Tart of Darkness (The Bruery)

Style: Sour Stout

7% ABV

Brewer’s Note: “We brewed a stout – no, not Black Tuesday, this one is low in abv if you can believe it! But we then decided to put it into the barrels that previously housed Black Tuesday and various other strong ales and added our special blend of souring bacterias and wild yeasts.  The result is a perfectly tart yet awesomely dark and roasty sour stout.  Not a style you will see very often, and in our opinion, not a style seen often enough.”

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The beer’s label is similar to most of the other brewery labels, with a funky, Alice-in-Wonderland-esque background. I like the dark coloring with the different shades of purple, as they set the stage nicely for this beer’s dark yet funky taste. The main font is crisp and cool looking, and I like the dagger running through the “D,” the rest of the text, however, is a little cluttered, and while the beer label is classy and informative, it falls a little short of being a beauty. Scrapbook this one.

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The beer pours a dark and mysterious black, with a small head of very light, very small, tan bubbles that fizzle away like soda water, leaving only the slightest of tan rings around the glass. The head leaves small tendrils of lacing. In body, the beer is almost visible to the eye, but is just dark enough that no light shows through. The body appears free of particles. On the nose, this beer is certainly tart and funky.  Nice cherry fruit-leather scents waft over the nose with touches of cocoa, raisins, dates, and plums. Touches of horse blanket and sweet sweat can occasionally be smelled, and as the beer warms the cocoa become a touch richer and adds light vanilla and oak to the mix. In the mouth, the beer is puckering in its acidity with bright malic acid and other acids singing on the tongue. Touches of sweetness appear in the front of the taste alongside the rich and funky fruit flavors, but this is dried out in the finish. Touches of tannic bitters can be sensed, and grow stronger as the beer warms giving a nice, herbal bitterness to the very back of the senses. There is even a touch of funky salinity in this beer. In flavor, the beer begins as sharp green apple and cherry leather with mingling plum and raisin, as the beer warms the mouth is met with a big rush of tannic oak and soft vanilla, alongside sweeter cherries with just a brushing of brown sugar and cocoa.  The finish seems quick but actually lasts for quite a while with slightly astringent oak, tart cherries, and soft roast malt. In the mouth, the beer feels medium in body with a puckering and sharp mouthfeel that softens as the beer warms. Carbonation is middling in this beer with a touch of sharpness, as well. The beer finishes feeling smooth and almost velvety. The mouth is left dry and puckering. Overall, it’s a touch too tart, but then again, it’s called the Tart of Darkness. I want a little more in terms of stout qualities, but I have gotten that from other bottles of Tart of Darkness. The funk is rich and awesome in this beer, and the complexity of the beer is deep, bringing new flavors as the beer warms. I love the use of oak in this beer, and like the rich funk and tartness. Personally, I would want to turn the funk up and the tartness down, but that is not what this beer is about. This bottle is totally worth its cost. Try it.

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4.1/5, 43/50 BJCP, A- in Style

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