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Brute | Ithaca Beer Company

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391 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with vintage (aged) local hops, barley, wheat, corn, aged in oak with Brett and finished with three types of champagne yeast.

Added by albern on 06-22-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 391 | Ratings: 841
Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle thanks to RblWthACoz, thank you so much for the chance to try this beer! Hazy yellow with a tenacious white head and spritzy bubbles. The smell was like lemons and sour goodness but not quite pungently sour. The flavor was smooth citrus with a hint of sour. The mouthfeel was nice and soft and made this really enjoyable to drink. This was a standout amongst other sours that I expected to easily best it.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into oversized wine glas. If I'm reading this correctly, it's batch# E!018.

Beautiful pour - 2F of thick, white head floating atop of an opaque golden body. Pretty heavenly when held to the light. Light carbonation showing at bottom.

Heavy musty smell, with vinegar cider, and a little lemon zest.

Flavor was of tart lemon hard candy, green apple skin, old white grapes, plenty of bretty funk, and more than just a little reminiscent of champagne flavor.

MF had a good bite to it, but not puckering sour. Pretty thin. Nice and dry.

I can't see dropping $25 on another one of these, but it would make for a good malternative to any situation that calls for white wine or champagne.

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Photo of JoeMayo
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 2 Brute, poured into a wine glass.

A- Pours a hazy golden color with a white, fluffy head.

S- Very citric and funky. A distinct horseblanket funk leads the way into aromas of lactic sourness and sour apple. This already smells way better than batch 1!

T- Very dry and sour. The dominant flavor is tart, green apples with herbal, peppery tones and a hint of funk towards the end.

M- Crisp and dry.

D- Very well balanced and far superior to batch 1 Brute.

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Photo of gyllstromk
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My friend Ted gave me this awesome beer as a wedding gift.

Pours a hazy golden with a big, foamy head. Nose is tart green apples, sweet tarts, pineapple, a well balanced Brett undertone. Flavor is tart, Bretty champagne. Tartness is slightly tamer than I expected but quite tasty. Very bubbly and drinkable, although the tartness may be overpowering after a while for some.

Awesome stuff!

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Photo of alyankus
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 750ml bottle purchased from the brewery in Aug of 09. Tasted from a Spiegelau champagne flute

This is a very solid wild. It pours a hazy yellow with a little head and slight lacing. The nose is a lot of fresh ripe lemon juice and a good hint of funk. The nose on this reminds me of a more elegant wild than many americans are currently producing though that may be a function of its youth. Over time the nose picks up more citrus peel and hints of sweatiness that are not overbearing. The taste has more lemon with soft acidity cleansing the palate with every sip. The funk is there again but is still fairly subtle. The finish rounds out with a slight saltiness that makes this quite refreshing. I'm very glad that I have half a case of this to go as I'm quite interested in seeing how this will age. A big tip of the hat to Ithaca on this one.

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Photo of bert13tj
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours like a champagne. Golden color

Smells very sweet and a little sour.

Taste a bit sour, but not overbearing. You can definently taste the champagne yeast used to brew this beer.

Not something I would drink everyday, but I would definently buy this again.

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Photo of philipquarles
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Corey. Pours cloudy gold with a large, but fizzy white head. Smell of huge Brett character, with lots of must and horseblanket. Definite lactic tartness, with heavy oak. Fruity sweetness in the back. Tastes quite sour, with heavy lactic acid over Brett character, followed by plenty of wood and earthiness. Slight mineral notes. Lots of citrus and some other fruit. Very dry finish. The light body with high carbonation works well here. Very impressive sour from Ithaca that surpassed my expectations.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours beautifuly. Super fine champagne like carbonation a fizzy head that doesn't stick around too long. Hazy golden straw color with a thin white collar.

Funky vineous nose. Vinegar. Grapefruit, cideresque, a bit of lemon

crisp refreshing taste very much in line with what one would expect from the nose. Also some sour green apple and perhaps a bit of melon?

Medium thin mouthfeel. Fine bubbled carbonation. Dry finish.

