Insula Multos Collibus | Avery Brewing Company

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Insula Multos CollibusInsula Multos Collibus
Insula Multos CollibusInsula Multos Collibus

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
"A zymurgical ode to one of the classic - and one of our favorite - cocktails. Fancy a guess?"

We used our house Brett (Drie) for secondary fermentation and our house pediococcus and lactobacillus for souring to produce the cleanest sour beer we could to give the barrels center stage! The result was a dark red, strong sour beer that we aged in fresh Bourbon barrels for 9 months and fermented with cherries.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 334
Reviews by kojevergas:
Photo of kojevergas
3.26/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: Bottled April 16, 2015. 12 fl oz format. Gold foil covers the pry-off crown cap. Label is classic Avery, depicting a barrel for obvious reasons.

"Ale aged in bourbon barrels with cherries added." "Barrel aged sour ale." "A zymurgical ode to one of the classic - and one of our favorite - cocktails." 9.7% ABV.

Served chilled into an Avery snifter and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: Fizzy, receding fully within 1 minute flat. Off-white with no robust creaminess or thickness to its consistency. Not thin or weak, but definitely wanting in terms of froth. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Pale red. Murky but not hazy or cloudy. Nontransparent. Translucent. I see no yeast/lees within. Not a clean looking brew, but it's appropriately coloured for a cherry sour.

Appears aptly carbonated.

AROMA: Lovely bacterial presence, hitting not only lactobacillus but also pediococcus. Not as tart as I imagined a cherry sour/kriek would be, but the cherry is definitely there, and seems genuine rather than medicinally artificial. Vanilla (vanillin) from the bourbon barrel plays well with the cherry, and there's a faint undertone of white oak but no bourbony heat. Brettanomyces inject some mild funkiness to this sour ale, but the focus stays rightly on the bacteria. I imagine all the brettanomyces used were bruxellensis; I can't see lambicus hurting. Some acetic cherry pie notes are present, nodding towards Flanders Reds without committing fully.

Malt backbone is tough to pin down, but I imagine it's all Belgian with 2-row, pale, and maybe a bit of amber.

A damn appealing aroma of moderate strength, suggesting a tasty but balanced sour ale with a ~5-6/10 intensity of sourness.

To style, there are no overt hoppy notes. Not big on either esters or phenols. It somehow manages to disguise its 9.70% ABV - which is monstrously high for a kriek.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Aptly medium-bodied, with appropriately moderate thickness and heft on the palate. Prickly carbonation gives it a champagne-like feel. Slightly dry, which helps coax out the oak and cherry flavours. Smooth and approachable, with no booziness at all but some welcome warmth.

Bacteria is the star of the show in this build, with pediococcus and lactobacillus providing loads of intangible intricacy in addition to the funkiness from the mild brettanomyces (bruxellensis) presence and the added nuances of the microflora. Aging in (used) oak was the right move; this is a far more lively brew than I imagine it could have been if aged in stainless steel, and its white oak undertone unites the beer, lending natural cohesion.

I do get some bourbon warmth on the finish, but other than that it drinks more like an oak aged ale than a bourbon barrel beer, with the notes of oak and subtle barrel vanillin obvious but no overt bourbon flavours like toasted coconut emerging.

The cherry presence is a bit muddy; there's no tart acidity to the cherry presence and it's not bursting with the flavour; adding cherries earlier in the fermentation process might help them feel better integrated, and more cherries with more tartness would be a good call. What does work well is the cherry pie flavour of the beer, which as noted above does nod towards Flanders Reds. I guess it tastes more like dry cherry skin than actual ripe cherries.

Sourness is maybe a 5-6/10 in terms of intensity. Hardly puckering. More of a smacky acidity and twang would help the bacteria present their sour flavours better.

It's a bit leathery in feel, which is increasingly bothersome the more I drink it, lessening its drinkability especially when combined with that parching dryness.

OVERALL: The balance isn't quite dialed in, the bourbon barrel isn't all that present, the cherry flavour is mediocre, and the mouthfeel drags a bit. But there's some nice bacterial flavour here, and it's a far more competent sour than many breweries are capable of making. I hoped for great things given how much I usually adore Avery's sours, and while this isn't a bad execution of the premise by any means, it's definitely a disappointing one given the brewery behind it. Drinkable for its (unnecessary) high ABV, but not a beer I'd buy again - especially not at this price.

Low B- (3.26) / WORTHY

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Never happy with the status quo, the "never-say-die" attitude that's found in Avery's barrel program takes on a sour cherry ale of epic proportions- one that employs a bourbon barrel slumber, imperial strength, some seriously wild microflora and a whole lot of patience. The result: a flanders red ale on crack.

