Sour Beer Follow-up

I had posted previously about purchasing two of Green Bench Brewing’s bottle releases here back in October. The first was called For the Mad Ones (a Jack Kerouac reference). It was a sour rye brown aged in cabernet sauvignon bottles. I had cracked that one open over a month ago during a get together at my residence. It did not go over very well. Despite it being a rye brown, the expected flavor characteristics that you would assume would come along with that style were completely lost in the avalanche of sourness that punched me in the face. Yeah, I get it. It’s a sour. But what’s the point when the malt base of the beer is completely overpowered. My friend Rick was in agreement. It was a disappointment.

Which brings us to this evening. It’s a Thursday night and the other bottle was sitting in the fridge. It’s called Your Silent Captain (a shuffleboard reference) which is a tart cherry imperial stout. Here is the extended label description. “This imperial stout was slightly acidified with Lactobacillus before being fermented with over one pound of cherries per gallon of beer prior to being aged for two months in apple brandy barrels.” For some reason I wanted to crack this bad boy open this evening. I’m forever an optimist, and the phrase “slightly acidified” gave me hope that it would still resemble an imperial stout and not just a sour bomb. Erika was willing to try it with me. On the nose is cherries, cherries cherries and a whiff of alcohol. At 10.4%, that’s expected. The appearance is black with some reddish on the edges. It’s lightly carbonated and as I swirl the glass, the body appears thin and loosely fluid. On taste, its cherries, tartness and (thank god) the maltiness of a stout. In other words, balance. The tartness was pronounced but not overpowering. It fantastically complimented the roastiness of the malt profile. And the fruitiness of the cherries made it delectable. As I drank and it warmed, it became even more pleasant. On the last sip, I was a little sad that it was gone. Erika enjoyed it too, which was a big endorsement. In comparing the two bottles, I can describe the sour aspect like this. Your Silent Captain was kind of nudging me in the ribs with tartness in a playful manner. For the Mad Ones, as I said before, punched me in the face……. and then kicked me in the ribs when I was down.   So I’m glad the purchase of these bottles wasn’t a total loss. One was a waste, the other was a treasure.

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