Category Archives: Sours

Smog City Brewing Co ‘Benny & The Bretts Vol.2’ BA Sour Red Ale


35415397_872641472919999_3298931785550790656_n“Sour red ale aged in Sangiovese barrels.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pouring a gorgeous crimson colour with a super fizzy two finger head sitting atop. Reduction is slow and steady but it eventually settles to a ring with sparse lacing as we go.

Aroma: Intricate and very well layered! The sourness is there, obviously, but it’s nicely offset by the sweet and rather juicy red malts and subtle oak additions. Along with those divine notes of red wine and tart cherries is a kind of artificial-like scent of candy canes and raspberry sherbet. So much depth and character on this nose.

Flavour: The sourness is showing a bit more intensity, ever so slightly though. Pronounced vinegar and lemon juice comes forward but it’s quelled by sweet candy and oak-driven vinous notes. Picking up hints of tart cherries late in the piece as it leads in to the smooth and slightly dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Prickly, slightly acidic and well carbonated. Relatively light on though.

Overall: We’re suckers for a good label so this one drew us in instantly. Good form Smog City! But also well followed through….superb balance but still showing plenty of sour character. Impressive.

Smog City Brewing ‘Bluet’ BA Sour Blond w Blueberries


35059775_868608349989978_2143708023854465024_n“White wine barrel-aged sour blonde w/ blueberries.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Very interesting colour. Almost mauve-esque with a cherry red tint. It forms a finger of super fizzy head which dissipates instantly. And no head = no lace!

Aroma: Smells of spent wine barrels, tart blueberries, glazed cherry, wine tannin, sherbet, musty oak and a delicate barnyard funk. The bottle states over 800 pounds of whole blueberries were used and we can definitely smell them although it’s not overdone, they’ve been used to perfection. Intriguing aroma.

Flavour: Revealing its sour profile on entry. Sharp but pretty well retained lacto acidity with tart blueberry and musty oak undertones. Quite a fair bit of fresh lemon juice adding an extra zingy sourness to it. She does soften nicely through the mid though, showing those artificial fruit tingles before it rounds off on a soft fruity finish with lingering blueberry notes on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Quite acidic upfront, tapering off in to a smooth finish. Effervescent texture and rather light on.

Overall: Pretty good. A bit more character from the wine barrels would have been good but ultimately it’s a damn fine drop.

Russian River Brewing ‘Supplication’ BA Dark Sour Ale


33753516_862336287283851_4630216891049181184_n“Brown Ale aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries. It is aged for about 12 months with sour cherries, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Flavors from the cherries, Pinot Noir and oak balance each other nicely with a little funk from the brett.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: It pours an attractive copper red with two fingers of loosely packed bubble sitting atop. It reduces to a film but still manages to decorate the glass on its way down.

Aroma: Brilliantly balanced between the sweet and the sour. Sweet red wine tannins, glazed cherries, raisin and raspberry mingle with the sour notes of tart lemon/lime, barnyard, bretty funk and fruit tingles. It’s showing good depth with a strong musty cellar room character as well.

Flavour: It comes on quite strong but like the aroma it balances out really well. Lots of vinous red wine upfront, cherries, raspberry and mild vinegar to follow. Some earthiness coming through, can’t quite put our finger on it. A bit of spice and musty oak developing late as it rounds out on a slightly dry and tannic finish.

Mouthfeel: Spritzy and relatively light. Sourness is sharp and acidic but nicely tempered by the oak. Medium-high co2.

Overall: Although we prefer Sanctification the complexity and depth in this has to be admired. We used to dislike sours but it’s ones like this that are making us eat our own words!

Russian River Brewing Co. ‘Sanctification’ Sour Blonde


33621327_861550544029092_892458774923575296_n“Technically, this is neither an ale nor a lager. The base recipe is for a Golden Ale, but we do the primary fermentation with 100% brettanomyces. The brett gives it some sour notes but not as much as if it had been aged with lacto and pedio. It’s rather refreshing on a warm day!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pale golden hue which caps off with a wispy head that instantly peels back to a ring. Minimal lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: It certainly has a dominant funky Brett scent but it’s well tempered. The usual suspects i.e bitter/tart citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit), spice and aged vinegar are there but with a somewhat earthy barnyard character to it. Hints of that sugar crusted candy as well – meringue, froot loops and lemon drops. Fine aroma.