Awesome beer.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chose after the fact to review this for my 400th, as it is worthy of any milestone out there. Reviewed from notes.

The trees are all still on one of those hazy mornings as the sun shines through the thick cloud cover. Everything washed in a dim yellow haze, a massive puff of white cloud blocks out the sun and lingers around all morning, breaking off small pieces to leave behind as it drifts away.
The aroma of rich and complex sour, perhaps as a farm in spring-time, some fresh lemons, a bit of funk wafting up from the barn, freshly tilled earth with grass tilled under, a pasture, white grapes weighing down the trees. It may not be possible for a sour to have a better nose, at least on the fresh and inviting side of things, rather than the cavey-dank that some may have.
The flavours are also reminiscent of a fresh breeze coming up from a pasture, sunshine on a hilltop as the trees and tall grass dance upwards toward the sky. A light lemon-sour-citrus, faint honey-sweet in the back with white-bread malt. Lemon-sour, brett-sour, apple-sour, all perfectly blended.
Massive fluffy carbonation dances on the tongue and fills the mouth, as it were, with prickly cotton. A tart finish leaves a lingering dryness and astringency, makes one want more.
I am blessed to have time to look at the weather and ponder, and blessed to have such an exquisite creation to have enjoyed. Seek this out.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes:

E!010 on the bottle.

Golden, lemonade-like pour. Pretty nice head, with good retention and some great lacing.

Tart, sour aroma and flavor. Lemon zest and white grape. The flavor is outstanding. It's pretty tart, but not overwhelming at any point. No sharpness, not vinegar-y. Fantastic.

Good lively carbonation, airy and light, as you'd expect from the blend of Champagne yeasts. Super easy drinker for a sour.

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Photo of vrazionale
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a hazy straw-colored body with a fluffy, thick head with very good retention.

S - Wow. An absolutely wonderful nose. Apples, basement funk, lemon, wet wood, floral notes, orange, horse blanket. A practically perfect integration of bright fruit and dark funk flavors.

T - Deliciously tart. Has a flavor profile vaguely similar to a funky apple cider, only with much more lemon and floral flavors. The finish is long - I'm still tasting the subtle fruity, funky finish for minutes after each sip.

M - Crisp, with a very well-crafted body. The use of barley, wheat, and corn sounds daunting, but the brewers did a spot-on job of blending the malts to create the perfect background for the brett yeast to do it's thing. The Champagne yeasts certainly give this brew it's fair share of effervescence.

D - It's hard to put a beer this good into words. Certainly one of the best sours I've yet come across, and I think that it will be difficult to do much better than this. I'd drink this with cheese (a citrusy fresh goat's milk cheese, a young Comte, or the always-delicious Tomme Crayeuse) or a big plate of fresh oysters. I could have easily given this brew a "5" in any of the above categories - but I couldn't choose. You owe it to yourself to get your hands on this brew.

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Photo of Naugled
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served in chalis

Great looker! hazy straw color, nice light white head that dies to a thin layer but is persistent. Visually carbonated.

Strong tart sour smell in a good way, makes your mouth water

More tart and sour than expected, makes you pucker at first taste, but then your mouth relaxes. Citrus and spice notes come through the complexity

It is a very dry spritzy beer but the spritz is a soft feeling with some slipperiness. And the low bitter and sour tend to linger.

Over all a very good beer. I plan to purchase another bottle for saving.

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Photo of csmiley
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch E!010

A - Pours a light golden color. The white head tops out at just over one inch. It's slow to recede given the excessive amount of active carbonation present after the pour. Hefty amounts of lace stay on the glass. Overall, it has a nice refreshing look to it.

S - Aroma is lighter than expected. Good but definitely on the light side. Some sour fruit notes jump out of the glass first - lemon really stands out. Wood shows up quickly behind the fruit. The wood acts as a very nice compliment to the initial tartness. Alcohol is barely noticeable in the smell. Sweeter toward the end with some honey.

