3 Ravens 2020 Nat Rav Yarra Valley Syrah
Brewery: 3 Ravens
Style: Wild Ale – Hybrid
Format: 750mL Bottles
Having one of our favourite Victorian winemakers move in down the road from us was an exciting prospect – and not just because we love drinking at their bar. While we used to spend the best part of a day driving to regional Victoria to collect grape skins (and then later to return their bin) for our Nat Rav range of skin-contact beers, when Jamsheed moved to Preston we decreed “we can practically walk down there with a trolley!” So in April we tested this theory, and it turns out that the trip back to the brewery is down hill and surprisingly devoid of pot-holes. Freshly pressed Yarra Valley Pinot Noir skins were collected and within the hour were purged with CO2 and submerged in beer. The beer selected was an extremely dry amber farmhouse ale referred to in the brewery as “French Biscuit” – brewed with toasted malts (Voyager Munich, SM40 and Chocolate), rolled rye and house-malted biscuit rye, hopped in the kettle with a moderately high rate (3g/L) of aged (3y/o) Saaz hops, fermented with a French farmhouse yeast and dry hopped with a high level (7g/L) of an aged (5y/o), experimental hop from Crosby Hop Farms before 9 months maturation with our house mixed culture in neutral wine barrels. The result was a Brettanomyces-forward beer with predominant horse saddle and funk, a restrained acidity and a delicious array of mixed berry and fruit salad notes. Refermentation on the Pinot Noir skins resulted in a delicate beer with earthy undertones of spice, herbs and mint as well as subtle top notes of cranberry and dark cherry. Fermentation was complete after 3 weeks and the finishing touch was the addition of a 9 month old sour red ale – contributing body and complimentary malt aromatics as well as soft jammy flavours and a pronounced acidity. The finished beer has a lively carbonation and moderate sediment – so is best stored upright, chilled for at least 24 hours, opened carefully and decanted off the sediment.
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