I was going to talk about Edgar Allen Poe in this intro, but something happened to trump the troubled writer from Baltimore. I had picked up some sours today to age in my cellar and was moving around a few bottles on the shelf. Two bottles fell. A 5 foot drop. Concrete floor. You probably know know the fate of both of them. And you’d be wrong! One bottle bounced off of the floor like a bloated whale, the other tumbled to the ground… and I saw beer go everywhere. I was pretty upset that I had broken one my aging beers and more upset I had to find all the glass that shattered across my entire basement – but as I went to pick it up, a minor miracle happened. The only part of the beer that “broke” was the bottle cap. It flew off like Apollo 11, however just about 1/4 of the beer was lost. I attribute it to the label. The four ravens adorned on this bottle gave it some wings. No glass was shattered, just a little beer was lost. So before I begin, I must commend Stumblefoot on their bottle integrity. Now, let’s do the numbers…
Appearance: Pasty brown and dull in color with zero head from a vigorous pour. Not fair to judge the lack of head really as a lot of carbonation escaped when I dropped it in the cellar. No lacing as I drank and the cloudiness stays with the beer from the first pour to the last.
Smell: Red wine, prunes, granny smith apple, rock candy, and funk. Pretty standard sour smell emitting from the glass with some notice of a traditional quad.
Taste: Monumentally sour. I’m surprised from the smell that it’s this mouth puckering. I thought I’d be able to get more of the quad aspects from this brew, but it just isn’t happening at the start of this beer. The sourness is sharp like a lemon up front, then it dies down, then it comes back with more rage than the British in 1812. Good Lord, this is the most sour finish I can recall of any beer reviewed to date. As I continued to drink, I was never fully able to find any of those typical quad notes in here, however after the second pour, I was able to get some cherry flavors at the very end. Maybe at mid palate there is some sugary sweetness, but man it just dies a painful citrus and fruit death. It’s not a bad thing, as nothing can be too sour for me, but if you’re expecting to find balance here, forget it. After I finish a sip, I am getting some black pitted olive and some burn in the back of the throat.
That burn is attributed to the ABV on Quad Raven since it’s a whopping 11%, which is the same as Abominable, however, with this brew, there is no detection of it in the taste. Perhaps the only evidence of its ABV, outside of the burn, is in the mouthfeel as it is surprisingly thick and boderline syrupy for a beer this sour. As mentioned before, it’s a little unfair for me to talk about the carbonation in this brew since a lot of the bubbles were lost once it spilled, but it is on the dull side. That’s fine for certain lambics and gueuzes since they are thinner, but it’s more of a knock on a quad. Had I not dropped this however, I think it would have been perfect.
Overall: This is one puckering beer. If you’re a sourhead, you’d love this. It’s not all that balanced, but for my tastes, I’m OK with it. I have to give Stumblefoot an A- with Quad Raven; it would have likely been an A if it was opened traditionally. It’s really sour, and really nice. Don’t drink Red Bull, this gives you wings.