T - Sour fruit just dominates this brew right from the start. Let's see...lemon, pineapple, and lime. The "wild" is very prominent in the flavor. The wood starts to take on a musty character midway. Some white grape comes and goes throughout the brew. Very champagne like in the flavor. Alcohol just can't overcome the other flavors and stays completely masked. The very end has a light sweet note. Flavor is surprisingly good.

M - Medium bodied with a very active carbonation. Finish is tart and extremely dry. It hangs around the palate for a while.

D - Drinkability is very good for the Brute. Initially the champagne qualities are tough to get past but after a few sips it starts to come together nicely. This is a very flavorful brew with some nice complex layers. It really seems to have it all - sweet, sour, and tart, all wrapped up in a nice earthy / oak package. I would happily have this beer again if given the chance. Congratulations to Ithaca Beer Company for a well put together brew.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!010. Poured into two tulips and shared with the lady.

A: Bright, rich golden colored body with fantastic hazing. Large fluffy white head which slowly recedes to a nice coating with no patches. Good spotty, fluffy lacing.

S: Soft green apples, lemon, orange, funk. Overall slightly tart and sour.

T: Amped up explosion of sour green apples and tart citric fruits. Light funk in the background. Absolutely divine flavor profile. Everything is silky smooth and loaded with delicate complexity.

M: Tart and sour with a nice light-medium body. Clean, crisp and refreshing finish. Somewhat sweet in the middle.

D: A super sour. Not sure what I could have done with the whole bottle to my self, but this is a nice light sour. Reminds me very much of temptation crossed with fantome saison. Get one.

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Photo of infestaxion
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch E!010

A - Very hazy golden blonde with a fluffy white head that hangs around forever.

S - Very sour and funky. Lightly fruity. Kiwi maybe? Very nice. I wish they made candles that smelled like this.

T - Nice and tart. Very good sourness to it. That fruit smell is there in the background but very subdued. The funk is also not as noticeable in the taste as the smell. Very, very good.

M - It is very tingly. I love it.

D - I'm going to try very hard not to take down this whole 750 in the next 15 minutes.

In my opinion, this is easily one of the best American Wild Ales around. Happy birthday to me indeed.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to bankhead for this longtime want, particularly from a style I'm still warming up to.

Appearance: Proteus93's pour is clear, crisp, and golden, while mine is of course hazy, orangey-yellow, capped by a good two fingers of slightly dull white head that fizzes and fades relatively quickly but nonetheless leaves a good ring of bubbly spongy lacing and a few smatterings of surface dusting. There may very well be carbonation in this brew, but the haziness does a fair job of denying me that.

Aroma: Faint, quenching, tart vinegar qualities, but a slew of complexities as well. Only a faint amount of cheesy funk, really, that comes across as faintly sweaty, faintly cheesy, farmhouse-y, and largely tart. The remainder of this brew is citrusy - orangey, largely lemony - slightly malty - in a golden, malty, sweet, soft sort of way - with none of those unpleasant medicinal smells and tons of those pleasant fruity, slightly spicy ones.

Taste: Ohhh damn. Quenching tartness, dry malts, tons of citrus, a fair amount of funk ... just an amazingly complex and balanced brew. Ohhh my god I just cleansed my palette and it just hit me all over again. This one's hugely tart, wonderfully complex, sweet, simple, and well-rounded. Lemon notes add a palette-quenching aspect to this one that augments the orange notes and faintly topical notes. Oy.

Mouthfeel: Hugely effervescent carbonation, with smooth, crisp, and terribly soft effervescence filling up a moderately smooth body that I would imagine would be sticky, thick, and syrupy if it weren't so dry and quenching.

Drinkability: Flavorful, complex, enjoyable, yet ... approachable. This reminds me a lot of Isabelle Proximus, actually - tart, complex, soft, smooth, flavorful. It's truly an amazingly well-made beer, not overly tart or overly funky or overly sour. It's just terribly balanced and terribly drinkable, and - at 6.5% - was a sober up beer for me at this period of the tasting. Not anything wrong with this one, actually, and I'm truly looking forward to batch 2 of this fantastic brew.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of Bankhead.... this is an Ithaca beer in particular that I have wanted to check out for some time, and I'm glad to have finally had a chance to look into it.

