Stillwater Artisanal Ales/Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal
Arcana (Farmhouse Stout Aged In Red Wine Barrels)
Crests about a finger of dark tan foam, even surface but leaving a sizzling patch at the pour point, poor retention and and minimal cling to the lacing. The liquid is a dark black and hard to tell the relative cleanliness of it, no too much residue left in the bottle, you can see extremely minuscule bubbles break on the surface. The nose is very heavy on the roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate, the red wine comes through clearly and adds a vinous edge, a few notes of scone or croissant, the fruit is muted and mainly cherry to cranberry scents, seems to have settled down, has staying power despite lacking breadth of aroma. Medium-bodied, creamy mouth entry quickly switches gear to sour pucker as that vinous nature takes hold. Yeast, lees, wet oak and then comes that coffee roast and chocolate. The carbonation adds a steady churn and likely helps to reduce the sourness, lifting it off the tongue. Now and then tries to act like a stout but can't get its ducks in a row. Golden raisin and fig join the cherry fruit. There is a chocolate to cola bean echo retronasally. Basically it's an admirable attempt but does not hit the bullseye.
3 out of 5