Brute | Ithaca Beer Company

844 Ratings
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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.

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Ratings: 844 |  Reviews: 391
Photo of hawks10
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my Ithaca tulip...Batch E!018 -

Pours a golden orange with three fingers of fine-bubbled, soft white head with no lacing left behind...

Tart and acidic, lemon with loads of barnyard funkiness. Musty and damp...a tiny touch of post run B.O., my sweat is the real American Wild Ale.

Tart, thin and dry, very astringent. Taste only lingers for a fraction of a second before drying out your palette, cottony. The sour aspect of a lemon or granny smith apples is there, but none of the residual sweetness. Definitely some oak character showing up after a few sips, giving the beer even more of a dry character. Good, but could use a little more depth, or body...

Medium bodied but tastes thin. Good carbonation but a very astringent mouthfeel. Dry and drying, giving me cotton mouth...

Pretty good American Wild Ale, but still, no American sour has ever lived up to a Cantillon in my was a bit too dry with not enough depth of flavor, but still pretty good overall.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright gold color with a fluffy, two finger white head with great retention. There is a touch of haze, with carbonation bubbles adding liveliness.

The aroma is deep, acidic, and fruity with a large amount of funkiness from the yeast and bacteria. Lemon juice comes to mind, as well as some hay. Maybe some old hay. The smell of the air after a rainy day also came to mind.

The flavor is much less funky than the nose. It's very sour with lemon notes and a large amount of acid. The flavor is kept simple and almost clean, but with a very unique sourness to it.

The mouthfeel is light bodied and dry, with a decent amount of carbonation, perhaps even a bit low. Overall this really impresses me, although I wish I had some more help finishing the bottle.

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Photo of kfsv034
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a golden yellow with a white head that foams up to a 2 or 3 fingers and slowly dissipates leaving a thin ring on the edges

S - pretty freakin amazing, super funky, earthy funk, lemon tart, sour apples, maybe some woody smell.

T - Lemon tart, funk, sour apple, more earthy funk, a dry woodiness

M - medium bodied

D - Very drinkable and super tasty would love to age a bottle or two to see if the funk becomes even more prominent

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

750ml capped and corked from a recent trade with G311 - thanks man! Split with viggo.

Pours a totally murkey golden yellow with a thinnish wispy head which has some good retention.

This beer has two things really going for it - the fantastic smell that wafts to my nose: a complex lemon tartness, nicely balanced funk and a hint of sweetness. And it's insane drinkability. A complex balance between the lemon tartness, a slightly acidic sourness, sweet biscuity malt base and a hint of earthy oak. The champagne yeast provides a spritzy yet pillowy mouthfeel that makes this one of the few sours where you would gladly sit with a 750 to yourself and not tire by the end.

Not overly complex flavor but the balance is stunning. Clearly well made and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very nice bubbly yellow straw colored body with an awesome thin super bubbly head.

Smell is very funky and earthy, lots of barnyard funk and oaky notes. Some acidic qualities as well, quite a nice smelling wild ale.

Taste is awesome, lots of funky earthy notes with a tart and dry finish. Light acidity and leather notes as well. Some lemon flavors come through in the finish along with some wood oakiness. Really good beer.

Truly awesome mouthfeel, light, tart, and bubbly. Awesome.

Very drinkable as well, one of the most drinkable I have ever had.

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

Shared at my tasting on May 29, 2010.

Brute appears a light, golden hue with a tiny head that leaves no lacing, which isn't terribly surprising for a wild ale. Aromas of wild yeast, particularly brettanomyces, straw, and hay are wonderful and inviting. This is going to be a tasty beverage, I can tell. The taste is absolutely wonderful, and even exceeded my expectations based on the aroma. This beer is smooth and easy to drink. The feel is slightly thin, but not necessarily in a negative way. This is a really fantastic beer. Highly recommended.

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Photo of maximum12
3.8/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jjayjaye for sending me this bottle in a trade...quite a while ago (last summer?). All of the other great Ithaca brews he sent are long gone, but this one survived. Split three ways on our first night of vacation on the shores of Clamshell Lake with my mother & wife.

