Bourbon Sour Porter
Almanac Beer Co.

Bourbon Sour PorterBourbon Sour Porter
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American Wild Ale
4.06 | pDev: 10.59%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bourbon Sour PorterBourbon Sour Porter
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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 408
Photo of corby112
2.42/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger frothy beige head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Good retention, lingering for the duration of the pour with streaks of soapy lacing clinging to the glass on the way down.

Sweet yet funky aroma with strong acidity and charred oak. Porter notes are overpowered by the wild yeast and barrel character. Subtle bourbon with a touch of spicy spirit and dry oak stave. Porter notes are unfortunately overshadowed by funk and acidity. Only faint roasted and sweet malts but they are hard to pick up. Slight acetic balsamic character as it warms. Was expecting more complexity but just smells sour and funky. All wild bugs, acidity and barrel.

Light body with funky yeast, tart acidity, acetic vinegar and charred wood. Again, the porter characteristics are blown away by the funk and sour acidity. Citric acid and acetic vinaigrette dominate the palate. Strong wood/toothpick flavor but not much in the way of bourbon. Disappointing one dimensional. Generically sour with not much else going on. Bleh!

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Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to Thomas & Jenny for sharing this one!

Dark brownish black, frothy tan foam, flecks of spotty lace around the edges.
Aromas of wet wood, raisin, light acid. Taste is similar, woody barrel meshes with an acidic tartness, and low level roastiness. Light bodied and a little thin. Overall it comes across like an Oud Bruin, and I enjoyed it. The name is a little misleading as there's not much bourbon character.

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Photo of cbutova
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to my cousin Sonny for sharing. Tampa visit review dump; full review to IPad at time.

A- 375ml bottle to two tekus with a black body and a thick frothy tan head. Decent retention of the cap. Eventually a large creamy ring exists leaving a few large bands of lacing and random spots.

S- Each whiff of this makes my cheeks sore. An insane amount of sour lactic rises from the glass. Beyond that is some soured roastiness, stale wet oak, dark fruits and toasted cereal grains with a sprinkle of cocoa. Dark grains strengthen with warmth.

T- Mostly sour and fruity for me with a touch of barrel and grains here and there. Lemon juice lactic sourness leads to raisins, chocolate, roast barley, old wet wood and vinegar. The barrel lends the least with a hint of vanilla.

MF- Body is fairly substantial but the dried out nature with the lactic and acetic sourness makes it feel slick and lighter. Carbonation comes in high leading to a foamy consistency. Puckering sourness in the end.

I am really cautious with sour Dark ales but beneath the sourness I find cocoa and roast barley. The barrel doesn't add much to me just some faint hints. Big sours with waves of rich dark malts and fruits coming and going.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I feel like this is kinda what you'd expect Tart of Darkness to be like, if that beer actually tasted, well, dark. This one actually tastes like a sour porter, with some roast coming through, along with a bit of bourbon barrel char, and then a nice zingy tartness. It's different, but it comes together incredibly well. Almost certainly my favorite offering from Almanac (and the one that comes closest to justifying its lofty price point).

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Photo of mdfb79
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%

From 11/22/14 notes. Thanks to BeerLawyer85 for sharing this one. 12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a deep brown, almost black color, with two inches of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Sour dark fruits, oak, roasted malts, chocolate, earhty notes, and light funk. Some vinegar too. Medium body and low to moderate carbonation, somewhat acedic.

Overall pretty good but not my favorite style or Almanac beer. Lot of roasted malts and chocolate.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle into snifter. Bottled Winter 2013.

A: Pours a very deep dark brown with a large, fluffy, and airy dark tan head that slowly faded into a thin film. Spotty patches of lace were left down the glass.
S: Smells like a great porter mixed with a bright, funky, sour ale with a splash of bourbon added. I get notes of chocolate syrup, roasted malts and vanilla from the base porter, and I get notes of bright, lightly tart lemon, acid, funk, and mild dark fruit. The bourbon is light on the nose but definitely notable.
T: Tartness is more lemony and citrusy than the nose let on, and shines alongside the roasted and chocolaty porter base. The finish is full of mild whiskey and vanilla, but these are quickly overshadowed by lemony, drying, and tart funky yeast. The finish has a stone fruit quality as well. Very delicious. More red grape-like flavor than bourbon.
M: Very drying mouthfeel with a fair amount of clinging tannins. Medium-fully body, tingly and fluffy carbonation. Tartness is drying and funky and not overly sour.
O: An excellent dark sour. Very dry and highly drinkable. Great flavor, not a ton of bourbon, but the sour and the porter mix very well.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Nose: bourbon, roast coffee, chocolate, a touch wine, prune,
Pours deep dark brown under a 1/2" tan tinted foam cap. Lacy
Palate: very tart, coffee, cocoa, large pitted fruit
Medium to medium full body, above average carbonation, creamy.

