Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crooked Stave L'Brett d'Or 2012 review

Crooked Stave L'Brett d'OrThere's nothing to compare to trying a limited release oak aged sour ale after stashing it away for many months. Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project put out a series of Cellar Reserve Membership beers in 2012. One such beer is their Crooked Stave L'Brett d'Or - a dry hopped surreal golden sour ale aged in oak barrels. The beer saw limited tap time in 2012 and was also put into several hundred 375 green wax topped bottles for the Cellar Reserve membership.

I had jumped on the opportunity to get into the 2012 Cellar Reserve Membership and waited until 2013 to pick up the bulk of my purchase. So here in 2013, this beer has had a chance to age a bit further and was to be a treat for this evening. I haven't previously tried this beer before, but seeing how I am a huge fan of beers made with Brettanomyces I was eager to open this bottle up.

L'Brett d'Or weighs in at a respectable 7.0% ABV. Each year, Crooked Stave plans to release another version of L'Brett d'Or only do something a bit differently with it each year. This brew falls into the Sour Ale / Wild Ale category. I expect to get some funky sourness out of this beer. What I don't know is, how the extra time will affect the overall taste. I expect the dry hopped bitterness to be calmed a bit after an additional 6 months in the bottle. Let's find out.

Appearance: L'Brett d'Or poured a very cloudy medium golden orange color with a modest 1-finger tall foamy white head. While I didn't see any chunky particles in this beer, there was some noticeable murky yeast that came out of the bottle. The head left a slight lacing, but what little there was of it slid off very quickly and did not stick to the glass. The beer opened with a slight hiss and seemed to be slightly carbonated.

Aroma: Brett and oak! Oh my yes! There is an unmistakable aroma of Brettanomyces. That and the tell tale traces of oak barrel in the nose. This funky beer had a slightly sweet scent about it, but I couldn't really pick up much of the dry hops. The months had mellowed the hops and a bit of fruit came out from underneath. The brew had an acidic tinge that I've come to enjoy.

L'Brett d'Or close-upTaste: At last my love I have found you! This beer is on the sweet yet highly tart side. The funk and the oak tones come through along with some sweet fruits. There is an acidic bite on the back end with a hint of vinegar and with a clean, yet tart finish. While there was some bitterness about this beer, the sweet tangy malt taste dominated.

On the sour pucker scale: 1 being tame and 10 being ultimate pucker power - I'd give this beer an 8.5. This is one sour treat that I wish I had a whole keg of. Don't let the cloudiness fool you. This is a clean tasting sour with plenty of taste. The oak barrel gave this beer some earthy character with a hint of herb (probably from the hops).

Overall: For me, this beer is close to perfection for this sour head. It's got all the major sour tartness and a sharp bite on the end. Just right for a special night of bottle sharing. Since there was only a bit over 12oz of this I recommend you savor this one slowly as it will all too quickly want to disappear. If you get a chance to trade for a bottle of this DO IT! Give up one of your good bottles for this beer. It's worth it.

A big thumbs up to Chad Yakobson and his staff for creating one excellent sour. So far, it's one of my all-time favorite sour beers. I'm going to have to re-join the Cellar Membership in 2014 to try to get more of this one. Worth every dollar I spent on this beer.

Disclosure: I got this bottle as part of a paid annual Cellar Reserve Membership package. I paid for the membership myself.

Related articles:
- Crooked Stave to host ROY-G-BIV Day May 19th. (2013)
- Crooked Stave Sentience Wild Quadrupel Cognac Barrel review.
- A visual tour of Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar. (2013)

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