Wild Beer Co: Modus Operandi (England: Old Ale: 7% ABV)

Visual: Dark red brown. Very large crisp bubbled head that has mounds and troughs. Quite a bit of carbonation mid body. Lots of lace and suds left as the head descends.

Nose: Malt chocolate and tart cherry. Orange liquore. Fortified wine. Lime cheesecake. Sugared almonds. Dried apricot. Cider, and at other times champagne. Funky oak.

Body: Malt chocolate. Plums and raisins. Tart apple freshness. Nuttiness. Cherries. Vinous and with grapes. Thick texture.

Finish: Apples. Chocolate. Fresh feel mixed in with malt. Quite dry on the tongue, yet fresh at roof of mouth. Rich red wine.

Conclusion: No I’m not making that range of aroma’s up. I started with the beer chilled and then let it warm, bringing out a huge range of both aroma’s and flavours as it did so.

I will admit I was expecting something tarter than I got, mainly due to the mention of wild yeast. This comes in much closer to its old ale base than the Belgium sour ales that I usually imagine with such yeast. Here what you get is some extra play from the yeast and oak that adds to rather than utterly changing the base beer.  You get a very vinous ale, with big hit of malt chocolate. The odd twist comes in the cider apples to champagne fresh aroma, and the main body has distinct apple traces at tomes. In fact the body also gets a bit of fresh froth that calls to champagne at times. Not hugely, but just images that come up as you drink.   When you add in a mix of dark fruit then I get the impression that their claims this beer will age well are well backed.

The first of the Wild Beer Co’s beers that lives fully up to the company name, and a very solid beer with tons of play. At times you get orange liquore and lime dancing out to play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if future bottles grace me with more new flavours on sampling.

Flaws? Well in it’s youth the malt chocolate can dominate a bit, and it lays a bit heavy on the finish as well.  It is a beer that seems to crave ageing to let it balance itself perfectly.

Overall however it is a fine beer, a good balance of British old ale, craft class and Belgium funk. A rough gem now in it’s youth, but with lots of depth and very enjoyable.

Background: the Wild Beer Co describe this as “the first beer we’ve brewed is a beer that really shows what we are all about” and from the description you can see why. Old Ale, wild yeast and ninety days ageing in wood.  As a fan of Belgium sour ales this sounded like an interesting mix of British and Belgium styles.  I saved this for last from the three wild beer company beers I had bought and saved it for when I could appreciate it. Bought at “Corks Of Cotham” who seem to have an ever increasing range of decent beer both local and world. Going by rate beer this edition was aged in Bourbon barrels.