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Photo of stakem
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Bottle poured into a snifter. The brew appears black in color with a mocha colored head. Decent retaining powers and patchy lace sticks to the glass.

The aroma is lactic with a tany fruit note. Some minerals creep in giving this a bit of a carbonic feel at times across the nose.

The taste is equally mineral-filled with lactic notes, earth, funk and mildly stinky cheese. A faint amount of toast plays into the carbonic nature of this.

This is medium to light bodied with light chessy funky and earthen appeal. The body, effervescent carbonation and mineral character keep it back from being good. Its not bad really but it just isnt that good either.

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Photo of handcrafty
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

If being transparent is a thing, this beer is not that. Dark as night in no direct light, in some a slight brown - with a thin opaque lacing on top with lots of bubbles that diminish quickly. It smells like sour raspberry- woody bourbon. Slight astringency comes through and pierces the back sinuses like a fat glass of Pinot Noir.

This beer tastes nothing like what I expected. Huge jammy, red wine-esque qualities with major sourness. This beer might've been a porter in a past life, but now these notes are well hidden in the background giving way to fresh berries and bourbon. Great carbonation and plays well with my tongue.

This beer was a lot better than I thought it was going to be, and it's drinkability is impressive. Glad I was able to try!

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very dark brown. Slight reddish tinge where light shines through. Head is beige, small bubbles but gorgeous sheet of lace stuck behind. Looks great.

Smells roasty, but also Bretty, with an odd wild sourness to it. Slight coffee darkness and a touch of leather. That tartness really does add both intrigue and excellent balance, though.

Taste is tarry, leathery and dark, with big notes of fennel and pepper on there. Notes of tart yeast, with some wild barnyard just twisting those dark notes towards organic, giving nitrate-rich soil, red wine and maybe even some cordite. Not that I know what cordite actually tastes like, but you know, that sensation of cordite in the air. Dark and mysterious, and surprisingly drinkable.

Nice body. Definite pull from the yeast, but it doesn't feel too dry at the back because of its composition.

I like, but it just doesn't pop with as much wonder and amazement as it may have. Very pleasant palate and complexity, but just may have been so much more, somehow.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a Cantillon taster 7/7/2014.

A- Dark brown, nearly black body that is fairly opaque. Not much in way of head, maybe a quarter finger off-white head with minimal retention, no lacing.

S- Wow, this is an interesting combination of lactic acidity and pure chocolate flavours. When it warms up, the chocolate wins out more as well. So tart lactate with dark chocolate and some coffee. Very complex sour dark ale that reminds me a lot of Phenomenology of Spirit.

F- The comparison to Phenomenology of Spirit is apt, except this beer is not quite as tart as Phenomenology. There is a tart lactic acidity that starts out, with a bit of oak and vinous character, that transitions fairly quickly to a bitter dark chocolate flavour, like eating a square of dark chocolate and letting it melt in your mouth. It's very tasty, though I'd like to have had a bit more sour.

M- Medium body, good carbonation, just enough bubbles to keep it crisp and refreshing despite being a darker beer. It's certainly drinkable with a chocolatey finish.

O- Very interesting beer that I would recommend trying once if you find yourself a fan of tarter saisons and stouts/porters.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

375ml brown bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam.

Pours indeed a deep brown, porter-esque colour, with a fairly fine and solid head of pale brown. Lacing forms in intricate, messy lace, and the head becomes a pocked mass that stays fairly persistently. Body has a lightness to it but it still holds fairly fine carbonation. Looks really very good all up.

Nose is very pleasant. Deep darkness is caressed and perhaps stabbed by a perverse acidity which runs through the centre of the dusky chocolate notes to provide a weird crispness. Slightly vinous overtones, with a definite suggestion of oak. It's really very pleasant.

Taste is really lovely, with the toasty porter characters coming up to fulfill the basis of the beer. At its heart, it is genuinely a porter, with a robust but well-constructed roasted malt presence providing structure to the brew. And then comes the tartness—it has red-wine overtones, a touch of wood-aged balsamic vinegar, and even a depth of vanilla that you get from bourbon barrels. It's really quite lovely stuff.

