Sourdough Wild Ale
Almanac Beer Co.

Sourdough Wild AleSourdough Wild Ale
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American Wild Ale
3.47 | pDev: 16.14%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Sourdough Wild AleSourdough Wild Ale
Notes: Brewed with a mash of raw and malted barley, oats, rye, spelt and lemon, this beer was fermented in used wine barrels with a blend of Brettanomyces wild yeasts and Marla Bakery’s San Francisco sourdough yeast. The finished beer is dry-hopped with tropical Mosaic hops. This unfiltered ale is alive in the bottle: drink fresh for a bright, passionfruit aroma or age to develop the wild yeast funk.
Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 325 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a cloudy yellow with 1/4" white head on the top. The aroma had a mild funk presence and lots of breadiness, but the sourdough part was largely underwhelming or entirely absent. Additionally, in terms of Mosaic hops, this is about the least influential Mosaic hopped beer I've come across.

Taste, very mild sour and hop presence. Both fall into the number 2 on the 10 pt scale. The brett character is stronger, and about an average 5 on the 10pt scale. I think the first time i had this was at Stone Oakquinox, but subsequent to that, I picked up a bottle to see if maybe it was too fresh the first time I had it. Really the only thing that develops is a little more brett character it seems. The hops strangely seemed to contribute more in the way of bitterness than they did aroma or flavor, which is out of the ordinary for the Mosaic hop. Would like to try this with a very mild hop that doesn't clash potentially I guess.

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2014 Bottle

A: Moderately funky, floral, lightly lemony with some oak.

A: Golden color, clear, with a thin white uniform head that had a decent retention given the years.

T: Moderately funky sourdough flavor, mixed with light lemon, and oak.

M: Medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Alright; surprised to see the sourdough character is fairly strong after three years with some lemon, and wine barrel presence.

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Photo of Dactrius
3.42/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This is over three years old, why the hell is it so hoppy still? There is negligible sourness even after all this time. This is basically a decent IPA. Nice carb, head and clarity though.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another beer, another thank you to Tina for this 375 capped bottle. On to the beer:

A fluffy white head retains itself well on top a yellow-orange colored ale. A bit muddy is the color, I shall add, and splashes of white lace cling around the glass. It smells funny, not like your common sour ale. It smells floral with an "off" sourness to it. It smells like a beer that it well past its due date.

Very different. This is not very sour, though there is a little funkiness. It tastes like flowers got in the way of a honeycomb, but at the end is gently hit with a teabag of bittering and tropical hops. I cannot find the added lemon induced into this beer. When you realize that this beer will not be a puckering treat, you accept what you get, and on its own Sourdough Wild Ale is not a bad beer. This all swims in a medium body, where there are few carbonation bubbles, and they don't interfere.

I do appreciate Almanac to think outside the box, and the final result is acceptable. This beer is not straightforward, so don't jump immediately to conclusions.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.32/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

375ml bottle poured into tulip. Bottled February 2013.

A: Pours a slightly hazy light yellow/orange with a large, airy, and fluffy couple fingers of fuzzy off-white head that slowly faded into a soft collar. Sticky sheets of lace were left down the glass.
S: Tons of crisp mineral notes mixed with freshly cut sourdough bread and doughy yeast. Slight peppery herbal spice, presumably from the hops, pokes through as well. Definitely yeast forward.
T: Muddled doughy bready flavors followed by an interesting bready sourness. This really does taste like liquid sourdough with just a hint of spicy hops. Flavors are creamy and a bit muddled.
M: Creamy and fluffy carbonation, medium-full body, soft and heavy mouthfeel. There is no bright tartness or acidity (not saying it should).
O: Two years may have been too long for this one, but having never had it fresh I'll never know. Flavors are good and definitely unique, but this isn't necessary something I'd like to drink again.

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Photo of stakem
3.49/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

375ml into a snifter. The brew appears a clear pale yellow color with a thick white head that fades slowly leaving a a full wall of lace. The smell includes notes of lemon, somewhat rindy and zesty but finishes with almost soapy qualities. The taste is very bitter and oily almost soapy with some sweet wheat or candy notes underneath but seems unbalanced and too bitter. This is light bodied with big effervescent carbonation. This brew has some high points to it but the bitterness really clashes with the tartness.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.3/5  rDev -33.7%

Pour is a transparent golden amber with a decent bit of bubbly white head. Nose is adjunct grain, stale dough, pale malts, musky citrus hops. Taste is sweeter, still some adjunct grain, less doughiness to it, pale malts, citrus and sugar in back. Low carb, syrupy body.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.81/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2013 375 mL bottle into a teku glass.

