Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Blue Mountain Barrel House's Sour Devil

Hey, beer aficionados! I'm doing a review tonight of a beer I've had my eye on for a couple days: Sour Devil by Blue Mountain Barrel House. It's interesting that this Virginia-based brewery limits itself to mostly barrel aged and bottle conditioned beers. It's nice to see some people are embracing the art of barrel aging in full!

Sour Devil caught my eye because I've been looking for a nice sour beer lately, after enjoying Dogfish Head's Festina Pesche so much. That was my first foray into the world of sour beers, which can be a very crowd-dividing style of beer. For instance, when two buddies and I tried a nice sour ale on tap at an Alamo Drafthouse cinema, one one of my friends and I liked it. My other friend hated it.

But then I had a closer look at the bottle today and discovered that this was no simple 750ml bottle of sour beer, but rather a sour barrel aged stout. So that was a pleasant surprise. But just how does this sour stout hold up? Let's have a look...

Appearance: 5/5

This stout pours ridiculously well! With a full three fingers of medium tan head and a 95% opaque color, it looks positively scrumptious. Honestly, I'm as impressed with the look of this stout as I was with Ommegang's Take The Black Stout. The head leaves incredible lacing, as well.

Nose: 4/5

What's most interesting about the aroma of this stout is that it smells like whiskey. It has pungent wood and cork malt notes with some equally pungent alcohol smell. It's strong, but woody. There are also some great notes of bourbon and underlying roasty malts.

Taste: 4/5

Well, this sure is a beer that has thrown me for a loop. It's a sour stout. That's quite a bizarre combination. The most immediate taste I get with each sip is a deeply sour wine taste. As a fan of sours, though, it's a cool feature. Though the taste starts sour, it warms and sweetens as I taste it, and thus gives up some other flavors: dark chocolate and some good roasty, earthy-feeling notes.

Mouthfeel: 3.75/5

Sour devil has a nice darker body, but it almost feels medium-bodied because of the sourness. It's a tart, roasty experience for the palate.

Finish: 4/5

Though this stout starts sour, it finishes sweet with notes of chocolate, coffee, and a little coconut.

Total Score: 80.5/100

This is a very unique stout experience. Second to, perhaps in superseding, Weyerbacher's Tiny stout, Sour Devil is sour, roasty, and fully enjoyable. At 10% ABV, it is something to take in lightly, but grab a bottle and enjoy it! It may not be the thing for you, because it is very sour and atypical for a stout. Still, if you're a sour fan and a stout fan, like myself, go for it!

Until next time, cheers!


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