Feel is a little bit thin. With the acidity, it's not unexpected, but really it could have a bit more to aid the complexity.

Still, overall, this is a really very good beer. It is a very nice structure laced with lovely acidic complexities. It's maybe not up with the pinnacle of the wild styles, but it's a really nicely created and well-balanced example nonetheless.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Chris. Batch 1, Winter 2013.

A very dark brown with a dense, creamy, brown head with decent retention and nice lacing. The nose is what I want a sour porter to be. Roasty, chocolatey, a strong lactic sourness, coffee grounds, a moderate woody vanilla note and an undercurrent of burnt sugar, this is impressively layered and structured. Top notes of coconut are also present.

The palate opens a lot more straightforward with a big, lactic sourness, juicy and lipsmackingly puckering, with a dusted cocoa note. Behind this is burnt sugar, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla and a bourbon warmth. The bourbon note is mellow and mildly fruity. Medium in body and moderately carbonated, this beer finishes long and sour with plenty of lactic acid and some porter sweetness. Really good stuff.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip

A- pours an inky jet-black color with a khaki colored head that retains long after the pour, leaving a few patches of lace behind

S- bold and fresh oaky aromas up front smells like fresh mulch, which brings out notes of dried pork and hickory smoke. Some funky sour notes bring some vinous aromas with notes of blackberry and brie. Sourdough-like malt compliments the underlying chocolate sweetness with a hint of coffee. The bourbon is noticeable, but more-so on the barrel character, quite complex overall

T- blackberry sweetness up front mixes with a slightly chocolaty base porter, carbernet-like notes with some earthy flavors lead to a puckering sourness kicks in mid-palate and continues all the way into the finish, leaving a linger of oak & hickory wood

M- medium body with low carbonation lead to a slightly foamy mouthfeel, ending smooth with a dry, tart and puckering finish

O- an interesting creation for sure, the taste didn't quite live up to the aroma, but was still nice. The bourbon wasn't really noticeable in taste, but definitely picked it up in the aroma

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Holy cow. This is a great sour. As others have mentioned, there seems to be absolutely no bourbon in on the mix here. It's definitely a porter, though the intense sour tones really overshadow the base beer. Sour and funk is all up in my mouth. Lactic tones are clearly there also. Kind of a mild nutty thing going on as well. This is purely sour though. Grabs at your mouth and isn't going to ease up at all. I like it.

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Photo of TheBeerDrinker
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours out black as night with a healthy 2.5 finger brown head with OK retention and some nice lacing.

Smell is tart cherries, maybe a little brett or lacto (can't really tell), and those really take the whole nose as far as I can see.

Taste is definitely some brett and maybe lacto, Definitely some tart cherry in there and not much else that I can pick out.

Mouthfeel is pretty thin as I would expect. Maybe a little thinner than I would have thought.

Overall a really nice tart beer with a hint of cherry but given it is aged in bourbon barrels I am a little perplexed as I don't get bourbon in the nose or taste. Perhaps it was aged for a really short time. I don't take it against the beer but it seems odd. Overall a really nice beer but I just don't get ANY bourbon. That being said it still is a great sour. Just weird that it is said to be bourbon barrel aged as it shows absolutely no charactoristics of it.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Don't remember where I got this bottle.

Poured into an etched-logo Almanac pokal (OG). Very dark brown in color, with a finger or so of tan head that settled to a ringlet, leaving some wisps of lacing on the glass. Aroma of soured grains, cocoa, dark fruits, cobwebs. In the taste, lots of dark fruit, with an assertive sourness, chewy chocolate, roasty dark malts, maybe a little raisin. Mouthfeel was about as smooth as you can imagine for a sour porter, body was medium. Good overall, but I guess something I'd just have to be in the mood for to try again.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle (41 F) poured into a large snifter. I don't see a bottle code.

Pours brown, mostly opaque, with a smallish light brown head. Fair amount of carbonation. Smell is sweet tart sour, fruity.

Taste is very tart. I get no bourbon, or porter. Just tart, and something else. Maybe an unripe apricot tartness. But I can't figure out what the other thing is. Maybe greenery, like some bitter leafy vegetables.

Mouthfeel is dry, light. Overall, quite good. Although I bought it hoping for an interesting sour porter with interesting bourbon flavor...all I got was a good sour.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Fantastic looking beer. Creamy dark khaki head has great retention and ok lace. Beautiful, smooth, deep midnight brown body.

