Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Beer Diviner Flemish Red

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1175) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 14, 2014
Would you believe The Beer Diviner’s Flemish Red is the second beer of the style I’ve had in as many months from a small brewery? It’s a very rare, niche style, though it’s nice to see it catching on as sour beers in general become more popular. I haven’t had enough of this style to say how this represents it as far accepted style characteristics, but as a beer in general it’s pretty good. Not quite as sour as I’d prefer, though it is still plenty flavorful and easily drinkable.

I poured a 16oz growler into a tulip glass. It cost $6 ($0.38 per ounce).

Appearance: Ruby red/burgundy hue. Translucent, but nothing visible inside the beer. Pours to a surprisingly large, off white, frothy head which retains and laces tremendously.

Smell: Standard sour aroma at first with notes of black cherry, though there’s a distinct vinegar-like presence and something slightly acrid.

Taste: This is an ideal starter sour beer as it’s not quite the pucker-bomb that you’d find in Belgium (or by certain American breweries). It’s more a reddish/brown brew that happens to be slightly tart and sour than a straight up sour beer per se. The brewery’s website says that it’s brewed with coriander, orange peel and ginger root and uses two English hops and is fermented with wheat Belgian ale yeast. It doesn’t list the malts, though. That certainly is an interesting, if not flat-out strange combination.

Anyway, the flavor here is familiar as there’s a gentle maltiness throughout the palette. Slightly sweet with flavors akin to those commonly found in a red or brown ale, but without nearly the hop presence. The sourness is also noticeably immediately in the form of a tang and astringency on the front end, with candy-like sourness, and slight vinegar flavor on the backend. The aforementioned spices are quite subtle, though they could account for a medicinal-like taste. Overall, it’s not bad, but it could definitely be improved. A significant barrel or wood-aging treatment would probably help.

Drinkability: The first thing I noticed about The Beer Diviner’s Flemish Red is how thin the mouthfeel was. The texture itself is smooth, but the lack of in-your-face sour flavor makes it seem a little weak. It is remarkably smooth, though, which makes it highly drinkable for a sour. It probably could use a little more body and robustness considering it’s a decent weight at 6% ABV, though one pint is definitely a satisfying serving size. 
Grade: 7/10

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