A- Monstrous pale white head, fluffy and light. Sticky lace is plentiful. Cloudy peach or orange-colored body. 4.25

S- Big passionfruit and peach aromas. Lemony and lightly citric. Somewhat like crackers or otherwise minerally and bready. Pretty splendid smell. 4.5

T- Starts off fruity, still thinking peaches and fainter passionfruit, but then it gets funky pretty quickly and even, yikes, a bit puke-like at the finish. Lemon zest comes on pretty strong and aggressively on the finish, but some sweet maltiness does a good job of offsetting it for the most part. To a certain extent, it reminds me of a Brett IPA minus the hops. That make sense? I think it tastes almost too yeasty at times, unfortunately. 3.5

M- It's got a juicy quality too it and is easily sipped. Very yeasty at the same time and the finish brings a zesty bite that is smoothened by some creamy malt. 3.75

The yeast on this could be toned down quite a bit, but otherwise there are some great flavors in here, particularly the passionfruit and peach. It's a beer with great potential that slightly disappoints.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.07/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to eyebereej for sending this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 375 mL bottle into a Peg's snifter glass.

A: Pours a nice gold, mildly hazy, with a thin white. There's a good amount of visible carbonation as the head fades to foam.

S: Tart, lemons and wine, with light Brett presence and oak. A fairly light and delicate aroma overall.

T: Big funk and tart lactic up front. Horse blanket melds with tropical fruit bitterness from the hops, white wine-chardonnay, oak dryness and yeastiness. The sourdough yeast definitely adds something in the way of acidic tartness. Funk and the tartness in the hang.

M: Light bubbly body, and very low alcohol presence.

O: A very different sour to be sure. I get that this may not be for everyone, but I found it to be fairly enjoyable, though not the best Almanac offering to be sure.

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Photo of jdhowe
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%

Reviewed from notes, draft taster (4oz)

A: Slightly hazy, vibrant golden with 1 finger of foamy, off-white head. Tons of lacing left down the glass. (4.0)

S: hoppy bitterness, juicy citrus and malt sweetness, sourdough yeast, and a very light hint of tartness. Smells more like an east-coast IPA than an AWA, but is pleasant if not entering with any expectations (4.25)

T/M: Sweet, malty, and bitter with a strong yeasty/bitter aftertaste. Juicy and smooth, but very lightly drying. Low carbonation, medium body, like a flat IPA. A slight sour hint on the edges help add a bit of complexity to the sweetness. (3.75/3.5)

O: Not at all what I had expected. Not sour, but not really bad. (3.75)

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dull golden orange with a big, fluffy off-white head that laces. The nose is lightly grainy and funky with a hint of lemon, which is slightly herbal and minimally tart. The taste is slightly malty with an underlying semi-sweet lemon/lime citrus character and bitter hops that resemble a lemon poppy seed muffin. It's a relatively light bodied & drinkable sour, that's semi-sweet, overly carbonated, and has a slightly harsh, lemon rindy bitterness in the finish. This is a very approachable lemon forward sour with modest funk, but has a slightly undesirable finish - it's worth trying, but not the best almanac I've had.

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Photo of schnarr84
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into snifter. thanks to @jackmax for the extra in our recent trade.

batch 1, feb 2013 bottling.

the beer pours a nice hazy orange-yellow colour with a solid head. the nose is of subtle tropical fruits and lemon. the beer has quite a dry taste to it, with a solid flavour profile thanks to the lemon zest coming through nicely. There is not a lot of sourness to this beer but it has a nice dry, tartness to it.

I also am on the bandwagon of wondering why the reviews of this beer are so low. I enjoyed it - maybe not as much as some other sours but it was quite a refreshing beer.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.89/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle, batch 1, Feb 2013. Thanks, Chris.

A moderately hazy orange with a huge, dense, white head with excellent retention and fantastic lacing, this looks great! The nose is bright, with the blend of lemons, lemony and tropical Mosaic hops, a raw, doughy, rustic and grainy malt character and finally, a white wine fruitiness. The wine barrel adds notes of white grapes, honey and flowers. Excellent. There isn't a ton of funk here, which is surprising. It smells a lot like a citron.

The palate opens up with a rather big blend of lemons, a moderate amount of dough - rustic, grainy, a mild sourdough note - along with some husky tannins. Moderately sweet as well, with honey and wort. The citrus appears on the mid palate with a clean and refreshing brightness along with some melons, tropical fruit by way of papaya and mango and tangerines. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this beer is a little sweeter than I'd like but still excellent. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Mongrel
4.07/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really don't understand the mediocre reviews for this beer. This one was bottled in February '13 and is really coming into its own right now. Still super juicy, with plenty of Brett tang, but not too funky.