A: Blonde, yet nothing but shadows appear through... it is so murky, the light works to make it through. Totally unfiltered, there is just no clarity here.

S: There's a tart fruitiness, but nothing that stands out in particular - mostly the peels of fairly fresh fruit - pear, apple, and even a little dash of peach. Wood aging doesn't appear to really add a whole lot of aroma

T: It's not often that I come across a sour that is quite so savoury. Mostly a sour apple, without being such a simplistic flavour. There is a soft taste of 'funk' in there, but not a whole lot of farmhouse flavours. Lemon, without being hugely citrus. It's a soft, complex beer. It is mouth watering and wonderful.

M + D: I am astounded by how well this beer has held up with age, how well it has been brewed, how pleasant it feels in general. There's s wonderfully pleasing dryness that takes a moment to make itself noticed - slightly delayed, yet appropriate. It's a highly accessible sour that I feel could be appealing to those who struggle with the style... even a potentially appropriate 'gateway,' yet it is brewed in such a way that the fans of 'more assertive' beers would be pleased. This is an excellent beer, one that I am pleased to have had the opportunity to have tried... I regret missing out on getting it earlier!

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Photo of Sean9689
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into Stone Tulip.
Batch E!010

A - Pours gold with lots of bubbles rising to the top. A huge frothy white head that I almost pour out of the glass. Not a whole lot of lacing, but the head continue to stick around for quite some time. The looks of this wild ale are all very champagne-esk.

S - Sour/tart notes right from the start followed by some sweet fruity notes such pineapple, kiwi, and mango. A little more sweet on the nose then sour, which I like for something different. This one doesn't punch you in the face with the sour/tart, but instead, invites you in with the sweet fruity notes.

T - Here's where the sour/tart notes take over and the fruit takes a back seat. I would say a medium amount of lip-puckering on this one. This one doesn't turn my lips inside out like some wilds.

M - Light bodied, clean and refreshing, smooth/dry finish. The bubbles continue to fizz inside my mouth upon every sip, good carbonation.

D - Not super sour, so it's easier to drink then other wilds. A very good wild by Ithaca, gotta get another bottle.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Solmon420 for sharing this with the wife and I.

Poured a nice golden color with a nice white head. Nose is sour with lots of fruit and tartness going on. I picked up on lemon, wood, green apples. Taste is very smooth and the ABV was well hidden on this. Big tartness up front with highlights of orange, lemon, wood, apples. Very tasty and very drinkabke. The wife loved it too. Winner all the way and its so smooth I could finish the damn thing myself.

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Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch E!010

Opens with a subtle pop.

Poured into thin stemmed wine glass.

Pours a huge fizzy white head that settles very quick. No lace. Color is an appealing orange mango. I can't see through this one.

Aroma: This is a sour one. Very tart. Brett and oak chips are fairly present. The brett creates a nice farmhouse funk to it. It also has some very sour fruits in the background and a citrus aroma.

Taste: Big oak flavor, brett funk, citrus. Very, very tart almost too tart. I like it, but it puckers the much so much. A nice wild, but there are better.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly sour and tart. Kind of funky. Light bodied with a very high amount of carbonation. Ends with a sour oak clean aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is just a little too sour for me. It is drinking very slow for me. I couldn't drink an entire bottle, but one glass is a nice sipper. However, it is decently tasty.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is outstanding. It has a very beautiful golden color and very cloudy. A small white head forms but quickly fizzes away and diminishes completely, leaving a white ring around the glass.

It smells like champagne with a hint of lemon, hops, and oak in the background. When tasting there is a burst of carbonation followed by a strong tartness that quickly lifts off the palate. A slight bitter hops and a funk taste is left as it goes down. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth.

This beer is good because it has so many layers to it when you taste it and they all come in one at a time. It's an amazing feeling.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've got a crazy-good beer on my hands here. If you love Duvel but wish it had more artisinal Belgain character, then here it is.

