Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry | Almanac Beer Co.

very good
81 Ratings
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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.

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Ratings: 81 |  Reviews: 50
Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Pinche_Oso
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to stupac2 for this one...
Bottled 5/29/11, Bottle # 79

A: Pours a cloudy yellowish gold/peach/grapefruit with a massive amount of pure white head. The foam takes a bit to settle, and leaves a nice bubbly layer along the surface of the beer. There is a solid amount of lacing to this brew as it drinks.

S The nose is straight up funky and sour. I get a definite hit from the wine barrel aging, as well as a good helping of funky yeast. I also pick up notes of mild grain, big citrus, and some serious alcohol.

T: It's sweet to start with the funk coming on strong right after. The sweetness carries through in the middle, where it mixes with some citrus. The finish is bittersweet, funky, and a bit dry. I really don't get any blackberry at all.

M: Medium bodied beer. It looks light, but there is a good amount of heft to this one. It starts out sweet and cloying, but gets really yeast and funk-i-fied in the middle. The finish is a mix of all of those, and in the end it is a bit dry.

O: Solid beer. I remembered it more fondly the last time I tried it, but it's still a good beer. Now that I have had the opportunity to write down my thoughts, I don't think I'd seek this beer out again.

 1,207 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of elNopalero
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this bottle when it was released. A special occasion beer for a special occasion. And what could be more special than… Wednesday night?. Bottle #2015, bottled on 5/29/2011, poured in its proper glassware and shared on 4/25/2012.

This pours a cloudy golden-straw color with a billowy cap of foam topping it.

I pick up a traditional Belgian golden ale aroma, rounded yeasty esters—but no blackberries. To be honest the aroma isn’t spectacular, which is only to say that I had expected to be amazed by everything about this beer. Did the blackberries fade like hops over the course of a year? Where’d they go?

On the flavor I find an oak presence, almost like a chardonnay feels to me (coming from a non-wine person, admittedly). Only the most nuanced of berry notes remains, and that might be more from the power of suggestion than anything I actually can taste. Hops have faded as well. The beer is effervescent with a dry, gentle body and a finish just to the side of being resiny. No complaints regarding its body or its finish.

I found the beer grew on me as it opened up and devloped. The oak barrel ageing gave it a well-rounded character that I appreciated. While my tasting companion loved this absolutely I am not as enthusiastic about how it came out—but that doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm for the brewers or their process. A mixed review, to be sure.

 1,390 characters

Photo of jpajpajeff
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle # 3,444

From the first time I saw the Almanac website, which was my introduction to the brewery, this beer was at the top of my list of ones I hoped and wished I would get to try.

Looks very interesting on the pour. Nose is soft. Flavor seems to have many things coming together and then hitting you at once. I want to say that the variety of berries in this beer creates a somewhat muddled delivery. There is no distinct character showing through over any other. There seems to be a mild funky thing going on so far in the back of this that you have to wonder if it's waiting to make a grander appearance. I will assume that this is from the barrels. Interestingly, I had this in a wine fridge which didn't chill it down to being cold, and after it warmed up it seemed to open a bit and get more interesting.

Overall, this is a pretty good belgian ale. I think that aging this one may produce some interesting characteristics; but who can guess what that may end up being.

Beautiful design on the label too, by the way.

 1,033 characters

Photo of bigaltemple
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

#3075 Bottled on 5/29/11

Thanks to leschkie for the LIF

A - Pours a hazy, pale straw color. Four-finger, fizzy white head slowly settles to one-finger width and remains throughout the drink. Some light patchy lacing.

S - Can't say anything is extraordinary about the nose. I do detect some oak from the barrels. Berries don't really come through, or are a little overpowered by the yeastiness.

T/M - I do enjoy it. Berries come through more and more as it warms. No sign of being 8%. Definite wine/chardonnay characteristics. Highly carbonated. Very prickly and delightful.

O - Has some very good things going for it. Liked it enough to be interested in Almanac's other "seasonals".

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Photo of chugalug06
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Huge white foamy/soapy head. Mild lacing remains on the glass. Medium viscosity.

S - Very dry and champagne scented. White grape and bitter berry. Berries open up when the beer comes to room temperature.

T/M - Very dry (think champagne). No heat whatsoever. Huge white grape from the oak barrels. You can tell Chardonnay barrels were used. The berries have fell apart by this point and are very bitter and hard pressed. Perfect carbonation.

O - This is definitely the champagne of beers...The closest i've ever had... A unique brew, not for all, but quite complex and enjoyable, in a weird way. I really wished this beer was tart and forward. All-in-all, a very enjoyable beer! Thank you dsgolovin!

 707 characters

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of rob133
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev 0%
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.

 422 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of sliverX
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

 655 characters

Photo of eatabag
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of whartontallboy
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of ibbjamin
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
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 nickd717
4.12/5  rDev +7%
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.

 838 characters

Photo of pixieskid
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow this thing got some hate, personally never heard of it, and was happy to try it when it was offered by a few fellow expats here in Paris.

Med body, syrupy and slick, nice spritzy carbonation.
Rich and dry white wine notes upfront with touches of blackberry.
Nice citrus; lemon peel throughout with hints of woodiness and suggestions of Chardonnay. Finishes with a touch of heat, nice earthy tone, and lingering woodiness.

Overall; thoroughly impressed and thought it was an interesting beer. The blackberry was certainly underwhelming, given the advertisement on the label...I can understand some peoples frustration...don't think I would have paid the 20 bucks but am glad to have tried it and think it was pretty solid.

 729 characters

Photo of claytong
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - strong pale ale typical minus a decent head and lacing.

smell - cheese and wine

taste - oak, wine, hops mmm nice. some tannins

mouthfeel - quite smooth. quite drinkable. quite interesting.

i found out this was around 20 a bottle and while i would have a hard time dishing out this kind of doe, it is still a terrific beer.

 339 characters

Photo of aasher
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

 1,290 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
1.79/5  rDev -53.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. $20 a bottle.

A: Pours a hazy goldenrod body with fluffy off-white head. Decent retention with some lace.

S: Powerful nose of tannins, light spice, and an afterthought of blackberries. I find myself looking for some expression of the Belgian yeast or whatever went into this beer and find it lacking. $20 a bottle.

T: Remarkably tannic for something that doesn't use the word "tannic" or "oak" or "hey we aged this in barrels" in the title. This is marketed as a blackberry ale first and foremost, and the berries are totally miss-... oh, there they are. They're just weak. And they remain weak and overpowered for the duration of the bottle. Plus the beer is surprisingly sweet, like some kind of sugarcane oak juice. At least the taste presents shotgun spatter of phenols to, uh, redeem nothing. $20 a bottle.

M: Syrupy. $20 a bottle.

O: Considering the $20 pricetag, I expected a LOT more, and the numerous fake reviews inflating the score aren't appeasing my irritation. This is a poster child for the price-inflating, crap-delivering bullshit that craft beer is becoming. Skip it.

 1,124 characters

Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry from Almanac Beer Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 81 ratings.
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