Pours a fizzy, woodish yellow, matching the cedar furniture nicely. Smells like tart lemon & bright sunshine, without dust motes.

The taste follows the nose closely. The brett is on top here, of course, lending a quick zing of lemon that brings on a light pucker. Very dry. No water for two days in the Sahara dry, no doubt the influence of the oak, which is prominent. Almost like a sparkling cider in the mouth. I don't get much subtlety out of this one, but I don't need it. And really like it. Not so much anyone else. I end up with half the bomber. Fine by me!

A very good, light, sipping beer with a book in one hand. Doesn't fill me up, light, but terribly tasty. It doesn't hit the high notes everyone else seems to find, but I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of boatshoes
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Received a my second bottle of this in a recent trade with Nonstick. Thanks!

Appearance- Pours a very bright but hazy straw color with a massive three-fingers or so of puffy white head that sticks around quite a bit for a wild ale and leaves some lacing as well. Dies back gradually to a thin sheeting across the top. Looks lovely in the glass.

Smell- Wow, a whole lot of fresh lemon zest on the nose here. It is up front, refreshing, and dominant but with some mild funk showing through towards the end. Just a very mild touch of lactic sourness on the end as well.

Taste- Again, big on lemon flavors. Lots of lemon zest but in no way overdone on the sourness. Some mild funk enters in about mid palate and finishes again on a very mild note of lactic tartness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is light and well carbonated. Drinkability is fantastic and this makes a great, refreshing warm weather drink. Not the best American Wild Ale I've had but definitely one of the most refreshing and easiest to drink.

Overall, a very solid wild ale with exceptional drinkability. Give it a try if you haven't.

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

Split a bottle of this with my buddy Jeff the other night. The review is from notes taken on 6/10/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a light coppery/apricot color and starts with a short 1/2 finger white, frothy head that fades quickly to an uneven skim on the surface; body is a little cloudy from the various yeasts; only a couple faint spots of lacing are left behind holding on to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Uh oh, when I finally managed to get the cork out, I was actually frightened by the scent as the cheese and funky barnyard blasted forth from the bottle and assaulted my nose, however, after a moment of letting it breathe, it mellowed out quite a bit and became more of a funky mulch that's actually quite pleasant and tempting; a nice citric blast of sour and tart orange and lemony zest and a bit of a sweet, syrupy corn-like scent emanates as well.

Taste: A welcome blast of citric and tart sourness that makes me pucker with every sip; the funk is really hidden by the tartness and the sweet syrupy corn flavors bring about a bit of balance that's lacing in other beers with brett that I've sampled thus far; there's a bit a sweet, powdery yeasty/light breadiness to it as well. Quite awesome.

Mouthfeel: Great spritz and carbonation to it; the sour tartness is potent and makes me pucker after each sip; a thick, sticky coating that's a little dry is left all over the mouth; the acidic nature does get to the tummy a bit, but it's not awful and pretty easy to get by when I think of the great and perfectly lively body.

Drinkability: Awesome flavors, and I love the mouthfeel and the potent pucker that it brings; a great beer for the warm summer nights; definitely not a wild to start with, and I'm still pretty early in my career with this style, but if you've had a couple beers with brett and are accustomed to the funkiness, this is definitely a beer you can enjoy immensely.

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Photo of route66pubs
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jctribe25 (Patrick) for the wonderful, completely unexpected and totally unsolicited bottle. It was a wonderful thing you did, sir!

Batch E!018.

Pours a yellow golden blissful color, with lots of visible tiny carbonation bubbles running throughout, and a slightly unfiltered appearance shading the fingers held between the glass and the light. Slight white head stays for awhile, but does not hold to the glass well at all with each sip.

Quick to the funk in the aroma, the brett seemed to explode out of the bottle upon opening. Sour grapefruit notes followed with the pour. Once in the tulip glass, additional slight peppery notes followed, along with some fruit, mostly apple.

I readily admit that as a whole, sours are not my favorite style. This, however, is one of those that is so wonderful that I enjoy it heartily. Crisp fruity sourness are the only flavors I get, much like a sour apple pie without the pie.

