Anadromous | Anchorage Brewing Company

very good
58 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with Summit Hops. Aged in French Oak Pinot Noir barrels with Brett, Pedio and Lacto. Triple Fermented.

Added by DucksFan16 on 06-02-2013

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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 282
Photo of Chico1985
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1, March 2013 bottling split 3 ways. Surprising lack of exploding cork coming from Anchorage.

A - Dark brown pour with some noticeable clarity, thin beige head turns to a ring pretty quickly.

S - Lots of pinot noir barrel here, dark fruit, some lactic sourness, just a bit of caramel back there. Red wine and oak covers mostly any/all dark malts there may be.

T - Still very red wine forward, almost flanders-esque, oak, weird medicinal, brett funk (which definitely leans towards the 'lactose' side of things), vinegar, pretty tart. Kinda...odd. Some hoppiness? Some caramel and molasses hiding way in there. But mostly a red-wine bomb.

M - Somewhat thin and could've used more carbonation. Some booze.

O - The pinot noir barrel is pretty nice but engulfs most of the flavor profile, the lacto funk is a decent touch, I feel like this could've/should've delivered alot more though.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown colour with mocha-coloured head. Small, whispy but leaving decent lace. Looks pretty good.

Hugely Bretty and tart. Nice, deep roast on there with strong balsamic notes, a touch of washed-rind cheese and figs. Slightly intimidating, but very intriguing.

Taste is funky and tart as well. Touch of spicy espresso upfront first though, before funky notes take over midway. Distinct balsamic note, some bitter chocolate, notes of fresh figs, wood smoke and grains of paradise on the back. Finishes dry, and could use a bit more edge. Very intriguing palate though.

Decent body, texture feels nice, but doesn't quite have the bold presence demanded by the bold flavours. Some more body or more carbonation would do different things, but either one would make it seem less meek than it is now.

Quite a bizarre drop, but well-handled, with the off, funky notes and dark bitter notes clashing in a battle for flavour supremacy. Neither wins in the end, but what does win is enjoyment.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml caged and corked bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney.

Pours a deep, oily black, with a loose but frothy head of pale brown. Pretty light and fluid in the body, and carbonation that swirls wildly when tilted. Minimal lacing. It looks a bit weird to be honesT: very light bodied for the depth of colour. Interesting at least.

Nose is very tart, and marked with a prominent oak character, much like a good Flanders Red. Unlike a Flanders Red, however, there's also a dense darkness to it, giving roast and coffee notes that permeate the more acidic cherry aromas. Some coconut comes through as well. It's really quite complex, but a little anarchic at the same time. I like it.

Taste is similar: plenty of tart flavours bouncing around, but at its core is a strong dark malt presence, making it seem more like a stout than a wild ale. Indeed, the main contribution of the bugs seems to be to rip away all the sweetness and body, making it feel very narrow on the palate. Cherry aromas still stick around, and there's a sheen to the malt that gives off some oak. Extremely unusual: I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Feel is dense through the centre: but there's actually not much true acidity, nor body to support a lot of the flavours. It works in a weird way, but again it's a strange choice.

Overall, this is still pretty good, with an oddly directed inoculation of brett and bugs. I certainly don't think it's one of Anchorage's best, but that's a pretty high bar.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours pitch black in color. Minimal tan froth. Subtle lacing.

(S)- Deep dark malts meets and acidic charred oak character. Plenty of chocolate.

(T)- A bit of raisin and cocoa meets an acidic oakiness. Slightly chalky but with subtle Brett bits. Complex and slight bits of dark fruits that finishes dry.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Complex with a good showing of oak and subtle tartness. Subtle dry funk that I quite like.

(O)- I have been liking what Anchorage has been putting out. Reminds me of a drier, funkier, more complex Tart of Darkness.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served from a 750ml C&C bottle into a Crooked Stave tulip. Served at about cellar temp.

Appearance- Black. Quick one finger bubble white/mocha head that left a little bit of lacing around the glass. Poured pretty vigorously.

