STYLE: Flanders Oud Bruin
SAMPLE DATE: Friday, September 05, 2008
SERVING TYPE: 330ml Bottle
RATING: 4.55 ( look: 4 | nose: 5 | mouth: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | drink: 4.5 )
When I first had a 2006 Earthmonk a few years ago, I was a little disappointing in how abrasively vinegary it was. While I could tell it had promise, it was a chore to drink. I had bought 3 bottles, and two I drank in short time. The third, I sat on for a while. I decided to crack the last bottle open today, noticing in passing that the "best by" date was actually 08/11. I'm not sure best by dates usually say much for beers like this, which had already spent 18 months in barrels before even getting into the bottle, but it was as good a sign as any that now was time to crack it.
When I set this bottle aside, my hope was that it'd mellow out, lose some of that vinegar, and let it's true flavor shine through. Boy was I right about this one. A vigorous pour produced a nice little bubbly head that quickly dissipated, showing a deep brownish red body. The nose is absolutely sublime, with big woody notes of oak and dark fruit, and just a nice little hint of that sour, vinegar twang. The mouthfeel is full bodied and dry, leaving your tongue wanting more with every sip.
The taste has mellowed considerably from what I remember of those first two bottles, leaving a splendid sour tartness mixing with dark fruit reminiscent of red wine and subtle hints of chocolate. The overwhelming vinegar taste has all but disappeared, leaving just a tiny metallic tint, but letting the true flavors of this complex beer shine through.
Overall, I'm digging this a lot. I'm glad I laid this bottle down for as long as I did, and I'm glad I opened it today. A truly one of a kind brew.