Craft Beer: Acid Jam is a belter of a sour beer, man
ACID Jam may sound like a hazy, laid-back session which eventually led to the recording of a Pink Floyd album in the late 60s, but it is an intriguing twist on the rapidly popular world of sour beers.
Brewed by Berkshire-based Siren Craft Brew, Acid Jam is an imperial barrel-aged kettle sour whose name is pretty accurate description of what to expect.
It all came about when Siren, in their own words, wondered how far they could push the kettle sour. The recipe is scaled up to give it an almost double-digit strength and then the beer is aged in bourbon and red wine barrels.
It pours a cherrywood colour and, as with most sour beers, any head there is quickly dissipates. Of course, the fact that this beer clocks in at 9.7 per cent abv is another reason for the lack of head.
Aroma-wise, there's a slight sweet malt before the acidity takes over and there's also a whiff of sour cherries. You also get oaky, woody aromas which hint at the barrel aging.
There is a lot going on when it comes to flavour. It is quite acidic but there are also lovely juicy berry flavours in there too. It has a wonderful jammy quality to it, which the oh so slightly syrupy mouthfeel helps support.
But there's also a slight hint of caramel and toffee underlying it too and the wood aging gives it a beautifully smooth fee. The high abv is impossible to escape too and gives it a nice warming feel too. It really is a belting beer and Siren's experiment has paid off richly.
There is an incredible vinous quality to this beer too and it would probably go well with some strong soft cheese to offset the acidity. As a sour beer, it's pretty darn lip smacking but the smooth finish and strength make it a nice little sipper too.
In fact, there’s so much complexity to Acid Jam that every mouthful is a new experience.
I picked up a bottle in the Vineyard on Belfast's Ormeau Road but it is available in many independent off-licences and from online beer stores.