RU-55 | Jester King Brewery

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43 Reviews
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RU-55RU-55
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Jester King Brewery
Texas, United States | website

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.

Added by MasterSki on 12-01-2012

BEER STATS
Reviews:
43
Ratings:
648
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
36.78%
 
 
Wants:
241
Gots:
147
For Trade:
11
User Reviews
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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 648
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to JustXBeer for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with some fruity, wood, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with a fruity flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that smells much better than it tastes in my opinion.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a sour red that is decidedly not a flemish style, way less lactic acidity here, far more delicate all around really, but still a nice copper malt driven sour with more funk than tartness to it. bronze in color, rather clear looking from the tap, with a short half inch or so of tan bubbles. the nose is a lot like some other jester king beers, with their mix of bacteria. it has some mouth watering sourness, but also an almost saison style yeast element, with the caramel malt and crystal malt providing the base, which is medium bodied and still a little sweet despite all the activity. i get a ton of oak on the flavor, woody and almost tea-like, a very mature beer based on these flavors. the funkiness increases in the finish, and the swallow is dry, but it all comes rushing back. great mouthfeel results, especially with the carbonation as robust as it is. a very well made beer, less interesting than some of the other jester king stuff, but appreciably different from the flanders type reds out there.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poure out as a reddish brown color, the head comes and goes quickly. The retention is very minimal along with a light lacing. The smell is a malty with an interesting sweetness, also caramel or cherry on the nose and lightly toasted. The taste of the beer has a really interesting flavor as well. More malty and dry than sour. There is an earthy grain flavor in the finish with the sourness up front. The mouthfeel of the beer is dry, lightly carbonated. Overall it's a pretty good brew.

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Photo of brentk56
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
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 Phyl21ca
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a cloudy dirty red color ale with a large beige foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of oak and tart notes with light cherry sour notes also perceptible. Taste is a great mix between some tart and oak notes with light sour cherry and some funky yeast notes also perceptible. Body is full with limited filtration and good carbonation. I really enjoyed the ratio between complexity and drinkability in this beer and I also appreciated the fact that the acidity level was kept at a more than reasonable level.

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Photo of kojevergas
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on-draught into stemware at Jester King's tasting room. Cost was $6.00 USD for an 8oz pour. Expectations were high due to Jester King's reputation. 7.40% according to their beer menu. "Sour Barrel Aged Red." Reviewed from notes taken in September 2013.

A: No bubble show formed as it's poured.

Pours a 2 finger wide head of soft white colour. Complexion is soft and smooth. Good creaminess and thickness. Great even lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is poor - about 1 minute. Not real frothy.

Body colour is a somewhat dull dark red. Nontransparent. Semitranslucent. No yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Nice bacterial sourness. Wild yeast. Lactobacillus is present, but I'm not getting any true lambicus yeast. Very contained and clinical in its sourness; it doesn't evoke true spontaneous fermentation. I get some lightly acetic cherry. Not as acidic as most good sours. It has a nice fruity sweetness to balance it in a manner redolent of Rodenbach. Vague notes of oak. A kiss of vanilla. Sourness is quite timid and approachable; it doesn't seem puckerworthy by any means. Lightly tart.

Clean Belgian and amber malts. Not as much cherry pie crust character as I'd like. Should be more acetic. An appealing aroma of mild strength. Alive and inviting. Tame, with some subtlety.

No hops or alcohol are detectable.

T: Tart cherries, some bready/crusty sugars and malts, acetic oak with a biteen of vanilla. Subtle lactobacillus sourness flickers on the climax, then dies. Very approachable for a sour; newcomers could definitely tolerate this. Not at all puckering. Sweetness/acidity balance is near perfect. It's a tasty beer alright. I'm not getting any hop character or alcohol presence. I suspect very little bacteria was used, and it doesn't seem to have been truly spontaneously fermented. It could definitely due with more oak.

No off-notes are present.

Not much depth of flavour or complexity, but it's got nice balance and subtlety. Flavour duration is surprisingly low; this has a brief presence on the palate. Flavour intensity is below average for the style. The sourness isn't very assertive.