Flavour: Brilliant transition from the nose. It’s funky and sour but that’s mostly from the tart lemon and vinegary notes. It softens in to a fruity middle, but not in the fresh way, more artificial-like as it hints at fruit tingles and candied citrus. Hints of Belgian yeast esters, pear/apple and earthy spice round off on a slightly dry and lengthy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light and fizzy with a rather mineraly texture. Booze (6.75%) is well hidden. Slightly acidic.

Overall: There’s something here for everyone. It is 100% Brett fermented so the sourness does come on strong but it tapers off nicely for the more novice sour drinkers (like us!).

Cascade Brewing ‘Melonious Blonde’ BA Blonde Ale


33475220_861172754066871_3884715116557500416_n“Melonious Blond is a blend of blond and wheat ales aged in oak barrels for up to 14 months with cantaloupe and Summer Kiss melons. Showcasing Oregon-grown fruit harvested at peak ripeness, Melonious Blond offers notes of fresh summer melons, orange blossoms and sour candies, with a hint of honeycomb and green peppercorn.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden hue. She caps off with a thumb of fizzy head that reduced to a ring. We’re seeing a wavy lace pattern clinging to the glass as we imbibe.

Aroma: Smells of classy champagne, freshly cut grapefruit, citrus rind, earthy florals, pithy orange, young sauv blanc and lime juice. Something kind of chalky in there, a bit tannic and a little fleshy like melon, paw paw and peach. Rather acidic but well carried by the amount of fruits. Quite an impressive number.

Flavour: It’s a total incursion on the palate. Tart citrus, bitter hops, lemon warheads and unripe stonefruits on entry. That typical rush of saliva brings fleshy fruits like peach, apricot and nectarine before it finishes on a dry citric base which offers hints of fruit tingles and subtle peppery spice on the rear.

Mouthfeel: Chalky, dry and slightly acidic – as most of these beers seem to go. The 6.8% ABV, although somewhat strong, is well contained. Mild-moderate body.

Overall: We’re not pretending to be sour experts but this is pretty bloody good. It’s sour as hell but the stonefruits along with the earthy florals and peppery spice pull that back in to line. Very, very impressive.

Brouwerij De Ranke Cuvee


28058389_814193965431417_1595269039963052667_n“Cuvee is an ale of mixed origin like many Belgian breweries used to make. The production process is nearly the same as for the Kriek, the difference being that no cherries are added. It’s a naturally acidified ale in which we try to reach the perfect balance between sweet and sour. This amber-coloured ale contains 7% vol. Alc. and can age really nice.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Slightly hazy burnt orange/amber. The head swells to about two and a half fingers before receding to a collar. Excellent lacing clings to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Tart, funky, acetic and complex. Lemon warheads, semillon, angostura bitters, lime juice, fresh pear, passion fruit and salted vinegar make up the bulk of it. A fair bit of citric acid and some oak undertones add another layer of depth. Just a suggestion of sweet malt there at the base. Brilliant.

Flavour: It doesn’t come on overly sour or funky, which is how we’d rather it. Plenty of lemon/lime juice, grapefruit, citrus rind etc. Tasting that lacto funk in the background – kind of dry, a little fruity and vinous in its delivery. Sour apples, a bit of straw and a touch of musty oak to finish.

Mouthfeel: Quite light on actually. Approachable for a 7% sour. Vibrant co2 – Spritzy and gassy. Mild bitterness. Very drinkable.

Overall: Absolutely hitting the spot on this scorching 35 degree arvo. Probably one of the first times we’ve ever truly enjoyed sipping on a sour. We’re not huge fans of the style but we really savoured this one. That’s saying something!

8 Wired 2015 Grand Cru – Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Sour


22281691_757034254480722_5368377065850443332_n“Aged on currants and cascara with brettanomyces and pediococcus in Pinot Noir barrels. Then blended into a red wine foedre for further ageing..”

