50 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez, reviewed live onto this website because I haven't gotten around to entering reviews otherwise in about six months.
Pours a pale gold colour with - maybe, yes - saffron tinge through the body. Head struggled to be born when I poured and it's definitely breathed its last breath by now, it's a flat and remarkably dull-looking beer. I mean it looks like yellow water by now. OK colour but nothing else to recommend it. At all.
Smells fairly vinous, with a notable champagne yeast kind of character (honestly, at 6.8% it wouldn't surprise me if they've used a little champagne yeast in this to raise the ABV and dry it out) but a good Marzeny malt base, a touch of caramel sweetness and a floral character complementing the sourness nicely. It's not very sour but it's got a good piquant edge to it, quite pleasant.
Taste is a little odd, really. More distinctly sour than the aroma made me feel but there's a strange meaty substance to it, not just from the floral saffron addition but because the malt is really too thick in body for this palate. There's a strong undercurrent of biscuity, caramelly malt that has a slight spice note midway through before the tart notes take hold. Quite champagney again on the back, fairly dry with a slight woody edge as well. It's not unpleasant but it's a very odd and uncomfortable marriage of elements - thick malt with tartness, a dry attenuation and a touch of rich spice. I feel like the thinner, more refreshing version at <5% may have been quite complex and fascinating. It feels a bit bloated and pillowy as it is.
Mouthfeel is yeah, look it's thick and weird. It needs way more pucker to match the flavour because the tartness just feels heavy-going and flabby.
Yeah, it's an interesting proposition but it's a classic case of trying to do too much in one beer: the saffron is a decent idea, but why raise the traditional ABV of a kettle-sour (or sour mash) beer as well? It ends up a bit of a mess.