Monday, June 18, 2012

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

This is a beer I should've reviewed a long time ago. It's a very interesting brew - a Saison made with Sorachi Ace hops (originally cultivated in Japan but now grown in the U.S.) and a Belgian yeast strain. It's globalism in a bottle (or something cliche like that ).

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (678) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 16, 2012
The saison is a style I’ve never really been able to get into, unless it’s an American version made with a lot of hops. That’s certainly an apt description of Brooklyn Sorachi Ace - a beer brewed with the rare and unique hop of the same name originally cultivated in Japan but now grown in the United States. It’s also got the classic Belgian characteristics at the core, plus champagne yeast for a very interesting mouthfeel. The result is a citrusy, dry, earthy beer that’s refreshing and easy to drink.

I poured a 750ml caged and corked bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Gold to pale orange color; hazy but translucent; forms a large, fluffy, beige head which mostly dissipates but does leave some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Big lemon notes with a lot of fresh air and other farmhouse qualities. A touch of pepper and some savory seasonings.

Taste: Strong hop bitterness right off the rip. It’s similar to what you might find in a West Coast IPA with noticeable lemon and orange pith and rind taste. Slightly tart, but at the same time quite dry from the Belgian yeast. Flowers, fresh air, and farmhouse funk all somehow translate themselves into flavors, too. The beginning is quite refreshing, but turns on a dime into a dry, almost starchy taste and sensation in the traditional Belgian saison style. It finishes with a spicy, earthy sensation. Ground pepper plus a hint of garlic and onion. Even a slightly bready maltiness - similar to the aftertaste of garlic bread. The finish is dry with a slight pastiness, but not overbearing. It’s a palate that’s as interesting as it is delectable. Not absolutely drop-dead delicious (at least not out of the bottle, I’ve had it on tap and it’s much more juicy and sweet), but certainly impressive.

Drinkability: Since the beer is Belgian at heart and 100% bottle refermented with champagne yeast, it’s not surprising Brooklyn Sorachi Ace has a lot of energy in the mouth. It’s a slightly thin body, but the carbonation is extremely fine and goes down very smooth. It’s also genuinely refreshing, which is impressive considering how complex and bitter the palate is and the fact it weighs it at 7.6% ABV. I had no trouble drinking an entire bottle myself, but it would work very well as the centerpiece of a picnic meal with friends.

Grade: 9/10

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