For my take on the concept, I soured a brown base for four months in a third-use five-gallon rum barrel. When it had extracted sufficient character from the toasted oak, I racked four gallons onto 14 lbs of frozen/defrosted raspberries (purchased for $50 at Trader Joe’s on the way home from proposing to Audrey… I’m romantic). Considering a gallon of beer weighs a little over 8 lbs, adding 3.5 lbs of raspberries to it is pretty significant.
Recently someone asked me where I get the ideas for my recipes. In this case, in addition to the Jester King beer, I’d read that a compound (ethyl formate) found in both rum and raspberries is what the center of the milky way smells like, talk about brewing a clone!
Intergalactic Raspberry Sour Brown
Appearance – Light pink/tan foam floating on a ruby-brown body. Mild haze when held to the light, but pretty clear. Not actually that much redder than some of my Flemish reds. The head dissipates fairly quickly.
Smell – No getting around that this beer is all about the fruit. The aroma is saturated with jammy raspberries. It is good, but a bit seedier than I intended, thanks to five months spent on the fruit (I would have preferred only three, but I was in San Diego at the time... the sacrifices I made!). As it warms the vanilla from the barrel peeks out, but otherwise there isn’t much else going on.
Taste – Tart, but not forcefully sour. The fruit carries through nicely, unlike many raspberry beers that impress in the nose and fall flat on the tongue. There is a hint of toastiness, I suspect from the oak. Fresh and lively. Not much Brett presence yet, shares many similarities with the rounded lactic acidity from our bourbon barrel (no coincidence considering it got dregs from the Sour Brown from it).
Mouthfeel – Medium-full for a sour beer (not chewy, but enough body to support the fruit and malt). The medium-low carbonation is all I need in a dark/sour beer.
Drinkability & Notes – Despite the intense fruit flavor, it is easy to drink. The added lactic acid from fermentation really helps the fruit to pop. It would be a perfect beer to pair with a rich dessert, loads of flavor and enough acidity to cut through without providing a double-dose of sweetness. Mine is not quite as vibrantly colored as Atrial Rubicite, but nearly the level of raspberry aroma and flavor. It’ll be interesting to see how the gallon I reserved without fruit tastes.