Smell- Sweet chocolate malts, a little caramel, lacto dairy, light alcohol, light pinot and oak, vinegary tang. It's all over the place and I like it!

Taste- Sour grape first and foremost. Lemon, brett dryness, oaky chocolate and light coffee. Tart and roasty with a light alcohol tinge at the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel- Lighter body with ample enough carbonation. Mild booze heat and a very light pucker.

Overall- A lot of mixed reviews on this beer. I really do think it's a solid sour stout. I would like a little more pinot noir barrel though, but I'm happy this tured out to be a good purchase back in june.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black sour ale? Sign me up – Tart of Darkness is one of my all-time favorites.

Batch #1, brewed March 2013 (eight months before the date of this tasting).

A: In the short time between popping the cork and booting up the computer, a dark brown pillar of foam gushed from the bottle – definitely got some wild yeast conditioning this one. Color is a reflective black, head is short but creamy. Retention is nearly nonexistent in the middle but slightly raised along the sides of the glass, providing a nice crater effect.

S: Deep, dark sugars and sour acids blend to form a uniquely mouthwatering aroma. Brown sugar, toasted marshmallow, and bittersweet cocoa scents pull you in with a stunning richness, but the tartness of red wine vinegar and cherry sustains a continuous brightness that sits on top. Toward the back, subtle notes of barrel and roasts – toasted coconut, char, vanilla – enrich the nose further. Phenomenal.

T: The palate mixes roasty and tart in a beautiful combination, but the initial taste I’m getting is less sour and more bitter, medicinal acid; takes a few sips to get past. Once acclimated, the palate opens to raspberry and blackberry flavors, fruity and wild, covered quickly with dark chocolate and rich burnt sugar. The acids and residual sugars are complimented by sharp lemon rind and black pepper tastes, which give way to some unexpectedly grainy straw tones. Alcohol and sweet fruit finishes it, leaving astringent, spicy booze and juicy grape on the tongue like thick red wine.

M: Thin for a high-alcohol beer, but pretty standard for a sour. While this is no smooth sipper, it certainly has a refreshing quality about it, with its fizzy carbonation and slim body.

O: Anadromous is a beer as unique as it is delicious, a delicate point-counterpoint to roasted malt and fruity tartness. I feel like I had a hard time describing its palate, but suffice it to say, every drink was roasty, rich, and tart; for my taste buds, that’s quite satisfying.

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Photo of ccrida
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, Andromous is black with a bubbly tan collar leaving light, scattered drops of lace.

Smell is sour green apples, grape and malt sugars. Pretty pronounced sourness, a little alcohol solvent vapors as well.

Taste is all over the place, a dangerously disjointed and angular cacophony of flavors. The base stout flavors are there in full force, a big export stout with lots of malt, roasty, bakers chocolate. Complex, an interesting stout.

Mouthfeel is on the thick side, slippery.

Drinkability is good from an experience perspective. But this one is a slow sipper, and not one that I'd have on a regular basis. But that can be said about lots of great beers as well. This one is not quite there, but I really enjoyed trying it.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.49/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Consumed at the sour tasting that I organized with friends. Split with many people. Thanks for the bottle, Ken! Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

Pours a blackened color with slight garnet or ruby hues, no doubt due to the Pinot Noir barrels used in the fermenting process. There's an off-khaki head that coats the top of the glass about 1 finger tall, which settles down to a slight ring. With the bottle conditioning, I suppose I expected more of a show, but it still resembles a barrel-aged stout of sorts when seen from afar. Slight legs and lacing coat the glass, but otherwise it's pretty straightforward for what it is - viscous, thick, and definitely sludgy. I definitely have little experience with sour stouts, so this is an exciting start.

