Siren Stillwater When The Light Gose Out

Siren: Stillwater: When The Light Gose Out (England: Traditional – Gose: 4.2% ABV)

Visual: Black. Fizzes to a dark head which vanishes quickly. Evident spitting carbonation. When looked at when it settles it looks slightly like coke.

Nose: Hibiscus. Chinese stir fry. Light wood. Brown bread. Nutmeg. Lightly acidic.

Body: Tart. Light apple. Salt touch. A thin treacle element. Sour black cherry touch. Light lime. Roots. Slight charring. Dill pickle and gherkin. Light unsweetened cola bottles.

Finish: Fresh. Thin treacle. Salt. Light vanilla toffee. Light liquorice. Lime. Gherkin. Light lactose and nutmeg.

Conclusion: Ok. Apparently (see background) authentic style gose time, and a dark gose at that. That is a new one on me. Ok, this is going to be odd – I have had a bare handful of gose before, and considering one was bourbon aged I’m guessing they weren’t too traditional. Who knows, maybe time travelling bourbon barrels were used a lot in the old days. I’ve heard stranger things*

So, how do I try to work out how this goes? Step by step I guess.

The beer isn’t half as acidic as I expected – it is fresh, but not really acidic. Also while there is a salt touch, and it does seem to introduce a thirst, it isn’t too heavy on that element either. So a lot of my expectations coming in are already undercut. I am pretty much looking at an outside context problem here.

Not too much is given away up front in the aroma, sight roots, slight stir fry veg, slight nutmeg. All slight, very quiet and subdued. So I am had to dive in to start working it out.

The first sip is fuller, but even more confusing. Light apple tartness, and a thin treacle, or almost cola bottle element, with small saltiness. It is a beer that almost feels absent in texture as it fills the mouth – you get it more early on, but the more you get the flavour, the less you feel the beer, resulting in odd dark flavours seeming to float almost separate from the beer itself. Just hovering with a slightly charred darkness.

It is somewhat earthy as it builds, with roots and nutmeg, stir fry and salty gherkin – it doesn’t get heavy, but gives the main backing to the beer. I really don’t know what to make of it – this streaked sweet notes through a thirst inducing grounded yet mildly tart beer.

It is surprisingly soft to drink, yet full of odd elements – not harsh in the elements, but so full of unexpected elements that I expect a lot of people may not find it to their tastes, even though no one individual element is that challenging.

As it warms the cola backing rises, and the texture thickens, giving context for the other elements. Overall it is one of those beers that while I can describe it, I don’t quite feel competent to critique. I need more reference points. As is, it is a beer that reminds me of what a wide range you can get in the world, and I am intrigued and absorbed by it, I can even say I enjoyed it.

Such a mix of elements, an almost vegetable root beer. Absolutely fascinating.

Background: Gose! That once nigh dead style, that seems to be getting a resurgence. There is a lot of talk about an “authentic” gose. I am not really able to comment on that, I’ve only had a few. I will be hitting Goslar in the future, so will try some gose at the home of gose. Then again a lot of people say that their gose are not traditional, and the most authentic style is at Leipzig. Beats me. Anyway, in preparation I am grabbed a couple of gose beers from Independent Spirit. I have been told this is the more traditional of the two, a black gose made with volcanic black salt and hibiscus.

*admittedly none that turned out to be true, but still, I heard them.

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