Petrus Aged Red
Brouwerij Bavik, Bavikhove, Belgium
8.5 percent ABV
Petrus is another Belgian wonder of the art of soured beers.
Petrus starts out with a base of “oud bruin” or “old brown” beer, with about 15 percent of Petrus Aged Pale added to provide a touch of dryness. Fresh cherries are then added to the fermentation. Technically, I don’t know where this falls into a style category — somewhere between a Flanders or Flemish sour red and an oud bruin.
The color of Aged Red is more like burgundy wine, which looked even more tempting when topped with the rocky pink head.
The intense and intoxicating aroma was dark cherries with a rum background and was almost worth the price of admission by itself. The main flavor was of sour cherries with just enough sweetness to ward off the vinegary characteristics, and a dry finish helped the ale finish clean. The high alcohol content does not make its presence known in the flavor.
As nice an effort as Petrus is, I still like Vichtenaar and Duchesse de Bourgogne from the Verhaeghe brewery in Belgium better. Both feature more of a yin and yang between the sweet and the sour. Your preference will depend on how much sweet you like in the mix.
Petrus is distributed by Global Beer Network/WIN-IT-TOO, Inc. and its online beer locator is at www.globalbeer.com/where-to-buy-our-beers.
For those who like the sour without any sugar getting in the way, Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge may be up your alley. This Flemish sour ale is very different from Petrus. The aroma was mostly yeast and the flavor accent is all in the vinegary sourness with a secondary flavor of leather. At only 5.5 percent ABV, its 18 months of oak barrel aging did not seem to add much to the beer — no vanilla or oak notes, just the sourness with very little sugar.
This does not imply that it is a poorly made beer; just that it is a specialty beer that emphasizes the wild yeast sourness. I personally prefer more flavor complexity and something to balance the sourness.
Cuvee is produced by Brouwerij Bockor of Bellegem, Belgium (www.bockor.be) and is distributed by Artisanal Imports of Austin, Texas.
Beer Man sez: Petrus Aged Red has a refreshing balance between dark cherries and tartness.