Whoa! Did someone pour milk or butterscotch into my stout? At the front, there's an immediate lactic acidic blast of flavor, resembling milk and (when the roasted stout notes start to come in), slight vanilla and toffee. There's most certainly an array of dark fruits on this one, ranging from dark cherries to plums, with maybe a little bit of blackcurrant. The whiskey notes seem more pervasive at first, with the buttery, nutty, sharply sweetened flavor, but I wasn't able to find the Pinot Noir characteristics at first until my friend pointed out how much this smelled like one. I suppose the fruits were already a giveaway, but it's too subdued here with all of the Lactobacillus invading the flavor. Not too acidic, but definitely funky! Wild stuff, but a tad too one-dimensional overall.

The flavor is a strong combination of the milky, lactic acidic flavors as well as the sourness imparted by the diverse barrel blending. At first there's a blast of creaminess and funky milk, only to be combined with tart, under-ripe fruits ranging from cherries to currents to blackberries. There's definitely a battle at play here in between the flavors, and blending is more on the strange side than the well thought out one. After the fruits come in, there's a strong buttery, diactyl texture that leads to all kinds of barrel spices, ranging from baking soda to nutmeg, only to be tarnished by extremely funky notes of Pediococcus that becomes really heavy on the stomach, much like an overly buttery Chardonnay. There's a chaotic sequence of flavors at play here, but not much balance. Interesting to drink, but difficult to finish.

This was an intense one. There's no beauty or elegance to it, but it does stand apart from most lactic-forward sours I've ever had. This honestly probably could have been enjoyable if it weren't for the high invasion of Pediococcus at this point. Not bad, but don't consider aging this any longer than it already has been sitting around.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.
Vintage: 2013
Batch # 1

Pours a nice dark brown almost black color with a light tan colored had. The bubbles are a bit dense but seem to recede quickly and there are some intermingled medium sized bubbles around. The brew looks exactly like a stout.

Now. The aroma is completely different. Starts off very very acidic and tart. Notes of pure balsamic vinegar with notes of vinous tart grape skins. There are some leathery notes in the nose s well as granny smith apple sweetness/tartness mixed in the nose. As the brew warms some mild dark fruit notes cN be perceived. Slight notes of raisins and even some slight chocolate notes. Still very well hidden behind the lactic sourness.

Flavor starts off quite surprising. I was expecting a large devastating punch of lactic sourness. But while the vinous and tart vinegary hints show up they are tempered immediately by a more interesting and subtle roast and dark malty note. There is a great balance between the wild acidic notes and this more "stout-like" flavor. Threw me of at first but Im liking it. The brew is approachable and has a nice dry finish with some mild cocoa bitterness mixed in with great oaky and tart dryness. Mouthfeel is slight light but makes the brew drinkable. Well done Anchorage.

Overall this brew threw me for a loop. The nose starts off making you think that its going to remove the enamel from your teeth and give you heartburn for days but the lactic acidity is tempered by some nice dark malt notes that impart some cocoa sweetness, mild coffee notes and a nice bready finish.

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Photo of draheim
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL (batch 1, bottled March 2013) into a tulip. Pours a pitch black w/ a loose khaki head that settles pretty quickly.

Aroma is... unique. Definitely acidic/lactic, also distinctly vinous. Smells a bit vinegary, but the dark roasty malt also asserts itself. Throw in some sour cherries. So combined, you have this sour coffee/red wine/chocolate thing going on. If nothing else, it's intriguing. But I can't say it smells outstanding (interesting more than anything), so I have to give it less than 4.0.

Taste is equal parts dark roasty malt and tart funk. The pinot noir gains prominence as it warms. Hm. This is certainly an interesting twist on the "standard" American wild, if there is such a thing. And I like it! Reminds me of chocolate-covered cherries, in a good way.

Mouthfeel is balanced and medium-bodied, carbonation keeps it fairly light with a moderately dry finish.

Overall another good beer from Anchorage. Not my favorite, but there's plenty to enjoy and consider here.

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Photo of nquigley16
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a corked & caged 750 into a tulip. Bottled March 2013

Gushed slightly when I opened it, not enough to spill any though. Pretty much pitch black in color, light tan head. Other than the carbonation levels and thin body, looks like a stout.

