Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Escoffier: Bretta Ale

Thanks to Eamon for bringing this beer back from the Brewery Vivants release party. First tasted as I was finishing up inoculating some of our new Bordeaux Wine barrels with different fruits/spices/yeast/bacterial strains. Reviewed in the break room after my shift.
9.5% ABV

Appearance: Bright amber with a deep rustic orange tint bringing forth a glowing appearance. A soft foam ring clings to the glass, divided intermittently by larger bubbles. Some faint color inhibitory haze is present, but nothing to dim from visibility the small bubbles that race from the depths to the surface of the beer. Wet lacing speckles the glass.
Aroma: Fruity with a more specific fragrance to apricots alongside a Belgian yeast presence. Some funk, but nothing horsey or of that sort. More so, the aroma is reminiscent of Brett strains with a vinous character to accompany. Some spice rounds out the finish, paralleling a balance between clove and rose petal.
Taste: The start boasts caramel and sweetness with a touch of brown sugar. To balance this, a nice refreshing tartness clashes with a rich dark roasted fruit - think: figs, dates and raisins. The second half conveys hints of woody tannins, especially as the beer warms up. The faint alcohol is nice and soothing, and nothing close to overwhelming as one would expect from the labeled ABV.
Mouthfeel: Richer bodied but still finishing with an enticing dry and refreshing bite, predominantly contributed from the attenuation of Brett/Belgian yeast strains. Carbonation was frothy and smooth in texture initially, but now, as the beer is sipped warm, one relies on the chemical composition of flavors (i.e. phenols, esters, alcohol, etc.) for a source of textural sensation.
Overall Impression: Fantastic in all lights. Big flavor and alcohol, but without coming off boozy or hot. A medley of even balanced characteristics from Brett/funk to tart and sweet. Even grain (and other) tannins convey a palatable experience with their drying, expressively crisp nature. Awesome beer!

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