Vinland Two (Mystic Brewery)

Style: Native Ale/ Farmhouse Ale Fermented with yeast cultivated off Maine low bush blueberries

7.3% ABV

19 IBU’s

OG: 14.6° Plato

Batch #001

2013 GABF Gold Medal: Indigenous Beer

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Brewer’s Note: “Vinland Two was fermented with an indigenous strain of yeast from a Maine lowbush blueberry. The Norridgewock yeast strain get its name from the small town of Norridgewock, Maine where the blueberry was picked. Vinland Two presents a full mouthfeel and a subtle fruity character all brought forth by the qualities of the indigenous yeast. It was also awarded a gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival for ‘Indigenous Beer’. ”

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The beer’s label is classy and displays the blueberry color nicely. Other than that it is rather like the other Mystic labels, which is a classy uniform look. Keep it on the shelf if you like.

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The beer pours a pinkish orange color with hints of pale yellow.  The beer forms a very small head of tiny, gently creamy bubbles that eventually form a ring.  In body, the beer is hazy and opaque, but seems free of floating particles. On the nose, the beer smells of peppery esters with a touch of grapefruit citrus, and oh-so-slight tart berries.  A light metallic scent is also notable alongside generic spice, clove, and banana.  Bubblegum even plays a light note on the nose, helping to add yet another layer of complexity.

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On the tongue, the beer muddles the complexity with a fierce spiciness, little to no sweetness, a touch of fruit, and a middling herbal bitterness that seems too intense when paired with the spice of the beer. The finish is dry with touches of citric acidity and more spice.  In flavor, the beer punches in with spicy peppers and mild clove and banana flavors that come out on the middle and finish of the sip. The finish also brings herbal and grassy bitters that are bit too harsh, and a continued assault of generic spice.  As the beer warms, faint fruitiness can be sensed on the edges of the tongue, but this complexity is lost to the intensity of the spice. Slight woodsy and vegetal notes can also be sensed on the tongue. In the mouth, the beer feels on the light side of medium in body with a weaker carbonation. In mouthfeel, the beer is crisp, slightly sharp, and harsh, with no balance between the spice, bitters, and all the other tastes. Overall, I love the idea of this beer and Vinland One was a true treat, but Vinland Two comes across far too unbalanced on the tongue. Where Vinland One had some nice fruity esters to hint at the plum the yeast was cultivated from, this beer loses even a sense of “berry” and ends up being a muddled mess of spice and herbal bitters. The nose is fantastically complex, but the rest of the beer doesn’t follow up. This beer needs more fruitiness and sugar to add balance. It is too harsh to drink, and the blueberry in its label is just misleading fruit beer drinkers at this point. This one was a rare miss from Mystic.

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3.25/5, 33/50 BJCP, B in Style

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