Birrificio Del Ducato: La Luna Rossa: Cuvee 2014 (Italy: Wild Ale: 8% AVC)
Visual: Deep mauve to tomato juice red. Very cloudy body and virtually no head.
Nose: Black-cherry yogurt. Light wood notes. Very clean. Red cherries. Tart apples.
Body: Tart apples. Vinegar touch. Tart raspberries. Black cherries. Mild wood. Sour lemons. Tomato juice. Acidic at back of the throat.
Finish: Tart apples and cider. Tart raspberries. Sour sweets. Lemon juice. Tomatoes. Robust black cherry. Raspberries.
Conclusion: Nothing about this beer is as I expected. It pours dark, like cloudy fruit juice, rather than the bright red clear beer that I expected. Its acidic aroma and tastes are delivered remarkably cleanly, without a lot of the holographic like shimmering flavours you tend to get with sour beers. The actual flavour and impression on the eye can tend towards a form of tart tomato juice as much as the more expected cherries. I was not expecting tomato flavours in this, let me tell you that. Even when you get cherries it tends towards black-cherries and delivers it with raspberry like tartness. So, yeah, not in any way what I expected.
Also, this seems to be influenced by Rodenbach Grand Cru, in that it can be vinegar touched levels of sour at times, though, again, without those holographic flavour notes of that beer. I feel like I should be comparing it to Rodenbach Caractere Rouge, as it keeps that vinegar roughness, which that beer did not, but this does not match that beer’s complexity, so despite similarities of fruit, and Rodenbach character they are not as alike as you would think.
It is a bit of a half and half beer for me. I respect the utter cleanness of flavour it delivers without losing the sour intensity, but I am disappointed that it does not bring with it an equivalent complexity beer. Also, tomato notes are really not my thing, so I could do without that aspect of it.
I would call it a clever beer, but not a good one for me. Without those tomato flavours I think I would have had fun with it, but they just seem to intrude into what is good with the beer. So, overall I can’t get into it despite its impressively brutal sour character.
Background: Ok, I don’t speak any Italian I am afraid to say, so had to google for what this one was. So apparently it is a mix of a new beer fermented in barrels for two years then Morello cherries added to it, with Ultima Luna which is a Barley Wine matured in Amarone (Dry red wine) barrels with cherries, and some young beer. Ok, unusual. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and is the 11th of 200 bottles.