Nice nose, but lacks in complexity. A bit of booze, roasty malts, only a slight sourness, some oak and pinot noir from the barrels but not much, a bit of vanilla character in there too which is not super appealing mixed with the sour smell. Promising smell, definitely makes me want to take a sip.

Now if the taste was better than the smell, this would be a quality beer, but the taste leaves much to be desired. Not bad by any means, but just a bit boring. Starts pretty roasty and becomes slightly sour in the middle, just a little bit of lactic acid action, and ends pretty dry with some nice barrel character coming through. Not awful.

Very thin mouthfeel, not much body at all. Not awful for a sour, but its a bit too thin. Carbonation levels are pretty low.

This beer basically just gets worse as you go along. Pours really nice, smells promising, tastes ok, and the mouthfeel is ok. Overall a pretty good beer but I would not buy it again. Also I really dont get any brett character whatsoever which is a let down, that could have added some nice complexity for sure.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anadromous pours flat black into the glass with some ruby highlights around the edges. Minimal foam on top. Very few spots of lace on the glass.

Strong tart aroma of dark fruit, chocolate, and must.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft, somewhat watery and and dry. Mild carbonation. The flavor is tart and fruity. Red grapes, raisin, brown sugar, oak, coffee, chocolate (?) and vanilla are dominant. It finishes very tart, musty and dry. Once gone the dark fruit and tartness lingers on the palate.

Lots of flavors happening in this beer. Savor each sip.

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Photo of shleepy
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle, purchased at K&L in Redwood City, into trappist ("chalice") style glass.

A: Very dark brown / black. Brown head.

S: Sour, chocolatey.

T: Not intensely sour, really; and it balances the chocolatey and chalky flavors nicely. A bit of a prune flavor, too. Feels very dry.

M: Medium body. Definitely feels lighter than the 8.5% ABV rating and the dark, imperial-stout-like appearance would imply. Feels very smooth and chocolate-milky.

O: Very solid, pleasant beer. Another hit by Anchorage.

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Photo of harrymel
3.02/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch #1, bottled March 2013

It's black with a rim of tan foam and a mirrored surface, much different than the foam coming out of the bottle rather persistently. Smells of lacto, lemons, a little toasted malt, some funky resin, a little oak and some co2. Flavor is robust with coffee and soil, then there's the lemony tart and some bitterness and harshness to it. It's rather heavy with a low carb and a semi dry finish. I'm torn on this beer, it has the makings of a really nice sour stout, but lacks some of the subtlety I enjoy in some other examples for the malt portion. The bacterial characteristics are a little too dominated by bitterness and almost an aspirin character.

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Photo of bobhits
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love Anchorage they are just amazing. This beer however hits the "meh" notes on all cylinders.

Pours a black kinda stout like body thought a hair thin. A light head but the legs are meh at best.

I get a sour note in the aroma and some lactose which is known for killing other aromas.

Sharp sour backing, way back with lactos and dark flavors. Certainly some brett and some dark malts but they are killed by lactose and sour.

Creamy but not full bodied and with sour poorly involved.

I have to say after so much success this is an ok to good beer. It isn't great and for Anchorage that's a failure.

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Photo of rudzud
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

So tried this bottle while at The Festival in Portland, ME and then again later on in the night. Hands down my least favourite Anchorage beer. Reviewed from notes.

A - Poured into a Duvel tulip a jet black pour with minimal head. Just a micro tan halo really with minimal lacing. Pretty weak for a wild.

S - Aroma is equally as puzzling. Light brett, some earthy malt sweetness, lots of funk almost spoiled cream lactose going on here. Atleast its light in the booze...

T - Taste is a bit better...burnt malts, caramel, funky spoiled cream, faint brett, light oak barrel, almost an astringent bitterness on the finish. Just well, its messy.

M - Mouthfeel isnt bad. Light carbonation, astringent, bitter, but drinkable.

