Tag Archive: Almanac

Almanac Farm To Barrel Farmer's Reserve Strawberry

Almanac: Farm To Barrel: Farmer’s Reserve Strawberry (USA: Sour Ale: 7% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow to apricot and very cloudy. Thin short lived white dash of a head.

Nose: Musty. Slightly stale white bread. Oatmeal or maybe muesli mix. Squeezed lime. Mild gingerbread. Stewed apricot and cake sponge.

Body: Tart. Lemon juice. Oaken. Acidic apple. Faint strawberry that is somewhat more evident as it warms. Cake sponge. White wine. Squeezed lime. Vanilla toffee.

Finish: Soft strawberry. Acidic apple. Rustic in a saison like way. Lemon. Light chalk. White wine as it warms, along with lime and vanilla toffee.

Conclusion: Ok, strawberry sour. I had heard of a few, or maybe just one, strawberry lambic before, but never managed to get my hands on it. So this is my first strawberry sour experience. And it is!… not exactly whelming shall we say. Can you just say whelming? Not sure. Anyway. Possibly I started it off too cool, as I have found warming it does help. Let me go into a bit more detail and I shall explain.

Cool it is a bit musty, empty and mainly acidic apple dominated. Kind of like a sub standard cider, and since I am in west country I have access to a lot of actually good cider. At this point it didn’t do much, it refreshed with its acidity but that was it.

As it warms a kind of cake sponge feel and taste come out, still acidic, but a more robust and stable base and that seems to give some grip to the other flavours. Not so much the strawberry unfortunately, I’ve seen it rise up a few times as it warms but it always seems to vanish again quickly. The strawberry really isn’t a dominant element of this beer, possibly why it is not a common addition to sours. Maybe.

At its base it seems always a sour apple, lemon and lime, well, sour beer – with white wine companionship in some of the oak notes. It has quite a few good side notes – from vanilla toffee to rustic saison style, but none are reliable enough to make this a consistently good beer. It can seem slightly simple and empty in the middle, with the best elements top and tail.

Not that bad, but not on the better end of the sours. It feels a bit of a let down. Ah well, back to Listening to New Model Army – “I Love The World”

Background: A break in the whisky tasting notes so my beer fan readers don’t get bored. Don’t worry, more whisky is coming very soon. I don’t know if “Farm To Barrel” is part of the name, or just a take on their “farm to bottle” slogan. I included it just in case. Anyway a sour ale, packed with strawberries and aged in a wine barrel. Sounded fun. Drunk while listening to one of New Model Army’s live albums. If you get a chance to see them live they are great.


Almanac Golden Gale Gose

Almanac: Golden Gale Gose (USA: Gose – Traditional: 5% ABV)

Visual: Golden yellow clear main body. Small white head that fizzes and diminishes quickly.

Nose: Dough. Salt. Cucumber. Chilli seeds.

Body: Sherbety fizzy feel up front. Salt. Sweet lemon and lemon curd. Squeezed lime. Dried banana notes. Doughnut base and rustic notes. Weak orange notes.

Finish: Cane sugar. Earthy bitterness. Lemon and fresh lime. Vanilla ice cream. Carrot and coriander.

Conclusion: Gose gallantly gallops greatly going on. Ok, that was just gratuitous alliteration. So, here the gose goes more towards a slight sour and doughy base that most of the style seems to express, rather than the very fresh example I found in the recent Westbrook take. In fact, while the beers are sour wheat beers at the base, this actually reminds me more of the rustic saisons that are out there- it has that earthy and rough edged touch to it.

Not that it seems that way initially – the aroma is actually quite dull. Slightly vegetable like and uninteresting. The first sip comes in fizzy and excitable but without much flavour. It is only as the beer starts to calm down that the interesting sour dough and rustic saison starts to come out, along with a light spice that also calls to the saison character.

While it doesn’t have the thickest feel the use of the lemon and lime freshness means it works with rather than against that. It doesn’t seem to need much weight to make it work – it has a slightly cordial style and it gives a freshness that belies the solid sour base.

As for the thing that seems ever present in a gose – that being the salt – it is here but gently done. It feels more a flavour enhancer that the thirst inducing element that it can be in some beers.

Overall, pretty robust despite the lighter fizzy textures. The matching of the lighter done citrus fruit character over the grounding of the saison like base and the sour base keeps you going rather than drying you out, and the spices allow for new character to come in late on in the beer. It all makes for a solid beer, not exciting but solidly sippable.

Background: Gose Time. Or, how time gose by. I have terrible puns. Anyway, after missing out on heading to Germany to try the few remaining goses in their home country, I have tried to make up for it by trying a lot of the craft beer examples. This one, made with sea salt, lemon verbena and coriander turned up in Brewdog’s guest beer selection. So I grabbed it.

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