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!
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...
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
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!