With the mulberry tree in the backyard of my DC home burdened by thousands of deep purple berries, it is time to drink a bottle of the beer I brewed with the fruit I harvested a year ago. I aged this half of my spontaneously fermented “DCambic” on a couple pounds of the often ignored forage-able fruit for nearly five months before bottling in March.
Appearance – What the white head lacks in retention and lacing, the body redeems with its glowing burgundy hues. Dazzlingly clear. Strikingly similar to my Cabernet sauvignon solera, just a couple shades darker.
Smell – The mulberries are prominent in the aroma, but like the raw fruit, their character isn’t particularly distinct. Jammy stone-fruit, plum especially, slightly cooked, with some earthiness too. The local flora provide some complementary aromatics, hay especially, and some indistinct citrus.
Taste – Like the clean version, the sourness is pleasant, but soft. The fruit flavor provides some sweetness and uniqueness, but also covers much of the character of the “wild” fermentation. The fermentation does show through in the finish with minerals and lemon zest. Some vanilla notes come through, despite not being aged on oak (or vanilla beans), origin unknown.
Mouthfeel – Mildly tannic, helps provide a surprising amount of body to a very low FG (1.002) beer. Solid carbonation, mildly prickly, doesn’t get in the way.
Drinkability & Notes – A really fun beer, more interesting than most of the sours I've brewed, even though you might not agree from drinking it blind. A few weeks ago I had the chance to share a bottle of it with Megan Parisi (of Bluejacket), and she enjoyed it enough to go back for seconds (with a bottle of Southampton Black Raspberry Lambic sitting open). Looking forward to drinking her beers when the brewery opens later this year!
While I enjoy this batch, I think mulberries would work even better in a beer with a more assertive malt character. They can’t carry a beer in the way raspberries or peaches can, but they’d work well at a lower rate to add complexity without overwhelming.