Served in a tulip. This attractive little number boasts a crimson red body and a short tan head. Retention is poor as it rapidly reduced to a ring with spotty lace following it down.
The aroma is super complex. There’s certainly no lack of woody oak and vinous tannins. Quite earthy, spicy and tart with plums, cherries and pomegranate making a distinct appearance. The sourness is bold but bearable, taking on a somewhat sour apple and slightly acetic approach. Some faint hints of aniseed, barnyard, alcohol and musty cellar room to further complicate things! Quite nice actually.
The flavour profile is similar to the aroma but with a more pronounced sourness. The strong oak, vinous tannins, the slightly tart plum, pomegranate and cherry…all here along with a lifted booze and spice character. Our main concern would be that it gets a bit too vinegary by the end but then again in light of this the subtle earthy note does take a bit of the edge off.
The texture is sharp, tangy and acidic with pretty good co2 considering the two years spent in the bottle. Medium body.
Yeah we can’t say that we’re blown away but there is definitely some potential here. We’ve locked a couple more of these away so here’s hoping a few more years will be kind to this slightly unrefined ale. Good but not great.


Moon Dog ‘Fruits Of The Forest’ Wild Ale


image“The fruits grew wild on the dark forest floor. Delicious, we’ve got berries galore. Into the wild, ale these berries do fly. Creating a brew that’s like sour berry pie.”

Served in a beer tulip. This funky looking drop pours a somewhat rosè-like colour with a touch of candy red mixed through. It arouses a big and foamy three finger head that rapidly reduced to a ring with scarce lace work on the glass.
It actually smells quite pleasant with a firm pronunciation on tart berries – everything from raspberry, strawberry and boysenberry to lilli pilli’s and cranberry. We’re detecting a very subtle hint of cinnamon and white pepper along with more discernible notes of lemon juice and sage. Jeez, it’s that sweet it could be reduced to a jam! We’d have it on our toast tomorrow morning.
It’s predictably light and gassy in the mouth. Kind of has that champagne fizz to it. Slight acidity but ultimately it’s quite mild. High Co2, moderate body.
The flavour develops nicely. There a short and sharp burst of tart berries and zesty lemon juice that lays down for this somewhat buttery lacto yeast midway. From there it seems to fall away a bit with a faint hint of acidity on the rear.
We tend to steer clear of sour/wild fermented beers but we’d have to say that even though this is primarily a “chicks beer” it’s actually not half bad. Our rookie error was to crack this in the middle of winter! We could only imagine how refreshing this would be on a 30 degree summers day in Sydney. Kudos Moon Dog.

8 Wired Brewing ‘Le Fut’ Flanders Red


13423732_526942090823274_1573009451550877980_n“Le Fut or “the Barrel” is a Flanders Red ale aged in Barrel for 2 years. Mouth wateringly sour and amazingly complex it was well worth the wait”

Served in a beer tulip. The attractive mahogany pour reveals edges of crimson when held to the light. A short beige head quickly retreats to an island of microbubble with next to no lace trails being left behind. Nice balance here on the nose. Definitely getting some citric acidity but it’s well countered by notes of vanilla, wood chips, vines and a soft mustiness. Undertones of ripe berries, cherry, crystallized sugars and raisin all offer an aromatic balance between sweet and sour that provide good bottom end and add that extra layer of complexity. The texture is actually quite light and palate-friendly with an initial short and sharp sourness that gradually tapers off. The body and Co2 is mild-medium which is finished by an effortless swallow. The sourness certainly crescendos early on. Hints of sour candied lemon and yeasty funk (probably more Brett than Lacto) ease in to soft oaky tannins and tart berries through the mid. A subtle red wine-like dryness in turn delivers a woody but ultimately fruity finish with assorted berries that last a lifetime time on the back palate. Incredible length on offer here. What we like about this is that the brewers haven’t overdone the sourness, it’s well contained and allows traditional flavours like oak and berries to play their integral role in the make up of this beer. We’ve noticed the shift to sour beers from 8 wired and in response we’ve been a little hesitant but this one they’ve nailed. We aren’t huge fans of sour beer so we must give credit to these master brewers.

