Rivertown Brewing Company recently released their first beer of their Brewmaster Reserve Limited Release Series, and the beer is Pestilence. Pestilence is a sour brown ale brewed with 7 varieties of malted barley and wheat. The beer also has has Hibiscus flower, and has gone through the process of sour mashing. You may remember that Rivertown has dabbled in sour beers before.
Rivertown is from the great state of Ohio, and are located in Cincinnati.
From the Rivertown press release:
Rivertown Brewing Co.’s Brewmasters Reserve Limited Release Series is set to kick off next month.
We are pleased to announce the 2012 Brewmasters limited release series starting with the introduction of “Pestilence”. Pestilence is a sour brown ale brewed with 7 varieties of malted barley and wheat, organic whole Hibiscus flower pedals and spicy hops from the Hallertau growing region of Bavaria. The name Pestilence is derived from the ancient biblical term for infection or plague. Through a natural process called sour mashing, we expose the mash to airborne elements for a period of 48 hours allowing for a natural infection to arise causing the beer to sour. After this process is complete, we collect the sweet, sour runnings and introduce the spicy hops. We then boil it for a period of 1 hour and steep it with fresh hibiscus flower pedals. The end result is a wonderfully aromatic blend of fresh botanical herbs and mouth puckering sourness.
Pestilence will be the first of four brews released in 2012 centered around the ancient Mayan apocalypse of 2012 which signifies the world’s end on December 21st. Pestilence holds significance as being one of the Four Horseman set loose upon the world acting as a harbinger of the last judgment charging through at worlds end carrying wheat and a fist full of barley.
Release Date: Early February 2012
Alcohol by Volume: 5.4%
Color: 20 SRM (Brown)
Style Guideline: Wild/American Sour Ale/Brown Ale
Availability: 12 oz bottles 24-loose case/ 1/6bbl keg
Malts Used: Pilsner, Pale, Carabelge, White Wheat, Chocolate, Dark crystal, Munich
Hops: Hallertau Perle
Specialty Ingredients: Organic Hibiscus Flower Pedals
Serving Temp: 55F
P.S.- Save one bottle to enjoy as a vertical on December 21st 2012
The beer pours a Coca-Cola brown, with just the slightest amount of deep red light poking through. There was a tiny white head when first poured, but it went away fast and left nothing remaining. There was little visible carbonation. Overall, it looks somewhat like a clear Belgian dark – nice looking beer.
There’s some interesting aroma coming from this beer. There is some nice dark fruits, such as plum and raisin. There is a bit of Greek yogurt, which is followed by a bit of stomach acid… Not exactly unpleasant, but definitely different. There’s a good amount of sweetness on the nose as well, bringing some nice maltiness and maybe a bit of caramel. The hop character is on the spicy side, bringing some floral and honey-like aromas. Overall, pretty complex but not the most pleasant smelling brew.
The taste is fairly different than the aroma. There is a surprising amount of cocoa in this beer, which I was not expecting. There’s a big amount of nutty flavor that reminds me a lot of cashews, which was also unexpected. There is a decent sour twang to it, but it’s not a jaw-locking sourness. More like a pretty solid tartness throughout. The first few sips brought that stomach acid flavor, which reminded me of… well, puke. As it warms up, though, that flavor is replaced with more of a Greek yogurt flavor. There’s a lot of dark fruits in here, as well as some hop spice and floral flavors. This is a pretty complex beer on the tongue!
This has a bit more body than I had anticipated. There is a nice, dry finish and the tartness creates a crisp mouthfeel. There is a lingering oily feeling that reminds me of the leftover oil from a cashew. It’s pretty easy drinking, but the sort of wild flavors keep this from being a beer you can chug. Nice mouthfeel on this brew.
An unusual beer to say the least. It’s not a sour to end all sours, but it is a unique experience to drink this beer. There’s some interesting funky things going on that makes you want to keep drinking, but it’s not so wild that it’s off putting. Admittedly, the stomach acid aroma and taste frightened me at first, but it smoothed out as the beer warmed. I would definitely recommend trying this beer. It’s fairly cheap for a sour ale, so grab a few bottles and age’em until after the end of the world.
This review can also be found at Snobby Beer.