Montmorency Vs Balaton
Jester King Brewery

Montmorency Vs BalatonMontmorency Vs Balaton
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
From:
Jester King Brewery
 
Texas, United States
Style:
Wild Ale
Ranked #10
ABV:
6.1%
Score:
100
Ranked #158
Avg:
4.51 | pDev: 6.87%
Reviews:
91
Ratings:
848
Status:
Active
Rated:
Tuesday at 03:03 AM
Added:
Feb 27, 2014
Wants:
  585
Gots:
  137
SCORE
100
World-Class
Montmorency Vs BalatonMontmorency Vs Balaton
Notes: Montmorency and Balaton® cherries from Michigan were added to mature, sour, barrel-aged beer, and allowed to referment to dryness. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned.

Balaton® is a registered trademark of Michigan State University.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
 
Rated: 4.35 by Bhubbard34 from Pennsylvania

Tuesday at 03:03 AM
Photo of jdamaso84
Reviewed by jdamaso84 from Colorado

4.79/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
This is one of the best beers on the planet. My favorite beer is Lou Pepe Kriek, and while of course nothing can replace LPK, this is as close as you’ll find anywhere outside of Brussels.

In the spirit of BA I’m tempted to use a bunch of pretentious adjectives to describe its color, flavor, mouthfeel, etc., but the truth is you really don’t any of that. Just find it.
Jul 23, 2022
 
Rated: 4.65 by o29 from Texas

Jul 20, 2022
 
Rated: 5 by wshinevar from Massachusetts

Jul 18, 2022
 
Rated: 4.25 by Affinity from Missouri

Jun 05, 2022
 
Rated: 4.89 by not2quick from Missouri

Jan 18, 2022
 
Rated: 4.61 by LloydDobler from Indiana

Jan 04, 2022
Photo of puck1225
Reviewed by puck1225 from Texas

4.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
This is an excellent Christmas Eve beer. First it has a great color for Christmas and the cherry and warm spice taste is perfect for the holiday.

Bought the bottle of this during the pandemic when it was made possible to order and pick up. This beer pours a beautiful reddish purple color with a nice effervescent white head and excellent initial curtain lacing. Intense tart cherry smell and taste with warm spice flavors and a nice earthy funk. Enjoyed it very much!

Had the latest batch on 6/5/22 from tap at the brewery. The latest version lives up to previous. Detected a bit of rich vanilla as well. Really a great beer.
Dec 25, 2021
Photo of JackRWatkins
Reviewed by JackRWatkins from Georgia

3.96/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
A: pours up a murky reddish grape hue, with a quickly receding, white, one finger head.
S: Immediate, cherries and notes of funk and tannic oak. There is something here also that comes off a bit like sugary cereal.
T: Surprisingly subdued, it is sour, but not brutally so, and the cherry is certainly there but I got some baking spice, what seems like cinnamon in the finish and definite (although more subtle) funk . There are also some other more subtle notes of dark fruit and oaky tannins.
M: surprisingly full, but still bone dry.
O: This is an interesting beer, it is much more subtle, nuanced and complex than I was expecting it to be. Full disclosure, I’m not a real kriek/Cherry sour fan, so I bought this on reputation alone and while I don’t think my mind has been changed about kriek, I do think this beer is more than the sum of its parts and has some nice complexity to offer. I think the risk and often the temptation with a flavor as big and assertive as cherry is to let it do all the heavy lifting because it tends to be such a people pleaser on its own. Fruited Sour beer has never been my thing and it’s still not, but I will say that if more these beers handled their subject with the grace and restraint on display here, I would be more inclined to buy them.
Sep 04, 2021
 
Rated: 4.34 by hopley from Massachusetts

Jul 25, 2021
 
Rated: 4.52 by DraughtJunkie82 from Missouri

Jun 10, 2021
 
Rated: 4.52 by Ristaccia from Nebraska

May 10, 2021
 
Rated: 4.05 by Dactrius from Netherlands Antilles

May 10, 2021
Photo of 5toutman75
Reviewed by 5toutman75 from Illinois

4.41/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Bottled Feb 2019
Consumed 5/9/21

