Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling is based out of San Antonio, Texas.

I’ve been noticing this trend of breweries jumping into the distillery game. Ranger Creek opened in September of 2010 by TJ Miller, Dennis Rylander and Mark McDavid, all of whom met in San Antonio while working for the same company.

Today’s beer is an Apricot sour and is labeled as number eleven in their Small Batch Series. Ranger Creek defines their Small Batch Series as “a line of seasonal single batch brews designed to be unique, interesting, and often experimental. Each one is made in small quantities and with a completely different recipe.”

Ranger Creek Small Batch Series No. 11 Apricot Sour bottle

Apricot Sour is a blend of Belgian blonde ale aged for 12 months in oak barrels that were inoculated with Ranger Creek’s house sour culture. To complete the process, 25 pounds of fresh apricots were added to each barrel for their last month of aging, and then hand bottled and waxed into 375ml Belgian-style bottles.

The beer poured into a Teku glass with a clear, glowing pumpkin orange body. Almost no head was formed, save for a ring of foam around the edge of the glass. That is not to say Apricot Sour has no carbonation; it can be seen coming out of solution and racing at a steady rate towards the top. The aroma is chock full of bright apricots, Sour Patch Kids, limes, and nutmeg.

Ranger Creek Small Batch Series No. 11 Apricot Sour
Upon tasting is where the funk comes in the forefront, followed by an unexpected heavy oak presence. While not a completely overwhelming amount of oak tannin and char, it still clashes immensely with everything else in the beer. Apricots are there, as well as, a noticeable alcohol heat. I was not expecting the oak char or the alcohol heat as neither of those characteristics are typical of a sour ale. The alcohol content is not listed on the bottle so I was forced to go on Ranger Creek’s website to find that it is a staggering 8.4 percent alcohol by volume. Not unheard of but it is certainly unusual for a sour ale to be that big.

Why the alcohol content is not listed on the bottle is completely asinine. They have room on the label for bottling dates, batch numbers, QR codes, thorough descriptions of the beer, cellaring tips, and even some marketing mumbo-jumbo but not the alcohol content? Tsk, tsk Ranger Creek.

Ranger Creek Small Batch Series No. 11 Apricot Sour
BREWERY: Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling
LOCATION: San Antonio, Texas
STYLE: Belgian-style Blonde Ale
ABV: 8.4 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $7.99
RELEASE DATE: Oct. 1, 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 375ml bottles
BEERS POURED: One
Overall, Apricot Sour is an okay attempt at an American sour ale. Some of the undesirable characteristics, e.g., oak and alcohol heat may mellow out with time in a cellar, but so will the fresh apricot flavor which really defeats the purpose of fruiting the beer in the first place. Ranger Creek’s house culture does show some good potential and their use of the solera method will surely make for interesting things to come.
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