Name: Cuvee de Tomme
Brewery: The Lost Abbey
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: San Marcos, CA
Style: American Wild Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 11.00%
First Brewed: 1999
Price: NA (We got this beer in a trade with Erick Engel.)
New flavors emerge as quickly as you can drink them: cherries, smoky chocolate, dark fruits, dried fruit (figs), bourbon, caramel, and woody vanilla. Balanced with an acidic finish.
I have to thank Erick for this beer. Funny story… We are chatting right now about something unrelated to this beer. He did say, about this beer, “I hope it lives up to the hype.” I have actually never heard anything about this beer, so I am sure it will live up to the hype! Most beers from this brewing company are good, and this one is barrel aged. I am reading cherries, vanilla and bourbon. I am sure it will be good!
Also, I just heard they are going to be releasing a new book. That means a new (updated) list of beers. They are going to be removing 90 beers from the current list. That being said, we are going to keep going with this list until we cannot find any more beers in the Valley, but look for us to be changing direction in the coming months. We will have a plan in place, and will keep doing the “off the wall” beer reviews. But the list, as it was, is going to be changing.
In the Glass: That was the hardest cork I have ever come across. I mean, it took me 5 minutes just to get the cork out of the bottle. Right before I took the cork out, I stood back in case it exploded. Nope. Nothing. There wasn’t even a pop as the cork came out. Then I started to pour, and the beer looked like cough syrup coming out of the glass. That isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Erick said this beer has a lot of hype. I hope he’s right!
The beer looks like flat Coke in the class, there was no head to speak of, and no lace whatsoever. I am telling you, if I didn’t know any better I would think this was a bad bottle. I was able to smell some sweet cherries as I was pouring the glass. Now it’s time for me to stick my nose in the glass. Cheers!
Nose: Imagine a cherry that has been sitting in a glass of Jack for several days. That is what I am getting here. It smells hot, and has a nice sour cherry finish. I also like hearing that this beer changes as you drink, which makes me think there will be a lot of complexity here. Let’s see. I can’t take it any longer!!!
Flavor: Holy crap, that is sour. That is also weird… It’s flat, too. There are no bubbles to speak of, and it tastes every bit of 11%. If I didn’t know any better, I would think it was higher than that. They use Brett in this beer, but you can’t tell. The beer is VERY easy to drink, and while the aftertaste is weak, the sour flavors (mostly a candy cherry flavor) sticks around for a few minutes. If you have ever finished a cherry Jolly Rancher candy, that is the same finish that I am getting here.
Mouthfeel: What mouthfeel? There isn’t much to speak of in terms of mouthfeel. Even when I swish this around in my mouth, there are no bubbles to speak of. I will say, that as it heats up, the bourbon flavors really come forward. There is a barrel on the label, so I expect there to be some barrel in this beer. That is what I hate about barrel aged beers. Most don’t have much, if any barrel flavor. This one sure does.
Speaking of barrel aged beers, I really like what the guys at Arizona Wilderness are doing with their barrel aged beers. They leave the barrels in the tasting room so that the barrels and the beer inside the barrels take all the vibrations from the people visiting the brewery. That is just a really cool concept, as you can sit right next to the barrels and even walk up and touch the barrels holding what will eventually be a delicious release from them, I am sure.
Aftertaste: The finish is nice. Like I said, it has a very sweet almost candy like finish that reminds me of cherry Jolly Rancher candies. I don’t really like the cherries, but when done right, like in this beer, I can handle it. I just can’t get over how easy this beer is to drink, and how much character I am getting from the barrels.
I don’t know what whiskey barrels they used for this, but whatever they used I like it! Erick, I am not sure the hype this beer has in your neck of the woods, but this beer is one of the best, if not the best I have had from this brewing company. I am not sure the style is right, and I can’t taste any of the Brett… But this is a great beer. Cheers!
Cuvee de Tomme – The bottle says: “You are holding in your hands one of the most elusive and sought after small batch beers known simply as Cuvee. Our Cuvee de Tomme is a blend of Old World Brewing Traditions and New World Brewing Processes. It is made from our Judgement Day Dark Ale which is then aged in American Bourbon and French Oak Wine barrels. We add some fantastic wild yeasts and Sour Cherries to the barrels creating a secondary fermentation. After one year, our brewers then get together to work out the final blend. This means that each batch of Cuvee all vary slightly between buildings. Yet, the result will always be a memorable drinking experience. Pour into a wide glass and let the beer breathe. Notes of Juicy Cherries, Luscious Vanilla, and Supple Tannins emerge in a smooth finish. We think like most, you will find our most creative energies on display in this unique and style shattering beer worthy of the title Cuvee.”
The first look I got of this beer, it seemed like it looked very strange to me. It looks extremely flat. Like, Ricky had just poured it, and there is no head at all. And no carbonation. It looks like a totally flat soda sitting there in the glass. It’s dark brown, but not black. It’s basically the color of a brown. I like browns, but I don’t think this is going to taste like one. It’s another Lost Abbey; we’ve reviewed a couple of their beers lately. Both of them were really good, so hopefully this one will be too. It’s got a very fruity smell to it. It almost smells like wine. It smells very strongly of raisins and a little bit of spice. Time to find out how it tastes.
Oh wow. That is super sour. Almost undrinkable sour. I bet Ricky loves it. I’m sure I made a face when I took a drink of this. Man. I’m not even sure what to say about that on the first taste, and I’m almost afraid to take another drink! The way the beer looks is accurate, though… there is no carbonation to this beer at all, really. It’s like drinking very sour grape juice. I’ll say it again, I bet Ricky really likes this, but to me it’s too sour. It’s a turn off. I do like sour beers, but this one is just over the top. I really liked the other Lost Abbey beers we had, but this one is not my style at all. I don’t think I’d bother buying this one again, but if you like sours, it might do it for you.