A - pours a bright golden orange that's only slightly hazy. Big, creamy white head that hangs around for quite a while and leaves nice lacing.

S - smell is kinda generic and musty, with just a hint of lemongrass and pink fruit.

T - Zesty lemon and berries right up front. Stays juicy as the beer develops, with orange, papaya, pineapple and green grass coming through. Some barnyard funk mid-palate and a tart, tangy finish. Sourdough notes linger in the aftertaste. All of this with well-balanced dryness. Very nice.

M - Mouthfeel is soft and fuzzy. Just about perfect carbonation and body. Finishes dry, as it should.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.34/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

375ml capped bottle split between a large tulip and a 5oz sample glass (I got the sample). Bottled February 2013, according to the label. Batch Number 1.

Pours slightly cloudy golden with very little head, but the tiny head lasts and lasts and maybe even increases. Smell is lemony/fruity, maybe some unripe green grapes.

Taste is mild, more bitter than sour. Not very sour at all, and surprisingly bitter. Also, some surprisingly bready/strawy flavor.

Mouthfeel is nice, creamy and smooth. But overall, this is just a kind of confusing beer.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Deep bronze and apricot orange body color, great tangerine highlights on the edges. There's lots of thin rising carbonation in lines all around the glass. A nice roaring column of carbonation in the middle to go with it. Head is creamy white, builds on a controlled pour easily, with nice even bubbles that get repopulated. Clumpy and whip cream lacing on top. Great looking.

Great smelling nose. Lemons, apricot and peach like fruits, very soft, not overly sour, quite a nice perfume and floral like character as well, with a touch of bready sweetness. Lovely.

Palate really impresses. Great mid palate sweetness of lavender and lilac, and then a giant burst of hot funk and brett. Huge bread aromas and hot and peppered finish but not out of control. Big funk notes, black pepper, almost hop hot bitterness. Sharp zest and oils all over. Lots of big flavors but all take their turn.

It's a huge brett forward tasting beer, with a nose that doesn't give you that hint is coming. It's very impressive, and works nicely. Not for everyone but really dig this one, quite unique too.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.68/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy orange body. Small white head. Medium collar.

Smell - Earthy tones. Some grain. The acidity doesn't seem to brighten it much. Lightly funky.

Taste - Grain. It has a bitter and tannic flavor before the sourness takes over. Tough to pinpoint, but it isn't very good. Earthy sourness, if that makes sense.

Mouthfeel - Medium sourness. Medium carbonation.

Overall - The finish is very strange. A lot of it is strange. Just doesn't work very well.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.09/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A- Pours a slightly hazy and bright golden in color. A rather large develops and retains really really well. Lacing is also very good. Really good looking in the glass.

S- Very dry and bready. Almost completely champagne-like in its complete dryness. Tiny hint of lemon towards the end mixed in with a little floral note that smells a little like a sunflower.

T- Starts off dry and a little bitter. The dry hopping is fairly noticeable and gives the beer an overall bitter flavor. The bitterness isn't floral or pine like, it is more along the lines of alcohol bitterness. Towards the end of the drink a small amount of lemon and funk kick in. Lingering bitterness with a touch of lemon is what is left on the tongue.

M- This beer is very highly carbonated. Other than that, this beer is fairly smooth and thick, but not very refreshing because of the flavor profile. The bitterness not being floral or hoppy in nature also makes it feel like it's heavier in the ABV department.

Overall, this is an odd and somewhat disappointing beer. I was expecting more of a traditional golden sour or brett beer, but the bitterness is so odd it is distracting. The dry hopping and brett really bring out an odd bitterness and funkiness. Not really my cup of tea here.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml brown bottle purchased from Ales Unlimited in San Francisco.

Pours a fairly bright, but very hazy golden colour, with a very frothy and pretty persistent crackling head of white. Lacing forms in big messy swirls across the outside of the glass. Body is light and fluid, although the carbonation is fine and makes it look thicker than it is.

Nose is incredibly vinous, smelling like very little other than a very dry, very bready champagne. Very sharp, effervescent tartness, dry crispness, with overtones of spice and appleskin. Indeed, as it warms, the apple character becomes more prominent, laced with a cinnamon-sugar character. It's pretty aromatic. I like it.

