FV 13 (Allagash Brewing Company)

Style: American Wild Ale/ Flanders-Style Red Ale?

8.9% ABV

Aged in an Oak Foudre

From: Portland, ME

Brewer’s Note: “FV 13 marks our first venture into the world of foudre beers. Foudres are giant oak tanks used for aging (this one holds 2700 gallons.) FV 13 is a blend of wild yeast and bacteria, a base beer with lots of malt character, and about four years of patience. The finished beer is copper in color, with an aroma of cherries and caramel. The flavor is a blend of sweet and tart, with notes of fruit and caramelized sugar. The full mouthfeel gives way to a tart, mouth drying finish.”

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The beer’s label is cool.  I love the font for the beer’s title and I love the big old foudre logo.  The rest of the fonts are simple but funky and easy to read.  There is a bit of clutter from the boring text on the side of the label, though, which is too bad.  Overall, this label is definitely worthy of scrapbooking, and is worth considering for the shelf as well.

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The beer pours a ruddy orange/red with a big tight creamy yellow/white head of tiny, small packed bubbles.  In body the beer appears clean but hazy with lots of bubbles racing to replenish the head.  On the nose, the beer smells of funky cherry fruit leather with a smell resting below these scents and adding a malty backbone to the yeast funk.  There is a touch of deep funk in this beer as well that I can’t decide if I like it or not… It is prickly on the nose with hints of pineapple, then pine, and then compost, but it is not particularly displeasing, just a little odd.  On the tongue, the beer tastes funky acidic and then very oddly bitter.  At first I thought I might have an infected bottle, but as I let the beer sit and I sipped it more, some of the off flavors, oddly, mellowed out and the beer became not bad.  I have had this beer before on tap, however, and it was far fruitier and more interesting then.  In flavor the beer begins with tart green apple but then opens into weird grassy bitter and pear and apricot notes, with funky cherry fruit leather thrown in.  The beer then mellows out into smooth malty brown sugar notes with light caramel and funky notes thrown in.  Throughout the taste, the bitter occasionally become unappetizingly medicinal with a touch of compost added in, which takes away from the taste.  The tart green apple flavors seem to linger in the mouth throughout the taste and then return in the aftertaste to leave a nice pucker along with a lingering bitter medicinal flavoring.  In the mouth the beer feels on the heavier side of light with prickly carbonation that is soft and fluffy except for its bite.  The mouth is left puckering and oddly bitter with a weird saltiness as well.  There is a decent amount of saliva filling the mouth to neutralize the acid.  Overall, this is a weird beer.  I don’t think this one held up as well in the bottle, and I probably wouldn’t spend the money on it.  This is an alright beer but it has off tastes and a weird, chemically bitterness that gets better but is never that great on the tongue.  That being said, I only realized now that this beer is 8.9% alcohol, which is impressive.  This is an interesting beer.  If Allagash can perfect bottling what they served on tap for this beer, then it will be amazing, but as it is, it falls short.  An okay beer that I would like to see improve.  I think I got a bad bottle actually, but even without the off flavors this beer seemed to have something missing.

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3.7/5

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