RU-55 | Jester King Brewery

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Brewed by:
Jester King Brewery
Texas, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Red ale aged in oak barrels with wild yeast and souring bacteria. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and bottle-conditioned. This beer is a tribute to our good friend Russ Beattie. Thanks, Russ. Thuss.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 714
Photo of HipCzech
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: 750 ml bottle (Blend # 8 - March 2018), poured into a Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy reddish amber with a short head of bubbly off white foam that recedes to a film of fizz and spotty lace.

Smell: Tart red currants and cherries, wet straw, mildly spicy yeast and caramel malt sweetness.

Taste: Tart red fruit, red wine vinegar, gentle caramel malt, faint earth and oak notes.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with soft but lively carbonation.

Overall: Tasty and refreshingly sour, but relatively light in depth and complexity

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Photo of RollBounce
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Had at arts and crafts beer in New York City from a 750 bottle. this beer is so on point. Exactly what you're looking for from a barrel sour. very similar to a very good Flanders sour.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very steady, yet mellow sour ale. Dark cherry and assorted red berries, soft woods, some spring flowers, slight funk in the yeast. No intense sour or tart note, or funky aftertaste, rather a mix of all three. Very drinkable and warm.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The latest RU-55 batch #7 is ABV 6.60%. I think it is tasting great.

Look: dark red with some brown, similar to copper, with two-inch off-white head.

Aroma: cherry and red wine

Taste: It's tart, cherry, red wine, dark fruits and wine.

Feel: Medium body but significant carbonation

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Photo of Premo88
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

25.4 oz. bomber poured into snifter
(Batch #7 — 3/15/2017; 6.6% ABV)

L: murky dark brown-red or reddish copper, pushes up only small head of beige foam about half an inch tall; minimal sticking; keeps tight collar of beige foam; looks like it will clear up some over time; minimal lacing

S: ice cold it's almost pure vinegar, very sour; as it warms more fingernail polish/remover then slowly moves into tart cranberry range, lightly sweet; gets sweeter and sweeter as it warms, almost reaches cherry cheesecake levels (almost)

T: tart cranberries, fruitcake, sour grapes, not as vinegary as the nose but still some slight fingernail polish/remover; as it warms and the palate adjusts, some of Jester King's signature yeast flavors show up including wet hay and musty barn air ... mixes very well with the sour grapes/tart cranberries; at times an oak wood flavor rises up about midswallow and lingers in the aftertaste

F: classic Jester King, light but well-filled out by the carbonation

O: very Flanders red or oud bruin as advertised with a strong vinegar presence that smooths out into a more tasty tart cranberry as it warms and the palate adjusts; a perfect beer to close a session with

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Photo of stakem
3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, slow gusher poured into a wine glass appears burnt copper in color with a khaki head that fades leaving spotty lace.

Aroma is fruity like cherry mixed with vinegar in a sorta flanders way with a hint of caramel sweetness.

Taste is tart with vinegar and cherry. There is an earthy and mineral aspect to this making it almost meaty feeling.

Medium in body with modest carbonation. Its not that bad until it warms up, then the aftertaste gets pretty gross.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Received in the notorious NBS BIF #3.
Infinite thanks to Ozzylizard for this unique, complex brew. Thanks for keeping me in mind during your travels.

Pours a ruddy brown with a cap of 2 inches of loosely packed tan foam that slowly retreats to a mere ring.
Aromas of aging stone fruit notes meander toward sour apple, then leather, and finally a hint of red wine barrel.
Wow, flavor goes all over. Begins with sour plum, fortified red wine (akin to Porto), leather, oak, hints of maduro tobacco, and all throughout a smooth, subtle, deep earthy yeastiness. Finishes with a nice round tartness. So many good things going on here.
Mouthfeel is a bit on the fuller side. Great. And there's a mildly slick aspect too.
Overall, I don't rate this a 5, but I have nothing to recommend. This is such a deep, profound beer and I'd love to have it again.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.87/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a lovely, deep garnet hue with a loose off-white head. Nose is vinous with a hint of lactose and oak. Taste consistent with nose; however, it all comes off a bit dull and muddled. Mouthfeel is medium in body with a mild carbonation and a light acidity. All and all, not really my thing.

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Photo of NeilFlaiz
4.51/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a reddish-brown, smell is funky and farm-like. Taste is wonderfully tart and sour, complex funk. Feel is light and dry but doesn't take away from the taste. Overall, one of the best JK beers, complex without the need for obscure ingredients. Makes sense this is used as the base for many of their fruited blends.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.84/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark reddish brown with a khaki head.

