Gnag Reflex | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

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Brewed by:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Kentucky, United States

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brown Ale using Lactobacilius to sour the mash for 38 hours then fermented with ale yeast and aged with New American oak and red tart cherries.

Added by Brent on 10-17-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 2 | Ratings: 15
Photo of Brent
3.06/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hopefully, this is an appropriate categorization of the beer, which the brewer describes as a "sour brown ale" using cherries and lactobacillus. Deep chestnut with barest ruby tinge. Up front a moderately acidic start, with cherry juice married with ever so slightly smoky roasted malt. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, surprisingly so with the overall sour malty nature of the beer. Finish was a slightly tannic, with some lingering dark malt porter-like notes. Overall an interesting experiment, but falls into the one is enough category.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

In a world where one brewery is eager to send to another brewery a letter to cease or desist over the rights to a name of a beer of similar naming. Call me crazy, but I don't think Against the Grain is going to have much trouble with this.

Gnag Reflex arrives with a solid brown hue with lavender highlights and an overall mauve tint. Hazy throughout, the beer carries an overall rusty, and somewhat dullish appearance. Capped with a slight sandy tan head, the beer quickly succumbs to is acidity underneath.

Firm brown ale malts provide the first impressions to the olfactory senses, but a quick follow up of tart cherries, nuts, berries, and an overall pitted fruit aroma resonates from the glass. Accessory scents of cola nut, green apple, and lime continue the complex notes well before the beer ever touches the mouth.

But alas, the flavors culminate in a richer-than-expected taste. Malty sweetness of chocolate, toast, and light coffee grounds rise first. Secondarily, the fruity taste of lime, tart cherries, fig, dates, and crab apples make the beer seem somewhat wine-like and cidery. White grape, cola nut, and under ripened berries all come to mind as the beer stalls at finish and relies only on its sheer acidity to close the beer with tepid confidence.

Medium-firm in body, much of the malt textures that are felt early seems to linger deep into the finish as the beer nears a lumbering end. It never delivers the dry toast character that I expect from traditional oude bruin ales. Alcohol, acidity, and light hopping rates signal closure, but still allow the malts sugars to linger on the palate indefinitely.

With a lacto-infused taste, this Belgian old brown ale never really hits home with me. The bacteria is clean and acidic but doesn't allow for the rich must or earthen taste to take hold. But this beer does resemble several Kentucky common ales that I have had the pleasure to sample over the years. Maybe this beer is best characterized as one of those.

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Gnag Reflex from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
3.19 out of 5 based on 15 ratings.
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