Le Trou du Diable ‘Le Coq’ Sour


image“The Rooster is a safe assembly rye beer aged up to two years in oak barrels of Banyuls to which have been added, for a maturity of one month, 450 pounds of sour cherries. The result is an amber and proud beast, the tenacious cap which has at nose lambiquées notes on a background of cherries and candy. Her slim body sings at dawn bright notes, the very generous fruity, striking attack that awakens the senses. The whole stretches in a vinous finish, slightly oxidative, real ode to refresh that grows recidivism”.

This sour marks our 2nd entry for this French-Canadian brewery. Quite rare and very hard to find in Australia, the only bottle shop stocking them is the oak barrel in Sydney city. We served this beverage in to a beer tulip. Quite an attractive appearance here, the EBC in a way resembles a rosé wine with it’s light magenta body and deep pink hue. Very active carbonation off the pour which arouses this frothy 2 finger cap that maintains for a short while but eventually peels off to a collar with meagre lace trails. Where do we start with this aroma? The depth in complexity is noteworthy as we pick up cidery scents of tart/sour cherries, oak, vanilla, raspberry/strawberry, funky/bretty notes, musk, vinegar and subtle spice to round it all off. Aahh the wonders of wild yeasts. The texture of the beer in the mouth is quite oily with a sharp peppery spiciness on the tongue. The carbonation is moderate and the body is nice and light on. We admire how the sourness works the palate in stages. Initially it’s more tart cherries, spicy pepper and alcohol warmth on entry. As it gradually moves through the mid the sourness really develops, taking on extra acidity and forcing the taste buds to release saliva. A hint of oak forms late leading in to a slightly vinous and sour finish. Good length, we get a hint of balsamic vinegar on the back end. The 7.5% ABV also plays a bit of a role too. It’s delicately fused into the spicy, acidic flavours throughout the beer. Well one thing is for certain, this makes it an easy 2 from 2. The ‘La Tracteur’ saison was delicious and this sour is definitely something memorable. A tonne of character and complexity on offer here. Very nice.

Hopdog beerworks ‘Holy snappin turtles’ Sour


imageWe thought it had been way too long since we quaffed a Hopdog brew so when we saw this Sour it was an instant purchase.

Served in a beer tulip the cloudy yellow/gold pour whipped up a bubbly 1 finger white head that simmers down to a thin dusting on top. Average lacing. What we’re dealing with here is a very complex aroma. The use of Shiraz barrels being subbed as fermentation tanks means subtle aromas of oak, damp wood and earth are backing up the sour overtones of lemon, raspberry and phenols. Plenty of yeasty funk and acidity from the addition of Brettanomyces offer the characteristic spice and farm yard aromas while a muted background of butter adds even more depth and complexity. Very interesting. In the mouth the slightly oily texture and mild carbonation tricks the taste buds before the clingy sourness takes hold of the tongue. Similar to the aroma, the palate is complex with an obvious tangy sourness kicking things off. Lemon rind, unripened berries and a slight mustiness meet a tart finish with a hint of sour cherry and oak on the rear palate. The length is a little short but when we factor in a well hidden 9.6% ABV we are pleasantly surprised. It has been subdued nicely, no harsh alcohol burn at all. We’d have to say this is a well executed beer, wild ales really aren’t our most favoured styles but this was quite approachable. Good offering.

Rodenbach 2011 Vintage barrel aged Sour


imageThis bad boy is from Germany and it’s a limited edition aged in oak barrels since 2011, and is the 95th barrel. We love the fact that popping this beer open is like the cork from a champagne bottle.

Lots of sour on the nose. Real interesting pour this one..a head that fades instantly , leaving an oily film on the glass. The colour is dirty dishwater unfortunately but we are sure it won’t taste like this. The first sip yields a subdued tart acidic flavour with a sweet palate consisting of spices, apple cider and oak/wood. There is very minimal carbonation here but we are amazed by the smoothness of this 7% alc vol. It’s almost like your drinking an apple cider tea. As we sip and the brew warms up we get a bit more mild caramel malts. Absolutely no lacing on the glass here due to the oiliness of the drop. Mouth feel is full and chewy. We have had a few sours in our time but this certainly rates as being one of the best. The fact that it’s a few years old is fascinating and adds to the complexity of this beer. As a side note, this beer was given a 100/100 on We think it will only impress a true craft beer lover.