On the nose I get pecan log, walnuts, pecan dust, caramel, and nougat. These attributes actually drown out a lot of the sour or beer elements to a surprising degree. My old lady says she smells French fries, and I can see that, but overall this is just an intensely funky nose, with a lot of woody overtones.

Taste is less funky, and strongly acetic, with the nougat and pecan being paired with raspberry, cherry, and cranberry. Caramel, vanilla and oak notes rise as it warms, with even a touch of maple.

While not quite vinegar territory, it nears it, with a little cooling, funky blue cheese emerging when warmed with the palm.

2016 vintage

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Photo of dar482
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a deep red with hints of brown.

The aroma hits of grape skin, lemon, tart plum, tart cherries, oak, an ever so gentle hint of chocolate.

The flavor follows with a melange of tart fruits from grape skin, apple skin, cherries. There's cocoa maltiness, leafy tobacco, with a light toasted breadiness in the middle. The beer has a medium plus tart quality with some red wine flavor, hints of apple cider vinegar, onto a toasted oak lingering finish.

The body is medium with medium plus carbonation.

Notes of sherry are hard to find as this is a great barrel blended sour red.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Damn this is hands down one of the best JK 750ml bottles. This one is very sour like their special 500ml releases, and there is a really nice balance of flavors.

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Photo of Myotus
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 45°F from a 750ml bottle (blend #6 - 11Jan16) into a tulip. Consumed on 01May16.
LOOK: Pours with a fingers worth of off-white foam that halves itself within 25 seconds. Dark amber in color with a large amount of cloudiness. There is a large quantity of small, rising bubbles. Lacing is moderate in quantity and equally thin and thick.
SMELL: Strong aromas of sour green apple are backed by mild aromas of oak, tobacco, hay, earthy yeast along with subtle aromas of figs, plums, vanilla, and sweet/nutty sherry.
TASTE: It is quite evident that this was barrel-aged as very strong sour green apple and mild oak flavors first caress the palate. Mild plum and fig flavors immediately add a dark sweetness as oak flavors grow stronger. The yeast profile makes itself known as mild flavors of tobacco and subtle hay flavors trail. Mild earthy yeast, and subtle sherry and vanilla flavors finish off the taste theatrical as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL:Medium-bodied with moderate levels of carbonation. Goes down somewhat smooth. Finishes with a strong and unpleasant dryness.
NOTE: I haven't had any previous batches of this, so I couldn't tell you how much of an improvement the partial sherry barrel-aging made this. What I can tell you is that this was scrumptious. Everything was where it needed to be and if I had to nitpick, I would have had the sherry flavors be slightly stronger.

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Photo of enrique_m
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

look: brown with white head and no lacing.
smell: banyard funk and vinegar.
taste: delicious, taste like sour patch with sherry and limes.
feel: pucker your lips sour tart.
overall: one gotta try brew.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sucker for a good sour red, and while this may not possess the musty funk and unique malt profile of something like Rodenbach GC, nor quite the oak-forwardness and diversity of something like Firestone Walker Agrestic, it's still really damn pleasing. Dark, ruddy pour, a touch of haze, fizzy carb. Nose is tart, maybe a few echoes of those sherry barrels, evolving over time with grape notes, a sort of light earthiness, and some lightly sweet malt coming through too. Not heavy at all on the palate, tart and "buggy". I think that tartness dominates a little bit, which is why it doesn't quite reach Grand Cru/Agrestic levels, but there's still some nice stuff going on beneath, that light caramel malt, a bit of sherry wine. Stuff like this would be a total daily drinker for me if price/availability made it so (and, separately, this is available thanks to GC 4-packs!). Overall, JK does this really nicely, and I think anyone would be glad to have a bottle or two of this.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

$ 16.00/750 mL bottle ($ 0.63/oz) at brewery
Bottle Blend # 6 01.11.16 at 54 degrees into a hand washed and dried shaker
Aroma nicely sour
Head average (four cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, diminishing to three mm ring and partial layer
Lacing fair – partial curtains of tiny bubbles with wide gaps
Body medium orange, hazy
Flavor begins sour but not overpowering, fruity; no hops, no malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, slightly sticky, lively carbonation

Appearance 4.5, Aroma 4.25, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25

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Photo of Tommo
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After not really enjoying the previous versions of this beer, i was blown away by how good batch 6 was. Acidic, but incredibly balanced, darker for a sour, but not malty by any sense. The sherry is much lighter than sin frontera and this suits my palate very well. Absurdly drinkable for a ph3.3 beer. Absolute embodiment of jester king brewery, one of the best non fruited sours ive ever had

