(Black Hog Brewing Company)
Style: Red Wine Barrel Aged Kettle Soured Brett
Barrels: Cabernet Franc
From: Oxford, CT
Brewery’s Note: “This beer had a long weekend in our brew kettle allowing beer bugs (Pediococcus and Latcobacillus) to get down get down and do their sour thang. While yeast strains eat sugar and produce alcohol beer bugs eat sugar and produce acids. This gives sour beers their puckering power. After letting the bugs play in the sweet wort pool we boil the beer and add a touch of earthy hops. Disco Pig #2 Brett Golden Sour is 100% Brett fermented to replicate as closely as possible what a traditional Belgian wild fermented sour beer should be! Disco Pig #2 gets even better! Aged in Cabernet Franc barrels from the Finger Lakes, this is a barrel aged lacto sour that you won’t want to miss.”
The beer pours a deep, ambered orange with a small head of cream colored, rocky lacing bubbles. The cling is slick and slides quickly off the glass. The beer is ruby pink in the glass, and cloudy and distorted in body, nearly to the point of opacity. On the nose, the beer smells deeply vinous with huge red berry character that gets a little jammy. Below the vinous notes is a juicy bretta funk blending pineapples with lychee and pool water. The barrel also makes a lovely appearance in the nose and is toasty and woody beneath all of the other scents. The more I smell, the more complex the vinous notes become; I get rich raspberry that is slowly macerated into jam with a rare steak meatiness and minerally strawberry jam. Damn, this smells good. On the tongue, the beer tastes tart and mildly acidic with enough fruit pop to keep the mouth lively. Sweetness pairs wonderfully alongside the acidity, taking the beer to deeply vinous levels as red berry sweetness plays with red berry acidity and a touch of citric funk. Bitterness is not absent from the beer, however, and enters in the middle and finish with a mellow yet bristly hop bite with a balancing tannic oak bite. The oak brings subtle sugars and toast into the middle and finish of the sip, too. There is perhaps the faintest hint of acetic acid in the middle of the sip, as well, bringing slight hint of apple cider vinegar. The beer is a wine-like balance of sweet fruit, red berry acidity, and mild bitterness. The taste is like a jammy rosé or a nice light red. It has honestly been awhile since I actively paid attention to the wine I drank, but this tastes New World fruity and bold, with a great bretta funk laying a blanket out below it while the barrel toast and woodiness provide delicious nuance. There is a little cider, and even a hint at almond and perhaps a Flemish nuance, but the beer is really about the vinous, red wine character, and that is superb. In the mouth, the beer feels medium plus bodied, with a languid, yet prickly mouthfeel that oozes while the acid nips lovingly. The carb is mellow and light, allowing the heavier nature of the beer to really unfurl and slink across the tongue. It’s a sipper for sure, and the body and mouthfeel encourage the drinker to do just that. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left dry, with a touch of tannic astringency. There is spittle, but it is faint and spattered over the top of the tongue. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I was not expecting a full on vinification to occur in this beer, and was instead expecting subtle wine nuance. The wine is the star of the taste, however, and it works wonderfully along with the barrel and the bretta funk to create an enjoyable wine-like beer. It’s unique, and fairly reminiscent of a good cheap red wine, and I really like that. Black Hog’s other Disco Pigs have been hit or miss for me thus far, but this one is my favorite and has colored me impressed. It’s not subtle, but is nuanced and complex, and I like it.