Mf: Smooth, wet, perfectly carbonated, and refreshing. Good thickness and body. Texture complements the flavour profile nicely, facilitating the delivery of its lightly subtle flavours whilst staying out of the way and letting the taste have the limelight. Smacky. Great welcoming presence on the palate.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or rough.

Dr: Hides its ABV well. It's a very approachable sour and is within style conventions (so long as we're not treating it as a true Flanders Red, but rather as an American brewed wannabe - aka wild ale). It's a damn fine brew, but there's definitely some room for imporvement. I'm starting to see why Jester King has the reputation it does. I'd definitely get this again, and will be sending a bottle to at least one trade partner. At $16 per botle, I do think it's priced a bit steeply for the quality. There are superior Belgian imports at or below this price point. Definitely worth a try; I'm glad I got to try it. It seems worthy of its current position on the Southwest top 50 list. I could easily kill a bottle or two alone.

High B+

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Photo of jlindros
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Calvin (ApostleBrewing) for this goody, shared with rudzud.

Very light fizzy head, murky cranberry apple juice reddish brown color.

Nose has a nice sour aroma, lacto and wild yeast aromas, light reddish malt candy like but soured, light sour cherry and touch of strawberry, a nice sour fruity aroma.

Taste starts fairly sour, strawberries right out, little rhubarb bitterness abs nice tart fruity flavor. Nice sour malt, light sweet candy red malt, fairly light though. Nice light wild yeast and lacto. Acidity is decent too, not too flemmy. Finish is drier and slightly flemmy, long tart fruit and light acidity, nice long strawberry rhubarb flavor lingering.

Mouth is med to lighter bod, lighter carb.

Overall quite nice, very tasty.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got in a trade with cyde. 750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, January 2013 bottling. Moderate gusher upon opening. Pours very hazy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big sour cherry, green apple, raisin, prune, red grape, toast, toffee, light chocolate, clove, oak, hay, straw, red wine vinegar, musty funk, light leather, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt, fruity/acidic yeast, and barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of sour cherry, green apple, raisin, prune, red grape, toast, toffee, light chocolate, clove, oak, hay, straw, red wine vinegar, musty funk, light leather, and yeast earthiness. Moderate fruity/earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of sour cherry, green apple, raisin, prune, red grape, clove, oak, hay, straw, vinegar, light leather, musty funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and balance of fruity/acidic yeast, malt, and oak barrel flavors; with a great malt/acidity balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and moderately slick/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent sour red ale! All around great complexity and balance of malt, fruity/acidic yeast, and barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on with the balanced acidity. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is dark amber with some crimson highlights. the aroma brings a bouquet of funk, oak, sour cherries, yeast. Beautiful flavor. Simply delicious. Lots of funk and cherry flavor with a lovely sour, puckering finish. Medium bodied and highly drinkable. Flanders red characteristics. I definitely recommend this one.

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Photo of rudzud
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JLindros for sharing. Poured into a Kate the great tulip.

A - Poured a slightly hazy red hue with a thin white head that fades to a thin wisp and halo.

S - Aromas of strawberries and sour cherries and vinegar notes just smells outstanding!

T - Taste is similar to the noise with lovely strawberry notes add well as rhubarb notes add well. Very nice sour vinegar notes and lactose quite creamy.

M - Very drinkable here with nice light carbonation. Super refreshing and crisp.

O - Overall this was a very nice beer with awesome fruit notes. Just delicious.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
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 HuskyinPDX
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 6.5.13

A - Pours a super dark burgundy red-black with a two inch tan head with good retention.

S - Tart cherry, earthy, dirt.

T - A touch of tartness, dirty wood, some plum fruits.

D - Decent carbonation with a medium body.

O - A slight tartness and pretty earthy and dirty. Not much fruit presence.

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Photo of drpimento
3.06/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not bad, but not a fav by these guys. Served with a nice tan head that subsides slow to the bottom. Aroma is malt and tart. Flavor's like nose and dry. Body is ok, carbonation good. Finish is like flavor, of relatively short length, and forgettable.