Champagne yeast provides for wonderful, continual, tiny-bubble carbonation throughout the drinking experience. Very crisp continual sour bite continues from start to finish.

The sourness in this leaves a dry, wanting aftertaste, raising the drinkability score. But the fact remains, it is a sour, and how much of this can you really have?

Overall an extremely wonderful experience and one I will happily have again. (And the sour is a precursor drink for my expectations of how the United States will leave me feeling after the World Cup, which starts tomorrow.)

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Photo of asabreed
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped 750 ml. bottle poured into a Brooklyn tulip.

Appearance: A hazy cloudy bright yellow, like someone threw an Alka-Seltzer and a highlighter into some soda water. Nuts. The head with each pour bubbles up into a bright white fountain, slowly going back to the body of the brew, letting nice drops form on the side. This looks damn good in the glass.

Smell: What's weird here is I'm getting a lot of corn smell, which I'm not really digging. I would've questioned that anyway, if the label didn't say it, but you can smell the earthy sweetness of the corn. That said, I'm also getting, of course a ton of Brett sourness, but there's a good undercurrent of brighter red fruits, especially cherry and strawberry. The oak's also evident, of course.

Taste: Wowness. This is not your training wheels Wild Ale, and this is one of those beers I'm glad I had many years after I got into beer. The complexity's up there, but the sourness is going to new levels here. Yet there's also enough sweetness from the fruit esters and the yeast to balance things out. But make no mistake: this sucker's a madly puckering brew. Still, there are lots of bright flavors throughout, from the first pour to the last, including the nice sour cherry component and good but not overly-used oak. And again, the balance here is key, because the fruit and citrus sweetness keep it in check the entire way, making the puckering finish also lip-smacking.

Mouthfeel: I love Ithaca's use of champagne yeast, and if I'm not wrong about this, it seems like more and more breweries are competently experimenting with this finisher. It gives it a completely fizzy yet complex element and softness that makes everything go together very well. It also works well with the complexity of the flavors.

Drinkability: Believe the hype about this brew, especially if you're into Wild Ales. I'll definitely be picking up at least one more bottle if I can find it in the future, and I can't wait to see what Ithaca keeps putting out there in the future.

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

Dark gold pour with a nice white head. Good looking beer. Smell is everything I hoped for - zesty and slightly funky. It tastes great. Sour and sweet, not too tangy. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, but drinks good for the style. Gets smoother as it warms. I'd buy this again if I ever see it again.

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Photo of Dubber55
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful presentation. Looks like a label from a champagne bottle. Very classy. Bottle cap with a cork inside. Pours a hazy golden color. 2 finger head.

I smell apple cider, fresh cut grass, wet hay, barnyard funk, lemon, and I think some leather. Possibly some band aid as well.

The taste follows the smell. Tart green apples, lemon, fresh cut grass, wet hay, oak, and some sour fruits . I am tasting some biscuity malt as well. Dry finish. Leaves you wanting another sip.

Prickly carbonation. Works very well with this particular beer. Very champagne like.

I was not really able to detect any alcohol. It wouldnt be too dificult to finish the bottle but the dry and acidic nature of this beer could begin to wear on you. I would have liked some more funk in the flavor profile. With that being said, this is an excellent beer

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.26/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to sarcastro at the Metro Detroit April '10 tasting. Gold pour with a huge, foamy, white head. Floral brett aroma with some lactic acid, soft yeast, and light citrus. More lactic sourness, yeast and citrus in the flavor with a bit of sweetness on the end. Beautiful balance in the flavor! A nice delicate sweetness without overpowering sour lactic component. Dry medium body with lots of carbonation.

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Photo of BeckyFreesTibet
3.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip, (although a flute might be even more appropriate), from a corked and capped 750 ml bottle--much like a bottle of champagne.

Cloudy and peachy-gold in color with visible champagne-like carbonation. The head was thick, bright white and formed stiff, meringue-like peaks.

