The Ale Apothecary

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Wild Ale
Ranked #151
Ranked #2,608
4.41 | pDev: 5.9%
The Ale Apothecary
Oregon, United States
Notes: SPENCER (The Dispenser of Provisions) is our annual fruit beer. In the early fall, we harvest wild blackcurrant fruit and add it to a batch of year-old SAHALIE. The sugars in the fruit produce another fermentation and the blackcurrant tannins create additional structure over the 8-month aging period. Prior to bottling, the beer is dry-hopped for a month in oak barrels. With close to 2 years in oak, Spencer has a much more developed Brettanomyces character than our other beers. Because of the extremely limited quantity of wild blackcurrant available, we produce only one oak barrel of Spencer every year.
Reviews: 5 | Ratings: 39 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Zythophile
Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle Date: 2/25/16
Palate Contaminants: other beer

The color is fairly unique. I don't see much that I'd call a dark orange. Moderate opaqueness.

The smell is that of a floral sour with some blackberry honey. I was surprised at the amount of Brettanomyces, but I gather that it's intentional. Heavy corn candy, but without the corn, if that makes sense. The sour element shades toward lactic, too. Very interesting.

The canvas is apple cider, maybe mixed with a little pear cider. Then, from one angle, it's a mixed berry cheesecake. From another angle, it's jam and butter on soft toast. I mean, it's a sour beer, but it's not really sour. There's so much fruit-derived sugar. It's not as candy-ish as HF's Clover, but it's as complex. Rich, too. There's some serious nectar-of-the-gods stuff going on. Instead of blackberry honey, the taste is currant honey, if you can imagine.

For a niner, the alcohol is very well hidden. Carbonation is somewhat coarse, but not prickly. The aftertaste is about as delicious as any aftertaste.

Dec 03, 2017
Photo of SaltySizzle
SaltySizzle from California

4.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

5-1-2014 handwritten marked bottle with the man, Paul himself. One of the best beers I've had this year. Fruit finishes very well on the palette, and not a sour bomb. Overly balanced with incredible mouthfeel. Apoth is still seriously underrated, IMO. Glad I got to try this at the Brothers Provisions event in SD! Hope it's an annual thing.

Jun 08, 2015
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Very hazy. Small white head.

Smell - I don't smell currants. Acidic smelling. Very yeasty. Strong pale malt. Fruity. Maybe even a little bit of berry to it.

Taste - Strong sourness. Stone fruit more than currant. Very yeasty. Gets a little bit intense in the back end. Spike in white wine flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Well, I don't get the currants, but this is still a great beer.

Feb 10, 2015
Photo of Beerandboards
Beerandboards from New Mexico

4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle, bottle no. 98 of 291, about 6 months old at the moment.

A - golden, apple cider color. Loose white head, medium retention.

S - funky, cider vinegar, musty, apple, pear

T - again funkiness leads, some definite sweetness from the currants, lots of apple cider notes, grape, medium light sourness, the sweet seems much to start, but as it warms it evens out. Mid way through, the balance is pushing taste well into 4.5 territory.

M - just about perfect. Mid to high carb. Super clean and crisp.

O - overall, a really great beer. Quality is evident is every element. Unique, as with most AA beers. Very happy I have another one of these. I think ~2yrs or so will do nothing but improve this bad boy. Another good one from AA.

Feb 02, 2014
Photo of Gobigvt7
Gobigvt7 from Oregon

3.83/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

2013 bottling of Spencer, half-pour into a Del Borgo Teku glass.

A - pours a gorgeous peach with a slight shade of rose, a tight and vigorously bubbly white head, which held its own for the duration

S - green apple skin and over-ripe nectarine, slightly grainy

T - big, funky sweet and sour, which swoops into alcohol and a wet, grainy note. Sour Peaches and pithy orange, muscat and green grape, mild tannin.

M - not quite cloying but close, or at least made palatable by the sourness. A little weighty at the moment.

O - Not a home run right out the gate, but it doesn't need to be. There is a ton of stuff in here for the wild yeasts to grab hold of and devour, I just couldn't wait. Good thing I have another!

Jul 02, 2013
Spencer from The Ale Apothecary
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 39 ratings