Flor d’Lees (Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project)

Style: American Wild Ale

5.0% ABV

From: Denver, CO

Brewery’s Note: “A play on both the micro flora that sits atop our barrels and the yeast lees, which rouses the distinctive characteristics. Flor d’Lees is a classic golden sour, reminiscent of the great spontaneous Belgian beers traditionally brewed in the Senne Valley.”

The beer pours a pale golden color with greenish tints. It forms a small head of eggshell white bubbles that cling nicely together, and leave a tight curtain of cling on the sides of the glass. In body, the beer is translucent yet cloudy, with a definite murk to the other side of the glass. On the nose, Flor d’Lees packs a lacto punch. Tart, tart lemons tango with Pledge-esque nuances, and skate smoothly into chalky lacto tartness. There is a floral perfume to the nose that is slightly rosy, while a taint of pool water and funk slide beneath the other scents. These lesser scents come together to give a minerally wash to the nose, which I enjoy. The nose, however, is a bit reminiscent of more recent vintages Cisco’s Lady of the Woods with lemon Pledge, limes, and a nice soapy bit of peel that work their way to a not displeasing scent, but a definitely acidic one. On the tongue, the beer is initially sharp in its acidity but then slides into gentle lemon tartness with a touch of chalk. There is a balancing back of bready sweetness, which is faint and never really quenches the sharp acidity, but does work to mellow it as the sip progresses. The sweetness takes a minerally-floral note, moving earth and then lime brine in the finish. There is some citric bitterness, along with a touch of earth in the finish that could be brett, but seems to suggest warm oak to me. The finish is beautifully expressive, falling closer to a guezue or lambic, with great floral meatiness and a lingering pucker of tart lemons. The beer is not dry but leans more towards that way, which is lovely. I was a little worried with the nose, but the taste of this beer is superb. In the mouth, the beer is sharp but lighter bodied. The carb is effervescent and lightly frothy, and when the beer leaves, the mouth is left dry and tingly with a slightly taught tongue. Spittle lines just the very base of the teeth, yet despite the biting acidity of the frontend, the beer is not overly puckering at its finish. The acidity starts fierce in the beer, but the finish is so lush in complexity that I don’t think I would change it. Overall, it is delicious, funky, and acidic. The acidity is fierce at first, but carries some nice sour flavors, and (as I keep stating) the finish is lush and wonderfully complex. This is like a lambic with a ratcheted up front end that puts the pucker on, but with the rich finish you expect from older world styles.


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