Spontanwhitegrape (Mikkeller)

Style: Spontaneously Fermented Ale Aged on White Grapes

7.7% ABV

Brewer’s Note: “Sour Ale Brewed with Riesling Grapes & Aged in Oak Barrels”

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The beer’s label is funky and bright.  Mikkeller just recently hired their artist, Keith Shore, full-time.  It definitely has a “European Cartooning” feel to it, which is funny since Shore is from Philly…  I’m not a huge fan of his style, but unlike other cartoon beer labels, this one definitely feels adult, and is interesting.  I love the minimalism on the label, sand the fonts are simple yet funky, and clear to read.  This label is definitely worthy of scrapbooking and could be considered for a quirky, Eurocentric bottle shelf.

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The beer pours a hazy, pale gold/yellow color with almost-white highlights and a light, tightly packed head of slightly-off-white colored bubbles that fizzle to a scrim/ring.  In body the beer is a hazed wonder, nearly opaque with just a faint outline of the other side of the glass reaching the eye.  Lazy carbonation bubbles can be seen tracing their way up to the beer’s head.  On the nose, the beer smells of fruity funk. Cherry fruit leather with light, funky hay and barnyard and even light pineapple notes, tartly sparkle on the nose. The vinous notes don’t really come through on the nose, though the beer does smell slightly sweeter than a ‘regular’ wild ale.

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On the tongue, the beer tastes tart with acidity and a light sour feel, this is mellowed at the end by a beautiful sweet wheat, and is lightly balanced by just a touch of bitter grass. The beer feels sharper in carbonation, with a medium mouthfeel that has a light crispness to it, alongside a little oiliness. In flavor the beer begins witth tart, fruity green apple with touches of sweet white wine and tannic oak toast that comes more fully on in the finish, right before smooth wheat biscuits wash over the tongue, softening the sharp acidity and letting some nice bread character come to the tongue alongside soft citric pineapple and cherry.  As you breathe out the beer gives some lovely oaky wine characters alongside the wheat bread.  The finish is very long and complex, morphing from funk to oak to wheat and back again as it lingers in the mouth. Overall I like this beer a lot.  The tannic oak adds a great addition to this beer in comparison with the oak I sampled last night in Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja.  There is some nice complexity in this beer, yet it holds its funk in restraint and doesn’t get crazy wild with the acidity.  This is a beer to try.

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4.15/5, Style too new to judge based on it

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