Wild Rose Rare Flemish Stout

Reviewed by on February 18, 2016 in Local Heroes Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Wild Rose Brewery & Taproom

  • Origin: Calgary, AB, CA

  • Rated On: February 18, 2016

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 6.2%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Belgian Stout

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Calgary’s Wild Rose have embarked on a series of ‘Rare’ small batch offerings, wherein they craft beer for the ‘wild brew enthusiast’ – whether that’s a play on their marketing, or an actual reference to wild yeast/bacteria in the process, it’s hard to tell.  Anyways, this is a MMXV ‘edition’, released in MMXVI, and is a Belgian-style stout, aged in unspecified wine barrels for 6 months, with a bit of fruit tossed in for fun.

This 750ml bottle pours a solid oily black, with perfunctory basal orange cola edges, and two skinny fingers of puffy, rocky, and somewhat creamy brown head, which leaves a bit of sparse mitochondrial lace in spots around the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of muddled dark berry fruit (the adjunct cherries and raspberries in conjunction with the wine barrel’s extractions?), semi-sweet, if thin caramel malt, bitter cocoa powder, a laid-back sour yeasty and woody character, distant volcano ash, and tame earthy, leafy, and weedy hop bitters. The taste is kind of bready caramel malt, sour cherry cough drops, wet falling ash (like when you’re around a campfire and it starts to rain), gritty red wine barrel lees, microwaved raspberry pie, low-key black licorice notes, and more indistinct earthy and weedy hoppiness. The bubbles are pretty understated in their straining to be noticed frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and generally smooth, the sour essences here really of the gentle fresh fruit type, ergo no biggie. It finishes off-dry, those heavily fruit-flecked chocolate and roasted caramel flavours barely diminished.

The vinous wood treatment and guest fruit additions do well by the base stout, making this an enjoyably drinkable affair.  Overall, another interesting barrel-aged brew for this increasingly adventurous Cowtown brewery – first, the year-round kettle-soured Cowbell, and now this series of yeasty and sour (ok, ‘wild’) one-offs, whose very existence presages an Alberta beer drinking community that has almost turned the corner on such things – bravo!

Brady White

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