Moon dog ‘perverse sexual amalgam’ black wild ale (sour)


image“Some things don’t seem right but you want them anyway. That quasi-erotic feeling you get when Charlton Heston makes out with Zira the chimp. Sure, she reluctantly says “All right, but you’re so damned ugly….” But you know she’s into it. And as with all things a bit perverted, so are you. This beer is released every now and then… And increased birth rates can be correlated to the releases. Coincidence? Probably”.

There’s always a sure bet with some events. Like the sun rising every morning, or putting money on black caviar…or moon dog brewing a whacky, out there beer that looks really really audacious! We served this in a beer tulip. The mat black pour produced little head which dissipated instantly leaving no head at all. Even a vigorous twirl of the glass couldn’t conjure up any foam. The aroma is obviously dominated by tart cherries and citric hints of sour lemon, but there are very subtle hints of damp wood, oak, vanilla, phenols and plum that add an extra funky complexity to this beautifully dank aroma. The mouth feel is extremely oily with mild carbonation. Medium body. Upfront the flavour is very similar to the aroma with sour lemon and tart cherries dominating. Behind it all, slightly miffed is a subtle hint of sweetness from the Vienna malts. The sourness carries on through the mid-palate and finishes with soft oak and subtle chipotle style spice. 6.1% ABV is very well buried among the tart, funky flavours. Once again, Moon dog has successfully lived up to it’s name but the feature flavours are…well…so so. Nothing wrong with the beer, just didn’t really hit the mark for us.

Nøgne Ø ‘tindved’ Norweigan sour


image“Tindved is a sour Norwegian ale brewed with Norwegian malted barley and raw wheat. We added juice from pressed sea buck-thorn fruits to obtain the brash sourness. Nøgne Ø ales are unfiltered and unpasteurized so pour carefully if you wish to leave the natural yeast in the bottom of the bottle”.

Poured into a tulip glass the appearance displays a cloudy golden orange with a 1/2 inch white head that collapsed quickly to a halo of bubbly foam around the side of the glass. Reasonable lacing. The aroma is mainly funky and sour with hints of wheat, phenols, tart berries and maybe a hint of apricot. Some sour apple also on the back end certainly delivers a unique nose. Mild carbonation with a smooth mouth feel, almost watery but it’s saved by a short burst of grippy bitterness on the back of the tongue. The flavour carries on from the aroma….unique, almost like a saison with it’s spicy, tart characters. The sourness is the story throughout though, with phenolic hints of funk, barnyard and wheat initially. Some sour fruit in the mid-palate is rounded off by an acidic citric finish. 7% ABV. To be honest we’re only new to sours but we feel this held up its end of the bargain. Definitely an acquired taste, personally the sourness and acidity is just a bit too much for us, but we can see why people become enthusiasts of this style of beer. Not bad.

Wild beer co. ‘Modus Operandi’ old ale (sour)


image“Barrel ageing, blending and using different yeasts, this embraces our love of the unpredictability of wild yeast with the subtlety and complexity of maturation in oak barrels. A study in patience, it takes at least 90 days for the wild yeast to work its magic. Modus Operandi is the perfect accompaniment to red meat and game dishes, such as duck or venison, a beer that could easily replace a red wine on the dinner table. A transformation of an old English ale into a beer that is Wildly different. A unique, dark, flavourful beer with a smooth, rich, full body and complex fruit flavours of berries, sweet cherries and tannins”.

From the second you pop this you will know you’re in for a rich and complex beer. Poured into a tulip glass the colour of the body displayed a deep mahogany with a fizzy 1 and a half finger head that reduces quickly without a lot of lacing to be seen. Now on to this complex aroma. Woah. Initially we picked up sour wafts of whiskey, oak and raisin but just underneath sits an arsenal of phenolic fragrances like balsamic vinegar, sour cherry, prunes and creamy vanilla. Mildly carbonated with a soft, almost oily mouth feel. Very moreish palate. An array of smoky flavours being detected, initially we picked up plum, raisin and oak. Sour acidic notes of vinegar and berries that develop in the mid-palate are drawn out all the way to the back end. A warming touch of alcohol finishes off a very, very complex and acquired palate. Not for the every day beer drinker this one. If you’re like us and this is your first crack at a sour this would be the entry level choice. Very different.