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Review by SAP on 06/20/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
88 3 11 17 4 9 2009
Sampled July 2009
With only about 100 bottles of this made, I feel extremely lucky to be able to try this for a second time, and this time I get a bottle to myself. This beer has been lightly chilled to just below 60ºF / 15ºC. A vigorous pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a fat-two-finger thick, lightly tanned, pink tinged, off-white colored head. The beer is a dark cherry red color that shows an almost clear, pink stained, deep red color that is most definitely influenced by something that is not malt. The strongest aromatic note when I go to smell this beer is of expressive, fruity raspberries that have the full suite of berry notes, skin notes, seed character and pulpy fresh flesh notes. As I poured this beer I got notes of funky, musty Brettanomyces and perhaps a touch of urea. The first couple seconds of the nose continue to be dominated by the raspberry, but even a little persistence leads to a phenolic, musty, lightly plastic influenced, distinct Brettanomyces & funk signature. I like that the dominant raspberry note is not all encompassing, it is also surprisingly nice smelling for a person that doesn't generally prefer raspberry beers.

Very dry tasting, as the beer moves across my tongue it causes me to pucker up a bit as a biting, sour lactic note comes into its own. This is accentuated even more so as the tannins from the raspberry skins & seeds as well as the oak kicks in. The raspberry flavors are much muted as compared to the aroma, but they still evenly influence the whole of the flavor profile; tannic bright raspberry skin flavors, raspberry acid notes, and a pity seed quality all contribute to the combined character of this beer. This is quite light bodied, it is even missing that certain viscousness that traditional, bone-dry Lambics often have; yet this is not watery or too thin, instead it is nicely refreshing with just enough tannic, oak-derived backbone to keep things nicely balanced. This is certainly vinous in character with the mix of fruit and light oak character; I can't say that I am noticing the Chardonnay influence though. The phenolics that were noticed in the finish of the nose are reigned in quite a bit here in the flavor; there is a touch of musty character in the finish. The flavors in this beer also contribute notes tart berries, lightly spicy oak notes, a heavy on the wood - light on the spice peppery note, a touch of tart grapefruit, . As the beer warms up a bit the fruitiness starts to contribute a perceived sweetness that feebly attempts to balance the sourness.

My second pour of this beer has me noticing a nutty yeast note as well as some raw, overly yeasted dough notes in the nose, though the raspberry is still the up front dominant note in the nose. The beer has chilled down a touch more from where my first pour started out at; I am noticing a hint of sweetness here, and perhaps a touch of faint acetic character that may be what I am really noticing. The raspberry flavor seems to get a touch more expressive as well, it picks up a floral fruit character

This beer shows a lot of finesse, it is well balanced (assuming you enjoy aggressively tart beers of course :-), and despite not being as funky as I might prefer, it is still quite good, and I would be extremely excited to have a case of this in my cellar. This is easily the second best raspberry beer that I have had (how can you really compete with a 17 year old bottle of Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus though). Surprisingly enough the 750ml bottle of this really doesn't seem like enough; in fact, while being quite tasty from the get go, this beer grows on me more and more as I work my way through this. I can only hope to be able to continue to get the next releases from this series of wild beers being done by Santa Fe.

Sampled June 2009
The beer pours into my 25cl tulip glass with a pink, pale colored head that is about a half-finger in height. The beer is a clear, deep red color that looks pretty when held up to the soft afternoon light. My first smell of the aroma has me noticeing a big raspberry note that is full of seed, skin, pulp and all. The nose is not overly sweet smelling (though it does smell of sweet fruit) and has a touch of tartness to it. Despite some others saying that they smell some other funkiness going on in the nose, I can’t get past the raspberry aromatics; I am a bit sensitive to it though.

The beer tastes quite tart; this is quite a relief as the tartness coupled with how dry this beer is really helps to tame the raspberry flavors. Speaking of which, the raspberry character is here in the flavor as well with a nice nutty raspberry seed note, a certain tannic raspberry skin note (much like a tannic tea that coats the teeth a bit) as well as some other fruit notes that remind me of cherries. This beer does have a nice lactic tartness to it that is big, but not overwhelming, it is a bit biting, but is not gut-felt. The beer has a nice light body to it that would make this extremely quaffable if not for the biting acidity.

This beer is not overly funky, but I do like how the dry raspberry flavors mix with the lactic tartness. This has been a really pleasant surprise, I was a bit wary based on the aroma and the fact that the Sangre de Frambuesa was such a mess of a beer. I can't wait to sit down with a bottle for a full contemplative experience.

Price: $27.00 Served In: Tulip