Review #5 80/100. 8-Wired 2012 Chardonnay Barrel Aged Saison
For anyone who isn’t too clued up on 8-Wired, you should familiarise yourself with them. They are a small craft brewery based in New Zealand, and they really do produce some special brews. Unfortunately I don’t often come across many examples in Liverpool, UK. However, I was lucky enough to stumble upon this belter in Brewdog, Liverpool.
There is a distinct tartness to this beer, although not as pronounced as some Lambics such as Cantillion, but it’s definitely noticeable, and it’s presence is at a very nice level. I’m not too sure whether the sour notes come from the ageing process alone or whether the brew has been inoculated with Brettanomyces or Lactobacillus. Either way, it adds a really nice depth to this well balanced beer.
Out of the bottle and into the glass, this beer pours a light honey colour with a moderate haziness. A very lively head is present which quickly disperses to the edge of the glass, disappearing completely after a couple of minutes. A quick swirl laces a visible necklace around the glass.
On the nose, initially you’re greeted with a mild acetic aroma, tart white grapes, slight brandy notes accompanied by rich wisps of white oak.
Quite dry on the palate, in a kind of fresh cranberry sense. A sharpness of unripened plums, sour cherry and crushed grape seeds, all accompanied by a moderate acetic tartness mellowed out with oaky overtones. In the background, very elegant, soft, grassy and floral notes with a slight honey sweetness.
On the whole, I think this is a pretty special beer. The sourness is very well balanced, not too overpowering at all, just present at a level which allows some of the more subtle flavours to shine through. Not a very malty beer, so if that’s what you’re after then it’s probably not for you. If you’re looking for a slightly different take on on a barrel aged sour than that of its European cousins then I think you’ll really enjoy this one. 8-Wired also produce a lot of other really amazing beers, so check ’em out.