Beer Reviews

Dark Matter (Sour Dark Ale)

Reviews are done by Jim Matt, our Chief Science Officer, who is also a veteran FoBAB judge, GABF judge, and BJCP Master judge.

Dark Matter (ABV: 11.65%) is the third release in our Outer Reaches Sour Ales series. Aged for 30 months in an oak foeder with Roeselare, this Sour Dark Ale booms with aromas of red wine, sherry and port. This is a taproom-only release!

Vintage: 2018

Months Aged: 30

Cultures: Roeselare

Dark Matter is the third release in our Outer Reaches Sour Ales series. Talk about the evolution of that program.

This program actually started about 5 years ago. Luke pulled a 5 gallon batch of Fiction off and inoculated it with a bacteria/yeast blend called Roeselare. The program has grown leaps and bounds from that.

Dark Matter is our Belgian Style Dark Ale Mastodon aged for 30 months in an oak foeder! Describe what’s happening in that wooden vessel for over two years.

Many things are happening over this extended time period. Some of the wood character is slowly being extracted, Lactobacillus and Pediococus cultures are slowly increasing acidity and complexity, and the Brettanomyces strains are working their magic to increase fruity, estery flavors.

What are the notable characteristics of this beer?

Deep, dark, complex and warming!

What makes you want to drink this beer?

This is a labor of love, patience and skill that has been evolving in our cellar for 2 ½ years.

What are some other Sour Dark Ales that you dig?

Rodenbach Grand Cru, Duchesse de Bourgogne, Russian River Consecration.

Fruit (1-6): 3

Funk: 1

Wood: 2

Sour: 2

Appearance: Dark brown, light haze, medium low carbonation, off white head that does not persist.

Aroma: Moderate acidity with a touch of acetic. Medium malt character, dark fruit heavy (raisins, plums). Medium high esters. No hop aroma. Medium maple syrup/bark character.

Taste: High maltiness, hints of chocolate-covered raisins, plums, prunes, burnt sugar. Moderate acidity, a touch of acetic, off-dry finish. No hop flavor, medium low bitterness, high fruity esters. Medium-low wood character, vanilla/marshmallow notes. Somewhat port-like.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, light astringency, medium-low carbonation. Some alcohol warmth, but not burning or hot.

Overall: A strong, dark, deeply complex barrel aged sour beer.

What foods would pair well with Dark Matter?

Strongly flavored cheese such as gorgonzola/blue cheese or steak au poivre.

Ideal glassware for Dark Matter?

10 oz snifter glass.