So excited to try this. The be had an Atrial before and it ranked up there as one of my favorite wild ales ever. Upon pouring it, it looks beautiful. Love the color. I’m super disappointed on the nose though. I get a bit of funk and cherrry, but it’s very muted. On the palette though it’s more pronounced. It has a wonderful balance of cherry but could use more bret funk for my preference. I probably like the funk more than most people though. There’s a wonderful balance of sweet and tart with the cherries too. A lovely beer overall. Probably not my top 2-3, but worth the word class ratings.
May 10, 2021
 
Rated: 4.35 by emerge077 from Illinois

Apr 02, 2021
 
Rated: 4.56 by carolinabeerguy from North Carolina

Mar 20, 2021
 
Rated: 4.3 by dleiner from New York

Mar 12, 2021
 
Rated: 4.21 by mrmsmith from District of Columbia

Feb 07, 2021
Photo of Parmesan
Reviewed by Parmesan from Colorado

4.48/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
L:. Pours a bright ruby red with a small pinkish head and no lacing, very pretty beer.

S:. Lots of jammy sweet cherry, cinnamon, and oak, with a tart cherry lingering in the background.

T:. Jammy cherry comes first followed by cinnamon cobbler crust, and then a quite dry tart cherry to contrast and balance it out.

F:. Dry and lower carbonation.

O:. I love the interplay between the two different cherries.
Feb 01, 2021
 
Rated: 4.51 by JAWS from New York

Jan 31, 2021
 
Rated: 4.33 by tblack4d from Georgia

Jan 21, 2021
 
Rated: 4.5 by driftlessbeer from Wisconsin

Dec 14, 2020
 
Rated: 4.54 by corm44 from New York

Dec 10, 2020
 
Rated: 4.52 by MTKATL from Georgia

Dec 02, 2020
 
Rated: 4.56 by nollie77 from Ohio

Nov 19, 2020
 
Rated: 4.08 by PDinunzi from New Jersey

Oct 18, 2020
Photo of ThisWangsChung
Rated by ThisWangsChung from Maryland

4.3/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
4.3/5: The first sip disappoints, but afterwards it reveals delightful nuances of tart cherries, cinnamon, graham cracker, and nutmeg
Oct 07, 2020
 
Rated: 4.49 by Duffman79 from Connecticut

Sep 30, 2020
Photo of jheimbigner
Reviewed by jheimbigner from Washington

4.52/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Batch #7 poured from fridge temp on 9/26/2020

Pours a ruby red with a small white head that leaves a ring of lacing.

Nose is of strong sweet and sour cherry, cinnamon, oak, and vanilla, floral cherry.

Taste follows the nose with sweet cherry, cinnamon, mild oak, mild vanilla, cherry blossom, vinegar.

Feel is light/medium body and hits the tip of the tongue with a burst of carb.

Overall, excellent wild that utilizes two great and contrasting cherries that blend well together.
Sep 27, 2020
 
Rated: 4.68 by rjp217 from Massachusetts

Sep 17, 2020
 
Rated: 4.24 by Vicirus from Massachusetts

Aug 20, 2020
 
Rated: 4.4 by paresis from Massachusetts

Aug 14, 2020
 
Rated: 4.64 by rightcoast7 from Maine

Jun 11, 2020
 
Rated: 4.5 by Dharms from Pennsylvania

May 25, 2020
 
Rated: 4.36 by Hopelessly0 from California

May 09, 2020
 
Rated: 4 by pepesylvia from Pennsylvania

May 01, 2020
 
Rated: 4.58 by T_Hass from Georgia

Apr 21, 2020
 
Rated: 3.85 by Markyg21 from Connecticut

Apr 18, 2020
 
Rated: 4.5 by RiceOwls27 from Texas

Apr 16, 2020
Photo of SierraNevallagash
Reviewed by SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.44/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Unbelievably huge thanks to Anthony for this massive want of mine. Very excited.

500ml bottle - b6 (Feb. '19) poured into a fancy tulip at 48°F.

Pours an almost unbelievable glowing ruby red - I'm talking The Sorcerer's Stone red. Highly polished, highly reflective, mesmerising to stare at glowing ruby gemstone red - clear, but not crystal. A finger of quick, loose, just-slightly-pink head builds up, and then quickly reduces to a thin soapy collar. Some slow effervescence can be seen.

