Russian River Consecration Batch 001x2
As many of you may have surmised, I love a good sour beer, and I’ve made it pretty clear that I REALLY love the sour beers coming out of Russian River so I thought it would be fun to open an older bottle to get an idea of where it all started. While Consecration wasn’t the first sour beer they made, it’s quickly become one of the most popular, and widely available sours that Russian River makes. This bottle is from the original batch and was part of the second bottling date, December 26, 2008, which was 2 days after the first bottling date and uses the same primary and conditioning yeasts which are now quite different from the Consecration we get today. For more information about the variations between batches of Consecration and all the Belgian style ales from Russian River, Click Here. On to the beer, the pour is a nice dark, opaque, burgundy color, hints of brown and garnet when held to the light. There is a bit of tan colored head, very bubbly and light that comes to the top of the beer as it’s poured, but it dissipates very quickly leaving behind a few speckles of film and a nice off white ring around the glass with no additional lacing. The aroma is great, loads of currants jump out of the glass, moderate vinegar and acetic acid with a hint of funk, some vinous wine aromas with some nice sweet oak aromas from the barrel. The fruit is really dominant in the nose, which is great news considering the age of the beer and fruits tendency to fade out of the both the nose and the flavor profile of an older beer. The flavors are a bit harsher, still a strong amount of bitter, tart currants, dark plums and bing cherries are all noticeable fruit flavors. There is more vinegar than the nose suggests, the nice layer of grape-like wine flavors comes out as well but while this beer is certainly sour, it’s definitely more tart than an off putting, mouth puckering sour. The finish is a bit more astringent, sweet yet oak plays with the dirtier red wine-esque flavors, a bit of alcohol warms the throat as it goes down, and the bitter currants make a final appearance. The body is nice and carbonated, very prickly, which doesn’t help the astringent finish to the beer, but at the same time, isn’t overly sharp and abrasive, still retains a nice level of smoothness.
Verdict: Fantastic, this beer is aging gracefully, although I would be weary of aging it too much further as the currant flavors could easily drop off leaving behind a bit of a vinegary mess. The fruit flavors are nice and tart and impressively potent which is all one can hope for in an aged beer. If you have the opportunity to try a vintage sour from Russian River, make no mistake, you will be well rewarded. (4.58/5)