Style: American Oude Bruin (Colarado Oude Bruin)
Malts: Pale, Munich, Carpils, C-80, Chocolate
From: Fort Collins, CO
Brewer’s Note: “La Folie Wood-Aged Biere, is our original wood-conditioned beer, resting in French Oak barrels between one and three years before being bottled. Peter Bouckaert, came to us from Rodenbach home of the fabled sour red. Our La Folie emulates the spontaneous fermentation beers of Peter’s beloved Flanders with sour apple notes, a dry effervescence, and earthy undertones.”
Beer Advocate Note: “Flemish-style Sour Brown Ale fermented in stainless [steel] then transferred to barrels for 1-4 years of aging then blended to taste.”
The beer’s label is painted onto the bottle, which is both good and bad. It looks awesome, but because of its layout and coloring I am having trouble snapping a nice picture of it. Such a label also means that there is no option of scrapbooking this label. Other than that, the beer’s label is made up of funky, flower-ish things that might be the outlines of barnacles. If they are barnacles, they I really like the idea of the label, so I’m going to say their barnacles. The color scheme is really rustic reds and browns that both have orange tints, and really make the bottle hard to make out in dimmer lighting. I feel like the choice of rusted brown as the main color for the barnacles was a poor choice. This label would have been a lot clearer and popped at my eye more if it were a brighter color. I do like the New Belgium bottle on the side of the neck though, and the fonts are all a little off-centered and awesome. In fact, I love the funky all caps font. It may be one of my favorite clear to read fonts on a bottle. In all, the label is cool and funky, but suffers from dim and boring colors. I don’t think this one will make it onto my shelf.
The beer pours a dark candied brown, and sits in the glass as almost purpling brown with only a ring of sand-dune-colored bubbles as a head. The beer’s body is beautifully ruby colored in the light, and hazy with proteins and such, there is even a nice steady stream of miniscule bubbles working their way to the top of the beer. The beer leaves a lacing of splotchy bubbles that almost look like a crooked willow tree on my glass. The lacing is sticky and dry, but not dominant on the glass. On the nose, the beer smells nicely green apple tart with malic acid and funky with hints of malt vinegar. There are slight hints of oak, and definite cherry leather scents in the funk, though it does tend more towards the barnyard side of things. As I stick my nose in it more, I almost get a toasty note within the funk, which I assume is coming from the barrels, and which also hints at a molasses scent in the malts. On the tongue, the beer tastes hugely acidic and with only a light touch of sweet sugar and fruit and a lingering hint of salt in the aftertaste. Flavors begin as puckering green apple, which grows into slight malt vinegar and green apple flavors. The tartness is a little oppressive on the taste buds, but there are light hints of cherry and light cleaning solution on the finish of the beer. The aftertaste mellows the beer out considerably and brings some lovely caramel malts into the tart cherry flavor alongside a less pleasant flavor that moves from appleskins to green apple and also shows hints of bitter tannin from the barrels the beer aged in. In the mouth, the beer feels medium light in body, but attacks the tongue oppressively with carbonation, washing away any sweetness that may have helped balance out the big tart flavors of the beer. The mouth is left puckering and a little burnt from carbonation, and wet from the spittle trying to neutralize the acid of the beer. Overall, this beer, like many American wild ales, is a little unbalanced in terms of acidity. It has some lovely complexities that get drowned in the harsh acidity of the beer. Perhaps with age the acid will mellow and the brettanomyces that I assume are in this beer will become more dominant, but right now I think the beer is a little too rough and acidic for my tastes, though certainly complex and well crafted. Maybe I go an infected bottle.
Needless to say, I’m little disappointed with my first taste of New Belgium and this beer. I had high hopes for this beer, and actually chose it over the Transatlantique Kriek, which is also supposed to be great. Maybe I’m just not a fan of the very acidic beers, though I’ve have quite a few now and really have liked them more than this. If my review seems off, someone please let me know. It wasn’t a bad beer, it just wasn’t up to par with other oude bruins and Flanders reds that I have had.