The aroma was yeasty and lightly funky like a saison. Citrus, especially lemon zest, was apparent immediately. A sweetness creeps in as it opens up. All in all, there was not enough aroma for my liking.

The taste is immediately tart and citrusy with notes of sour apples and other under-ripe tree fruit. Noticeably wheaty and yeasty with a sweetness in the aftertaste to balance it out. The taste is fairly interesting and extreme, but not very complex.

The carbonation is extremely aggressive, just like a good champagne. Very dry finish. The mouthfeel is certainly not something everyone would love, but I was fascinated by how similar it is to champagne.

Drinkability is surprisingly good despite the over-the-top carbonation, tartness and dryness. The wine-like qualities give it a lightness so that it that doesn't feel like a 6.5% ABV beer.

The three strains of champagne-yeast really do make a product that's remarkably similar to champagne. Not for those who don't appreciate bubbly, but a fantastically creative (and tasty)wild ale.

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

Received in a trade with Benanomyces. Been looking forward to trying this for a while now. Cracked it open during a game of Hearts with one of my good friends from Montana as well as my wife and another friend.

Split this one between four different glasses. Poured mine into a Westvleteren chalice. Appears very hazy, yet light. Fizzy. A golden hued body supports a fairly frothy white head. No lacing is left behind.

A subtle funkiness is coupled with a tart lemon-zest. This beer smells crisp and sour and woody- exactly how I like them.

Ah yes, and the taste does not disappoint. There is the dry tart smash that I enjoy so much. It is fairly fizzy, but this does not detract one bit. Often these beers have a sweet entrance followed closely by the tart...not the case with this one. Starts of sour and tart and then quickly disappears. This beer is light, dry, and puckering. We're impressed.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Brute. I prefer beers that aren't too sweet, so this one fits right in line. Easy to drink, I had a fun time sharing this with virgin sour drinkers. Definitely looking forward to round two!

Consumed: 4-26-2010

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Photo of Damian
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a corked and capped 750 ml/1 pint 9.4 fl oz bottle
Batch# E!010
Served in a tulip

Hazy, straw yellow in appearance with a tight, foamy, bright white, one-finger head that left copious amounts of lacing along the glass. The head slowly faded to a resilient frothy mass.

The aroma was crisp and zesty. Yeasty and dry with notes of lemon zest. A touch funky and musty, but the funk was rather restrained for the style. As the beer warmed, the nose became a bit more complex. Ripe fruits and a phenolic yeasty quality appeared.

The taste was similar to the aroma in many regards. Crisp, tart and dry. Super lemony. The lemon zest notes were in full effect from start to finish. Wheaty. Fruity with indications of granny smith apples and under ripe pears. The finish was ultra clean, crisp and dry. Slightly oaky.

The mouthfeel was lighter bodied with an aggressive, big bubbled, Champagne-like effervescence. It was apparent that the three strains of Champagne yeast were indeed doing their job.

Drinkability was quite good. This is a clean, refreshing, easy-drinking beer that would be well received in warmer weather months.

I am really glad to see that the Ithaca Beer Company is continuing to put out impressive releases in their Excelsior! series. Although I enjoyed this offering, it did seem a bit one-dimensional flavor-wise. I would love to see what this could become with a greater assortment of wild yeast strains and possibly a bit more age. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of Champagne, you must seek out this beer.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a hazy golden yellow color with a fluffy, bubbly white head that leaves thick spots of lace on the glass

S-the nose is sweet up front with lots of sparkling grapes, a light tartness lies behind with hints of earthy malts. Peaches and pear, soft golden fruits, in the back

T-the beer is quite tart up front, the bret takes hold right behind the tartness. A soft golden fruit sweetness sets in at the middle accompanied by a touch of tart cherry. Sour grapes, almost chapaigne like take over in the back.

M-medium body and soft on the palate with a prickly high carbonation throughout. Dry in the back and coats the mouth

D-this is extremely easy drinking with a great flavor, nice level of tartness that is quite inviting. The soft feel with all the carbonation is quite awesome.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Looks like champaign. Golden yellow with a large foam head. Nice bubbles twisting up to the top. Very pretty looking.

