The Bruery “Tart of Darkness”
Tart of Darkness is a limited-release Sour Stout brewed with Brettanomyces yeast, then aged in oak barrels. My particular bottle to review is a 2013 vintage. Aromas are super vinous, centering around dark fruit notes of sour cherry, red grape, and black currant. The barrel infuses characters of musty oak and leather. Yeast gives some funky, salty qualities that twist into suggestions of soy or balsamic vinegar. Malts carry a roasted appeal like smoked chocolate.
The palate drops into dark malts with a subtle expression of cocoa, followed by a dull undercurrent of toffee-flavored sweetness. This is quickly engulfed by the advancing sourness, where dark fruit flavors are expressed as balsamic-macerated cherry, plum, and wild berries. The sour element reaches puckering heights in a splash of lemon juice. The barrel infuses an interesting mix of tannins, oak, and perhaps a touch of vanilla. Deeper malt complexities leave final impressions of Ethiopian coffee and toasted cereal grains. Mouthfeel gives low carbonation over a thin, dry body that grows progressively astringent. Lactic acid lingers on the chest. Alcohol is nearly imperceptible.
This is not at all your average stout. When compared to other Wild Ales, the roasted malts give this distinction, but actually carry less weight than its color may suggest. In fact, I wish the stoutness dug a little deeper before being eclipsed, but it’s all good in the end. In order to enjoy this to the fullest, it’s best to let the bottle warm slightly before serving. While this may not be quite as puckering as other Wild Ales, it still packs a sour punch, so I only recommend it to those with an affinity for such intensity. Thanks so much for the trade, Josh (Brewgie Howser)!