The Rare Barrel

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Wild Ale
4.19 | pDev: 7.16%
The Rare Barrel
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Afterlight is a dark sour beer aged in French Bordeaux wine barrels. Fermented with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, this decadent sour beer presents notes of dark chocolate, dried cherries and vanilla. Dark and alluring, Afterlight entwines flavors of both beer and wine.
Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 71 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Frosty11161:
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Frosty11161 from California

3.55/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Jun 12, 2017
More User Reviews:
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Drinkerofales from California

4.87/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75




The aroma hits you with a bit of funk, hidden behind the winey/lemony wall.

Flavors of the sweet dark malt in the background are over powered by lemons, tart plum, rich wine, and sour candy.

Before you buy this, make sure you are into sours, or you will be sad.

Dec 25, 2016
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KMachHops from California

4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it on draft but this review is for the bottle.
Look: For sour lovers, the appearance is a turn off. Coffee head when pour vigorously but will dissipates within seconds, flat looking when settle, and black like a stout.
Smell: Funk and cherries.
Taste: Super complex. Cherries then chocolate and finishes with a nice tart.
Feel: Smooth beginning then the puckering sour.
Overall: One amazing sour. Considering there isn't any fruit, this is a very successful attempt using bordeaux barrels. I recommend trying Quite Something and compare golden sour vs. dark sour in bordeaux barrels.

May 12, 2016
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a duvel tulip to a beer so brown that it's essentially black. The beer is topped by a finger of rocky deep tan head which fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of leather and chocolate with oak and some sour cherry notes. Really nice nose.
T: Taste is sour cherries, chocolate, oak, and leather with slight hints of funk and vanilla. Juicy red berry notes with a nice layer of acid. On the swallow it's more cherries, chocolate, leather, and oak with some slight lingering funky sourness.
M: This beer has a body which is fairly moderate. It feels slightly slick and syrupy on the palate with an adequate amount of carbonation. The finish on this one is drying due to the acidity.
O: This beer is incredible. The fruity flavors mixed with the savory chocolate notes are just awesome. The complexity on this beer is fantastic and the flavors meld together very well. This beer is an absolute joy to drink and one that is worth seeking out.

Jul 09, 2020
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cjgator3 from Florida

3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Feb 19, 2017
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largadeer from California

4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sep 06, 2016
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours espresso colored with a rather thin beige cap; dots and a few streaks linger as the head fades

Smell: The Bordeaux oak barrels present along with blackberry and cherry tones; a hint of chocolate

Taste: Acetic from the outset, with the blackberry and cherry flavors subsumed by the sourness; some Bordeaux oak barrel in the middle that keeps it dry and there is a hint of chocolate that hangs around from start to finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; quite puckery

Overall: I was hoping to get more out of this than the acid as there are some nice flavors here; I guess the years in the bottle have made this more acetic over time

Jun 13, 2020
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FLBeerGuy from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Apr 25, 2016
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tykechandler from Kentucky

4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

May 29, 2016
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PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 24, 2016
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billab914 from Virginia

3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Apr 24, 2016
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks for the trade, Juan.

A- Black as can be pour from the 750ml to a mini tasting glass. The head forms with a light tan hue but eventually dies to nothing and lacing is ghost.

S- Wow billy mays wow. This aroma will wake you up in the most deepest slumbers. Lactic acid explosion, sour lemons, dark roast grains and a huge blast of wine. Add a touch of woody oak and you are all set.

T- A barrel aged black sour indeed. The lactic acid bacteria have done their job and then restarted again and added more sourness, just enamel stripping sour. Joining this is wet medium toast oak, lemons, sour grapes, roasted barley, burnt coffee and a tad bit of vinegar.

MF- Medium overall body. A huge amount of slickness and plenty of sours to strip your teeth. Carbonation is moderately high.

Damn. This beer will beat you down and then some. The massive sourness combines with a touch of roasted malts and strips the taste buds of life. Glad I traded for this brew.

Aug 22, 2016
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scottfrie from California

4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into snifter. 2016 bottle.

A: Pours a deep dark brown with a finger of fizzy dark tan head that quickly bubbled away into nothingness. No lace.
S: Tart dark sour notes of black cherry skins and black currents mixed with hints of chocolate, caramel, and leather. Musty barrel character shines through with hints of oak and vinous red wine. Light acidity shines through on the nose as well.
T: Follows the nose with sweet notes of dark fruits and red berries mixed with tart cherry skins and bright acidity. The finish is full of greasy and smooth oak, light caramel, and leather. I get hints of current, red grape, and chocolate in the aftertaste. Flavors remind me of an oud bruin.
M: Medium-full body with fizzy, slightly prickly carbonation. The mouthfeel is initially greasy and slick, but bright and tart acidity quickly dominates with a solid blast of lactic and acetic acid. Drying finish with some clinging gritty tannins.
O: Definitely reminds me of an oud bruin with strong acidity and complex dark/red flavors. Perhaps not as deep and rich and some Belgian counterparts, but everything works together very well.

Mar 21, 2017
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oline73 from Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Apr 23, 2018
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kingjohnh from New Mexico

3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sep 24, 2016
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 24, 2016
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IrishColonial from Texas

4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 20, 2016
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.66/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

6oz draught pour @ The Monk's Kettle San Francisco. Cost was a brutal $13.50.

6.0% ABV. Dark sour.

Regrettably brief notes below:

Deep dark auburn-black colour. Head retention is a scant 20 seconds.

Loads of bacterial complexity and sourness in the aroma, with nuances from Lactobacillus and maybe even pediococcus. Red wine barrel character is evident, with plenty of rustic red grape and oak coming through. Notes of cherry, red grape, and sourness. Sourness seems to be a solid 5-6/10 in terms of intensity. Aroma suggests a very good sour ale with notable depth of flavour.

Taste brings the acidic sourness (about a 7/10 in terms of sourness) but it isn't a Lactobacillus bomb; there's ample bacterial intricacy and intangibles. Red wine acidity brings out the lactic sourness, and oak ties the build together. I wouldn't be surprised if lambicus yeast was used given the depth of flavour and complexity showcased here.

Texture is aptly medium-bodied, supple, smooth, wet, and of perfect thickness. Carbonation is perfect.

Overall, it's one hell of a dark sour ale and I'd like to revisit it in a better review environment to detail its complexity in finer grain. Pricey, but superb.

B (3.66) / GOOD

Aug 01, 2016
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westcoastbeerlvr from California

3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jun 03, 2016
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BMart from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 19, 2016
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vfgccp from New York

4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nov 01, 2017
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mklisz from New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

May 24, 2016
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kiki3drt292 from California

3.4/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jun 03, 2016
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mattreitz49 from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sep 29, 2018
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yergermeister from Pennsylvania

4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jul 20, 2016
Afterlight from The Rare Barrel
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 71 ratings