Opuntia | Avery Brewing Company

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129 Ratings

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.65%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Sour ale aged 9 months in Tequila Barrels with prickly pear juice added.

Added by StoutSnob40 on 01-10-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 129 |  Reviews: 16
Photo of BeerDawgs
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 2.19.14. So this is 3 years old :)

L - Amber with clarity, 1/2 a finger of head that dissipates quickly. Gorgeous brew

S - Acidic, Sourness, citrus, lemons, lime, almost like a Corona with lime

T - Sour lingers in your throat, lemons, lime, tart. Very good!

F - Well carbonated, medium body

O - An awesome barrel aged sour. Another great one in Avery's lineup.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.87/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of shirtless_mike
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kojevergas
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Last year, one of the best beers I tried was Avery's majestic Rufus Corvus. Hoping for a repeat performance, I cracked this one open.

2014 vintage. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with a gold foil-ed over crown cap. Label art is classily understated.

6.65% ABV. Bottled: Feb 19, 2014. Production: 263 cases.

Served chilled into a flute per the label and allowed to come to temp over the course of the review. Reviewed live as a barrel-aged sour ale per the label.

HEAD: ~2 inches wide. Off-white in colour. Audibly fizzy, though not aggressively so. It's a neat cushion of foam, but a creamier fuller consistency would be nice; it's a biteen thin. Leaves no lacing as it recedes, which takes about 4 minutes to fully occur.

BODY: Vibrant golden honey-copper. Translucent and semitransparent, with a clean yeast & sediment-free appearance. Appears well-carbonated.

It's a nice looking sour ale - mimicking a Belgian golden ale to its benefit, which I think matches the tequila-based premise.

AROMA: Lime zest, fresh juicy pear (but not a dry saison-like orchard pear), pale malts, intricate pediococcus and lactobacillus bacteria lending it mild (~5/10 in terms of intensity) sourness, lactic acid, tequila-redolent agave cactus, and a rustic wooden character...though I'd stop short of calling it oak. This doesn't scream overt tequila to me, but rather hints at it with the lime, the wood, and the cacti. It's definitely a more sophisticated and subtle tequila presence than you'd find in, say, Desperados, and it seems to play well with the bacterial intangibles.

I don't detect any brettanomyces funkiness, though I do see brettanomyces yeast listed as an ingredient.

Aromatic intensity is moderate, suggesting an off-the-beaten-path sour ale build that isn't hindered by the tequila, as one might suspect given the beer's premise. It's alive and inviting, and I'm eager to try it.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Gorgeous. The lactic acid twang of the mouthfeel is complemented beautifully by the aptly high acidity, which accentuates the limey citrus and concomitant zest from the rich tequila presence. The barrel never overwhelms or eclipses the base beer, but instead plays off its natural nuances, letting the fruity juicy prickly pear emerge but then wane and return, teasing the drinker over the course of the flavour profile.

It's remarkably smooth, with an ideal presence on the palate. Perfectly medium-bodied, with near perfect carbonation and a juicy yet soft overall feel. Wet and refreshing, yet twangy and smacky from the sourness...which is a reasonable 6/10 in terms of intensity - not enough to induce puckering or cause warhead-like discomfort, but enough to satisfy sour ale fans. Many ostensible sours aren't really sour; I'm happy to say this isn't one of them. And it's not just lactobacillus-induced; there's also pedicoccus in there, and maybe some near-intangible complexity from the brettanomyces...though again, I don't notice any obvious funkiness or farmhouse notes.

The tequila isn't overt or even obvious; I don't know that I'd even recognize it if I tried this in a blind tasting. But there's an added fruity dimension beyond the prickly pear and lime that I guess I could attribute to the cactus. Or wait, is cactus a vegetable? In any case, the tequila is well incorporated, seamlessly melting into the base beer. I don't find any rich oak or barrel sugars per se, but there's a wooden character I suppose.

Boasts impressive depth of flavour and flavour duration, with the lime-driven acidic twang of the sourness lingering through the finish and into the aftertaste. This is a remarkably well-balanced brew, and most critically, it never succumbs to what was my biggest hesitation coming in - that there'd be boozy spicey tequila ruining the delicate bacterial notes. I find myself loving it more as it warms, and the natural harmony of texture and taste really elevates this beer a few cuts above most American-brewed sour ales.

To style, there's no overt hop presence and I find no off-flavours.

If we're nitpicking, still more sourness and tartness would improve the beer, as would a more developed agave presence. With tequila, it seems you could work in delicate notes of smoke and/or spice to add intricacy without destroying the balance.

OVERALL: Well worth its high price point, Opuntia is a damned impressive sour ale that again upholds Avery as one of my home state's finest sour producers - if not one of the USA's. As drinkable as it is balanced, with a near-unique flavour profile that has me itching for another bottle already. I'd like to see them do this year-round. Just as I found with Rufus Corvus last year, this is easily one of the best beers I've tried this year. Worth seeking out, and a beer I'll rave about to friends. Hat tip to the cats at Avery for another stellar addition to their already impressive sour lineup. This is, without a doubt, the best inclusion of tequila-redolent flavours in a beer I have ever encountered.

A- (4.19)

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Photo of suckaj
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jordantb313
4.84/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of peachesncream
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GilGarp
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Feb 19, 2014. Production of 263 cases.

Served chilled into a goblet, opuntia is a beautiful copper-amber color with great clarity. The head is non existant so no lacing on this one.

Aroma is mostly coming from the wild yeast but with subtle undertones of vanilla and pear.

Flavor is beautifully balanced with sweet, tart, and sour all playing in unison. The vanilla from the oak and the prickly pear come through as well as some sour grapes and honey. The sour note is not overpowering even after a year of aging. I don't get much from the tequila but I don't see that as a bad thing.

Mouthfeel is medium to light in body with sparkling carbonation. The sweet to sour balance is just right for my tastes.

Overall an excellent sour and one of the best from Avery.

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Photo of mschantz
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of saxclar123
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of PA-Michigander
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kingjohnh
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of KevinGordon
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.6/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

Bottled 2/19/14.

Pours a hazy golden-orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Tiny chunks of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is sour with grain, fruit, agave, tequila, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with sour grain, fruit, and bubblegum flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and dry mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with an interesting mix of prickly pear and tequila aspects all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Wowcoolman
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of ChrisISO_SJ
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of hopsonboard
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of cpetrone84
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

pour is lightly hazed copper with a white head. Nose is fruited, pear is light, hint of kiwi, sweeter, faint tequila and grain notes. Taste is fruitier, tequila is faint. Pear comes through more in the back with a moderate tartness. High carb and light body.

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Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Jas45678
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of SadMachine
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of BeersAndBears
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of miggs3030
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of putonyourwalkingshoes
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Had this at Hamilton's along with other Avery sours. This one blew me away. I don't normally think tequila barrels and sour work well together but this one is executed really well. Excellent complements with the prickly pear almost tropical. Just a pleasure to drink start to finish. Even has some lactic finish in the mouthfeel which I really dig in a sour. Would buy a case of this in a heartbeat if I could find it.

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Photo of quine
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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Opuntia from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.34 out of 5 with 129 ratings