What: Rye Sour Brown ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels; 8.0% abv
How we had it: Out of a 500 ml bottle into a stemmed wine glass
What we saw: Beautiful brown tones with a hint of red/purple. Crystal clear and very clean looking beer. Very little foam and little to no lacing.
What we smelled: Big wine notes are prevalent followed by some oak. Very dry smell - like sticking your nose into a glass of a big cabernet sauvignon. The sourness of the beer is also present on the nose - a crisp and refreshing character to round off the rustic wine barrels.
What we tasted: This is a very complex beer! Up front, the cabernet sauvignon is present, followed by a huge amount of oak. The beer changes throughout your palate, providing a different experience with the beer as you take each sip. The big oaky cabernet flavors up front are reduced to a smooth, clean, sour (not too sour) finish. The finish being so soft and smooth leaves you wanting another sip, while the sourness of the beer makes your mouth water. The pepperiness from the rye is soft and adds a subtle complexity and another layer to the beer that will hit you in the middle of your palate. The brett is not present as funk and instead adds a nice layer of complexity and allowed for an incredibly dry finish to the beer. Clean, complex, peppery, fruity, sour.
What we thought: We loved this beer. It had so much to it that we found that every sip presented us with a different experience. There was layer after layer of flavor and smell. As it warmed, the cabernet character became more prevalent but the sourness, provided by the kettle souring process, gives a really refreshing back end to the beer that balances the very big, rich flavors that you first experience. There's just so much to this beer - the immediate visual of the beer, clear and clean is off set by the massive oak and wine notes which are complemented by the rye, and then you are presented with a sour, dry finish that actually matches the visual of the beer in the glass. Do not expect funk here! This beer was never meant to be funky and we liked that about it. For a full explanation of the beer, its name, the process behind how it was made, and a visual; watch our conversation with Khristopher Johnson, the head brewer at Green Bench - we talk about For the Mad Ones at ~30:00 in.