Farmer's Reserve Citrus
Almanac Beer Co.

Farmer's Reserve CitrusFarmer's Reserve Citrus
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American Wild Ale
Ranked #291
Ranked #1,980
4.18 | pDev: 7.42%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Farmer's Reserve CitrusFarmer's Reserve Citrus
Notes: Citrus and beer have made a great pair ever since the first lemon wedge was added to a frosty wheat beer. Here we expand on that tradition, melding a sour blond ale with the intensely aromatic zest of Buddha’s Hand citrons and meyer lemons along with the bracing tartness of Yuzu and Blood Oranges from Hamada Farms.
Reviews: 99 | Ratings: 721 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by kojevergas:
Photo of kojevergas
3.34/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-draught @ Toronado San Francisco. $6 a small pour.

Body is hazy. Orange-copper colour. Head recedes inside 2 minutes, leaving no lacing.

Aroma brings soft citrus, clean brettanomyces funkiness, bacterial tartness, lactic acidity, subdued inexpressive oak wood, and neutral malts (wheat, maybe?). Average aromatic intensity.

Soft, lacking the tart acidic punch observed in more aggressive sours. The citrus isn't as expressive as I'd hoped for, but there's some faint citrus (no juiciness or fresh zest or anything special, though). A blip of vanilla from the oak. Sourness is disappointingly meagre - 2/10 in terms of intensity.

Smooth, wet, slightly acidic. Light-bodied.

Overall, it's a nice entry in the farmer's reserve series, but it's far from Almanac's finest work.

Low B- (3.26) / WORTHY

12/24/16: 2nd impressions from a bottle.

BOTTLE: Bottled June 2015. Brown glass. Gorgeous label design with a yellow ring ribbon label at the bottom and an intricate screen-print. Branded pry-off crown cap. Suspended yeast is plainly visible floating in the beer. Small format (I think 375ml?). "Batch FR citrus. 1002 072315."

"Sour ale aged in wine barrels with Buddha's hand citron, blood orange & yuzu." 7% ABV.

APPEARANCE: Pours a gorgeous vibrant gilded pale copper. Clean but yeasty. The audibly fizzy head is thin and off-white, disappearing within 2 minutes without leaving any lacing.

AROMA: Mild sourness, mild citrus. Some white wine-soaked oak - I'd guess chardonnay but I don't pretend to know much about wine. Blood orange and yuzu don't emerge as vivid or distinct notes; there's only the vague albeit fresh zesty citrus. Not as expressive as I'd hoped for, but an appealing aroma all things considered with no off-flavours, faults, or overt alcohol. Slightly cidery; I get a blip of red apple and maybe even orchard pear. Pleasantly floral hop notes. A kiss of nectary or honey aromatics.

Sour lovers will crave more sourness and bacterial intricacy, and it'd be livelier with more of an intricate microflora character.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Has a red apple flavour that isn't too cidery but is accentuated beautifully by a soft crisp clean mouthfeel that's a bit juicy but also a bit dry. Certainly a refreshing brew.

All the citrus blurs together, with the blood orange failing to emerge as vivid and the yuzu lacking any distinctive character. It's just vague zesty citrus, but it works. Still, blood orange is often delicious in beers (Hangar 24 and Anderson Valley's blood orange beers come to mind) and yuzu works so well in Mikkeller's sours. The soft citrus is nice, and blends well with the prickly mild sourness, but as noted in my impressions about the aroma above, more sourness and more bacterial/microfloral intricacy would help get this to the next level.

Depth of flavour is nice but not impressive. Above average flavour duration. High acidity. Average flavour intensity.

It's well balanced, with an undertone of chardonnay giving the build a unifying natural cohesion. Oak isn't very evocative, and the wine barrel character could play to the notes in the base better. There's no harmony of texture and taste, but the former complements the latter pretty well in a general sense even though no specific flavours are elevated by the mouthfeel.

OVERALL: A drinkable brew that hides its surprisingly high ABV well but doesn't commit enough to its fruit and barrel notes. The citrus should sing in this beer, but it doesn't, and a cidery apple flavour - while nice - distracts from the fruity flavours that were meant to be the stars of the show. Absolutely worth trying, and it's more nice work in Almanac's increasingly impressive lineup, but it isn't a world class sour ale by any stretch, worthwhile though it is.

I love that they're putting out these sours in small format bottles, but the high price (especially in comparison to cheaper Belgian imports) will prevent me from revisiting it, and Almanac is going to need to up their game if they want to compete with Russian River just down the road or Lost Abbey way down the road, let alone the finest expressions of the style from outside California and the U.S.A.


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More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

375ml bottle. Poured into an unlabeled snifter 8/8/2014.

A- Hazy medium orange body. Short-lived white head, no lacing. Simple looking liquid.

S- Lactate, yogurt, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, pale malt sweetness.

F- Lactate, yogurt, acidic grapefruit, lemon juice and some vinegar on the finish. This is essentially what I would imagine citric acid to taste like, except its probably far more drinkable. Tasty stuff, not especially multi-dimensional but complex enough!

M- On the thinner side, a bit undercarbonated for my enjoyment. But quite good.

O- Quite a tasty sour with a nice citrus quality to it; as if it was grapefruit/lemon with half the fruit sweetness taken out of the equation.

