Wild Beer Co Sourbeest

Wild Beer Co: Sourbeest (England: Sour Ale: 5.9% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black cherry red to black. Small off white head.

Nose: Chocolate. Sour cherries. Bourbon. Vanilla. Tart fresh cut apples. Sticky toffee pudding.

Body: Tart apples. Vinegar touch. Sour cherries. Chocolate liqueur notes. Vanilla.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Sour apples. Tart. Bitter chocolate. Bourbon.

Conclusion: Yayz! Bottled sourbeest. As mentioned in the background I’ve had this on keg a few times already so these notes will be mainly discussing the bottled version, but I will do a few comparisons to the previous keg tries.

The sour stout is one I have not had many of yet, in fact I think it is a fairly new style but a welcome one. The heavier notes of a stout seem to work excellently to back the real mouth tingling freshness of a sour beer. It is a spectacular contrast to the more dry and wine like examples of sour ales.

Here the nose is the thing, it is absolutely excellent – balancing sour acidic freshness, luxury chocolate and soft bourbon vanilla notes. In both bottle and keg the aroma is a thing of beauty.

The body, in bottle at least, as a more simple thing – there is big tart apple and a very fresh front- with the promised notes from the aroma used far lighter and more subtly behind. Here the keg did it better – the chocolate, sour cherries and tart apple all had equal weight that created a superb beer. This definitely plays a similar game, but the balance is off – turning it from to excellent to *ahem* merely good.

The finish balances up better – the tart apple meets rising milk and bitter chocolate and that does a lot to restore my faith in the bottled version. It reinforces the character of the stout notes that had been dislodged in the body.

Over time the faith proves true – the stout notes seem to rise from that finish, reinforcing the body and creating a much more balanced beer as it builds up over time. Sourness, sweetness, fresh and smooth all mixing in unexpected and delightful ways. Keg may be better but this is still a lovely example of the sour stout.

Background: A sour stout – a fascinating style that seems to have popped up recently. This one, picked up from Independent Spirit is made from the second runnings of Wilderbeest then aged in oak barrels for nine months. I have tried this on keg a few times and loved it, so was glad to see it finally bottled. Drunk whilst listening to Some Dead Kennedys having seen them live recently.