Flavor Patterns: Blonde Sour Ale with Raspberries by Bond Brothers Beer Company

Flavor Patterns: Raspberry is a barrel-aged sour refermented with red raspberries and bottle-conditioned on clover honey.

The process to create this beer is slightly different from the usual brewing process and took more than a year to complete. The base of the beer is a blend of our different blonde sour beers. It then underwent three more fermentations: once when we blended the sour base beers together, another when we added raspberries, and finally when we bottle-conditioned it. This method of multiple fermentations lends to a complex beer without being muddled.

The beer pours with a Champagne pink head with small bubbles and tight lacing like whipped cream. The lacing lasts for several minutes without subsiding. The beer itself is the color of raspberry jam and has a ruby glow when held up to the light.

The aroma also has notes of raspberry preserves. The wild yeast scent, similar to a blue cheese funkiness, is next in line. There are lower hints of fresh-cut grass and green olive — two flavors commonly found in wine but not in beer.

The flavor is more tempered than the aroma. Tart raspberries blend with the sour beer to give the impression of roses rather than beer. There is again a jammy note, but it evaporates into more complex sourness with top notes of Bartlett pears and sour cherries. There is no perception of malt or hops in this beer, but instead a light red fruit and an assertive sourness evaporates off the tongue like a sparkling wine.

The mouthfeel starts big but quickly goes to a very dry finish, similar to a sparkling wine. Medium-high carbonation drives the beer off your palate and keeps you drinking more. Tannins from the fruit ensure that the beer does not finish too sweet, replacing the hops for a similar sort of bitterness. A light citric-acid note is noticeable after the beer is gone, leaving the impression that you definitely drank a sour beer.

This beer was a fun project to shepherd over the last year, and tasting it through all of the stages taught us a lot about the sour process and how a beer changes over time with multiple fermentations.

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