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Photo of Ken_P
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled July 2014 poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Finger of bubbly white head that dissipates immediately to a ring of white bubbles around the edge of the glass. Orangey - gold. Not opaque but definitely hazy. Small and steady bubbles.

Smell: Lemon, Citrus, Light hint of thyme or mint, wheat and lacto-funk.

Taste: Smack of acidic lemon sour followed by a grainy lacto finish. As it warms a mint/grassy/floral notes arise. Seems to be less acidic sour and more tart as I go on - could be my palate and not the warming.

Mouth feel: medium, somewhat bubbly. Slight sting in back of throat as swallowed but not as much as I was expected.

Overall: I've had about four beers from Almanac now and this definitely has to be one the best I've had. Their cherry-soured options are great but can be a bit too much for me. This is a blonde sour that separates itself from the traditional berliner weisse or a geuze. Surprisingly carbonated for a sour beer and not too funky or acidic. Highly recommended!

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Photo of dar482
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%

The beer comes in a golden hazy yellow with tinges of orange.

The aroma strangely has green mint, lots of tart quality, citrus peel, barnyard funk.

The flavor follows with that herbacious green leafy mint in the front. Very tart like Warheads. A wheat blonde ale comes in the middle. Slight funk and vanilla and then the beer dries out wonderfully.

A very tart brew with good complexities.

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Photo of cbutova
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Coaltrain in Colorado Springs in the summer. Been curious about these sours for a long time now.

A- Leaves the Belgian 12oz bottle to my chalice with a hazy golden light orange body. A white pillow tops the beer without reaching half a finger with frothy texture. Small ring remains but lacing is fairly rare.

S- Sour citrus pungent aroma flies out of the glass with a medium strength wine barrel behind it. Lemons, lactic acid, oranges, citron preserves, barnyard funk, tart apple and slight acetic acid notes. White wine grapes for sure.

T- Citrus and lactic acid bacteria really take over the show at this point. Lemon zest and sour juice is huge, probably a result of the lactic and added citrus combining. Vinous white grapes, slight wet oak, oranges, clementine peel, a touch of vinegar, barnyard straw and funk, sour green apple skin and satsuma mandirin combine riding a substantial sourness onto the taste buds. Raw wheaty lactic feel like a Berliner at times. Rubbery band aid hint once in a while.

MF- Light bodied with a lower than expected carbonation level on the low-medium level for the style. Semi dry and silky consistency with a light bit of creaminess. Finishes rather sour.

Well made sour ale but lacks complexity at times. A huge blast of mostly sour and citrus with some funk and wine leaves you wanting just a bit more. The body could also use some more texture to support the barrage of sour citrus flavors.

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

A: Glowing hazy straw gold with a two finger white head that recedes to half a finger after about a minute. Inviting.

S: Tart lemon,zesty orange oil, and white wine immediately. A bit of musty funk and a backing note of pear follow. Very complex, I find new facets to the aroma each time I lift the glass to my nose.

T: An interplay of tart and sweet not unlike a Meyer lemon. Dry oaky wine barrel and pithy orange. Mineral note closes everything out. Tastes like a mimosa and a glass of sparkling lemonade had a love child. Great flavor.

M: Thin bodied and effervescent. Tartness coupled with a drying finish lingers long after each sip.

O: Just a great beer. Beautifully executed and definitely the best beer I've had from Almanac. Reminds me of Farmers Reserve #4 which makes sense as they were very similar in composition.

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Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high bright white head that died down, leaving wispy lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of sour citrus are present in the nose.
T: As in the smell, the taste has flavors of sour citrons and strong notes of oak from the wine barrel aging, although I don't get any of the wine. The citrons really stand out in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I really enjoyed this beer—it wasn't as sour compared to other beers in the style and this may be because there were strong flavors of citrons.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.49/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Loads of lemon to my tastes which is nice, but slightly disappointing considering I was anticipating orange and citron. Dry and tannic finish with little to no sweetness to round things out. Very straight forward and acetic...simple.

A decent beer, and fun afternoon sipper, but from memory the weakest of what I've had so far from Almanac.

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Photo of Resuin
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Dreynolds1808
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of GJ40
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of jbaker67
4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Keananmichael5
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great first smell. Very very sour and tart smelling. Lots of citrus notes and a crisp sharp finish. The farmers reserve series never disappoints and this one is the same

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Photo of gjoker321
3.74/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Dizzy242
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of chefbigjon
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of the better of the series. A slight notch below the pluot because that to me is perfectly balanced between sour and sweet. This is pretty complex. Sour and tart yes but the citrus from the buddhas hand and the oranges they used makes this a winner. Combined with the white wine barrel and the dryness that this series seems to exude should be great with food, especially fish, as is recommended on the bottle. As with the others, let it warm up before you rush to judgement.

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Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of Bluecrow
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

-on tap in a tulip: pale, cloudy Amber-orange. Aroma and flavor match; acid and fruit dominate. Almost now effervescence by sight, but carbonation is just right

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Photo of DaveOrlowski
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TWStandley
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tclipse
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of baconfromwalmart
4.51/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of PretzelCity
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Hesscabob
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My first from Almanac and will pursue more from them as this was fantastic. Sour and tart enough on the tongue with an amazing aroma of citrusy/acidic fruits. A bit overcarbonated for my liking for a sour but that might be subdued after some storing. Would definitely try again.

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Farmer's Reserve Citrus from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 721 ratings