Storm Imperial Sssouuurrrrr Flanders Red Ale

Storm: Imperial Sssouuurrrrr Flanders Red Ale (Canada: Sour Red: 14% ABV)

Visual: Hazy dark brown. Thin white dash of a head.

Nose: Cider apples. Gum of brown envelopers and vinegar.

Body: Sour. Vinegar. Envelope gum. Bitter charred core. Sour cherry and cherry sweets.

Finish: Gummy. Dry and dusty. Cider apples. Tart. Sour black cherry. Charred oak.

Conclusion: Ok, what would happen if someone attempted to replicate Rodenbach Grand Cru, but at 14% ABV? Would that ever be a good idea, could they even manage a close approximation?

Well, it does have some similar qualities, such as that gummy brown paper and almost vinegar notes that makes Rodenbach so odd – but the brewed up nature of this seems to make it feel a lot more charred at the core which overpowers a lot of the range of a good sour brown.

It isn’t a bad beer, but since that interesting holographic style shimmering flavour of a good sour ends up getting lost in the strength you end up with a lot more noticeable rough edges and a lot less pay off.

So, a very gummy beer, which is odd considering the mainly dry mouthfeel, but in the finish it is the gumminess that sticks around the longest. Not really a good or bad thing, just odd. Probably the most appetising characteristic if the beer is a slight cider apple characteristic that works well with the sourness. That fresh apple backing is a pretty good base to work form, and late on develops out to add sour black cherry – hints of where it could be going well, but it needs more. It has the right idea, but pushes itself too far into elements that don’t work by concentrating on the strength, and letting the better elements get lost in the mix.

Ah well.

Background: Hmm, looking online I can find an Imperial Flanders Red, but not with the oddly named sour that it was listed as on the menu. The one I found was 11% rather than 14%, could be a different batch of the same beer. I don’t know. Due to the high abv the kind people in the Alibi Room allowed me to grab a small measure to try. I just had to try it, an insane high abv sour, ok, let’s give that a shot.