Fearful Symmetries

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25 November, 2015

The Third Time Is the...: Raspberry Sour Porter by Freigeist Bierkultur



Earlier this month I thoroughly enjoyed Freigeist Bierkultur's Salzspeicher Cherry Sour Porter and Lichtenhainer. In addition to Kirschen, they also brew the porter bier with Himbeeren, a.k.a. – raspberries. I guess this is a Himbeerbier. (Doesn't that just roll off the tongue?) Will the third beer be the charm?

As I noted with the Kirschenbier, the base is a porter that, according to the brewery, draws upon two historical porter styles. First is a sour German version and the second is a brackish British take on the style. Neither of these ur-styles is familiar to me but this is hardly surprisingly. From there Freigeist adds fruit juice and/or "real fruits during fermentation".

Salzspeicher Raspberry Sour Porter pours black and opaque. When you hold your glass up to the light at just the right angle you can see that it's a deep mahogany and appears clear. While I was unable to see what, if anything, bubbles were doing inside the glass, the beer was crowned with a nice ¼" tan head. This is a very pretty bier. My wife shared my aesthetic judgement and said as much after seeing my glass from an adjoining room. Either I unknowingly married Jaime Sommers or her spectacles are just that good.

The aroma was similar to its cherry counterpart in that the fruit was most prominent. I'd be lying if I wrote that it smelled just like fresh raspberries, but it did smell pleasantly fruity. On the porter side of things, I caught bitter chocolate in the aroma as well. This beer smells like pure Deutsch dessert decadence.

Unsurprisingly, the taste is similar with the raspberry up front while the malt contributes subdued dark chocolate and even more subtle coffee flavors. I found the raspberry to be rather sweet. Not cloyingly, but it tasted as if the fruit contributed only a hint of tartness with the sour porter doing most of the work in that department. I'm not sure what bacteria sour the beer. It doesn't take particularly funky as whatever strain of brettanomyces it is that gives you that wet blanket flavor nor is it citrusy like lactobacillus. Think New Glarus' Belgian Red. Or Raspberry Tart, for that matter. The porter is imbued with that kind of tartness.

I'd be lying if I wrote that the beer tasted of fresh raspberries. Instead I was reminded of the Frango Raspberry Chocolate candies you find at Marshall Fields. Or a raspberry liqueur. It just lacked that sprightliness, that zestiness that tastes fresh and real. The beer tasted raspberry-flavored as opposed to raspberry-infused.

Some salinity came through at the finish which accentuated the lingering raspberry and bitter chocolate flavors. There was also a tannin-like bitterness that added some dryness. Schaumhaftvermoegen consisted only of a few thin streaks.

For a brew that is dessert in a bottle on paper, it has a medium body that makes for a very drinkable beer. A 6% A.B.V. works well for a digestiv or to be drunk on its own outside of a meal. Sadly, after the fantastic cherry sour porter, this one was a real let-down. The porter part remained great but the raspberry just didn't take like real juice in the way that the cherry did.

Junk food pairing: As with the Cherry Sour Porter, I will recommend either some pork rinds or dark chocolate covered peanuts depending on your mood.

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|| Palmer, 6:22 PM

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