Black & Wild
Side Project Brewing

Black & WildBlack & Wild
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American Wild Ale
Ranked #12
Ranked #208
4.57 | pDev: 7.88%
Side Project Brewing
Missouri, United States
Black & WildBlack & Wild
Notes: Black & Wild is the antithesis of most American Wild Ales. The robust nature of the intense acidity, bold sour cherries and chocolaty malt is layered with the deep notes of vanilla, spicy charred oak and rich caramels from the used bourbon barrels in which this beer matured for more than a year.
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 209 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of M_chav
3.44/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not anything I want to try again, just not my cup of tea and if you put any other label on this beer besides "side Project" it would fall into the Tart of Darkness category. Happy to tick but nothing to write home about. sorry bruh

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Photo of Luscious_Malfoy
4.66/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8oz pour on draft at the brewery tasting room. looks dark maroon to dark brown with tan swirls. smells of sharp acidity, bourbon soaked cherries with a little drizzle of chocolate. taste is very light bourbon, rich acidity, sour cherries and chocolate maltiness. feel is full and somewhat more carbonated than expected but nothing to complain about. overall, the intense sourness is balanced quite well by the maltiness and chocolate flavors. such a unique beer. very glad to have finally tried this.

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Photo of gibgink
4.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was surprised that I got to try this beer. Batch 1, shared at the SP Brewery 1 year anniversary. Pours a dark reddish hue, with not a ton of carb. I didn't pick up on much more than the cherry on the nose. Flavor was pretty intense, which was a bit of a surprise given the age of the bottle. A nice robust tart cherry flavor on the palate. I didn't get a lot of the barrel, but that could've been from all the other insane beers I was having at the time.

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Photo of edthehead
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the most unique wild's I've ever had. It is black, and it is wildly acidic and flavor packed. Flavor had a lot of oak, molasses, raisin, chocolate, sour cherry, and spice, and a perfect bourbon balance without being boozy ... didn't detect the vanilla. The nose follows the palate with the sour cherry really coming through, and the vanilla making its appearance. The mouth feel is what really stands out with this beer, amazingly thick syrupy smooth and long lasting with flavor on the finish. Amazing wild, amazingly unique! Must try!

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Photo of lupercmda
4.77/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours opaque brown with a small thin champagne like head. Has a chocolate type sour smell. Taste is incredibly well balance. Definitely get the chocolate and the cherry mid palate and finishes with a sour cherry finish. Well done.

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark mahogany and amber hues with a thin khaki head
S: Tart cherries, bourbon, and a bit of funk
T: Incredibly rich flavor profile - ripe dark sweet cherries, dark chocolate, charred oak, vanilla, and a boozy bourbon splash with some bite
F: Evenly carbed and smooth
O: I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this one, but it is a decadent, big, and complex beast. Delicious chocolate covered dark fruits and a bit of barrel make this a very unique drinking experience. Incredible.

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Photo of Shogun250
4.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I thought this was really interesting. Chocolate, bourbon flavor comes through, and ends sour. Think chocolate covered cherry dipped in bourbon. This was not overly sweet, but had a great balance. An exceptional beer that I haven't seen done before.

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Photo of fireazzi
4.93/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

probably the best dark sour I have ever had.
look is nice dark low carb
smell is nice funk with sour cherries
taste is funky cherries nice sour bite.
feel light in the mouth sour bite at the end.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Was lucky enough to have this one at the source! Enjoyed at Side Project Taproom with friends and this is one amazing Wild! Very complex and fruity!

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.29/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Blend #2---poured into a HF Tulip glass,.... has some typical dark sour notes, cherry, chocolate, fig, all blending together... a fair amount of sourness, not enamel eating but definitely up there.... has a unique and long finish that differentiates it from other dark sours ive had... hard to qualify, almost chlorine-like but in a good way (sounds odd I know).... Very nice but not a huge edge over other more accessible dark sours.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.49/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inky black in the glass. Decent beige head. Smell is nuanced: roasted cocoa, vanilla, sour cherry, red grapes. Flavor is tarter than the nose suggests. Very vinous, fruit forward. Big, acidic finish but the chocolate malt backbone helps it along. The best kind of German chocolate cake.

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Photo of mothman
4.41/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black and dark in color. So much jam. Jammy goodness. Sour and tart and goodness. Black berries and raspberries. Very drinkable. I'd love to have more of this one.