S - Outstanding nose; incredible complexity, integration, and malt character for an American Wild. Warm brown bread, bright sour acidity, rich milk chocolate, prune, vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

T - Interesting taste, but it lacks the quality of integration that's found in the nose. Classic, bright American Wild sourness right up front. Soft notes roasted malt, smoke, and oak peek through as the sourness fade, but the progression lacks a bridge between the two flavor profiles. A little sweetness / dark fruits / Belgian candied sugar might have helped the connection.

M - Medium-full body, full for an American Wild, with great carbonation.

O - A beer with some outstanding attributes, but unfortunately falls a short of excellent on taste.

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Photo of jaltland
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First time reviewing a beer like this. Truly a distinct brew.

A- Dark brown that's comes off like dirty motor oil. Decent head when poured rough but doesn't last. No significant lacing.

S- Whoah. Sour up front with subtle porter notes and bourbon. The tang almost overpowers a subtle chocolate.

T- Same as the nose. I get a lot of sour and pucker up front with bourbon barrel coming through with a bit of dryness on the palate. The barrel finishes strong. Lingering pucker sour goes nice with the bourbon.

M- Light on the pallet very like a porter. Sends a shock through you at first. Nice carbonation but nothing overwhelming.

O- Awesome. Complex combination of some very distinct flavors. Not fully balanced but it's a great beer. Definitely not worthy of world class but not far off. Almanac, find that balance and I'll seek this out again! More chocolate and roast please.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375mL bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice.

A: Thick, creamy, gorgeous mocha head tops a beer so dark brown as to be almost black with hints of mahogany at the edges.

S: Sour and funky. Light, tart fruit melds into richer, winier fruit flavors. Delicious.

T: Mouthpuckering acetic acidity up front dominates the flavor, but hints of roasted nuttiness and milk chocolate are hidden underneath. This tastes *much* more like a sour than a porter, even down to the berry fruit and wine-like flavors.

M: The pucker persists. Every sip is a met with a grimace, but of the most delightful sort. Tart, but full-bodied and smooth. Aftertaste is lingering and pleasant with just a hint of funk.

O: I really enjoyed this beer. Better after a few months in the bottle than it was on tap. Recommended. Would have again.

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Photo of jjdc
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

C'mon people! This beer is unfairly getting dinged with an 89. I get the sour/porter style is neither fish nor fowl, but this is a bold, complex and creative beer. Looks like melted chocolate in the class. The nose is mostly sour with a hint of cocoa. Things really get going from here. The sour streaks in first with a fruity pucker, but just when you think this is Supplication fudge starts oozing around the edges and you're suddenly in porter territory. The interplay is delightful and totally works. Another goodie from Almanac.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured into a tulip to a deep black with a finger of dense and rocky light tan head that fades to a small pool and a large collar leaving a bit of lacing
S: smells of sourness, funk, chocolate and coffee
T: taste is nice and sour to start things off with a bit of chocolate and coffee, slight barrel presence as well in the middle. swallow is more sourness mixed with chocolate, coffee and a bit of bourbon and a lingering roasty finish
M: medium in the mouth with slightly prickly carbonation and a drying finish
O: Another fantastic beer from Almanac. I still can't get over how good their sour beers are.

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Photo of PPOmaha
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma: Clean sour aroma with a touch of metallic. When the glass is swirled, sour up front then bourbon, vanilla, and roast in the back. This is one of the best smelling beers I've had in a while. No DMS, no diacetyl.

Appearance: Black opaque. Off-white head with lingers for a minute or two.

Taste: Sour with roast, interesting. Starts with light tartness, then some malt in the mid and finishes dry with roast and sour on the back of the tongue. Can't pick out hops but there is some earthyness. No DMS, no diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Light body and medium carbonation.

Overall: interesting interplay of sour and roast. The roast is more upfront than other sour dark beers like Jolly pumpkin, which I am not sure is the best balance of flavors. Glad to have tried this, solid work almanac.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, one finger tan head that lingers around and tries to leave some lacing.

S-Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, some beef jerky like notes (charred oak?), oak, not much bourbon or sour though.

T-The porter notes come through strong, coffee and chocolate, good deal of roasted malt as well. But little in the way of bourbon notes. very very very mild tart. Tartness comes out more as it warms.

M-Medium in body, slightly creamy.

O-Out of the three words in the title, only the porter really comes through. Some more sour and or bourbon would have been great.

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Bourbon Sour Porter from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 408 ratings