Sunday, June 3, 2012

Avery Review #10 - Muscat D'Amour

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

June 3, 2012

I tasted Avery’s Muscat D’Amour back in March and wrote a thorough review of it, but until now I have not taken the time to edit it and add an intro.  I never planned it this way, but fittingly, Beer #10 in The Avery Project here at 20 Beer in 20 Nights also happens to be Beer #10 in Avery’s Barrel-Aged Series.  The 11th beer in our project will also be Avery’s 11th in Barrel-Aged Series beer.  In fact, #10 and #11 were released by Avery on the same day and a friend of mine managed to snag me a bottle of each since I wasn’t able to attend the release party at the brewery.

Both the Muscat D’Amour and it’s fraternal twin, the Recolte Sauvage were barrel aged in wine barrels for 14 months with wild yeast, making them both wine-aged, sour beers.  The big difference between the two is that today’s beer, the Muscat, was aged in Chardonnay barrels and the Sauvage did its time in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.  Here are the specs on the Muscat:

Location: Purchased at Avery Brewing Company’s Taproom
Cost: $8.99/12oz. bottle
ABV: 10.78%
Brewery Location: Boulder, Colorado
Style: American Wild Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.07
My Beer Advocate Rating: B+/4
Current Number of Reviews on Beer Advocate: 15
Bottled On: Nov. 10, 2011

APPEARANCE:  (4 out of 5) This beer almost looks like a sparkling cider or champagne when it is poured.  The Muscat is very light in color; crisp and clean looking with bubbles randomly popping up from the bottom of the snifter all over the place.  There was more head than I anticipated in this one, but it was just a thin cap that faded rather quickly after it was poured and the lacing was nonexistent.

SMELL:  (4 out of 5) This is hands down the strangest thing I have ever written about the smell of a beer, or about any aspect of a beer for that matter, but upon first whiff I am getting the aroma of a slightly overcooked pork sandwich.  Of course there is plenty grape on the nose as well and a little hint of green apple to go along with it.

TASTE:  (4 out of 5) There is a lot going on in the taste here.  I don’t know if it’s fortunately or unfortunately, the pork sandwich smell does not translate into the taste.  Instead, it starts out tart and slightly metallic, but not excessively sour.  It tastes more like a chardonnay with a subdued grape flavor, but as it warms the tartness of the wild yeast begins to make itself known.  That tart flavor is delivered is the form of apples and complimented by an increase in the taste of grapes.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) Effervescent is the perfect way to describe this beer.  It is bright, lively and completely full of sparkle.  As the temperature rises it goes from being slightly tart and dry to becoming downright puckering. 

OVERALL:  (4 out of 5) In terms of sour flavor, this one is relatively tame compared to other Avery offerings like their Taproom exclusive series, Eremita.  That said, it still packs a puckering punch and at the same time provides a variety of flavors that fit perfectly within the style.  It really does taste like a sour, bubbly chardonnay and it is quite nicely done.  Very pleasant.  Is it worth $8-12 bottle?  For one or two, for sure.    

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