Friday, April 26, 2013

Jester King El Cedro - Gus #49

Here is another brew from the, growing in popularity, brewery out of Austin, TX.  Jester King is steadily putting out some great and unusual brews.  This is definitely one of the more unusual ones I've heard of.  They are taking a hoppy farmhouse style ale, aging it with Brettanomyces.  But not just that... They are aging it on Cedar wood spirals as well.  Very interesting combination.  I've had a few things aged on Cedar but nothing like this wild ale.  I'm fast becoming a wild yeast lover and even using it in my home brews now.  So what will this one be like?  Will hops and wild yeast blend well together?  How will the cedar effect the brew?  I'm definitely anxious to find out.  Let's pop the top on Jester King's El Cedro.

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About the Beer:
Style:  Saison/Farmhouse Ale (Really a Wild Ale)
Alcohol by Volume:  8.00%
IBUs:  N/A

El Cedro
Hoppy Cedar-Aged Ale with Brettanomyces

"Farmhouse ale hopped with piney, citrusy American hops, aged on Spanish Cedar spirals, and bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces yeast.  Unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated."

As soon as I popped the top on this one, it began gushing out.  They have a suggestion on the bottle to refrigerate 24 hours minimum before drinking.  I did not do this.  I'm sure the cold shuts down the yeast and lets the brew settle.  So I advise going by what they suggest HA HA.

I poured this brew into my Jester King glass of course.

Appearance:  After I had contained the gush from the bottle, the brew poured a hazy deep golden color. Almost orange but more along the lines of a deep gold or dark hay color.  The head was an easy four fingers until it settled down a bit to two fingers.  Interesting lacing and waves along the glass.  It had ripples in it around the glass.  Very nice head retention.  The lacing hid any alcohol legs if there were any.  Very soapy head.  Tiny bubbles and every so often a larger bubble.  It looks amazing in the glass.  It moved around the glass when swirled like it would climb out of the glass with too much agitation.

Aroma:  This is where the brew gets even more interesting.  Big piney, resiny dank notes right up front.  Citrus and a bit of sweet almost like a sweet orange in there as well.  Then you get the cedar.   I really can smell the cedar as if it were a piece of wood I was smelling.  It blends so well with the hop aromas.  It's like smelling a bouquet of citrus flowers mixed with a fresh cedar board.  As I dig in further I pick up the tiny hint of the wild yeast.  It's mixed in so well but you can pick it out.  Slight funk to it.  Not really sour by any means.  With all that's going on in the aroma there isn't a hint, at all, of alcohol.  I think the flavors are going to be extremely intense.

Taste:  There is a lot going on in the flavors of this brew.  Not just that the mouthfeel is very interesting as well.  Up front you get the really citrusy and bitter hops.  You get what you would think cedar tastes like, then it goes to totally fruity.  I'm sure the mixture of the hops and the wild Brettanomyces are what gives it this fruity flavor.  If I had to guess I would say they are using a combination of Brettanomyces yeasts in there.  Or maybe it's their own blend.  Claussenii and Brux Trois come to mind with the fruity flavors they can give off.  It has a sweet flavor in the back of the mouth and finishes dry as expected.  The aftertaste is more of the bitter fruits.  Kind of like a the rind of some citrus fruits.  It finishes clean.  There is some tartness in the flavor as well but nothing that sour with me.  It's a hoppy, tart, refreshing beer.  I've never had anything like this really.  The hops mix with the cedar and the wild yeast to put out an extremely complex and flavorful brew.

Verdict:  I'm a big fan of this one.  I'm interested to see how it will age.  What will it be like when the hops die out and the Brett takes over?  Will the cedar fade out as well?  Something that will be very interesting to come back to in a few months.  I'm glad I got more than just one bottle.  For a rating this is getting an A.  I think something this complex and tasty has to get a good rating.  It's a very strange brew but you really have to keep drinking it and digging in there more.  Pairings could be anything really.  Hops would go well with spicy food.  The fruity tastes would do well with a nice salad with a vinaigrette   I'm going to try out a couple things with this one.

If you get the chance to snag this one, do it.  I'm interested to see what some others have to say about it.  I could see it being a beer that would be an acquired taste.  But, that may surprise me.  I had no idea what to expect going into this one, other than all of the Jester King stuff I have had so far, has been good.  Let me know what you think.  I'm going to be making some changes to my rating system in the future.  This is #49 and my next one will be something special and after that I'm going to change it up.  I hope to get more blog entries of travel in as well.  Until #50...



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