Monday, April 22, 2013

Epic Brewing Co. Brainless on Cherries (Release #13) - Gus #48

This brew comes from Salt Lake City, Utah.  When one thinks of beer states, I'm sure Utah never jumps to the top of the list.  But there are a few really great breweries there.  I'm sure many more than I know about.  This one I have heard about for quite some time.  I've wanted to try a good many things from them, the following review being toward the top of that list.  I finally had a chance thanks to Tom picking me up one and sending it my way.  This is Epic Brewing Co.'s Brainless on Cherries.  They take their Belgian-style Ale, Brainless, and put it into red wine barrels with cherry puree.  To top that off they add in Champagne yeast to give it an effervescence and to finish out the fermentation.  I was really excited to try this one.  I took it to my friends house to sample a few brews and have a cookout.  I hope to have a few more of their brews up for review soon.

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About the Beer:
Style:  Belgian Ale
Alcohol by Volume:  10.1%
IBUs:  N/A

Brainless® on Cherries Release #13
Brewed on May 15, 2012. Packaged August 25, 2012.
Release #13 is significantly different from previous releases with brewers using a higher percentage of tart to sweet cherries in the puree.  The result is a wonderful balance of cherry, malt and red wine flavors, not too sweet and not too sour.  The champagne-like bubbles tickle the nose with dry and fruity aromas.

The Malts/Sugars/Fruits

Weyermann German Pilsner Malt, Muttons Maris Otter Pale malt, Briess Caraplis malt, Flaked Oats, Candy sugar
100% pure Cherry puree (no preservatives) Second fermentation and aged in Red Wine barrels with Champagne yeast.

The Hops

Premient, Tettnang, and Saaz.
I poured this brew into my Jester King glass.

Appearance:  The brew poured form the bottle a deep red color with hints of pink mixed in.  Barely had a ring of head after the pretty aggressive pour.  That didn't stick around at all and soon the top was as smooth as glass.  Very little carbonation coming up from the sides of the glass.  No real lacing to speak of.  There were alcohol legs on the glass when the beer was swirled.  Very wine-like in appearance.

No head to speak of so this means no retention.

No lacing around the glass at all.  Really has a light red/pink wine appearance

Aroma:  The aroma started off with the sweet hints of cherries and maybe even a bit of strawberry.  Hints of the oak barrels but again picking up something like wine tannin in there.  No alcohol is picked up at all.  Very nice for the high ABV.  Don't really pick up any of the Belgian characteristics.  Not spicy or phenolic at all.  Maybe a hint of tartness in there.  Just enough to know that it is there.  It smells like it will be dry.  I'm really amazed at how much this beer reminds me of a wine.  It is aged in red wine barrels so I think it pulled a ton of these characteristics from there.  The Champagne yeast was used in the barrels as well so that may be where the nose is void of any residual sweetness.  I think I was going into this one looking for more Belgian characteristics and maybe just a sweeter nose.

Taste:  The taste brings on a little more tartness than the nose.  Up front you get the tartness like a bit of a sour cherry, then it is followed by a little cherry flavor in the mid palate.  Back of the mouth it finishes super dry.  I mean one of the driest beers I think I've had.  Small bit of sweetness but nothing like I expected since it was aged on the cherry puree.  I think the Champagne yeast really just cleared all of that up.  It helps to get it to the higher ABV but it also in turn dries this out a ton.  That alcohol is hidden well in the flavor as you don't get it at all.  It's super easy to drink.  I'm just surprised that it is this dry.  The flavor doesn't bring forth any of the Belgian characteristics either.  

Verdict:  It's not that I dislike dry beers.  Most of the time I actually like a good dry beer when it is matched with more flavors.  I think this brew would be great paired with some good foods like red meat or maybe even some lamb.  I was just expecting more out of this one.  It's still good and I think it get's a rating of a B-.  I think if they could keep some of the Belgian characteristics it would be even better.  Maybe if there was some sweetness left over it would bump it up a bit as well.  I have a few more from these guys that I'm anxious to try out.  Epic has been putting out some really great things.  This one just wasn't for my tastes.

If you've had this one and had similar or different results, let me know.  I'm hoping to break into some of their other stuff soon!



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