A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to get hold of some Russian River Supplication: a pinot-noir-barrel-aged cherry ale. This post is about about another in that series: Consecration, a cabernet-sauvignon-barrel-aged blackcurrant ale.
It's a red-brown colour and while fizzy fails to maintain a head. Like its predecessor, the wild yeast and bacteria are firmly in charge of the flavour while both fruit and wood get a bit lost amongst the sourness. The nose is like classy balsamic vinegar with lots of date, fig and tamarind notes.
There's a robust but measured tartness to the flavour and I got more of a cherry hit than I did from Supplication, despite the absence of cherries in the recipe. I suspect that what keeps the sourness under control is the substantial ABV of 10%: it makes the beer mellow and warming in a way that the comparable Rodenbach Grand Cru just isn't.
Consecration is a beer to savour slowly, and it was only at the end I finally got where the barrel and grape favours had gone: oxidised to a kind of fino sherry taste that lingers pleasantly after swallowing.
Unique yet familiar, I'd recommend it for cold-weather drinking. Thanks to Adam for the opportunity to taste it.