14/12/20182 min of reading

Beery Christmas Day 14: Goose Island Madame Rose

Rose coloured glasses...

Back once again following a rapturous reception in 2017, all the way from Chicago, Goose Island's story begins nearly 30 years ago in 1988, when founder John Hall opened his first Brewpub. Inspired by his extensive travels in Europe, and unable to find a decent Real Ale back in the USA, he was inspired to set up his own brewery. Consumed by this new passion, and flushed with the success of his venture, in 1995 the brewery as we now know it opened its doors. Since then, the brewery continues to evolve, offering a list of classic beers for all tastes that have earned it a place Ratebeer's Top 100 breweries worldwide.

Everything’s coming up roses with Goose Island

We’re in the pink today and it's all thanks to Madame Rose – Goose Island’s awesome homage to the classic Belgian Oude Bruin style. Aged in oak wine casks with Goose Island's authentic Roeselare Belgian yeast and wild Brettanomyces Bruxellensis yeast - and a big old pile of fresh sour cherries - this is one challenging beer.

The first thing you’ll notice is a pleasingly musty, woody nose backed by soft cherry juice scents, so get ready, this deeply complex aromatic profile is just a taste of things to come…

On the tongue, Madame Rose is a lively character indeed, whose sour cherries give a wild rosehip fruitiness, mingled with an earthy, woody, fusty note that brings to mind oak barrels, musty cellars, old churches, leather couches and just a hint of damp forest leaf-litter.

If that isn't enough complexity for you, then just wait until lip-smacking balsamic vinegar sharpness rushes in to get you right at the back corners of your tongue for a sour 'Wow!' moment!

Goose Island set out to create a Sour Ale that was sharp yet accessible, and they did just that. I told you she was special, my Madame Rose!

Sour or Wild, which one are you?

While Sour and Wild ales are both sour, there is a subtle difference between the two styles, and it’s all to do with the yeast used.

To achieve the desired state of sharpness, Sour Ales are fermented using specially cultured blends of saccharomyces - beer - yeast and lactobacillus - basically yoghurt bacteria, available through specialist yeast suppliers (or prepared in-house to the brewery’s own secret recipe).

Wild Ales are 100% natural, using either the wild yeast present in the fermenting vessel or which just happen to drift by on the breeze and are (mis)fortunate enough to fall into a vat of beer!

The big difference is that Wild Yeast can consume 100% of the sugars in the beer, so the sourness is, well, sourer!

Then there’s mixed fermentation, which involves a first fermentation with normal Saccharomyces brewers’ yeast and finishing with Sour or Wild yeast.

Whichever way you make your Sour or Wild Ale one thing is true: the longer you leave it, the sourer it gets! Either way, the results are one deliciously dry Sour beer.

Pucker up, baby!


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