S - Tart lemons, little funk, some nice oak and vanilla. Nicely sour with some obvious barrel influence, smells a little like wine.

T - Very tart. Lemons, apple, a bit like champaign. A nice amount of grape, but mainly you notice the tartness.

M - Light, bubbly, crisp, finishes nicely dry.

D - So good, so easy, would drink this all the time.

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

Batch E!010

A- Body is a nearly opaque lemon yellow. Pours with a big 2-3 foamy white head that eventually fades to 1/2 finger. Brew has a nice thick and dynamic fogginess.

S- Nose is a nice balance of soft oak and vanilla and lemon tartness. I'm offering a pretty simple description that doesn't describe how much I like the nose.

T- A moderate tartness comes through first upfront with lemon being the main character. Finish is rather dry as the tartness fades but a flash of soft vanilla and oak come through in the end to balance it all out. Overall flavor is light to moderate.

M- Carbonation is high and tingly with a body that is very light as well as slightly smooth and creamy.

D- Overall I really like this beer. It is great and well put together with a nice soft balance that does not take it over the top. Best Ithaca brew I have had for sure. Reminds me of the soft character of RR Temptation-but this brew is a little bit more dry.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.89/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch E!018. I shared my bottle in line at the Veritas 007 release yesterday. Gave myself a decent pour though

Poured a nice light golden color, similar to a plain lambic not fruited and what not. Nice thin head. No real lacing.

Aroma of tart lemons and a little of the Brett funk you would expect. Smells great.

Taste is exceptional. Very tart but not as tart as say La Folie but up there. A little dryer than say Isabelle and to me slightly more oaky than others. Nice tartness with a slight funk with a champaign finish. Very similar to a champaign flavor but the tartness is the main player in this beer for sure.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated like a champaign. Probably due to the champaign yeast. Dry taste that works.

Overall an awesome beer. Glad to have another I have put away for a while. Hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.

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Photo of urwithdave
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from notes taken on 03/12/10. Shared by gtreid at the Hunahpu release.

A- Pours golden yellow in color. Big fluffy white head. Good retention and moderate lacing.

S- Sour apples and lemons. The funk is present, however, not overwhelming. Has a earthy smell to it also.

T- Lemons and other citrus notes up front. Maybe some pears thrown in the mix. Nice and sour! Almost get a lemon warhead flavor.

M- Nice and bubbly! Is there really alcohol in this. Wow....could be dangerous!

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch E!018
Pours a healthy blonde head with a white lacing that does not go away.

Smell of sour tart pale malt with some funk.

Taste of pale malt mixed with acidic sourness of citrus, Czech hops, some barnyard and funk. There is a dry champagne finish to state the obvious as stated on the label that it is finished with a blend of three champagne yeasts. Could be slightly more complexity to the malt profile, but this is done well as is.

High carbonation, not gushing from the bottle, but very tasty and very drinkable. This went above my expectations and I am looking forward to many more sour ales from Ithaca Beer Company.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL Batch 010 from 2008 tasted on 1/1/10 (Happy New Year!)

Pours beautiful gold with gigantic frothy white head that lingers. Champagne like effervescence lasts for many many mniutes. One of the most gorgeous beers I've ever seen. Lemon and grapefruit aroma. Barely some honey sweetness then an incredible tart lemon finish. Great carb but champagne bubbles make this one smooth sour. Definitely one of the best sours I've ever tried.

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Photo of masterhomebrewer
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A = Pours a light golden color with a big-ass (three inches +), white head of tight, small bubbles that fades quickly, leaving a short cover of about a half centimeter.

S = Green apples, bretty funk, vomit sour, white grapes.

T = Lactic sour, white grapes, lemons, and dusty-leather brett quickly give way to a streaming dryness.

M = Prickly carbonation and light body combine with dryness to make for a crisp and refreshing mouthfeel.

D = Wow. Really drinkable. Moderate alcohol, high carbonation, moderate sourness and ultra-dry finish all work in tandem to create a supremely drinkable sour.

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Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
4.39 out of 5 based on 844 ratings.
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