Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry | Almanac Beer Co.

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Summer 2010 Vintage - BlackberrySummer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry
Very Good
81 Ratings
Summer 2010 Vintage - BlackberrySummer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our golden ale reflects a dueling love of classic Belgian ales and American hops. We balance two row barley, pilsner malt and wheat with a touch of Magnum bittering hops added at the beginning of the boil, and a California-sized addition of Citra hops added at the end of the boil. This late hop addition adds a delicate grapefruit-peel aroma. We then age the beer in used oak wine barrels from California wineries with two hundred pounds of fresh Cherokee Blackberries, and another fifty pounds of Marion, Ollalie and Boysen Berries. All of our berries were hand picked at the family owned and operated Sebastopol Berry Farm.

After six months of barrel aging with the fruit, we blended the barrels back together with freshly brewed "base-beer" to reinvigorate the citrusy, hoppy aroma. Blended beer is re-fermented in the bottle to provide a final layer of complexity. Bottle conditioning provides a natural carbonation of superfine bubbles, similar to classic sparkling wines. The finished bottle is alive, and will continue to evolve and change over time, gaining nuance and character for years.

Added by nataku00 on 02-20-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 |  Reviews: 50
Reviews by Ryan011235:
Photo of Ryan011235
2.02/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter on 6/1/12

Bottled 5/29/11
Bottle No. 3065

Thanks to Nickd717

A) Clear, golden amber. Thin layer of foam with some ring retention.

S) Plastic, fake blackberry aroma, grains, and a soft oak note. Mustiness is on the low side. Light fruit tones.

T) It doesn't taste nearly as good as it smells. Dank oak turns to stale, wet swamp grass and grump, sleepy fruit suggestions. Blueberries are all but gone.

M) Light body with moderate, prickly carbonation. The finish is vinous and a tad earthy and funky.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of rob133
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to cousin Mike for bringing this out Labor Day weekend. Never heard of it at the time, so glad to be in the know now.

Poured a clear light amber color, good 1.5" head, lots of clarity for a beer w/ fruit in it. Aroma was a little bit virgin oak, fruity berryness is minimal, but present, thankfully not funky or horse blanketish. Delivers ample berry flavor, with the slightest tartness. Not a sugary fruit beer, this is high quality.

Belgian yeast is very subdued. Don't let that aspect keep you away from this beer if its not your thing. I was kinda shocked to see it classified as a BSPA. The yeast and hops are not in the driver's seat.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting and complex creation.Dark coloured body. Yeasty initially, and then bold berry fruity flavour, finishing with abundant merlot tannin flavour, and somewhat drying. The smell did not give away the mystery of the berries. Tremendous range of flavour, best experienced at about room temperature. I could not knock this bomber off myself, but could easily do so with two or three people round a campfire.Thanks Tom.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 5/29/2011 - #3266 - poured from a capped 750mL bottle into my Troubadour tulip.

A hazy tangerine to amber gradient supports a rocky stiff-peak fist of ivory which nearly creeps out of the glass to take a look around. Superior retention, dense 3-D tendrils of lacing.

Gentle aromatics suggest wildflowers, lemon zest, and champagne, with a very faint oak-derived funk. Low pale/pils malt notes add support.

Very unusual flavor profile with a mix of boysen,black, and other dark berry notes - surprisingly tart and remaining so as the subsequent sweetness you might expect from the fruit is replaced by a tangy white wine element. The sour flavors are balanced by yeast and accentuated by the crisp malt and fruity hops. Low phenolics and tannins arrive in the finish which is lightly oaky with a kiss of grapefruit and passion fruit from hops which present just enough bitterness to bring things to a bone dry conclusion.

Medim-bodied, soft, creamy, and effervescent mouthfeel with well integrated alcohol.

More of a fruit beer than a proper BPA, really style guidelines should be set aside when evaluating this singular ale. As others have noted, it is flavorful, unique, and fairly expensive (though not a bad value considering the time, labor, and ingredients that went into it's production). Maybe more aimed at wine afficianados than beer drinkers...still quite enjoyable and perfect with lighter summer dishes from the region.

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Photo of DJButters
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of leschkie
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a striking autumn gold with an overall body that contains just enough haze to sufficiently scatter the backlit rays of the setting sun. Does not disappoint. A nice frothy and foamy glacier-colored head lingers about perhaps a little too long as I sit in anticipation for it to finally recede to a level where I can finally take a sip on this warm July evening. Pieces of broken delicate lacing are left behind as the head dissipates.