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Photo of danh53
4.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with reddish hue and one finger head. Aroma is cherries, blackberries, some chocolate, vinegar, and oak. Taste is an explosion of dark berries and cherry skins. Tastes super tart and acidic like cherry and BlackBerry skins. Chocolate isn't prominent but adds complexity. I get hints of citrus and vanilla as it warms. Mouth feel is medium to full. Tart berries dominate here. The oak provides character and and dry finish. Unique and complex beer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.22/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Black body with a huge khaki head. Nice looking. I immediately smell bourbon. Strong acidity and roasted malt. Maybe cherries? Taste is much stronger cherry. Intensely sour. Overpowers everything. Some roasted malt and a little bitterness, but mostly sourness. Well carbonated. Medium body. Flavorful, but overwhelmed by sourness. I get none of the barrel in the taste, though.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.57/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml consumed at Side Project.

Smell and Taste are: Milk chocolate, sour cherry, lactic, acidic, lemon peel, sweet caramel

Overall very lucky to try this one

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Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours the color of coffee capped by an inch or so of foam; some lacing action

Smell: Black cherry, chocolate, charred oak, caramel and Bourbon tones

Taste: Acetic sourness juts forward, with black cherry dominant; chocolate and caramel tones soften the acidity, with the Bourbon, vanilla and oak flavors building; incredible depth in both the sour and base malt flavors are highlighted in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; solid pucker factor

Overall: A significant achievement with complexity abounding

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Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Batch #2 from a 750 ml bottle at the Side Project Cellar. Black & Wild has one of the most complex flavor profiles of any beer I have ever had. Sourness, tart cherries, and vanilla and oak from the whiskey barrel are balanced perfectly. Just incredible.

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: dark dark brown, with some reddish brown at the edges. Like a very dark cola.
S: delicate in comparison to the taste. Oak, light char, tart black cherries.
T: one of the most complex beers I've ever head. Much bolder than the nose. Tart black cherries, oak, char all balanced. Tartness comes out on the finish and linger.
O: excellent. Very complex. Took half a glass before I could deconstruct the flavors.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle. Batch 1. Served in a Side Project stemmed glass on 5/10/2015.

Appearance is pitch black. Perfectly contrasts with the Side Project lightbulb logo. Beautiful. Two finger brown head with appropriate retention time; disappears into a very thin collar, no film. No lacing.

Smells of tart cherries up front, fresh out of the fridge. It doesn't smell as sour as I was expecting it to be after one year in the bottle. Moderately acidic but not vinegary or lactic. After a few minutes, thick chocolate fudge comes out; literally like chocolate fondue. The cherries are still strong at this point, making for a nice chocolate covered cherry aroma. Oak, a bit of vanilla. The whiskey starts coming out more as it warms, as well. Smoky, sweet, robust whiskey; a nice complement, never quite emerging to the fore. Overall, to sum up the full extent of the aroma in one sentence- tart cherries covered in dark chocolate with a bit of vanilla essence and oak; mellow whiskey in the background. Fair amount of acidity, but not particularly lactic.

Flavour is equally complex. Initially, tart cherries, dark chocolate. So like in the nose, chocolate covered cherries. Not particularly sweet. Small amounts of vanilla are present, as is a moderate vinegary acidity. As it warms up, the oak and tannins seem to combine with the acidity to give a vinous flavour, like a Syrah; in my mind, it seems to impart a lot of red wine notes into the flavour; I suspect this is due to the combination of the oak tannins and the acidity. Whiskey is there, underneath all of this. No heat, but a subtle char is noticeable towards the end. A very complex beer that seems to evolve with minute changes in temperature, finally reaching its peak at room temperature. Even more cherries come out at the end. It's really a fascinating drinking experience.

The body is rich and substantial, which you'd think would be strange for an AWA, but it's substantial without being dry or creamy. Smooth with good carbonation. Different flavours follow each other in waves as they roll over your tongue, leaving a pleasantly tart, oaky and mildly sticky aftertaste without any kind of heat.

Overall, this is one of the more unique beers I've had the pleasure of drinking over the last 3 years. When I think about American Wild Ales and how they compare to their old world counterparts, I tend to find that most heralded examples of Wild Ales seem to be lacking in complexity by being so boldly acidic. Cory King has somehow taken the genre to another level by creating a beer that is bold in every way with plenty of acidity yet nuanced with a great array of different flavours that make each sip a new experience in of itself.