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Photo of claspada
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours murky, hazy ruby red color with a small white head and some solid spotty lacing.

Aromas begin quite fruit and oak forward with stone fruits, dark cherry, plum skins and then the oak enduced aromas of earth, vanilla and wood. The lighter stone fruits, apricot and peach emerge more as it warms.

The tastes follow the nose with sour tart cherries, plum, vinious red wine oakiness with light vanilla and oak following soon after. There is a solid sour fruit component but overall at this stage the sour flavors aren't as potent as I expected.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to low carbonation. Finish is tart, fruity with mild oak to add a drying effect.

Overall this is unlike most Oud Bruin/Flanders Red Ales on the market. It lacks the huge vinegar (The Bruery) and lactic (Cascade) flavors which makes this a much more balanced drinkable sour/wild red ale that I could drink more than one of without wrecking my palate. I would personally prefer a little more so I will be waiting on the remainder of my bottle for several months to see where it goes.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.87/5  rDev -7%
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 champ103
3.22/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Subsequent bottles/casks/taps I have tried have not held up to my original experience. Updated 5/2/2014.

A murky red color with a thin beige head and no lace.

This seems overly sour and acidic. Very tannin like. Actually, all I get now is acidic tannin/fruit skins, and light oak. The mouthfeel is muddy and not as crisp and effervescent as it once was. The overly acidic and tannin quality makes this hard to enjoy. After just having a bottle of JP La Roja and a side by side with Scots Gone Wild a little while ago, this is a disappointment in comparison.

Original review 2/5/2013:

A: Pours a very attractive ruby red/brown color. A two finger, tightly packed and well formed white head rises with good retention. This is a looker.
S: Initially, I get a huge whiff of sour fruit. I almost took a step back after pouring this. A tart acidic bite of cherries, plums and apple skins. Then a quick musky aroma comes next, almost funky earthy yeast mixed with wood. Then fades in a second to some toffee and chocolate covered cherries. Lots going on here.
T: Tart and acidic up front again. Cherries being the main component here. Light earthy funk with some wood flavors. Fruity, earthy, and rustic. Very enjoyable.
M/D: A medium body that is crisp and effervescent. A very nice tart, puckering dryness as well. The tart and acidic character is strong, which I like. Very enjoyable to drink, but with the acidity this is something to sip.

Man, I continue to be so disappointed with most of Jester Kings releases. They make styles that I love, but are hardly ever worth the price tag or even close to the better examples of the style. This however hits the mark. Nice character, and depth of flavor with a crisp drying fuller body. Which almost always seems to be missing in some of their other beers. This is expensive, but very enjoyable and well done.

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Photo of Rutager
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bit thanks to willandperry for this and all the other great brews.

Appearance. Pours a deep amber-brown with half a finger of off-white head that quickly fades to a collar.

Smell. Sour cherries and funky old red wine barrel, fairly sweet. There's a little caramel and orange flesh there as well.

Taste. Pretty much the same as the nose but more sour than sweet.

Mouthfeel. Medium-light body with low carbonation.

Overall. Refreshing and tasty. Another fine brew from Jester King.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This'll be only my second offering from Jester King. I enjoyed the other one (Das Wunderkind) quite a bit, so I'm looking forward to giving this one a go. RU-55 pours a murky, dark, stained-wood brown with some very, very tepid ruby hints. Completely opaque and capped with a soapy, gray-tinted head that quickly settles to a skin.

The aroma is nice, lively, and "pops" from the glass. Tart black cherries, sour apple skins, and plentiful grapes. Lots of vinous notes coming off with a big lean towards the oak barrel. Some vinegar surrounds the edges and keeps things interesting. Certainly the type of aroma that gets your saliva glands working right away. Funk is low, almost even nonexistent on the nose - the focus is certain on the tart, fruity elements.

One gulp and the vinous aspect of this beer leaps forward ahead of the pack - lots of wine-like grapes, wet oak, and puckering cherries. The tartness spikes quickly and settles on your taste buds, turning into a long-lasting sourness. The middle of the road introduces a very light tomato flavor, not exactly off-putting as it may sound, but rather pretty intriguing.