Smell: Typical Belgian pale aromas at the start including funky yeast, lemon, light honey, and breads. Shortly following, however, is where this one for me really distinguishes itself from the traditional Belgian strong pale. Pleasant scents of the oak barrel (some type of white wine) and vanilla eventually make their way into the aroma. Difficult to detect any of the berries.

Taste: Amazing, simply amazing! I've never had a Belgian strong pale with such complexity. Each character presents itself individually at the start, and then begin to merge into one another with subsequent tastes. Flavor profile started with the traditional Belgian pale (yeast, lemon, honey, breads) which eventually faded into the taste of the barrel (white wine, oak, vanilla), which then transformed into the sweetness of the Sonoma berries. With each sip that followed, all 3 components seemed to merge together rather than stand out on their own. I truly feel sorry for those reviewers who got a "metallic" taste. Luckily, my bottle was absolute perfection.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with a fairly decent amount of carbination. Spot-on for the style.

Overall: I am so glad I left work early to make the drive up to the North Bay to get my hands on this limited release. I'm typically not a huge fan of Belgian pales because they are a little too light and watery for me and, quite honestly, a bit one-dimensional. But this one just blew me away. Strong, complex flavors that continued to evolve in the back of my throat even after the swallow. If you can get your hands on this, do it! You will not be disappointed! I'll definitely be hanging on to my remaining bottles to see what surprises await as they sit in my cellar.

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Photo of nickd717
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

Hazy orangish-golden color with a small white head that leaves some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is of blackberries, pepper, honey, oak, red wine, and some farmyard notes.

The flavor is very nice, with a touch of sweetness and a mild tartness. The yeast profile is distinctively Belgian with maybe even a touch of brett, and there is a peppery/spicy character to it. Blackberries are somewhat assertive and there’s just a hint of red wine. Decent oakiness.

Great mouthfeel with lively carbonation and not too much heft to it given the ABV.

This is a nice beer that has evolved in the bottle in the few months since it was released. If you didn’t care for it when it first came out, I recommend giving it a second try. Jesse and Damian are doing great things with this brewery and they’re definitely one to watch.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of ScottMansfield
4.92/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thick head on the pour. Deep peach color; fairly clear for a bottle conditioned brew. Solid cooperation of oak, grapefruit, and berry tang. The oak holds to the finish. Lots of flavor but not overwhelming. Dry and crisp; would not know this had fruit in it, but there is certainly another dimension besides malt, hops, and oak. Get this while you can.

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Photo of nataku00
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap served into a fluted glass. This beer pours a hazy reddish-orange, bits of scarlet at the edge of the glass. Thin soapy head with a few large bubbles right at the edge of the glass, off white leaving some light lacing with a little swirling. Plenty of tiny bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the glass, effervescent.

Nose is citrus peel, juicy red berries, tart and astringent grape peel, light woodiness. Very fragrant beer that improved as it warmed up some.

Tastes follows through, lemon, bit of grapefruit bittering, with a hint of red berry sweet and sour. Light oak tannins mid tongue and finishes with a bit of astringency.

Light bodied with lighter carbonation than I was expecting. It looked champagne like but the bubbles are much gentler than their activity in the glass visually. Very easy to drink, alcohol is well hidden, and the beer is very refreshing. Nice first effort from Almanac.

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Photo of jpajpajeff
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

interesting beer. i have had a couple of these sent to me recently.

Light amber in color and very cloudy. Nice little touch of white on the top as well that reached a heightof around an inch before settling back down.

Light grain aroma with hints of berries and light fruits was welcoming, albeit a touch light for me and came off not like i honestly thought it would. Smooth, mellow, and a bit bland on the taste. Lots of dark berries in the taste tried to cover up a lack of depth and an otherwise slightly bland overall vibe. Still decent feel and a very smooth, easy drinkability.

overall this was not bad at all, i think i was simply hoping for alot more

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Photo of largadeer
2.36/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks for sharing this one, Mark.

Cloudy blond body topped by a tall, lasting head that leaves plenty of lacing behind.

Very vinous aroma with a somewhat ambiguous berry undercurrent. The barrel presence is huge, a bit excessive. There's a Belgian ale yeast character beneath the barrel and fruit, lending a slight wild funk and spicy phenols.

A muddled fruit flavor hits the palate first, followed by a shit-ton of oak. Tannic, bitter, astringent, surprisingly a bit boozy too. The fruit has an indistinct, kitchen sink quality to it. Pretty rough mouthfeel, somewhat chalky. Fruitiness lingers throughout. Yeast contributes some phenols and a hint of stonefruit. The astringency really seems to linger and grow on the palate the more you sip on it. I didn't mind the beer at first, but it became difficult to drink after a few ounces.