O - Overall, yeah. So much going on here results in a very clashing beer. I've got two more bottles, going to age the holy hell out of them to see if that makes things jive more. As it stands, I would not drink this again.

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Photo of Akfan
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK so this beer rocks. It is a good intro for people wanting to reach into the sour world. It is tart rather than a total sour...the color pours a dark espresso coffee brown. Head is minimal. Odor has a def bacteria, sour feel. Taste is not a shock to my mouth. Goes in smooth, tart, no pucker, little alcohol feel, but the flavor just buries me. Love the oak and Pinot Noir flavor which is prevalent...just a great great beer one for all to try....this coming from an IPA geek...

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black with a small khaki head. Small collar. Wispy surface.

Smell - Lots of red wine. Roasted malt. Not a lot of brett. Dark chocolate. Little bit of vinegar and oak.

Taste - Somewhat sour. A variety of sour flavors. After the sour flavors die off, chocolate roasted malt surfaces. Red wine lingers throughout.

Mouthfeel - Medium low carbonation. A little ashy.

Overall - Not well blended, but a decent beer.

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Photo of Brenden
4.36/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The color is a brown dark enough to edge into black, with a touch of a red tint and just a little light sneaking into the edges. Light brown foam forms a tight little head that sticks together for a good while, not especially large but with strength. It leaves pretty good patching as it goes.
The smell and the flavor of this brew are rich, deep, complex, and certainly atypical, seeming to push the boundaries of what a wild ale can do and be. Pinot is a great element to add to the tangy tartness of this beer, and the added oak dryness curbs an additional not-quite-chocolaty sweetness. A tangy/tart green apple and earth mix make for a fantastic backbone for this beer. There's just a faint hint of roast, adding complexity rather than clashing. Tannins and additional tartness complete the overall effect, offer the desired sourness, and round it all together very nicely.
The body is medium but seems almost to flirt with the unknown, as crispness, a bright sort of acidity and a softer feel make you think lighter before some heft, creaminess and depth of flavor make you feel it could be heavier. It ultimately does rest somewhere between, though.
Anchorage really did this one up, making an unusual and complex blend of flavors that really come together. A bold move, and very well done. The $16 price tag may make some shy, but in a 750 the quality matches the price.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle opened on 7.5.13
Batch #1
Mar 2013

A - Pours a dark brown, almost black with a light brown foamy head that fades away slowly.

S - Tart, Pine, very woody, some cherry and malty as well.

T - Dark cherry, wood, pine, and some tart fruits.

D - Decent carbonation with a medium body.

O - Sour ale aged in pinot, and it shows. Not much Brett impact on this one.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

We all know those deserts- those that share a chocolate and nut grounding. But then those bakers can't help but to introduce that element of citrus. It's odd, its unsettled, but there's something so compelling about them that it keeps you returning to the dish... this beer is the zymurgilogical equivalent of that.

As the wild ale pours the darkest brown before going black, it casts cola highlights as the ale feathers toward the edge. A creamy sheet of mocha-tan spans the ale, doing so with strong retention and island-like lacing.

Incredible sour apple aromas blend in with coffee underpinnings. Decorated with elements of limes and sea air, the scent takes a rounde savory tart scent. Even a tinge of mushroom, smoky chocolate adds to the sour and roast interplay.

The taste really takes off with the scorches sweetness that's rarely found in Anchorage beers. Its burnt caramel taste bleeds seamlessly into campfire chocolates and medium-roast coffee. And then there's the bitter limes, tart lemony taste and delicate cidery mix. As the short-lived sweetness quickly trails, the earthen sourness swells into minerally roast and a compelling dirty pepper quality.

Medium-light in body, this beer seriously flirts with sour thinning and malt robustness. Its creamy body folds in the acidity from sourness in a strange chocolate-slash-lemon dichotomy. Light astringency puckers the jawls as mild warmth keeps the beer porter-ish.

