The Ale Apothecary

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American Wild Ale
Ranked #312
Ranked #3,980
4.24 | pDev: 12.26%
The Ale Apothecary
Oregon, United States
Notes: Ale brewed with white fir aged in Oregon Pinot barrels
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 52 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of kemoarps
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is my first experience with Ale Apothecary. The combo looks damn tasty.

12.14.18 bottle.
Being pretentious AF I decided to smell the cork when I popped it out. Smells like an incredible blend of soft sweet/tart yeasty funk, some light red wine notes, and deep coniferous sap (I would say pine, but it clearly smells like fir ;P...). Like green wet wood. I can see the foam slowly rising to meet its escape valve, so I'll let it ooze for a moment before getting it all riled up by pouring.

OK. Now on to the real review.
Pour is a deeper richer colour than I anticipated for some reason. Rich amber colour, like amber maple syrup. Seems slow coming out of the bottle, like it's thicker than it is. Fuzzy off white head that develops a bald spot and dissipates from there down to a thin continent and ring around the edges.

Nose here carries many of the same themes as the cork I described above. Heavy wood and especially a sappy quality lead in. This is the dominant aroma present, but by no means the only one. The yeasty funk is more dull/flat and less sweet than the cork was. There's a little more green apple and musty earthiness as well. The wine influence is less pronounced, but, in conjunction with the honey, lends a sweet depth to counterbalance the earthy and woody notes. As it warms, these sweeter sides come more to the forefront and the overwhelmingly forest recedes a touch. But just a touch.

Oh man, it just keeps getting better and better.
Initial impression leans more into the sweeter fruitier wild ale side of this one, though the fir is ever present, and in fact bridges to this fruitier aspect with something akin to the lightly sweet character I've found spruce tips to impart. There's some light citrus, but it's more of a berry/stonefruit kind of fruit character. Typing that out it's probably actually the influence from the wine barrels, but it presents more like the taster notes from a bottle of wine than like a wine barrel itself. Raspy tart acidity combines with the fir needle influence (it's still very present) to conjure memories of hauling in wet splintery firewood. Not good firewood, but great beer.

Spritzy carbonation throughout and an unremarkable (in that it's not notably thin nor thick, not that it's not enjoyable) body carry through to a very tart finish that leaves that acid creaminess in the mouth that I try not to pretend is the acid sloughing away my cheeks and enamel.

This is right in my wheelhouse. I'm a big fan and am looking forward to expanding my experience with a brewery I've heard so much about over the years, but just have been hesitant to pull the trigger on for various reasons (mostly price. They're expensive beers [and damn good, and I get it given the setup, but still]. And for that reason I'm glad to see these smaller format bottles. somehow 15$ for 12oz [while, again, still very very pricey] is much more palatable than 30$ for 22oz), but I'm glad I finally did, and will continue to do so in the future.

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Photo of BerryKumquat
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Darker shade of yellow.
S: Strong smells of citrus and strawberries with some pine.
T: An initial rush into citrus note that changes into a tarty strawberry need the end. Very enjoy and reminds me of strawberry and lemon done right.
F: A great tarty and sour summer drink.
O: Definitely worth picking up as it is tarty but sour as well.

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Photo of chitoryu12
3.76/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Look: Hazy dark orange. One finger of white head with decent retention.

Smell: Sour wild fermentation scent, noticeable fir and pine, strawberry, honey, oranges.

Taste: Hits you hard with a sour taste backed by noticeable fir, like you accidentally walked into a Christmas tree with an open mouth. Follows the rest of the nose with fruit flavors. Almost too sour.

Mouthfeel: Good body with a smooth, almost foamy carbonation.

Overall: My one problem with this is that it's a little TOO sour. It's actually hard to get opinions on the nuances and mouthfeel because of how sour it is.

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Photo of WA_Brian
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle poured into a tulip at 51°F. Bottled Apr 11, 2018 at 7.42%. Opened with a very loud pop of the cork.

L: Pours a beautiful clear pale golden color with a large off-white head. Good retention with nice lacing as the head lowers.

S: Melon, apple, pine tree. Leans towards fruity and sweet more than tree.

T: Green apple sweetness, orange, white wine, pine. Very long lasting finish with lots of pine.

