Name: 2019 Barrel Aged Spring Equinox Plum Sour Ale/ Guo-Ke
Brewer: Taiwan Head Brewers Brewing Co. 啤酒頭釀造 (Taiwan)
Style: Wild Specialty Beer
Review Year: 2020
Brewed by the Taiwan Head Brewers Brewing Co., the 2019 Barrel Aged Spring Equinox Plum Sour Ale aka. Guo-Ke (translated as “passerby”) is a sour beer brewed with plums soaked in plum ale and then aged in French and American oak casks. This beer went through a lengthy secondary fermentation process with a wild yeast cultivated by the brewers themselves. Guo-Ke won bronze in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category of the European Beer Star 2019.
This beer is being evaluated as a Wild Specialty Beer (28C) in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
Recommended Reading: FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers (BJCP, 2017)
Semi-hazy pale gold with a flat head. Plum dominated the aroma while lychees and indistinct fermented fruits were noted secondarily. Medium-light bodied; moderate carbonation. The flavor profile is primarily of plum, mangosteen, and lemon with approachable sourness; oak-like character noted. Subtle bitterness and sweetness are present to back up the sourness. Hints of tannins were noted, likely from the wood, but no alcohol warmth even at 11% ABV. Aftertaste lingers with very light mangosteen tartness.
2019 Barrel Aged Spring Equinox Plum Sour Ale is an excellent showcase of sourness, fruit, and wood complexity. The advertised plum is definitely there, accentuated by the other fruit characters noted. A dry expression overall, this barrel-aged sour beer maintains a very smooth and drinkable quality even at 11% ABV.
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