Michael McGuire's picture

Judge's Review: 86 Rating - Vinology: Syrah by Monday Night Brewing

April, 2019
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
5 / 6
36 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Vinology: Syrah by Monday Night Brewing was described as a “hybridized American wild ale, and an oak-fermented American wild ale co-fermented with syrah grapes” and was judged as a Mixed-Style Beer (BJCP sub-style 34B). There was no declared base beer style. In the glass it formed a very thin pink head with poor retention atop a clear reddish brew. The aroma consisted of sour notes produced by the wild yeast, and vinous ones from the syrah grapes. There was no perceived aroma contribution (e.g., woody notes or dryness) from the oak within which the ingredients were fermented.

As with the aroma, the flavor was sour and vinous. No hop or malt flavors were able to rise through or above the dominant wild yeast and syrah. Hops were apparently used for balance/bittering only

The mouthfeel consisted of a medium body, low levels of carbonation, no alcohol warmth or creaminess, and no real astringency, just a lingering sourness on the palate

Overall this was a highly unusual (in this judge’s experience) hybrid of red wine grapes and unspecified beer or beers, fermented on oak with wild yeast of unknown origins. It is difficult to characterize this brew’s drinkability as anything more definitive than “variable”. Drinkers who favor sour ales could find the product’s unique blend of ingredients and techniques enjoyable though it is hard to say exactly how enjoyable or how many glasses they might consume at a sitting. As the definition of what is or isn’t a beer continues to evolve, style guides and judges will be challenged to adapt their standards and vocabularies to new fermented beverages. As ever, the consumer will be the ultimate arbiter of quality.