Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Whale A Week: Jester King Atrial Rubicite

Last week we talked about the stellar Mother Of All Storms from Pelican.  This week we change gears and try out a sour beer from Jester King--Atrial Rubicite!  This was part of an epic tasting with Surly Darkness and Goose Island BCS and was the only sour we tried.  Talk about a palate cleanser! We poured this into Surly Darkness and Steel Toe snifters for tasting.  Here is our cast of characters: Me (Eric)--homebrewer for over 25 years, beer judge, beer geek.  Sj--my wife who inexplicably is a woman of few words when it comes to reviewing beer.  Sean Kampshoff--Winner of National Homebrew Competition medals, beer judge, cool guy.  Jim & Cindy Moldenhauer--a very fun couple of craft beer geeks we got to know at several McCoy's Public House beer dinners.

Jester King Atrial Rubicite

So, living in Minnesota, I have always viewed Texas as a bit of a craft beer wasteland.  You know--land of lite beer, country music, big belt buckles, American flags, etc.  When I discovered that there is a farmhouse brewery specializing in sour beers in Austin, I was a little shocked and frankly a little skeptical.  Last year I made a big purchase of a local craft beer collector's cellar and found several of these little gems hiding in there.  Not knowing what to expect I did a little research on-line.  What?!  Turns out that Jester King beers are much in demand among the sour-head beer hoarders out there!  And I had a bunch just ready to try!  Oh, and the bottle labels are a work of art on most of these...

So on the beer: Atrial Rubicite is a barrel aged sour beer fermented with Washington raspberries.  It comes in 500 ml bottles with an awesome/disturbing label featuring a raspberry heart popping out of a ribcage.  ABV is only 5.8% so this is easy to drink.  They use their house yeast and wild local yeast to ferment this beer out.  Beer Advocate gives the beer a rating of a solid 100 and it is featured in their top 100 beers, while RateBeer also gives it a 100. 

Freya just loves sour beers!


Eric: Huge raspberry blast!  Very tart and makes the mouth pucker just sniffing this beer.  Slight sulfur notes.  Acetic, lactic, and brett funkiness.  No hops.  
Sean: Powerful raspberry aroma with a lactic sourness.  No malt character or hop aroma.  Jammy!
Jim: Raspberries!


Eric: Bright clarity with a crazy red to deep pink color.  Fine pink head at the edge of the glass.  Some bubbles on sides of glass.
Sean: Bright ruby red.  Extremely clear.  Little head.
Cindy: Sailor's Sky--Red sky at night...
Jim: Red/amber


Eric: Fresh raspberry is front and center in this beer.  Tart but not overwhelmingly sour.  Has a strong tannic bite from fruit and seeds, also possibly from the barrel.  Has a woody, almost beet-like finish.  No alcohol warming.  No hops.  Body is light and spritzy.  Finish is slightly astringent and quite dry.  
Sean: Medium-high raspberry flavor with a similarly medium-high lactic sourness.  Finishes tart and extremely dry.
Cindy: Sour cherry and strawberry.
Jim: Tart, sour raspberries


Eric: Really pleasant beer, balanced right on the edge of too sour/dry with a lot of tannin.  I'd like just a hint more residual sweetness to balance it, but I'm splitting hairs.  This is one of the better American fruit lambics I've tried.  4.5
Sean: A tasty, cleanly lactic raspberry beer.  Refreshing.  Not overly sour and great raspberry character in aroma and flavor. 4.25
Cindy: 4.25
Jim: Pucker up! 4.5-4.75
Sj: "I'm a sour whore."  This is Raspberry-riffic! 4.5

Overall Tasting Score: 4.43

This was a very tasty beer, and impressive for using wild fermentation from Texas!  I'm excited to try the other Jester King beers I've got hiding in my cellar--they are safe no longer!

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