Wild ales are right up there with actual categorized sour ales as being a style for aging and comparison. Wild ales are generally naturally soured through barrel aging and not from additions of other wild yeasts like Brettanomyces. The idea with beers such as La Roja, is that the beer has already aged a considerable amount of time on its own before being blended and is ready to drink once bottled. Because of the wild yeast and barrel fermentation, these beers continue to change and develop in the bottle over time. Just as with any other beer, certain flavors and nuances could be lost or multiplied. Being almost exactly 2 years old (bottled on 4.20.2012) this was a great chance to see how a beer such as La Roja does with some time on it.

When poured, the beer sits with a dulled maroon color with some slight cloudiness and moderate carbonation. It smells sour and tart and develops of good amount of funk as it opens up in the glass. The fruits and spice of the beer that are pretty prevalent in the aroma when freshly bottled are faded and only slightly recognizable.

The taste is aged. The mouthfeel is much drier and the acidity has mellowed out quite a bit. It's not as sour as the nose lets on. The spice and fruit that make up a lot of this beer's profile are weaker and more blended with an underlying constant of aged wood. The aftertaste leaves a slight bitterness and grapefruit that lingers for a while.

The beer is much less bright and sharp than it is fresh, with a lot of the age really coming through. It is definitely drinkable but more blended which takes away any of the subtleties that were once present in the flavor. This one might be better picked up and had within the 6 months of bottling in order to fully enjoy what La Roja is really meant to be.


Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.

Posted on March 7, 2014 .