750ml bottle of Batch 2. Served in a wine glass.

Pours a dark black body with a hint of brown depending on the lighting. One finger tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Not altogether too different from the original batch. Smells of dark chocolate, cherries, oak, vinegar, fudge. The level of acidity you can smell and taste is remarkably similar to one-year old Batch 1 as above, which surprised me. Flavour is very similar; chocolate fudge and chocolate covered cherries, oak, vinegar. The cherries aren't as prominent as expected. The flavours pop nicely, with a nice tart 8/10 acidity that is quite sour but not bracingly so. No off flavours. As the beer warms, it brings out a little more of the chocolate and less of the cherries; it evolves quite a bit just like its predecessor did. Delicious. Mouthfeel is noticeably thinner than the original batch, I felt. There is still a fair amount of body, but perhaps I am comparing everything to Maman which I had the same day. Good carbonation, with a nice residual, slightly fizzy, chocolate fudge and acidity on the backend. Overall, it's not quite Batch 1 as far as body goes, but the flavour remains excellent and one of the more unique beers I've had.

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Photo of drmcleod10
4.99/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark muddled brown and red coloring with minimal small tan head that recedes back into the glass. Nice retention here.

S - Cinnamon, Cherries, and whiskey dominate the nose followed by notes of funk and sourness.

T - Taste follows the nose with a blast of cherries that integrate well wight he tartness followed b notes of cinnamon whiskey oak and chocolate and vanilla all blend together from the 2nd use BA Abraxas Barrels

M - Mouthfeel is spot on here with a medium bodied crisp mouthfeel and finish. Can't ask for much else here

O - I am just astounded at what Corey has put out.... this and Oude Fermier and truly masterpieces that deserve the hype. This is comparable to a VSB type quality beer and perfectly executed for the style that it resides in. If you can get this, seek this out with confidence

Re-review with a much larger pour.

This beer is one of the most complex interesting beers that has ever touched my lips.
Every sip you take exposes something different on the palate. One sip its a sour cherry bomb, another sip you get the whiskey notes, another sip you get the BA Abraxas chocolate and cinnamon mix, another sip all the flavors meld together. This has mellowed out since the release and is drinking incredible. This is the best sour I've ever had and may go on to be my favorite beer that I have consumed this year. One of the most complex and deep beers that has ever touched my lips. Sour, cherry, chocolate, whiskey, cinnamon, vanilla, everything you could want from beer.

8-10 ounces poured into a wine glass and consumed on-site at Perennial.
Can't wait to open more bottles of this.

Cannot wait for Batch 2

There are no flaws with this beer and is the best representation of it's style that I have come across

Revisited 3/2/2015

Still my favorite SP beer and probably my favorite beer overall.

Starting to turn a little more acidic but still very well balanced with the acidic cherries up front followed by that classic bourbon chocolate soaked tart cherries. Cinnamon and vanilla in between. The most complex beer out there.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.37/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours dark brown with red tones around the edges and deep brown to black in the middle of the body. A small and bubbly head forms but doesn't stick around very long. Head is tan to light brown in color. Minimal lacing due to lack of head as you drink.

S- Tart cherries are big up front, providing a juicy, fruity, and sour start to the scent. Just a touch of darker scents kick in with a hint of whiskey barrel right after the sour cherry. Spicy barrel and vanilla sweetness are the main scents of the barrel. Wonderfully complex smell all around.

T- Starts off with a big sour cherry bang. Huge and juicy sour cherries preside over the front half of the taste before moving a little towards the darker flavors. Just a hint of dark malts are detectable under the sour cherry flavor, before the barrel character kicks in a little bit. Whiskey barrel spice and vanilla sweetness come in and compete with the strong cherry flavor, providing a little bit of balance. Ends with a lingering cherry tartness.

M- Light and highly carbonated on the tongue, this feels like a traditional lambic or wild. The darker malts that give the beer its dark color and some darker flavors really don't translate to a creamier mouthfeel. Still, this is spot on for the wild ale style.

Overall, this is a great beer, but not as phenomenal as I was anticipating. I was really hoping for more of a dark malt presence to compete with the cherries, but this is still a great beer.