The pour brings a very lively decant. Efforvescent foam billows from the liquid with a cotton-white color, great formation, very good retention, and a ton of lacing. Canary yellow and medium haze round out the appearance.

Strong vineous aromas of lemons, limes, under-rippenend berries and fruits, peaches, white grapes, pears, appricots, and granny smith apples leap out and attack the nose. Champagne-y wine notes combined with sharp citric acids, lactic notes, and oak for a well rounded, melded scent that steers away from vinegar. Peppery throughout.

Flavors are a direct transfer from the nose, with emphasis on the acidic fruits, grapefruits, and pepppery phenols that burst with juiciness. Hop flavor offers up dried grasses, lemon-grass, and sharp herbal tones. Very nice.

Astringent and sharp sensations hit the jawls and promote mouthwatering. After the initial shock, the maltiness is found with a softer pilsner malt base that remains crisp and dry. Dryness is the name of the game. Not much sweetness beyond the cracker-like malts. Instead, the acidic pang of lemons and grapefruit take the foreground while hop bitterness and light saltiness follow up in the finish.

This is a beer with a lot going on, yet is pretty simple and put together very well. It has the dryness and crispness of Duvel, but that Brett character helps to add the sour fruit notes to the dryness. Hop flavor and bitterness compound the effect of the Brett and other yeast blends to make the beer as arid, sharp, and acidic as possible without offending.

Thanks jampics2

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Photo of portia99
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a Portsmouth goblet. Batch E!010. Received in trade with Mikeyv35. Thanks!!

A - Pours a bright, cloudy yellow...just a hint of orange. Three finger white head. Mix of medium and small bubbles. Dissipates after a couple of minutes. Some thin, uneven lacing on the sides of the glaas. Very good looking beer.

S - Lots of aroma...very strong..and good. Can detect the sourness easily, but get a lot of fruity, citrusy, bubblegum aromas. Great combination of aromas...really makes you want to take that first sip.

T - Very tart and sour. Lots of citrus - orange, lemon...almost like sucking on an orange Vitamin C tablet. A tiny, little bit of breadiness...finishes very dry. No discernable hop presence.

M - Medium bodied, highly carbonated...prickly, but very fine carbonation. Quite puckering. Very nice.

D - I'd say drinkability is medium on this one. Very good sour...shared the bottle...this was very good, but 1 is perfect for a sitting.

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Photo of treyrab
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to BeerTruth for this one. This has been sitting in the cellar for a few months and decided to bring it out after taking the first part of the CPA exam yesterday.

A: Pours a hazy vibrant yellow with a large white head on the first pour. The champagne yeast has really yielded a large head that lasts a while, but recedes to a skim of head atop the beer.

S: Nice, very vibrant and tart lemon coupled with other tart fruits of peaches and apple blended magnificently with some dry oak, white grapes and hints of vanilla.

T: Very sharp, and very acidic. Mouth puckering indeed. Tart lemon, dry oak, tart, sour apples, and hints of vanilla. This is great, but not much depth here. A nice easy, sour but not too complex.

M/D: The mouthfeel is very high thanks to the champagne yeast. It is nice, light and refreshing.

Overall, this was a great beer. Very easily drinkable sour that I would like to have to lay down for a few years.

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Photo of CoolJosh
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle generously shared by Treyrab with Ashherb17 and myself. Poured into a tulip, pours a spritz golden orange with some pink tones that run through the body. Really nice soft white head that rests to a half-finger layer.

Incredibly tart lemon. The yeast shows through perfectly, and brings such an incredible sour component. Some lighter tart cherry lingers in with some nice soft vanilla creme. The fruits flourish out of the glass and smell unbelievably fresh. Some tart grapefruit adds a nice touch as well.

The taste is really good. Nice and easy drink. Very acetic, with some great tart lemons and orange. A light bit of grapefruit sourness. Really light, kind of falls off at the end and lacks complexity, but still a very nice sour by all means. It tastes like a sour patch kid.

Reminiscent of The Bruery's Cuvee Jeune with a little bit more carbonation.

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Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
4.39 out of 5 based on 841 ratings.
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