aged was expected to smell like. I get some oak and date too, a little bit of the bourbon, though nothing of the vanilla or cinnamon comes to the nose.

To say this is a complex beer is not only stating the obvious, but also understating it. Nearly every sip brings a new view, a new impression, as my taste buds wrangle with this ridiculous monster. Its vinous aromatic qualities are also a prime feature of the taste. They're wrapped in a woody, earthy exterior, and the piquant flavor of alcohol-soaked dates comes through as well. The cinnamon and vanilla are no doubt that brighter spice character I'm tasting, although they've been totally transformed through barrel aging. Bourbonic Plague (what a great name) finishes tart and fruity sweet, with earthiness shining through to balance. Interesting that the bourbon is only a mere flash amongst many flavors. It's hard to brew with a bourbon barrel and not have that dominate, showing what a complex, challenging creature we're dealing with here, and what a good job they've done of incorporating everything evenly. The only Belgian characteristic here is the yeast, but it's a big one. Wild ales are derived from ancient Belgian traditions, and here the yeast puts that big Belgian stamp on an otherwise all-West Coast mutant. Thankfully, the roasty porter base comes through just enough, and that's good, as I find many sours to be good and sour, but they can also mask most if not all the base beer elements. Not this one. The alcohol? Oh, that? Hardly detectable, but maybe the flurry of impressions is just distracting. Still, very well hidden, I'd say, especially for 11.5%!

Not terribly dry, as some sours are, the tartness causes a palpable physical pucker in the mouth, although it's actually subtle and not an annoyance. Otherwise this has both smooth and crisp characteristics, texturally about as complex as the taste is.

While sours are not totally my thing, this one is clearly exerting its own unique personality in that realm, and what could have been an unholy mess has turned out very well. I'm going to savor this sucker the rest of the night. A definite slow drinker and one to cherish while there's still some in the glass.

 3,266 characters

Photo of ipc2000
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of schinebd
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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Cascade Bourbonic Plague from Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 613 ratings