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Photo of SadMachine
4.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A- Pours a murky dark brown/reddish color with a small tan head that recedes to a collar leaving some lacing.

S- The aroma is bursting with dark tart cherries, sweet malt, lacto sourness, brett funk, and oak! Super rich and complex, yet amazingly balanced and inviting!

T- Wow! This is just incredibly crafted! Bright sour cherry notes followed by tons of oak, sweet malts, even some chocolate. Mostly it's just tons of sourness, some lactic, some fruity. Some slight cinnamon and spiciness in the background Despite the warhead sourness this is incredibly drinkable!

M- The mouth feel is medium, well carbed, with a nice dry finish.

O- This is just a perfect example of a dark sour! Amazingly well done again by Side Project!

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Photo of jegross2
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing Black & Wild, a dark sour aged in an bourbon barrel used to age Barrel Aged Abraxas from Side Project Brewing out of St. Louis, Missouri.

Score: 100

April 2014 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Side Project Brewing bulb glass and enjoyed on 05/28/14. HUGE thank you to Ryan for sharing this delectable treat.

Appearance: Pours a black coffee color with a half finger of tan head. Average lacing, really good retention. 5/5

Smell: Burnt maple syrup, cinnamon, tart cherries and chocolate. Hint of bourbon. Perfect integration on the nose. 5/5

Taste: Very tart whiskey soaked cherries with a light cinnamon twist on the midpalate and a delectable dark chocolate finish. Maple syrup backbone. No acidity, lovely sweet and sour with a nice sour bite upfront. More cinnamon and maple as it warms. Like the nose, the taste integration is sheer perfection. No booziness whatsoever. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, perfect carbonation. Big tart bite upfront. Lovely sweet and sour mix. 5/5

Overall: For me, this is a top five overall American wild ale and the best dark sour that I have had the chance to sample. This beer is on par with Very Sour Blackberry, Cable Car Kriek, Blackberry Raspberry Lambic and Blueberry Flanders. The Abraxas-derived complexities interact perfectly with the dark sour/tart cherry characteristics. If you can get a bottle, I highly recommend seeking this one out.

Cost: $25 for a 750 ml bottle.

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Photo of rodkin
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Mike for opening this on the evening of our law school graduation. Congrats, and thank you for your generosity!

Appearance is dark reddish brown, small head that reduces to just the tiniest bit of lacing around the glass, and a thin inconsistent film.

Smell is sour sweet cherries and spice from the barrels, melding together beautifully.

Tasting is puckering tart cherry and chocolate malt. As it warms the barrel becomes more prominent and the cherry less puckering, until it ends up being cheery, vanilla, charred oak, spice, chocolate malts, and a bracing acidity that pushes toward being too much without ever quite crossing the line. Simply phenomenal.

Medium thick mouthfeel, prickly carbonation, full and smooth. Perfect.

This beer is so drinkable it is insane. Doesn't taste like 10% at all, I could drink a bottle of this by myself. The best yet from Cory King, and among the best beers I have ever had.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a long stemmed Side Project tulip from a 750ml bottle.

Pours a nice black color with some mahogany edges and slight ruby hues. There is no head to be seen, as expected.

Wow. The aroma is intense cherry and vanilla notes. Completely acidic tartness can be perceived in the nose that almost singes the nostrils but in a good way. These notes are then tempered slightly by some mild sugary barrel sweetness that has some vanilla spice to it in the nose. As it warms there are TONS of sour cherry notes perceived in the nose. Tart, tart, tart with enough sweetness to slightly round out the sharp edges. Amazing notes of cherry and vanilla.

Flavor starts off with intense tartness. Pretty acidic. Definitely a delicious sipper. Flavor starts off with acidic tartness that then transforms into a nice fruit cherry tartness with some great notes of woody barrel on the background. There are some slight vanilla notes present that help give the brew a bit of a sweet edge but they only really compliments the intense tart cherry notes for this brew. The woody notes really compliments the beer as it warms and almost helps to add to the intensity. Mouthfeel is silky smooth and the near zero carbonation is perfect.

Another sour gem from Cory King. The layer complexities are very prevalent and vivid and the intense cherry notes shine on their own. Great American Wild.

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Black & Wild from Side Project Brewing
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 209 ratings