Style: Sour Red aged in Bourbon Barrels with Blackberries & Dates
From: Asheville, NC
Brewery’s Note: “This long-awaited iteration of Oblivion is a sour red ale aged with double the standard amount of blackberries and dates in bourbon barrels. These flavorful Kentucky barrels are then artfully blended to enhance the intense fruit and higher abv.”
The beer pours a murky candied brown with amber highlights. A small, dense cap of head forms above the glass, only to dwindle to a thick scrim leaving thin yet dense strands and dots of lacing along the glass. When swirled, the liquid leaves a fat, shimmering mirage of legs across the glass. In body, the beer is murky and opaque, though hinting at some translucence on the edges. It appears as though the blackberries and dates have left a turbid beer. The beer seems heftier than your average wild when it’s swirled in the glass, suggesting girth. On the nose, the beer smells immediately of sweet blackberry jam made with a Flanders Red. The lingering sugary musk of dates tickles the nostrils as wafts of sweet and sour cherries begin freshly juiced and slowly dry out into fruit-leather. Slight acetic notes tingle in between the rich, fruity notes. The acidity is dark fruit based, and definitely rolled in a light coating of brown sugar. As it warms, slight stale bread crumb scents develop. On the tongue, the beer tastes tart and quenching, moving quickly to sweet berry jam with a tingle of boozy bite that sticks more on the finish to pair with slight bitter fruit skin that lingers nicely beside the berry sweetness and just a little green apple. Slight acetic tartness with a snap of lactic acidity really pops at the start of the sip, but mellows to a background player by the close. The middle carries complex barrel nuance that took a while for me to pick out, but they definitely carry some bourbon vanillin with hints of coconut cream in nice waves. The flavor is literally blackberry jam with a tart Flanders Red. The acetic game is light and tight, adding nuance to the tart lactic and fruit acidity beside just beautiful bourbon barrel integration. It’s fruit forward, yet integrated and delicious. In the mouth, the beer feels medium-plus bodied, with crisp and effervescent bursts at the beginning that turns silky and smooth while still providing a lovely tart bite. When the beer leaves, the mouth is damp and gushing, the tongue top is tingling and slightly bitter yet dry (despite a fountain of saliva atop it). Overall, this carries phenomenal blackberry jam flavor. The dates are slight and restrained, more as a background player with some nose-nuance more than anything else. It really dries out by the end, despite the gush of saliva, but has some beautiful. The barrel is sticky and dry while the fruit is gushing and sweet. It’s a nice little sip, with beautiful flavor. I’m not quite as in love with it as I was with Black Angel, but I feel like that relied more on beer flavoring with fruit nuance, while this is a jammy romp with Flanders Red-like nuance. Still, Wicked Weed is doing something special with their funky stuff (and with all of their beer, actually). This beer is delicious and fruity, tart, and slightly boozy. It sneaks up on you, for sure with that 10.5% ABV. Yum.