Vinegar notes are pretty profound and get even bigger with time. The finish contains a heavy dose of sour stone fruits, dry oak, and a very, very light, yeast-funk. Just a touch of corky mustiness, not quite in "barnyard" territory yet. It works, though, as the complexity of the sour profile are strong and interesting enough to stand up on their own. Thin-medium bodied, plenty of lively carbonation for a nice, crisp mouth feel that couples well with the dryness of the oak in the finish.

Again, I am more than pleasantly surprised by a Jester King offering. I don't know if I like this one as much as Das Wunderkind, but it might not be a fair comparison since they are slightly different styles. Either way, this beer was very enjoyable, and it has only reaffirmed by faith in this small-time Texas brewery. I pulled some similarities to RR Consecration out of RU-55. When you're getting compared to Russian River sours, you know you must be on the right track.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

There has been some debate on the RU-55s with the old cap not being carbonated. This one does have the old (plain gold - no logo) cap, so let’s see what happens. 750 mL pours a mostly clear dark crimson color. A fairly aggressive pour yielded a fair amount of carbonation...looks lowly carbed, but not completely without CO2 and actually leaves some spotty lace behind....nice.

Nose has a very nice woody sourness to it. It smells similar to a Rodenbach, but with extra wood funk and more sour. I like it.

It is definitely low on the carbonation, but not completely devoid of some bubbles. The flavors are all there though...tart fruitiness, medium amount of sourness and a nice wood presence. It’s still a damn good Flanders style ale, especially once it gets to room temp and the sourness is more pronounced. If it was under $10 a bottle, I would buy some more, carbonation problems be damned. If they fix that issue, I would love to grab a few of these, even at the steep tag of $15.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
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 ngeunit1
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark red with a finger of frothy tannish head. Fades normal.

S - Sweet caramel and bready malts, sour and funky yeasts, Brett, lactic acid, Belgian yeast, dark and berry fruits, vanilla, oak.

T - Sweet caramel and bready malts, sour cherries and other dark and berry fruits, Brett, lactic acid, other funky and sour yeasts, oak, vanilla, Belgian yeast, tart green fruits.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sour, funky, and warming finish.

D - Good wild ale. Nice overall balance with good complexity.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle into a Jester King 1st Anniversary tulip.

I've had the good fortune of meeting Russ, the brewer after whom RU-55 is named. He even complimented my homebrew; we later hot-boxed the grain mill room. Good times.

RU-55 opens with a soft hiss and slowly foams up from below. Not a gusher, but the carbonation is active. Pours as it should, with a rustic deep amber body and a thin cap of khaki bubbles that cling to the edge of the glass. Aromas range from slightly sweet browned apple flesh to balsamic vinegar to chocolate-covered cherries. Equal parts sweet and funky, with a hint of barrel sugars for good measure.

The flavor is aggressively sour, but balanced with enough amber malt presence that it doesn't strip away the enamel. Think Russian River's Consecration without the currants. The finish is dry and fruity with vinegar, black cherry, leather, and woodiness from the barrel-aging. Mouthfeel is juicy where it should be, up until the drying finish, and light in carbonation and thickness. All in all, an excellent sour ale that holds up with some of the nation's greats. Very glad to have this beer at my disposal for the foreseeable future!

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Photo of Sabtos
3.84/5  rDev -7.7%
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 cultclassic89
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
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 inlimbo77
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml, January '13 release
Kennett Winterfest plastic cup

A: Murky reddish amber. Thin color of light tan or off white head. Like more flanders style beers, not tons of carbonation initially. Some bits of lacing are building on the glass.

S: Oak. Vanilla. Vinegar. Sour cherry pie filling.

T: Really awesome stab at the Flanders Red Ale. Definitely getting that funk that you'd expect. Cherry flavors. Acidic quality, but not overly mouth puckering. Pulling some vinegar. Oak. Vanilla hints. The finish is tart and dry, but not bone dry.

M: Light leading to medium.

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RU-55 from Jester King Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 648 ratings.
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