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Photo of hopkrid
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ibbjamin
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this 750ml bottle as a present and I let it sit around for a few months before pouring into a large snifter to review. Bottled 5/29/11 and bottle number 2624.

Light and fizzy white head of about an inch after a gentle pour. Great layer of retention. Head reminds me a bit of a tame saison, but the color is more of a pale IPA; cloudy and golden yellow. Some lacing.

Aroma is vinous and light fruity. White grape, blackberry, vanilla, oak, banana, butterscotch, white pepper, clove and Belgian spice all are detected. Nods at a Belgian Tripel with wine country aesthetic. Complex, pale, clean and inviting.

Taste brings on a rummy booziness to add to its complexity which is more warming than I would have anticipated with this being at what many in its style consider a modest 8%. Quite vinous, with taste bringing on an equal balance of red and white grape.

Prickly mouth from high carbonation. Not quite dry, but on its way there. Medium body and medium length rummy / vinous finish.

A great beer to enter the market and certainly one I'd recommend. I eagerly await #2 for them. Cheers!

 1,103 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of aasher
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was courtesy of BrewerB, thanks Brian! Kudos for hitting another want of mine and helping me knock off a new brewery. I had seen this in the first FT post about it so I looked it up. I was intrigued enough to throw it on my Wants and here we are.

It pours a nice and somewhat cloudy honey gold in color with a one finger frothy white head. It smells of Belgian yeasts, a good amount of spice, light honey, and some ever so slight blackberry syrup. I didn't get any blackberry initially and had to return to it to go on a search. At least you do get some. The flavors are full of spicy Belgian yeasts and alcohol. The alcohol is pretty overbearing. The blackberry is barely present at all. It's so faint that I can't detect if it's artificial or authentic. You have to think about it. For a beer that has blackberry in the name I had hoped it would be detectable. The longer it warms to room temp you do get more blackberry however, but should you ever have wait? It eventually even creeps into the aftertaste. It drinks like the style tends to. Overall this is a beer that fell short of expectations but was slightly intriguing. If this is $20 I would not have purchased it. It doesn't provide anything special or out of the ordinary. Wine barrel, blackberry? Please intensify.

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Photo of pperez38
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of DaveHS
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #1713

A-Pours hazy light amber with rusty copper highlights and an inch of foamy, eggshell white head. Leaves sheets of intricate, soapy lacing down the side of the glass.

S- Musty, tart aromas of blackberry, citrus rind, vanilla and horse blanket. There’s a hint of funk, but it remains on the periphery.

T/M- The first sip is tart on the tip of the tongue, with a mouth coating wave of slick, earthy yeast. The berry flavor comes in residually, with a backbone of delicate citrus, most likely attributable to the Citra hopping. The finish is a soft decrescendo of zested grapefruit skin and subtle bitter hops. Mouthfeel is bright and refreshing, with balanced, somewhat prickly carbonation.

O-Really nice stuff, in the vein of the better Jolly Pumpkin releases. I look forward to seeing what these guys come up with next!

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ordered this bottle from Blackwell's. Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours a light orange color with a single-finger white head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. The nose brings some light Belgian yeast and a bit of earthy spice plus mild oak and wine. Faint berry presence in the background. Flavor is Belgian yeast and mild fruit. Some spice there as well as light tannins and a mild blackberry character. Not sure everything blends together all that well, and the fruit doesn't really add all that much; it's basically just a tease. Light body and good carbonation. No alcohol. Pretty decent, but not worth the $20 price tag.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chris aka spycow for sharing this one.

A - Yellow colored beer, poured with a small, white head that had decent retention and faded to a partial ring.

S - This smells pretty good to begin with. There is some nice tartness and blackberries. The wine barrels give it some added complexity that make for a pretty pleasant aroma.

T - It starts out sweet with a small about of blackberry taste and a little bit of wine. Unfortunately it ends rather harshly, with considerably too much phenolic ethers on the finish, making it not very enjoyable to drink.

M - Syrupy, medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

O - Not great. Smell was pretty promising, but the taste just went south and didn't deliver. They should make another beer.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Amber color, over an inch of white head on it. Despite the fruit additions, this one comes through with respectable clarity under any circumstance.

Aroma was mild oak, berries, mild tart.

Taste was pretty clean, no funk, yeast mild, hopping mild. I can't figure out the classification for this beer. It doesn't fit in any one category. Its like equal parts mild fruit beer, mild pale ale.

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Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 81 ratings