Anchorage got off their feet and onto the world's craft beer stage with the sour-citrusy interplay. Now they have turned into left field in exploring the balance of robust roast and sourness and its playing out marvelously. Though this isn't my favorite- it shows the promise and the dedication to quality and inquisition that today's craft beer audiences deserve!

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Photo of andyfrancis
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Overcarbed. I popped the bottle to little fanfare, set it on the counter, got distracted by something else going on in the kitchen, only to come back a few minutes later to the bottle sitting in a puddle of its own mess, the mouth still erupting, with a slow constant trickle of dark, mocha bubbles over the side. Aside from that, it looks quite nice. Black with just a hint of brownish red around the edges in the light.

Fruity, raspberry sour and farmhouse funky cheese the nose, despite the dark color. Interesting and complex without being off-putting.

Just a hint of sweet chocolatey banana at first, quickly overwhelmed by cheesy funkiness and watery tart finish.

Despite the initial overflow, there isn't much of bubbly bite. It's pretty heavy compared to pretty much any other sour and leaves a light waxy coating.

They're interesting enough to keep me buying, but for me these Anchorage Brewing wilds/sours have been all over the map, Bitter Monk being my favorite. This one is slightly above the average. Could make for a nice dessert drink in a snifter.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.09/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Heard good things about this one; I've been holding onto it waiting to be in the mood for a good sour - and tonight is definitely the night. Batch #1 March 2013. 8.5% ABV confirmed. 30 IBUs. Love the label art; very original and fun. "Black sour ale with brett, pedio, & lacto." Reviewed as a wild ale. "Ale aged in French Oak Pinot Noir Barrels." "Brewed with summit hops. Triple fermented. First in stainless tanks with a Belgian yeast. Second in French Oak Pinot Noir Barrels with brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus. Finally in the bottle for natural carbonation." Sounds damn tasty; expectations are quite high. 750ml brown glass bottle with art printed on the bottle and hood-and-wire cap (aka cage) over a cork served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Cost was $15.00 here in SoCal.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Cork yields a satisfying pop upon removal. Liquid slowly surges up, eventually necessitating a pour.

A: Pours a half finger wide head of nice tan colour. Smooth soft complexion; supple. Nice creaminess - especially for a sour. Decent frothiness and thickness. Retention is average - about two minutes. Even lacing as the head slowly recedes. Before dying, it does give way to a floater ring that remains for an additional minute. Quite an intriguing - dareisay a unique - head for a wild ale.

Body colour is a very dark ruby-black. Solid and opaque. No yeast particles are visible as a result. No bubble show.

Overall, it's looking quite appealing for the style - but it's unusual, which does have me a bit worried.

Sm: Dark malts. Great yeast complexity; I pick up the pedio and lacto but both are subtle. I don't get much in the way of brettanomyces or funkiness, but it's a bit biscuity. Not a spicy or herbal yeasty character; sour all the way. Cream. Dark malts. Buried roast. Maybe even some buried vanilla. Lovely oak and subtle, light red wine/grape notes. It's a bit too clean and clinical for a sour, in classic American fashion. Not the natural spontaneous aroma of a good traditional Belgian sour. A mild strength aroma overall. No hop character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Sourness is timid, and clashes with the dark malt build of the body. The oak is nice, but gets bludgeoned by overwhelming red wine notes. In this way, it's imbalanced; I'd prefer that the flavours complement each other and cooperate, but they come into conflict. Pedio is way too backgrounded. Most of the sourness comes from the lactobacillus. Not getting any brettanomyces or funkiness here. Lightly creamy. A kiss or orange zest. Tannic from the wine aging - to its detriment. It flirts with a cherry pie crust note, but never quite commits - much to my chagrin. A hint of dark sugarplum, which clashes with the sour notes. The sweet/bitter spectrum is zany here; I don't know that the brewer was really in control of this beer. Roast is buried, and luckily so because it really doesn't work well here. No real wild bacteria. The sourness is clean and clinical, not natural and spontaneous. Hints of vanilla are quite unwelcome. Some vinous character. Maybe some licorice (which I personally despise). A bit of raisin. Maybe even some molasses - which is horrid in a sour. It's complex in that there's a lot going on, but it has no subtlety. An unrefreshing mess of a sour. There are good elements here, but the notes clash too much for it to come off cohesive or holistically constructed.

