Technically, it’s classified as an American Wild Ale, but it’s much more than that. Each sip brought something new.
First, the sweetness of the Brettanomyces in the dank-brown, almost black brew announced itself. Brettanomyces is a wild yeast strain native to Belgium, which gives Belgian-style ales the funky sweetness that I’m still really trying to appreciate.
Then, a caramel note crept in, possibly from the whiskey barrels in which it was aged. Actually, Terra Incognita is a blend of three different brews, two of which were aged in barrels.
Later, a hoppy bitterness was more pronounced, most likely from the freshly brewed, dry-hopped portion of the blend.
The majority of the blend was taken from beer aged in a 2000-gallon foudre (known in technical terms as a big-ass oak vat). Could that have contributed the earthy, coffee-like notes that emerged still even later?
In any event, these two titans of the craft-brewing industry have concocted one enigma of a beer. I read a lot of reviews that said while the beer was good, it was too muddled and confusing to be great.
I disagree. This ever-changing, constantly evolving brew is challenging, intriguing, and endlessly fascinating. Few things in life can say the same This terra is indeed incognita. Very, very well done.