Taste is undeniably weird. Very weird indeed, and the dynamics of it are not only unexpected, they almost feel wrong. Crisp, apple-like opening, bone dry and dessicated like champagne-yeast, that somehow becomes sweeter and thicker as it goes along. Lemon character comes out towards the back, with perhaps a bit more funk to broaden the palate. The feel is weird: it feels backwards in that it starts so pointedly and broadens out to a mellow richness. It's almost unnerving.

I really didn't know what to expect from a lemon-infused beer brewed with sourdough yeast, and I can't help but feel that I still don't know what to expect from the next one I have. But this one, weird though it was, certainly is an entertaining experience.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.21/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch no. 1

The first of four of the barreled beers from Alamanac that I recently purchased. I figured I would start with what seems the least appreciated of the four.

The nose on this is great at first. Unfortunately it dies down from the nice floral edge that it has. It's an interesting flavor profile. Somewhat earthy, minimal lemons, mild funk. Kind of a sweet edge on things on the backend. I like it. Kind of refreshing, in an earthy kind of way.

As others have noted, I don't see why there is no love for this one. I'm definitely glad that I picked it up and wouldn't mind doing so again. Though, not at the exorbitant price I had to pay to get it!

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Photo of Wisconsin
4.13/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I don't review often, but thought this beer was so underrated I needed to add my input. Thanks to DOTU for sending the bottle. Bottled Feb. 2013.

A - An easy pour into a Belgian-style stemmed glass releases a nice finger head that slowly fades to an even lace. Minutes after the lace is still sticking around. The body is a pale golden color with lots bubbles rising to the top. Very nice looking.

S - Tart and acidic, which I assume are a combination of the Brett and lemon coming together, and maybe a bit from the wine barrel. A deeper whiff brings light bread and tropical notes.

T - Plenty of funk and tartness up front. Light bread notes a sweet zest from the lemon and Mosaic hops. A slight bitterness from the Brett as this beer exits.

M - Light in the mouth with an ample amount of carbonation to carry the variety of flavors through. Body is quite light and provides a great stage for the Brett, lemon and Mosaic hops to shine through. Very drinkable.

O - A top notch beer that is severely underrated.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 3.1.14

A - Pours a hazy, bright medium orange with a solid foamy off-white head with good retention.

S - Yeasty, bready, doughy.

T - Yeasty, malty, light and subtle.

D - Good carbonation with a light body.

O - Not bad by any means, just mild and kind of boring.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

woefully underrated beer here, this is what brewing culture has become, a farm to bottle example of some of the most interesting beer being made right now. so blessed to get to share a bottle of this. local sourdough yeast and brett ferment a beer that was mashed with lemons and dry hopped with mosaic, what more could you ask for? the lemons add flavor and no acidity, never heard of mashing with them, super cool idea. hazy pale yellow color, like the label accents really, with a nice inch of almost white head, frothy and unrelenting. the nose is tart and funky, brett forward, but weird too, guessing the sourdough yeast has to do with that. the mosaic is bright in the nose, but a little less so in flavor, i suppose dry hopping does that. in the flavor though, hops and yeast collide with one heck of an interesting grain bill to deliver a full bodied and incredibly flavorful and unique glass of ale that i will not soon forget. not as bretty or dry as it might become with some age, but its freshness is its wow factor i think, love those hops. carbonation is just right to brighten a rather dense brew, and the finish is long, i love everything about this beer, and admire the idea just as much. these guys are way on top of the game, and like they remind us, beer is indeed agriculture. represented extremely well in this bottle.

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Photo of popery
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden amber and quite cloudy. The head is thick and frothy. It's a mass of white bubbles that bears a striking resemblance to the bubbles produced by bread yeast. The aroma has a good amount of tropical fruit and peach hoppiness. There's also some white wine and oak character imparted by the barrel. Lemon is present but pretty subdued. Taste is primarily sweet, fruity and oaky. There's an undercurrent of sourness but it's mild. It's an interesting mix of flavors. Ultimately, it's really not all that sweet and finishes pretty dry. Lots of fruit from the Mosaic hops. A bit more lemon. Fairly light with some body to it. Interesting beer. I enjoyed it more than I thought that I would. The sourness is quite light and the funk is also pretty subdued, but there's a very nice balance between fruit flavors and barrel.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.05/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle from Bottle barn in Santa Rosa. Pours clear golden colored with a big fluffy white head. Not a lot going on in the aroma. A bit of pale malts, some doughy yeast, a bit of lemon, some dry brett like character. Flavor is sweet malts, a bit of Brett like dryness, ever so slight tart, and some lemon. Not much wine character here expect maybe a little extra booziness. A hint of vomit character here. Light bodied yet too sweet with medium carbonation. A miss for me.

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Sourdough Wild Ale from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 325 ratings