Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Whale A Week: Russian River Beatification 2013

Now in my second year, A Whale A Week is my challenge to try (with an array of beer loving friends) a rare beer for every week of the year.  Last year I had a great time with this and have continued it for 2016.  Not every beer will be a truly "white whale" beer, but all are hard to find and a treat to try!  I've been kind of bad about keeping up on this the past few months--maybe I should rename this to A Whale Every Other Week...

Russian River Beatification 2013

Russian River Brewing has been putting out some amazing beers over the years (Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig IPA's) but have really been one of the first American breweries to put out sour Belgian style beers.  Not content to do everything by the book, the the brewers certainly put their own spin on things.  Not available here in Minnesota, I managed to get my hands on some vintage bottles and figured this would be a good time to break one out!

Beatification is a golden ale that is based loosely on old school Belgian wild fermention like that seen at Cantillon.  The hot wort is left in a wide, open, coolship overnight to cool and become inoculated with wild yeast and bacteria from the brewhouse.  It is then transferred to oak wine barrels and fermented several months.  It comes out about 6% ABV and of variable tartness/funkiness. Beer Advocate gives this a score of 99 and Rate Beer a 100.  

The word beatification is used by the Roman Catholic Church as a papal declaration that a dead person is enjoying the pleasure of heaven and is worthy of religious honor.  This is the first step toward becoming canonized or sainted.  Interesting!

Cast of characters for this tasting: Me (homebrewer for over 25 years, lover and brewer of sour beers); Sarajo (my wife and fan of sours); and fellow Jack Of All Brews member and award winning brewer Josh Welch. 



Eric: Bright.  Pineapple is very strong.  Tartness is powerful.  Tangerines or Mandarin oranges.  Light plastic notes as warms.  Wax--honeycomb.  Thai basil.
Josh: Strong phenolic funk aroma.  Fresh leather.  Light solvent.


Eric: Straw in color, very light.  Crystal clear.  Small white head with tiny tight bubbles.  Head fades to edge of glass quickly.
Josh: Very good looking beer.  Crystal clear, pale golden.  No head.


Eric:  Very tart up front.  Fades to a tart middle.  Ends with a tart finish.  So...tart.  Puckering.  Unripe pineapple and green apple skin.  Very mild wheat malt.  Acetic acid is very strong in this beer.  Some mild brett funk, but mostly acetobacter.
Josh: Acidic tangy, lemon, salty.  Slick on the mouth.  Light.  Acidity lingers for some time.


Eric: A very zippy and interesting beer but somewhat one dimensional.  All acid all the time!  I want more brett character in the flavor like I get in the aroma.  Not quite refreshing since I feel the need to wash my palate with water after this.  And a Zantac.  I have had another version of this that I gave a 5 to, but this one is a 4.
Josh: 4.25
Sarajo: Acid-O-Licious!  4

Overall Score: 4.08

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