The "black" aspect of this black sour ale really holds it back.

As it warms, the wine character matures but grows even more pronounced, further eclipsing the sour notes that should be the soul of the beer.

The finish really bothers me; it's too sweet and the dark sugarplum, raisin, and kiss of molasses really don't work well.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Clean (overly so). Unrefreshing. Too thick. Okay presence on the palate. Lightly chewy. A biteen syrupy. Doesn't really suit the flavour profile all that well. Overcarbonated - even though it's bottle conditioned; that's strange. Acidic.

Dr: Downable but I expected far better for the price and this beer's reputation. I wouldn't want this again unless it had some age on it - and only then to check if the pedio had finally surfaced. I like the concept of the beer, but the execution is wanting. I'll happily finish the bottle - and the ABV is very well hidden - but I really hoped this would be better brewed than it is. The pinot noir barrel aging in particular is sloppy and heavy handed, with no regard for subtlety. I wouldn't recommend this to friends. Its lack of balance really holds it back. A swing and a miss from Anchorage.


Drinks fine from a stem-tulip. That's probably the best glassware for it; that or a teku.

Serve chilled.


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Photo of N17shelfside
4.69/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Remembrances from drinking it last night:

Reminded me a lot of Supplication in the way that the Pinot Barrel really imparted of the red wine tannin feel. The balance of the funk was really nice, without any serious sourness. Looking forward to putting away a bottle for a few years to see what happens to it over time, I suspect that it is only going to get better.

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Photo of fmccormi
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Straight pour from a 750ml / 25.4oz cork-and-cage bottle to an oversized wineglass (HF stemware); not sure what the dating information is on this bottle, but my understanding is that it’s not so so old.

Appearance (3.75): Milk chocolate foam makes up the head, rising to maybe half a finger or a finger before dying down, showing little retention with just scattered spots of lace. The body is black with murky brown, tobacco-juice highlights. Looks kind of like a dark porter.

Smell (4.0): Dark, baking-quality cocoa powder, anise, plums, and other dark fruits—dates, maybe? Not so much of the molasses and toffee and other rich malt tones you might guess from the appearance—much more towards the dark fruit and dark chocolate tones. Oddly appetizing, for being so confusing.

Taste (4.0): Lactic sourness, no doubt about that. Tart cherries with a dark, fruity richness that calls to mind dates, prunes, anise, etc. There’s a tannic, red wine-like dryness, with some coffee bitterness, some lighter orange peel bitterness and just a hint of orange flesh sweetness . . . the palate definitely starts with the cocoa powder and coffee bitterness (which, as a single component, blends in with the tannic, lactic side of the beer very well), and then moves into that pruney richness, and finally finishes out with acidic, tannic fruit characteristics. This is kind of an odd one, but very tasty. No clue how strong this might be.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Lighter than the appearance and palate would suggest. Dry and tannic, on the lighter side of medium, and yet moderately rich on the palate with smooth carbonation . . . feels great, honestly. It’s like it has some of the richness of a big, thick, dark beer, but stays relatively light and dry from the acidity and tannic qualities. It feels like a soured . . . imperial porter?

Overall (4.0): This is a confusing beer, but quite palatable and enjoyable. I’d hand this to a refined red wine fan with an open mind any day of the week. It’s like an imperial porter with its cocoa and coffee (while lacking the fudge, caramel, molasses, and cream of a big stout), plus the rich, dark fruits and cherry sourness of a dry wild ale or lambic aged on cherries. The tannic, vinous character is what marries the different components so smoothly, I think. Well done. A tricky target to be sure, but I think Anchorage hit it.

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Anadromous from Anchorage Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 282 ratings.
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