- It’s the first beer they brewed with wild Brettanomyces yeast. This is a dangerous yeast to have around a conventional brewery, so they kept the beer isolated—literally under lock-and-key—and brought in a separate, dedicated bottling line, all in a huge effort to avoid cross-contamination.
- The style itself—a Flanders Oud Bruin—is a departure for Deschutes’ signature English- and American-style ales.
- They let this beer condition and ferment for 18 months—something almost unheard of in the American craft beer industry.
- 20% of the beer was aged in cabernet and pinot noir wine barrels, and cherries from Washington state were thrown in for good measure.
Appearance: Brown-colored with a generous beige head. Nice deep crimson when held to the light.
Smell: Sour cherries, sour in general (though not unappealing), a touch of funk. Some Belgian candi sweetness. More Belgian yeast subtleties emerge as it warms.
Taste: Tangy, sour, and a little bit horsey right up front. Puckery! A cherry tartness and a taste of wood (cherry pits?). Sour! You don’t taste the alcohol at all… Some green apple tartness, tannins, the spiky tart-tangof underripe raspberries. More of the horsey Brett comes into play particularly in the back of the mouth as it follows the sour and other notes.
Mouthfeel: Tart, puckery, a very fine fizz of carbonation. Finishes fairly dry, and leaves a tangy aftertaste.
Overall: Very different, very good… I can’t judge on the technical merits (my experience with sour beers is pretty limited), but I think they’ve pulled off an amazing beer.
On BeerAdvocate, it scores an overall grade of A-. (RateBeer is still unavailable at this writing.)
And, as a bonus, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the wax leavings: