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Judge's Review: 87 Rating - Druif Rouge by pFriem Family Brewers

November, 2019
Judges Rating: 
87
Aroma: 
22 / 24
Appearance: 
4 / 6
Flavor: 
37 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Druif Rouge by pFriem Family Brewers is a wood aged and fruited lambic. I would say this beer would most likely be judged in category 23F, Fruit Lambic because Lambic beers can be aged in oak, but the oak barrels tend to not impart a lot of oak character. So it would still be in the Lambic category unless the oak is overpowering, then I'd look to category 28C, wild specialty beer which fits most wild/funky beers aged in wood or oak and/or fruit and spice.

The aroma of this beer is lightly fruity, I get a hint of summer fruit like melons and a bit of strawberry. The Brettanomyces in the aroma is very evident and dominates most other things. I don’t perceive much maltiness, what I do get comes in the from of bready notes as the beer warms. No hop aroma. The color is interesting, it’s a purplish red, like raspberry juice. There is not much in the form of carbonation so the head is pretty much non-existent. The beer is mostly clear with just a slight haze to it. The flavor is heavy on the oakiness and Brett. To me, those two flavors dominate. The barrel, in my perception seems to be new based on how prevalent the oak was. The wood comes off just a bit bitter. Its not hop bitterness as much as a woody tannic astringency. It’s not a bad thing in this beer, more so an observation. The horse blanket/barnyard Brett character is pretty high and seems to overshadow the light summer fruitiness I get from what I assume are the wine grapes. The sourness of the beer is quite subdued and is more of an afterthought of the beer. It does contribute to the drinkability though. The beer is fermented well and sits well on my palate. It’s a bit under-carbonated and I’m not sure if that’s intentional as some Lambics can be served near still, or a bad seat on the corked bottle. Anyway, that’s pretty minor and overall I can see this beer sitting very well with the wild/sour/funk beer fans quite a bit. It’s interesting and certainly not a run of the mill lambic.I would personally like to see a bit more pop from the carbonation, and more character from the fruit as opposed to Brett being the dominant player. I want those pinot noir grapes to shine though more and let the Brett and lactic tartness support the fruit in this beer. I just feel that would work a bit better for me. Still a very solid beer worth trying.

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