Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Avery Review #11 - Récolte Sauvage

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Apr. 23, 2012

We begin the second half of The Avery Project with Beer #11 in Avery’s Barrel-Aged Series – Avery Récolte Sauvage.  As was the case with Beer #10 in the series, #11 happens to coincide with the Review #11 of this project at 20 Beers in 20 Nights. 

Living as close as I do to the brewery I have had the privilege of tasting quite a few Avery beers with what is becoming “that famous gold foil” on the bottle; the Rumpkin, Uncle Jacob’s Stout, Muscat D’Amour and now, finally, the Avery Récolte Sauvage. 

Like the Muscat, this beer was aged for 14 months and born on the same day – February 11, 2012.  Unlike the Muscat however, the Sauvage was aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels instead of Chardonnay barrels giving the Récolte more red wine characteristics than the white-like characteristics of its twin.

Location: Purchased at Avery Brewing Company’s Taproom
Cost: $8.99/12oz. bottle
ABV: 11.03%
Brewery Location: Boulder, Colorado
Style: American Wild Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.03
My Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.18
Current Number of Reviews on Beer Advocate: 11
Description: Avery Recolte Sauvage
Bottled On: Nov. 10, 2011

APPEARANCE:  (4.5 out of 5) The Récolte pours a dark and surprisingly transparent brownish red in color; it looks like a dark Rosé.  Some bubbles quickly appear, but scatter and then vanish almost instantly, leaving behind only a few straggling patches on the surface and around the edges.  When held up to the light a pretty, sparkly and bright red shines through.  There are also quite a few champagne-like bubbles floating up to the top.  A fairly large patch of sediment also rests on the bottom, but it does not mingle with the rest of the beer, it stays separate and keeps this beer looking quite transparent despite the dark color.  You can see how much was in there in the picture to the right.

SMELL:  (4 out of 5) The Récolte Sauvage requires a swirl or two in the snifter to bring out the entire aroma, but as it fizzes up, it becomes very apparent that this is a complex beer.  Tart apple and sour lead the way – this is most definitely a sour beer.  Despite the color, however, this beer smells light, refreshing and playful.  Others have reported smelling some oak, but it isn’t there for me.  Some red wine characteristics linger as well, but nothing is as strong as the tart, mustiness of an American Wild Ale.

TASTE:  (4 out of 5) Again, just as the nose was, the flavor is dominated by a tart, sourness.  Dark fruit juice-like flavors move forward throughout the sip (and become stronger as the glass warms) while a slight chocolate taste swells towards the middle of the sip without ever becoming too conspicuous.  This beer tastes like a nice, but tart, medium-bodied red wine with some carbonation added.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4.5 out of 5) As I mentioned above, The Sauvage has medium-bodied feel along with some oak tannins that attack the front of the tongue.  As the smell suggested, the Récolte also defies its color and turns out to be a very light and lively beer.  The sparkle is strong, but tickling - it is not a palate wreaker by any means.  Surprisingly, there is no heat from the booze at all.  Maybe that’s because I just reviewed Uncle Jacob’s Stout the other night, but either way, I can’t tell at all that the ABV is 11%.

OVERALL:  (4.5 out of 5) This is yet another unique standout of a beer brewed by Avery.  In my opinion, it is superior to its fraternal twin, Muscat D’Amour (although the Muscat is a pretty good beer).  Additionally, it is the much more difficult of the two to find as the production run on this one was only 121 cases as opposed to 194 cases of the Muscat. 

On a separate note, while I drank the Sauvage I munched on some tangy blue cheese from Oregon that I picked up earlier this week and the combination was brilliant.  A nice, sharp blue will work with this beer any time. 

One final note: I split this beer with Emily and had six ounces of it.  Both of us are feeling a lot more tipsy than we should given that it was 6 oz. of an 11% beer.  This is the first beer I have ever been suspicious of having been mislabeled in terms of the ABV.

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