Undercurrant Barrel Aged

Siren Craft Brew: Wine Barrel Aged Undercurrent (England: American Pale Ale: 5.1%)

Visual: Hazy yellow apricot. Small white head. Evident sediment.

Nose: Horse blankets. Menthol. Sulphur. Tart white grapes. Meringue.

Body: Sour lemon juice and grapefruit juice. Pineapple juice. Blueberries underneath and grapes. Apricot.

Finish: Dry. Pineapple. Tart. Grapefruit. Dry hop character.

Conclusion: Goddamn it! This is another one of those beers where I end up trying to work out if I enjoyed it, or if I’m just intrigued by how very odd it is. I mean, it doesn’t really affect me that much, I’ve already drunk it, but I need to work out exactly where I stand and how to get the experience across to you lot so you can work out if you want to drink it.

It is very full of different tart fruit juices, like someone has poured a bunch of fruit cartons together and shook them up. On the other hand the aroma has slight horse blankets and sulphur notes that calls to lambics, though without the same level of class; this means that the aroma is probably the weakest part of the set.

Initially it is a bit too sour and one note to be workable, however it is not long before the sourness pulls its wonder trick – those secondary , almost hallucinatory notes. Here they are expressed with fruit sweetness in blueberry and apricot style. Yes it is more fruit notes but the sweetness is much needed for contrast and brings the beer back from the edge and back into the intriguing zone.

The pale ale character seems to mainly be shown through the texture, a dry feel of well done attenuation. Most of the flavours you would expect from a pale ale are subsumed below the tartness.

From the two odd elements, the odd barrel ageing and the yeast, I would say that the yeast definitely defines the beer more. You see a lot of brett characteristics from the aroma, the tartness and the flavour range. The wine notes seem more rounding elements, but they do integrate very well with the tart character of the beer.

Hmm. It is a very odd beer; works from one note to wide ranging, doesn’t show much of its base beer style but wears another style’s characteristics with ease. Overall I will say I enjoyed it, quirky as it was. Thanks for taking the time to walk through this with me.

Background: Picked up from “Independent Spirit”, this is not my first run in with Siren, but it is the first I’ve reviewed. I was intrigued by the concept, a chardonnay aged Pale Ale, even more intrigued that they had shoved some Brett in there as well. Drunk while listening to some Scroobius Pip. Always good music. I have not drunk bog standard undercurrent so couldn’t tell you how it compares.