Tag Archives: sour

Case Swap: New Brown

This post is part of a series of twenty-three discussing beers brewed by members of the Merri Mashers brewing club for their 2015 case swap celebration.

This is a sour beer by one of the club’s aficionados. The label states that it is a 5.6% ABV fresh tart brown ale with French oak and Pinot noir, brewed from 2-row, Caramunich, Special B, Wheat, Saaz and fermented with Lactobacillus Plantarum and WLP575. Then additions of medium toast French oak and 2014 Dead Mouse Pinot Noir. Sounds interesting!

The beer slid into the glass hesitantly with delicate carbonation and a muted red EBC. No head was present at all, nor any hops on the nose. The aroma was vinegar and lumber, with a bit of cherry or something behind the wood. Slightly citrusy flavours and generic malt tried to make themselves known on drinking, but to my palate these notes were hammered into submission by an aggressive sourness that was definitely to the detriment of the beer.

I am not a huge sour beer drinker but I know the ones I’ve loved – for instance all Russian River and Berlinner Weisses. I struggled with this particular beer – I think it’s the vinegar, which reminds me too much of pediococcus infections I’ve had in the past when brewing.

Case Swap: Brett dIPA

This post is part of a series of twenty-three discussing beers brewed by members of the Merri Mashers brewing club for their 2015 case swap celebration.

The label for this beer states it was fermented with 100% WLP648 Brettanomyces bruxellensis trios vrai. It’s a dIPA with Mosaic, El Dorado, Citra and dry hopped with some Chinook, Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic. The OG of 1.077 went down to an FG of 1.008 for an ABV 9% – 92 IBU.

The brett beer pours an entirely clear golden amber with bursting carbonation leaving a polite white head that has significant retention. A lush aroma of pineapple, paw paw and crisp granny smith sits over a slightly sour grapefruity tang. The bubbles just keep coming.

Taste-wise the immediate punch is malt, big sweet toffee and white bread. Hop bitterness is quite high but struggles to keep pace with the malt payload, even with the dry finish. I’m fascinated that this beer is 100% brettanomyces – sourness is minimal, this could pass for a standard ale yeast double IPA. There is some distinct fusel alcohol flavour that isn’t ideal, but still complements the rest of the beer juuuust fine.

This is an excellent drop for a hot summer day – just like this evening is. It’s not immensely quaffable, but I can imagine starting with this then hitting the lagers for an ideal night out.

Hargreaves Hill Cherry Harvest

Hargreaves Hill Brewing Co. brew in the outer-east suburbs of Melbourne and have a nice pub outlet in Yarra Glen. Or rather – it’s nice when not being overrun by buses of tour groups, as it and many other venues in the region are want to do on a regular basis. You can’t blame the establishments – cash flow is king – but the constant flux of flesh can definitely put a dampener on your quiet pint and salad. Or parma, whatever you prefer.

Anyway – the brewery started producing just over ten years ago, and had a setback in 2009 when their original premises was destroyed by the Black Saturday bushfires. They only have a couple of beers with wide distribution. I am particularly fond of their ESB. But today we’re talking about a new, limited edition batch: the Cherry Harvest Sour Ale.

The beer pours a cherry red with light, fluffy pink bubbles. My glass was very attractive, kriek-ish, with viewing delaying the inevitable first sip. Its aroma was dusty and obscure, mostly malt, first taste on the tongue very mild and pert. Firm caramel overtones dominated the sour aspects of the beer, which were quite minimal. It is definitely a “sour beer” in that it is tart, with little hop presence, but the sourness hangs on the edges rather than shouting from the centre.

I was surprised by this as the bartender had instructed me that “it’s a full-on sour beer”. It was the only sour on tap, but compared to krieks, raspberry sours and the sours I drink more often, the Cherry Harvest was weak. Apparently the beer’s wort was a red ale recipe that was then sour mashed and pitched onto cherries. I didn’t get much from cherries in the flavour either. The ale sits at 4% ABV and is eminently drinkable, but a little meeker than I expected. Hand me a Russian River sour any day.

I gave this beer a shot at Beer DeLuxe, Hawthorn.

Eel River Organic IPA

Eel River tout themselves as the first certified organic brewery in the United States. Located in California, they’ve been at the front of the craft beer movement in the United States for over twenty years. A few of their beers have made it to Australian shores, but they’re hardly a regular sighting at my local watering holes. When I recently found myself at a trendy bar with notoriously dull beer on tap, I looked over their bottled options and found the Eel River IPA gleaming at me from the back of the bar. Twelve dollars lighter I wandered back to my group, wondering if I had made the right decision or not …

This is a reasonably big IPA with 7.2% ABV content but enough malt flavour to cover it up. In fact, the golden syrup malt aroma competed aggressively against only faint, resinous hops on the nose, putting this IPA more in the English than American camp. The bitterness was spot on, a rush of clean, lip-puckering bite. There was an interesting sour tang in the aftertaste that I had difficulty identifying.

Colour is vibrant orange; very appealing. I wish I could brew an IPA so bright. My last one was the colour of the Yarra. The IPA’s head was consistent, firm and retained very well. Carbonation was medium and assisted the sweetness going down. I was very happy with this beer and I think the organic certification, for whatever it’s worth, is sensational. I drank an unpasteurized Carlton Draught after this and it tasted like weak, frothy cordial. My mistake.

I drank this beer at Naked for Satan, Fitzroy.