Firestone Walker Feral Vinifera #4

Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Country: USA
ABV: 9.8%
Style: American Wild Ale
Other Notes: Wild Ale fermented with grapes. Barrel ratio: 70% French Oak & 30% American Oak

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Feral Vinifera is our foray into a new and exciting adventure in the Santa Ynez Valley that expresses our collaborative effort with local grape growers and winemakers. We have carefully fermented, matured and blended this beer with our friend Andrew Murray, proprietor and winemaker at Andrew Murray Winery. The resulting cuvée and partnership of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, and Chardonnay grape/beer fermentation bends the mind and senses. Dried apricots, guava, and vanilla mingle with Meyer lemon and roses. A funky, savory yeast bouquet lays down a firm foundation. A flinty minerality and oaky tannic depth add to body and structure that mingle with a soft-finishing acidity and fruity esters carrying assertive vinous perfume. Cheers!

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.41
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.3

Intro: A 375ml corked and caged bottle. Batch No. 004, bottled on 20th October 2017. Poured into a 3 Fonteinen stemmed glass.
Appearance: A brilliant clear golden colour with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly with a half replenishing thin layer, while leaving sparse to no lacing.
Aroma: Vinous, white wine, grape, oak barrel, apricot and a touch of vanilla.
Taste: What you’d expect from the aroma, Light sour, vinous, white wine, grape, dried apricot, woody, oak, and a hint of vanilla.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: Wow, doesn’t feel at all like a 9.8% ABV brew. So easy to drink with nice aromas followed by even better taste. The oak comes through nicely and is complemented well by the vinous and fruity grape, white wine and apricots.

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Firestone Walker Bretta Tangerine

Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Country: USA
ABV: 6.2%
Style: German Berliner Weisse
Other Notes: Berliner Weisse style fermented with tangerines. Barrel ratio: 100% French Oak

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Our region is blessed with an abundance and variety of fresh fruit. South of Barrelworks in the hills surrounding the hamlet of Ojai, there are groves of citrus-oranges, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines. We’ve been lucky to work with the Ojai native Friend’s Ranches who specialize in tangerines. Friend’s offered the W. Murcott tangerine which we zested for aroma, juiced for flavor, and then fermented with our base beer of Bretta Weisse to create a metamorphosis. Brought to life was Bretta Tangerine! A bountiful bouquet of citrus mingles with pronounced herbal notes, leading to funky, yeasty, citrus flavors. Soft cereal and oak aromas are enveloped by a firm acidity and tartness and punctuated by zesty tangerine. The finish is dry and crisp; a thoroughly enjoyable beverage. Santé!

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.88
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.7

Intro: A 375ml corked and caged bottle. Batch No. 001, bottled on 1st May 2018. Poured into a 3 Fonteinen stemmed glass.
Appearance: A lightly hazy golden orange colour with a one finger white head that dissipated fairly quickly to a thin replenishing layer, while leaving only sparse to no lacing.
Aroma: Funky, orange juice, mandarin, unripe mango, unripe apricot, and a touch of oak.
Taste: Light sourness, tangerine, mandarin, orange candy, oak, with a light funkiness.
Mouthfeel: Light bodied with moderate to soft carbonation.
Overall: Not up to the standard of Bretta Rose, but still nice and easy drinking with good citrus, funk and barrel notes. Carbonation could be higher for a Berliner Weisse, but the lack of, doesn’t take too much away from it.

De Molen Pina & PocoCoco

Brewery: Brouwerij De Molen
Country: Netherlands
ABV: 4.3%
Style: German Berliner Weisse
Other Notes: Pina Coco Berliner Weisse-ish

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Pineapple & a wee bit of cocos.

My rating: 2
My beeradvocate.com rating: 2.93
My ratebeer.com rating: 2.7

Intro: A 330ml bottle, bottled on 8th August 2018, and with a best before date of 8th August 2020. Poured into a Holy Mountain tulip glass.
Appearance: A hazy orange colour with a huge uncontrollable white head even with a slow careful pour, that left lots of nice fluffy lacing.
Aroma: Wheaty, sweet, light clove and banana, with a touch of coconut candy.
Taste: Grainy, wheat, sweet, light clove, light banana, milk candy, and a hint of pineapple juice.
Mouthfeel: Light bodied with high carbonation.
Overall: I guess not what I expected given the name and bottle description. Too sweet, lack of sourness, lack of pineapple and/or coconut, and the carbonation was so high that it was uncomfortable to drink at times.

BFM Degustator Edizione Vin Santo

Brewery: BFM (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes)
Country: Switzerland
ABV: 6.5%
Style: Italian Grape Ale
Other Notes: Barrel Aged IGA Italian Grape Ale

Brewer Description: (from bottle) (translated from French as best as I could) Intense nose, roasted note, subtle, vinous, woody and honey. Velvety and ‘friante?’ beautiful texture, nervous acidity on the palate, long finish with aromas of bread and marzipan.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.02
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.8

Intro: A 375ml bottle, 2016 vintage, bottled in February 2017, and with a notched best before date of February 2019. Poured into a Holy Mountain tulip glass.
Appearance: A hazy golden orange colour with small bits of sediment and a very thin white head that disappeared almost immediately and left no lacing.
Aroma: Lightly funky, vinous, white grape, honey, oak barrel, acetone and a touch of vinegar.
Taste: Sour, acidic, vinous, grapes, white wine, oak, vinegar and every now and then I was getting a herbal element near the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied with soft carbonation.
Overall: I haven’t had much opportunity to try Italian Grape Ales, but this was quite nice. Aroma was good, but the taste and mouthfeel had a slight harshness that would have been better without. However, the more I drank it, I grew to like it, and it was definitely interesting to drink.

Harviestoun Ola Dubh 10th Anniversary

Brewery: Harviestoun Brewery
Country: Scotland
ABV: 8%
Style: English Old Ale
Other Notes: Ale matured in whisky casks for a full two years. Special twelve year old reserve barrels – Highland Park

Brewer Description: (from bottle) This unique, tenth anniversary edition is aged for a full two years (three times longer than normal) in casks formerly used to mature Highland Park’s legendary 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, allowing even more whisky flavours to imbue the ale. Let’s toast a decade of barrel-aged brewing – Slainte!

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.61
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.5

Intro: A 330ml foiled and capped bottle, bottle no. 09925, bottled in October 2017, and best before end of February 2021. Poured into a snifter glass.
Appearance: A clear dark brown colour with pretty much no head and only very sparse spotted lacing.
Aroma: Chocolate, whisky, raisin, fig, wood, caramel, with light peat and smoke.
Taste: Watery, whisky, roasted malts, chocolate, raisin, caramel, fig, dried fruit, with light roast and smoke.
Mouthfeel: Light bodied with soft carbonation.
Overall: My first impression was that the body was so light that it drank like watered down whisky. It was better after it warmed as the complexity and roastiness came out and balanced the wateriness to the point that it was ok and drinkable. I easily preferred the Special Reserve 21 version though, but I am looking forward to trying the other varieties. A heavier body would have improved this.