Nose: There are average cherry wild ales, and there are cherry wild ales that you can just tell are something incredible by the aroma. This is in the latter category. The amount of cherry on the nose is borderline unreal and saturated, while being entirely organic in nature. Not only is this a cherry bomb aroma, but what is really impressive is how both the Montmorency AND the Balaton cherries seem to translate. There is some intensely sweet, ripe, juicy Balaton character, lending an almost maraschino cherry on top of a maraschino liqueur note, bursting with big, deep, dark cherry juice, while the Montmorency cherries lend that floral, fresh, tangy cherry note, with a touch of stem, pit, and even cherry blossom. There is also a healthy amount of oak, and, along with the cherries, seems to lend this subtle cinnamon spice note, with just a whisper of oaky vanillins. There is a suggestion of acidity, but it doesn't singe the nose when inhaling, and there's very little earthy or barnyard funk. Just some wet oak, leather, old parchment, dusty attic, and a hint of brett. The cherries obscure any real serious funk or acidity that may lie beneath. There's a touch of gently toasty grain beneath everything, which is the icing on the cake.

Palate: First thing, from the very first sip, it isn't bracing sourness that hits, it isn't tannic oak, it isn't malt, it's sweet and tart ripe cherry flesh. The deep, bold Balaton sweetness greets the palate, giving up its sweet juicy goodness, while never coming across as artificial, cough syrupy, sticky, or overly sweet. This sweet cherry juice flavour unfurls to eventually reveal the Montmorency character beneath. The Montmorency is not quite as deep, bold, and saturated with juicy sweetness, but it provides a slightly less ripe, slightly fruitier character, that brings Japanese cherry blossom, a bit of plum, a hint of cherry potpourri, cinnamon/amburana wood spice, and a bright, natural, almost slightly unripe cherry tartness to the table. In addition to this subtle fruity tartness, the acidity lends a near-perfect degree of sour. It really isn't bracing, puckering, or blinding in any way. Make no mistake, this is a sour ale, no question about it, but it isn't Midwest sour. There is some lemony lacto pucker, a bit less of some acetic pedio bite, and a bit more of some tart, funky, mineralic brett, lending not quite salinity, and definitely not sweat, but that classic restrained brett tang, along with some musty wet wood, a little hint of bandaid, and that classic bretty stone fruit pit note. The high degree of minerality paired with the bandaid note and the deep cherry really gives this a little hint of a Kriek vibe. The tartness has a quick downward curve, allowing some really wonderful oak to appear before the finish, paired with a hint of vanilla, a hint of baking spice, a hint of caramel, and a hint of brown sugar. The sourness takes a far back seat, revealing some more dusty brett, and then finally, the ever-so-slightly sweet toasted grain base reveals itself, with a wonderful melding of grainy wheat and round malty barley, cereal grains, essence of cherry, and gently tannic oak linger on and conclude the finish.

Mouthfeel/Body: MvB is light, crisp, and snappy by nature, though the mild to moderate cherry sweetness and slight bit of malt body push this a bit closer to medium-bodied territory. Effervescence is surprisingly low. It isn't flat, but rather lazy and slow. One might expect this to be a super fizzy, champagne-like experience, but that is not the case, which also contributes to a slightly fuller feel. Soft, round, and even quite juicy upfront, the ale is not scrubbing, and even feels somewhat smooth. The oak in the finish provides some tannicdrying as the sweetness fades, but the ale itself isn't tannic or ultra-dry.

Overall: This is a really remarkable cherry wild ale, and an absolute triumph from Jester King. The perceivable differences between the Montmorency and Balaton cherries is a work of art, and the structure, balance, and progression of the ale is nothing short of impressive. The acidity is forward, but kept in check, the sweetness makes a statement up front, and then takes a supporting role, the oak and microflora influence walks a tightrope right down the middle of balanced, and the subtle malty, grainy base beneath it all is something that I always look for, but rarely get in highly acidic ales. This is just absolutely world class.
Apr 07, 2020
Montmorency Vs Balaton from Jester King Brewery
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 939 ratings