It seems like just yesterday, four people and myself piled into an Outback wagon, and proceeded to bbq for warmth in the parking lot of my favorite NY brewery. Captain Lawrence. Rosso E. Marron falls into their A list of sours, with neighbors like Cuvee De Castleton and Flaming Fury. I’ve had Castleton batch #1 and it was one of the most delicious things I’ve come across ever. Alcohol or no. So I have confidence that the aging potential is most definitely there.
Sadly, I missed the recent Rosso batch#3 release due to financial circumstances. But fortunately, John and Jen of FoodandFermentation did make it. Check their blog for coverage.
But we pooled our cellars together and made a little vertical to see Rosso through the ages.
In typical fashion we went youngest to oldest. At 10% abv, this flanders red/oude bruin (I’ve seen it classified as both, but I feel it’s edging more towards flanders red), is no pushover.
Batch #3 poured rich and hazy. A dark marmalade with a quickly vanishing head.
The aroma has a slight vinegar char, loads of rich red wine notes, the barrel influence is clear and present.
The taste has powerful hits of luscious citrus and cherry notes. Lively carbonation, cranberries are heavy on the finish. I can’t tell if it’s just barely there, or if the mushroom earthy flavor I got from batch#2 fresh is not making a showing at all. It could be my imagination.
Batch #2 also had a rather hazy pour, which was conflicting with the bottle I opened a few months back which was eerily clear. The first pour was clear-ish, but the subsequent pours were all hazed. No worrries though. The nose was filled with that wonderful chanterelle mushroom quality I adore about this beer. Bracing acidity, but the alcohol is nearly gone from the nose.
The taste is more acidic than #3. It starts off with a gentle roll, but kind of landslides into a bit of a mess. I’m chalking this one up to bottle variation due to the magnificence of the bottle of the same batch I drank months prior. This is still quite tasty, just a bit rough, and much more like a fresh Rosso than an aged one.
The star of the show however, was batch #1. Superior appearance, superior aroma, superior taste, and definitely the most complex. Amazing shades of maroon and copper blend. Nice carbonation still, a dainty white crown. I see why they waxed this batch, the caps did not seal well and the entire lip of the bottle was slightly rusted.
The nose was loaded with the mushroom earthiness. Heaps of brett over a subdued fruity background. Good god it’s good. The alcohol is still noted, but just faintly. It’s not intrusive, but plays really well with the rest of the aroma, giving almost some sherry qualities.
This one tastes epic. Easily head and shoulders above the rest of the pack for me personally and the group agrees. Crisp wonderful citrus and tart melon flavors blend into the trademark brett dry induced dry finish. My favorite, the mushrooms, blast at the tail end but then clean up instantly from the tart fruits. Grapefruit flavors weave in and out, creating a wonderfully diverse fruit profile.
This is the second time you’ve done this to me Captain Lawrence. You did it with Cuvee De Castleton and now Rosso. How do you get such an amazing flavor profile?!? I’m always left stunned, and always smiling like an idiot after my first sip till the last and then some.
From this tasting, I’ve decided that Rosso may take a turn for the worse before it gets better. I may have just missed that window a few months ago, or it could be bottle variation. But others have mentioned that at one year, Rosso batch #1 was downhill. And now we have this…again, could be bottle variation or it could be just the process of aging.
Captain Lawrence‘s sours are hard to turn down and great fresh, but man do they age miraculously well in my opinion.