Stavio: Birrozzo Pinotto 2014 (Italy: Sour Ale: 7.5%)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Rim of white bubbles instead of a head.

Nose: Musty and thick. Dry sultanas. Light charred oak. Dry Madeira. Earthy Pinot Noir. Dry apricot.

Body: Smooth. Raisins and sultanas. Earthy. Plums. Earthy bitterness. Brown bread. Slight sour dough. Thick mouthfeel. Strawberry.

Finish: Plums. Earthy and mild spice. Coriander. Sour dough. Dry. Sour red wine. Tannins and tea. Strawberry. Slight acidic freshness.

Conclusion: I think this is the first beer of the festival that comes under the heading of a well made beer, but not one for me. It is very smooth, yet nicely chewable – so the mouthfeel is nicely balanced. It is dry, with lots of the earthier side of a European Pinot Noir and rumblings of darker notes below. I can appreciate it on a technical level, but something about that means that it just doesn’t grab me. I’ll have to examine more and try and work out why, please indulge me on this.

Even with that said though, it is not like I actively dislike this, I am finding a lot to examine here. There are subtle strawberry notes, dried apricot, light spices. I can 100% see how this could be someone’s favourite beer. There is so much depth, slight acidic dryness and a heavy, earthy style.

I think that it is that earthiness that, for me, does not work. I prefer the more booming, fruity, New World Pinot Noirs compared to the more earthy European versions, and so here it feels like the earthy taste gets clinging. But that is a personal thing not a problem with the beer. It is especially notable in combination with the dryness, which adds to the harsher elements. What I can say on the positive side of things is that the middle of the body gives some sweet release from that – this is where the fruit notes balance the earthiness and there I can start to get into this.

So, very well made, and feels like it should be really good, but not quite for me. As always I hope I have given enough information here for you to know if it is for you.

Background: Another beer tried at the Arrogant Sour Beer festival at the Moor Tap-Room. Was a bit unsure as the booklet description said that this was Cedar aged, however it was right next to an entry called Birrozzo Cedro that said it was Pinot Noir aged. A quick check confirmed the two entries has been mixed up. Also confusing is the abv. The label said 7.5% abv, the booklet 6.5% ABV and the Cedro was 6.8% abv so it wasn’t just those being mixed up. Anyway, a Pinot Noir aged sour. Let’s go!