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Photo of LightnerLiquorKS
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Ruby red with a brown hue from afar. A nice ring of head that stays with the beer until finish.
S: Absolutely remarkable. Oak with sweet vanilla and funky notes
T: The sherry barrel makes this Flemish Style Red the most outstanding beer of it's style I have had. It is truly a work of art. Going from a wine-like taste to a pure Flemish red. With a nice sour pucker reminiscent of sour apple and lacto.
F: The general feel is light, but the aftertaste is the perfect balance of a wine barrel and a Flemish Red Sour
O: Very impressive, I would seek this out whenever it is available.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Blend 3. Cherry, raspberries, amber malts, lacto, some funk and oak. Tannic and malty, yet sour, tart and extremely clean tasting. Really drinkable. Good dryness in the finish. Delicious.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has at least a year and a half age on it
Puts a dark cherry brown with a creamy circle of foam. There's an incredible nose on this, evident from the moment I opened the bottle down to the final sip. It's a big warming aroma of sour cherry and dark chocolate, hints of oak and an whisper of tobacco, with a pleasing tartness to it. Tastes great, with some more dark cherry and oak, chocolate and a faint orange peel, tapering into a mouth-puckering flat, drying bitter/tartness.

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Photo of brentk56
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a burnt auburn influenced ice tea brown color capped by an inch of foam that provides a surprising amount of lace

Smell: Woody, with oak and berry tones; moderately lactic with a hint of caramel and vanilla

Taste: Caramel, oak and vanilla, up front, with the lactic berry flavors developing in the middle; the oak builds in the finish and there is a slightly acetic character that lingers though the caramel tone also remains present

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; somewhat puckery

Overall: Not quite as fruit forward as the Belgian versions of the style, this is enjoyable and balanced without overwhelming the palate

Thanks, sj3324, for the opportunity

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Photo of gueuzedreg
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Very dark red jammy looking. Pours minimal head that dissipates to medium ivory lacing no legs. This is a very dark and dank looking flanders red.

S- Tart acid, deep dark cherry; that flanders red medicinal acidic smell.

T- Background cherry and tart acid. Nothing really steps up to the plate here. Sorda meh

M- Popping carb, somewhat smooth. Has that flanders red bite on your tongue

O- Not my fav style, and not the best of style. I tend to go toward the sweeter flanders reds like Jacobins, but this was pretty good.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Jester King stemmed glass. Acquired in a trade with Camille.. thanks!

Appearance - Pours a dark amber body with a big frothy off-white head that reduces slowly to leave spotty lacing.

Smell - Very inviting. Off the bat I get lots of funk, mustyness, wet wood, barnyard, some white grapes and champagne.

Taste - First off is a fruity, dry tartness with notes of sour grapes, sour apple, lactic. The follow through has slight notes of oak, mustyness, funky yeast. The finish has a light malty character with slight caramel and pale malt flavors. The aftertaste is very dry and leaves an acidic astringency on the tongue.

M- For the ABV it's quite drinkable. Medium-light body, high carbonation.

RU-55 is underrated in my opinion. Very complex flavor profile brought on from the oak barrels and bacteria/yeast.

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Photo of cultclassic89
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Never wrote a review, but update for Blend 6:

Really fantastic. The added whatever percentage of Sherry barrel aging really makes a difference. For Blend 6, it's a 4.5. I'll leave the original score as is for the previous blends.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Bilco for sharing this

Review from notes, 4/18/14

Appearance: Cloudy crimson/ruby/amber - medium, off-white head, keeps a nice cap, leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: Nicely funky aromas, with some potent oak barrel aromas - nicely acidic, with some nice, acidic sourness, and a touch of lactic - some berry-like aromas and some light fruits - amber malts with some spiciness - some earthiness, hints of Belgian yeast, and some vinegar

Taste: Amber malts and some nice tart, sour malts - acidic, lightly lactic sour, some straight-up funk - some big, nice oak barrel, though actually not as woody as some Jester King offerings - amber and caramel malts - lightly sweet, with more tartness - finishes with some acidity and vinegar

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nice carbonation, smooth, nice finish

Overall: Jester King can make a good sour? Surprise!

This actually tastes a bit different than the "typical" Jester King offering. It's woody and funky, but it has a really unique sour component. It's somewhere between an American Wild and a Flanders Red, and it works. It's nicely sour, nicely tart, and definitely worth a try.

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RU-55 from Jester King Brewery
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 714 ratings