Vichtenaar Flemish Ale

vichtenaarBrewer: Brouwerij Verhaeghe, Vichte, Belgium
Style: Flemish Red-Brown Ale
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Named after the town in which it is brewed, this beer is brewed in the tradition of Flemish reds. This includes combining deeply burned malt, spicy and fruity hops, and soft water pumped from a local well. It then undergoes primary fermention using wild yeast strains, a second lagering, and then a third fermentation in oak casts, where it matures for several months.

Tasting Notes: This beer get solid marks for its commitment to tradition, but I deducted several because of the flavor, which was far too vinegary for my taste. When you initially smell it, you get strong traces of apple cider vinegar and sugar. When you taste it, you realize that’s pretty much all its got going on. In many ways, it reminded me of Krampus, another vinegar-heavy sour ale that really didn’t do much for me.

Appearance: Deep red-brown, clear (appears opaque at first), mild foam and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, yeast
Taste: Smooth start, sugars, vinegary bite, yeasty effervescence
Aftertaste: Lingering sweetness and vinegar flavor
Overall: 7/10

Moon Under Water Goldamsel 2015 Sour Weissbier

Moon_under_water_goldamselBrewer: Moon Under Water Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Sour Wheat Ale
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 0

Description: This latest seasonal release from Moon Under Water is a sour German-style weissbier. Wheat malts are fermented using wild yeast strains, which are then infused with apricots and peaches to create a fruity, acidic and mild wheat ale. Released in Aug, this beer is available through the early Fall.

Tasting Notes: It is the season of sours, it seems. And I’m not sure I’m such a fan anymore. While it is a creative and certainly faithful take on the style of German sour Weissbier, this brew was just too overpowering in terms of its vinegary flavor. It was like drinking Krampus Speciale, another sour I was not a big fan of.

Appearance: Golden orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malts, hints of orchard fruit, strong hints of lactic acid apple cider vinegar
Taste: Subtle wheat malt, notes of peach and apricot, strong apple cider vinegar
Aftertaste: Lingering acidic and vinegar notes, clean wheat malts
Overall: 6.5/10

Birrificio del Ducato Krampus Speciale

krampus_strongaleBrewer: Birrificio del Ducato, Gruppo, Italy
Style: Strong Ale
ABV: 7.0%
IBU: Unspecified

Description: Named in honor of Krampus, the ancient demon who in days old terrorized villagers in advance of Saint Nicholas who’s been making a combeback in recent years, this strong, spiced ale is a seasonal offering from this Italian brewery that arrives just in time for Christmas.

Tasting Notes: This is another offering from the Craft Beer Advent Calendar, and one which I must admit, is outside my realm of experience. It has a dark malt base, which is quite smooth and rich in tannins, but which is overpowered by very sour wild yeast flavor – to the point that it tastes downright vinegary. I suspected I might ave a spoiled bottle, but a tertiary look at other beer bloggers has revealed  that this is in fact they found as well. I guess it just goes to show you, the world of craft brewing is an extremely diverse and interesting place!

Appearance: Red/brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, yeasty brettanomyces nose, sour cherry, oak
Taste: Rich, smooth dark malt, tannin, sour cherries, yeast, apple cider vinegar
Aftertaste: Lingering apple cider vinegar and sour yeast flavor
Overall: 6.3/10