Cerise is an interesting beer, and Founders is a great brewery. Founders has a long line of one off beers that I have unfortunately been unable to procure through the years. Well, that’s not entirely true because I was lucky enough to find a few bottles of Blushing Monk last year; and I get on the waiting list for KBS 5 months before it is released every year. However, I seem to miss everything else they release. I am sure that their rare releases are wonderful, but having never actually had them, I cannot comment. I have however had many of their year round and seasonal beers over the years. One seasonal in particular, Cerise, is my wife’s favorite; so I am quick to pick up a 4-pack when I notice it in liquor stores.
Last year I talked my wife into letting me cellar a bottle for a year to see how it would develop. Cerise is an excellent cherry beer when it’s fresh, but the real question is whether or not it ages, especially with the growing trend amongst craft beer drinkers to cellar beers. Heck, I have let my cellar grow to over 100 bottles, but that’s a story for another time. Sure, I could have tried it after 6 months, but what’s the fun in that. I hope to get a review of a fresh bottle of Cerise out in the next couple weeks since it is back in stores through August. I had hoped to get grain bill information from Founders, but have yet to hear back. On to the review:
On Beeradvocate, Cerise has an 83. Over at ratebeer it has an 83 overall and a 95 for style. The two review sites seem to match up nicely on Cerise. Perhaps that is because it is exactly what it claims to be, a great ale fermented with tart cherries.
You'll have a soft spot for this one. Using only fresh Michigan tart cherries, this beauty tantalizes with intense flavors combined with a no-hesitation malt bill. Adding fresh cherries at five separate stages of fermentation achieves the ultimate balance between tartness and sweetness.
After being aged for a year in the cellar, Cerise poured amber with definite reddish/pink hues. It had a very thin light pink head with no retention, but did leave slight lacing. The aroma is primarily sweet and malty with a very mild cherry finish.
The sweet maltiness carried over into the flavor and was supported by an almost kirsch-like sour cherry. Aging had given Cerise alcohol notes, that melded nicely with the cherry and sweet malts. Cerise is medium bodied, and slightly syrupy with a low to medium level of carbonation, making it an excellent dessert beer.
Cellaring a relatively low alcohol beer with a low hop level definitely could have led to a beer that became undrinkable, and would have left me wishing that I had not left it in my cellar for a year. However, the 1-year-old bottle of Cerise passed the test. The kirsch notes in the flavor were very pleasant and served to accentuate the malts. This was an excellent beer.
However, as a word of caution; if you pick up a 4-pack of Cerise try it fresh before you consider storing it in the cellar. You may love it fresh and not be willing to part with one of the bottles for a year. On the other hand, it certainly was great after spending a year in my beer cellar.
That’s all for today. Check back soon for a review of Righteous Ale from Sixpoint Brewery.