Brewdog: Pilot Brew 008 (Scotland: Sour Ale: 7% ABV)
Visual: Very cloudy apricot to slightly browned. Large slightly browned froth head. Some sud rings.
Nose: Kumquat. Pineapple. Slightly sharp. Stewed dates. Key lime. Cake sponge. Cumin.
Body: Sour berries. Sour apples. Bready. Passion fruit. Raspberry. Twigs. Stewed fruits – apricots.
Finish: Cake sponge and sour apples. Sour red berries. Raspberry. Dried pineapple. Light peppercorn. Minty mouthwash.
Conclusion: This is a robust sour ale – It is packed with sharp fruit but the body doesn’t feel dry, or in fact anything like what I would expect for a sour. Instead it has a remarkable bready and steady back. An unusual combination – it makes for a tart fruit covered cake sponge impression when you shove it all together. Something a bit nice you know.
So here you have a very tart fruity sour with a huge range – there is a rustic and twig feeling that really grounds it. It feels like the alcoholic take on a sour fruit juice in many ways – there aren’t many characteristics that I can use to tie it to any of the traditional sour styles. The closest comparison I could make is a fruit packed take on a Berliner weisse, but it is far higher abv than most of those.
So it is unusual, tart and tasty – the day was a bit overcast when I tried it, which was a pity as this seems to be a beer that would suit a summer bright day (and I say that despite the fact I hate the evil daystar).
It’s a fun sour beer – though pretty much the same from the first sip to the end – but apart from that the only real flaw is a slight medicinal mouthwash note near the end. A slightly overly artificial feeling note which harms the overall image.
A nice beer, I am not quite sure where to go with it though, to build upon the pilot batch. As an occasional summer refresher it works, but it is definitely too high abv to be a summer session beer. I can’t quite work out where it fits in, as the high abv works against its perfect place. Not quite sure how to fix that, sorry. Still a nice beer.
Background: I’ve seen this referred to as a “Whisky Sour Beer”, not 100% sure what they mean by that, but it sounds funky. Anyway, another of Brewdog’s pilot brews, this one sampled at the same time I reviewed the Compass Box whisky at Brewdog Bristol. Drunk while reading one of Robin Hobb’s Farseer books. I’ve had a bunch donated to me so decided to give them a try. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.