Alright, alright, first off before I get into anything, I’d like to talk about sours. I know I’ve been pretty harsh on the style (to say the least); speaking a good amount about how I don’t like them, and how I think they shouldn’t be labeled as beer, yadda yadda yadda. I’ve been particularly critical toward Flemish style sours, but, today, I’m taking back all that I’ve said – all my harsh, critical words about the style. What’s that old saying, “one becomes wiser with many beers drunk”? I might have made that up. Either way, continuing with our Deschutes Brewery Reserve Series series, we’ll be taking a look at the beer that has brought me over to the sour side – The Dissident 2010.
You can take a look at The Dissident’s many awards & more info here:
The Dissident is an Oud Bruin, a distinctive Flanders-style sour brown ale, with a fruity aroma and flavor. Our first and only wild yeast beer, we use Brettanomyces to give The Dissident its characteristic sour taste. Our stiffest brewing challenge, it must be fermented in isolation from our other beers for a full 18 months, partly in pinot and cabernet barrels. The words coddled, costly and “worth it” come to mind.
The Dissident is a 10.5% ABV beer with 30 IBUs. It pours a nonexistent head, and the color is fantastic. It has a gorgeous red color with amber hues, and the clarity is superb. There’s no visible carbonation coming up from the bottom, but the color will quickly make you forget all about that. Head – 7, Look – 15. The cherry comes through very strongly with a nice sweet sugar presence. Lactic presence from the yeast provides a nice acidic aroma, which is a foreshadowing of what’s soon to come. Behind all of these strong aromas is a subtle presence of vanilla, as well as other dark fruit characters. Smell – 24.
I’m normally not nervous when trying something new, but with my previous experiences with sours (several months prior) I was hesitant to take the first sip. I took a deep breath, toasted with my good friend, and took that first sip. The Dissident hit the palate with a strong carbonated presence, and the malt expanded with a light doughy character, all of which was only momentary before the sour arrived. The acidic characteristics of the wild yeast were strong, but not overpowering, and the cherry came through with an enjoyable, not overwhelming, tartness. The aftertaste was dry, warm, and bitter. The hops are only present in the finish to provide some bitterness. Palate – 10, Aftertaste – 10. After the first initial drinks, and my glass warmed a bit, some other flavor characters made an appearance. Pinot and Cabernet characters started to show up, with more of the Pinot’s acidity and lighter grape notes coming through. Of course the cherry, that dark fruit flavor, only enhanced with warmth, but The Dissident became much smoother to drink as it warmed. Flavor – 28.
I’m almost starting to feel like a Deschutes rep with my praises of these beers, but the truth is – they really are that good. Sours have slowly been winning me over with such beers as New Belgium’s Vrienden, but nothing quite like this. I opened this beer a little earlier than suggested, and I’m incredibly impressed. I can’t wait to open my other bottle once it has reached its recommended age, and see how the flavor notes have changed. I highly recommend this beer, no matter what your personal prejudices are against sours – give this one an open mind and palate. With all of that said with an Overall Flavor of 48/50 the Beer Fusion gives Deschutes Brewing’s The Dissident…