F: Medium bodied just a bit sticky like it coats your mouth with honey.

O: The fir flavor on this beer is something special. It's a very complex beer complimented by some amazing tree flavors. The first sip makes you instantly feel like you're drinking at the brewery in the middle of the woods in Bend, OR. This beer is an absolute masterpiece.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I thought this was absolutely fantastic. Great depth and complexity in the taste, sweet nectarine, honey, melon, orange, tart green apple and elderberry, sour oak, great wood and funky yeast that grows on the palate as you go, and bitter pine, slight hops, white wine, and a light end of smoke. Really thought it was that amazing. Smell is more innocent, with mostly the sweeter and tart flavors coming to surface with the funk and wine, not as complex for sure. Yeasty complexion with the typical wild ale sour feel, has a sweetness that I can't shake on the finish, but don't hate it. Criminally underrated

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Photo of Stevedore
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pine, green apple, stonefruit, a bit more pine, moderate acetic acidity, touch of barrel and oak. This is pretty much what comes across on both the nose and flavour, and the body is moderate and on the slightly light side, good carbonation, refreshing. No single character dominates the beer, yet each sip keeps me wanting a little bit more. Tasty beer with a nice twist on it.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy grapefruit-orange with two fingers of white head. Head retention is good, with a white ring of lacing left behind for a while. Good lacing left behind. Aroma is berries, cherry, and green apple. Flavor profile is berries, tart cherry, green apple, and biscuit malt. Lovely tart and sour quality, causing only a slight pucker. Mouth feel is effervescent, with a medium-thick feel. Overall, a delicious tart wild ale that provides the whole package.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 750mL bottle.

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

750ml corked bottle served in a pair of tulips. Given to me by @mr-jj. Batch: Feb 24 2017.

First glass poured pretty clear amber bronze with a big head and lots of carbonation. Smell is tart, grassy, maybe citrusy.

Taste is interesting -- tartness comes across clearly but with less force than I expected. Strong herbal flavor, probably the fir tips.

Mouthfeel is medium thickness, fairly dry. Overall, interesting beer, and good.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle. Clear orange body. Smell has a lot of the pine tree and sap aroma. Apple sweetness behind it. Variety of acidic aromas. Taste is green apple sourness. Pine sap. White wine finish. Lots of sweetness. Heavy, but fascinating. Love that pine and wine combination.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great looking, wonderfully smelling and amazingly delicious beer. This is big, fruity, tart, sour, sweet, and all over the board - but in a good way! It is appealing in the extreme and as complex a beer as you'll find.

Pours a crystal clear copper with a nice white head, although fast fading. Nose is cooked oranges and citrus with hints of sherry, wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar, all in the most appealing way.

Mouth feel is rich and wine-like with medium carbonation.

Flavor profile is simply unique, inviting and full of flavor. There is almost a sweet tone yet there are umami flavors with layer and layer of seeming sweet balsamic vinegar tones, orange marmalade, grilled oranges and sherry.

This is one to try for a true lover of complex and interesting beer.

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Photo of emerge077
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Eric for sharing! Batch: Oct 17, 2014.
Split the 750, so I feel qualified to review with that sample size.
Loud pop from the bottle, twine tied cork was sort of a funny sight.
Hazy orange, rapid carbonation, lasting crown around the edges.
Aroma was vaguely acetic, some dill, vaguely herbal from the white fir tips, did anyone even mention that? Taste is pretty interesting, dill and mustard seed, tart and crisp. Medium bodied, has a good feel to it, slightly mellowed with age. Overall this was a unique wild ale, pretty pricey from what I hear, but definitely interesting and worth a try. Ignore the inept hyperbole.

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Photo of mystikyle71
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Truly unique and delicious. Really wanted to rate this beer and give it the credit it's due after seeing a low score. I picked it up last December and was happy to share it with a large group and it was a hit. Pine, funk, and a touch of smokiness.

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Photo of PZBREW
1.45/5  rDev -65.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bitter medicines.
Looks good, smell bad, taste and lasting aggressive bitter sappy mess ruin it.
Absolutely undrinkable.
I like most of their beer. This is very bad. No idea what other reviewers were drinking.

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Ralph from The Ale Apothecary
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 52 ratings