As the hazy, rusty ruddish brown ale swirls in the glass, a dainty creme of froth calderns from below, greets the nose briefly then folds back into its own bracing acidity. But its piquant perfume latches onto the olfactories with its distinctive sour cherry, lemon, lime, saddle leather, horse hair, weathered oak and vinous spice. Its first and supple sip explodes on the tongue like pop rocks candy; bursting with hard candy and robust fruit, if only briefly.

But when the sweetness proves fast-fleeting and the malty texture dissolves on the palate, the ale turns decidedly cabernet-like with robust black cherry, plum, blackberry and currant; but also with the puckering tang of crabapple, dried lime, lemon and savory balsamic reduction. And as the palate-stripping sourness hedges on unbearable intensity, the taste of charred wood, almond, saltine and mineral rusticity to round out the piercing acidity.

Dry, crisp and highly acidic, the beer finishes with the texture of the driest red wine- refreshing the palate with utter ease. As the spice of alcohol wears on, it does so with a peppery and pleasant woodsy tannic bite. After tones of cherry and balsamic extend in brief afterglow.

 1,510 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from West Lakeview Liquors. Served in a Cantillon Zwanze glass.

A - White foam settles to a partial collar, wisps, and minimal lace. Hazy amber-orange body with a few specks of dark sediment.

S - Very oaky, with some earthy bourbon and vanilla present. Tart, but fairly restrained cherry pie flavors; malty crusty, cherry, and vanilla cream.

T - The taste is much heavier on cherry vinegar, with significantly lighter hints of bourbon and oak in the finish. A bit of lingering vanilla and perhaps some residual biscuit malt in the finish.

M - Some warming, but not excessive for 9.7%. Fairly low carbonation, and fairly high lingering stickiness, even with the tannins from the fruit and wood. Medium-full body is appropriate for the alcohol content.

D - This is another pretty solid effort from Avery; these beers have become far more consistent as the series has progressed. Steep at nearly $14 a bottle, but enjoyable and easily consumed on one's own.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Deep and slightly hazy body, with an interesting color. Color angle seems to blend from apricot orange, to a dark rusty red color. Head is a bit tiny, tan an a little creamy, but dissolves pretty quickly but maintains a thin collar and very thin bubbled whispy top. A little bit watery slappy sounding out of the bottle though.

Bouquet has some good solid cherry tartness, and a hint of sour orange fruit as well. Slightly peppery hinting quality and hinting at some wood balsamic tones as well. Nice and good controlled but strong acidity aromas coming off of this, and some woody barrel character to match as well.

Palate comes a little bit lighter but at least clean and fresh feeling, if a little bit non grand. Wet but juiced up cherry qualities and good tartness. Light bodied coating finish, and more red wine like vinegar tones than balsamic hinting that the nose seemed to suggest before. Quenching palate almost juicy, but not quite getting there, and lacking some oak aging thickness.

Overall a pretty solid brew, but not really excellent, but very good at least.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled April 16, 2015. Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is deep, dark, opaque, brownish-caramel coloring with a sparse, filmy, surface coating of off-white head, and a solid amount of carbonation bubbling throughout the body. Aromas of caramel, vanilla, subtle cherry sweetness, and very subtle funk. Flavors are very tart and sour forward, all cherry, with a quick follow by rich vanilla, woody notes, caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. The sour pulls rank over all, but the other flavors are definitely there, scratching closely beneath the surface. Full bodied, but kept light and very drinkable by the carbonation. The aftertaste is very tart, slightly sour, and heavy on the cherry notes. The finish is crisp and dry, with a lasting cherry linger and solid pucker on the taste buds. This is a really good beer, and it will work your palate. Delicious.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Lucnifter
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jhlosito75
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dsm45
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of kristougher
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of kmos27
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Brolo75
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip

A: Dark red, mahogany, no head, some decent lacing, hazy, nice carbonation, no head retention.

A: Sour, tart, vinegar, cherries, slight bourbon oakiness, no alcohol.

T: Sour funkiness, blends into tart cherry, bourbon, oak wood, finishes dry, the brett and the sour characteristics really come through at the end, really complex beer.

M: Lots of carbonation, thicker than most sour ales.

O: Very impressed, the cherries come through really well, definitely going to pick up a few more bottles to age and enjoy, the bourbon hides nice in the middle, usually my experience has been with bourbon beers is that the bourbon is introduced at the beginning, bourbon is present in the middle.

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Photo of jgunther71
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Beersnake1
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of EB1
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Patches826
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of freshcarl
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Raziel313
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Iamjeff6
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of redfish2942
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dataylor21
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Liberatiscioli
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of zookerman182
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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Insula Multos Collibus from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 334 ratings