Opuntia | Avery Brewing Company

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 Sammy
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

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 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.

 752 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

one of the more unique of these barrel releases from avery. thanks to drlovemd87 for bringing it by. the color is hazy amber, light, and there isnt much head or visible carbonation. the aroma here isnt particularly enticing either, for me at least. heavy on the tequila, fresh juicy agave, oak, and that classic watermelon jolly rancher candy vibe, sugary before its sour. the flavor is far superior to the smell, the tequila takes a back seat to the cactus flesh tasting prickly pear, which adds only a little sweetness and a lot of character that is fully compatible with the tequila flavors, which have a touch of smoke, and also mesh nicely with the sourness, which stays on the front of the tongue but is rather intense. the oak mellows things and gives just enough sweetness to an otherwise dry beer. it could stand a little more carbonation i think, but its medium body and soft overall feel allow the tequila flavors to stand out, as well as the prickly pear finish to last a little longer than it otherwise might. not overly sour, but robust in that regard. complex, but not muddled. its layers of flavor, sequentially arranged and contributing equally to the overall product. all of these beers in this series have been unique, but this one may take the cake. best use of a tequila barrel in a beer i have seen, although i suspect the quantity of ones on the market is about to ramp way up. outstanding beer, expensive, but worth it for the experience.

edit: bumping up a few scores after having another bottle last night. sour like a warhead candy, and i dont mean that sour, i mean it literally tastes like a watermelon warhead, which i happen to love. better than i gave it credit for originally, still weird, but its aged gracefully, although still in its infancy im sure...

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

With as much of a wine character as it does of beer, Opuntia resonates with tangy and dry chardonnay, Belgian-esque earthy maltiness all packed into a cocoon of brilliant tequila and floral arrangements.

And those wine-like tones speak to the eye as its rosy golden appearance casts the most dainty of haze. A thin ribbon of cottony foam encircles the glass and scatters nearest its center and hangs on for most of the session.

Sharp aromas pierce the olfactory senses with utmost tangy tartness of lemons, limes, under-ripened oranges, sour grapes and crab apples. Its vinous aroma invites soft horse hair, saddle leather and cellar-like must while a background of agave and prickly pear offer a delicate fruit tone- similarly of orange blossoms and honeysuckle.

Stripping the mouth completely, the beer's acidity bypasses its wafer-thin and timid honey sweetness and slices through the thirst with dried citrus peels, sour grapes and chardonnay dry taste. Finishing sourish, a dry taste invites woody and winy character but with tepid cider notes. The bulk of its agave and prickly pear delicacy is reserved for the finish and aftertaste; as its musty bite recedes.

Its incredible dry mouthfeel absorbs the thirst and waters the mouth as its dry white wine acidity entices the palate with its mild astringency to accompany its souring pang. Its dry path closes with powdery oak and peppery warmth.

The beer's ability to deliver high flavor, power and complexity is remarkable, despite its moderate alcohol and its straight forward "wild" character than never really reaches across the sour fence.

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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)

 5,000 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep orange body. Small white head. Medium collar.

Smell - A very interesting fruit aroma. I don't smell much prickly pear on a daily basis, but it smells like it's in the cactus family. Faint tequila aroma.

Taste - Lots of fruit. Like the smell. A fruit cactus flavor. A vegetal flavor that isn't unpleasant. Seems to fit. Citrusy. Pleasant sourness.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation and medium body.

Overall - I didn't expect to like this. The tequila is present and not unpleasant, which is quite a surprise.

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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 MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of SadMachine
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Gobzilla
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of outoffocus
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of LoveStout
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of eawolff99
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of petermethot
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of jbaker67
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Orange and pretty clear with light sediment and a fizzy, quickly diminishing head. Tropical, fresh aroma of tart fruit, sour notes, light oak and a touch of tequila. Similar flavor, juicy, fruity, tart, sour and lightly sweet. Medium body with a nice puckering feel and a lasting finish. Pretty damn good.

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Photo of pathman
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of kscaldef
2.5/5  rDev -42.4%

Photo of Axnjxn
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

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