Oxbow Brewing Company

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Wild Ale
Ranked #599
Ranked #5,953
4.12 | pDev: 8.74%
Oxbow Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Notes: Arboreal is an American Sour Ale fermented in wooden bourbon barrels with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. Produced without the use of stainless steel fermenters or brewers yeast, this uniquely traditional beer pays homage to our rural farmhouse habitat and the trees surrounding us.
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 73 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by woosterbill:
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill from Kentucky

4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml waxed bottle, #197/200, into a 25cl Duvel tulip. Huge thanks to the guys at the brewery for hooking me up with this during my visit back in June. You guys rock!

A: Clear copper body; 1" head of fine off-white foam; good retention and lace. Excellent.

S: Bourbon, raw wood, lacto, and light funk. Really intense, quite enjoyable.

T: Lactic sourness up front with rich fruity tartness and big Bourbon thereafter. Vanilla, oak, and cherry on the finish. Increasingly deep and fruity as it warms. Very tasty.

M: Well carbonated, very creamy, and pretty full-bodied. Great.

O: I didn't think this was quite as well-balanced as the BA Farmhouse Pale Ale that I opened beforehand, but it was fascinating in its own right. The barrel really came through powerfully. I really hope I get to try more wild experiments from Oxbow.


Jan 11, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of ChipChaight
ChipChaight from New York

4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

April 2018 bottle from the brewery in Portland during 2020 trip to Maine. Pours dark amber with a finger of yellowish head and nice lacing, smell is bourbon fruit punch, plum skins, cherry flesh, fruit by the foot, prunes, hints of strawberry and lemon, taste follows the nose with warm bourbon with strong oak character throughout, bitter sour cherry, plum skin, hints of fresh leather and lemon flesh, taste is light, well carbonated, and dry. A distinguished, complex, and bourbon forward treat. Yum!

Aug 14, 2020
Photo of JakerLou
JakerLou from New Hampshire

4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Oct 13, 2019
Photo of yancot
yancot from Canada (ON)

4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Apr 01, 2020
Photo of AD17
AD17 from New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dec 12, 2020
Photo of StoutElk_92
StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Jan, 2016 vintage

Pours hazy amber red with a creamy frothy off-white foam head. Smells like acetic red wine, oak barrel funk, bourbon, caramel malts, cherry, red fruits, dark fruit, apricot, with earthy herbal floral piney grassy hops. Tastes like acetic leathery red wine, oak barrel funk, bourbon, apricot, tart cherry, red fruits, dark fruit, caramel malts, some spice, with floral earthy herbal piney grassy hops. Feels medium bodied, creamy with moderate smooth carbonation. Overall a nice bourbon barrel fermented sour ale.

May 13, 2020
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq from New Hampshire

3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle dated Jan 2016.

Pours sparkling clear and dark copper. Retention and head is decent for a sour. Aromatics are a blend of red fruit and balsamic. Faint apples and Worstershire. Medium bodied and a bit creamy. A bracing sourness starts the palate with vinegar-soaked apples and mild malt following through. Finishes very sour and tart with lingering balsamic and watering jowels.

No bourbon barrel character here and very sour. It will take a while to get through this bottle.

Nov 20, 2016
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.74/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a brown color ale with a medium size off-white foamy head with light retention and no lacing. Aroma of light caramelized malt with some intense Brett notes with some bourbon and oak notes also perceptible. Taste is also a mix of fruit Brett notes with some light caramelized malt notes, no residual sugar notes with some pretty intense woody and bourbon notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. Enjoyable but Brett was maybe too strong and overtaking the bourbon flavours.

Dec 03, 2018
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

When extreme is the norm, everyone is out to be memorable. The craft beer scene is a stark reminder of our curiosity with polarizing flavors whether it's sweet, sour, bitter, roasty or spicy. Oxbow brewing hopes to become not just memorable but downright addictive with the combination of sour and spice.

Pouring a rusty, ruddy brown, Arboreal gets real with a nose piercing twinge of acidity that rocks the olfactory senses with the very first pass of its scent. Stone and sour fruit come with a piquant whisky scent and remnants of vinegar, cider and red wine. Scant sweetness flies over the tongue with the steely caramels remiss of peanut skins, oak drawn char and a modest sourdough character.

And then the sourness simply batters the middle palate with an acetone rich taste of sour red grape, red wine vinegar, cherry, plum and cranberry- all of the booze soaked, macerated variety. Sourness soon turns to spice as the bourbon nuances of steely caramels, toasted oak, nuttiness and a serious punch of nail polish remover-type spice. An aura of saddle leather, weathered attic woods and wine aged cork swirl above the palate in retro-olfactory fashion.

Medium light in body, the sour ale trends drier and lighter during the session as its acidity creates an intense enamel ripping sense of drinkability and refreshment. Nearly sweat inducing and jaw tightening, the ale has a medium short aftertaste laced with faint balsamic and tannic bordeaux wines.

Feb 16, 2019
Photo of doremite
doremite from Vermont

4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jun 11, 2015
Photo of stereosforgeeks
stereosforgeeks from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Aug 18, 2014
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog from Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -9%

Aug 19, 2014
Photo of drewone
drewone from California

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Nov 13, 2014
Photo of bccocx
bccocx from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -15%

Oct 16, 2014
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the brewery.
Pours a clear deep golden color with a good sized bone white head that dissipates quickly. Aromas of earthen tart citrus with a somewhat rustic light funky smell. Light cereal graininess and just a hint of cherry vanilla round out the nose. If there is oak or bourbon in the nose its faint. The flavor holds a hint of cereal grain with a touch of bready malt. Lemons and tart cherries pucker a bit before some earth and light sweet bourbon flavor finish us off. Moderate pucker with a light funky earthy rustic tone to it. Very nice American wild.

Feb 03, 2015
Photo of nmann08
nmann08 from Virginia

4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jun 24, 2015
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR from Connecticut

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Jan 23, 2013
Photo of schinebd
schinebd from Massachusetts

4.51/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aug 07, 2017
Photo of spycow
spycow from Illinois

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Aug 18, 2014
Photo of Endtro
Endtro from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +21.4%

Batch 2. So complex.

Nov 10, 2014
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.32/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy deep copper body. Small white head that doesn't last. Ends up kinda pond-watery.

Smell - Musty and vinous. Bourbon. Slight hint of acetic acid. Very woody.

Taste - Much sharper sourness, but not all that sour. Vinegar and some red wine. Lots of oak. Bourbon. The flavor drops off rapidly, though.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, maybe medium light. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Not very complex, but drinks ok.

Nov 25, 2014
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313 from California

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Nov 11, 2014
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander from Illinois

3.46/5  rDev -16%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jun 20, 2017
Photo of facesnorth
facesnorth from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -9%

Aug 18, 2014
Photo of ferillo
ferillo from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Oct 27, 2014
Arboreal from Oxbow Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 73 ratings