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The Weekly Beer Geek

Weekly Beer Review: Brainless® Raspberries

Brainless® Raspberries – Flavored Belgian Style Ale
Epic Brewing

$2.19/Can (12oz)
Grade: D+

The Beginning:
The boxes are unpacked, the clothes are hung, the photos are on the shelves, and the fridge is laden down with beer – my move is complete and my Black Sheep taskmasters are cracking the whip to get me producing new content once again. It may be September and the kids may all be back at school but it’s still summer in my book, and summer means fruit beers. I first heard of this one at a super bowl party where everyone was going nuts for it, but I was the designated driver and had to be good. Let’s see what I was missing.

The Brewer’s Pitch:
Epic is quick to assure you that Brainless® Raspberries is both released under their Brainless® label AND as part of their “Exponential” series, without ever quite explaining what either of those mean. Further research suggests Epic releases beers under one of three “Series” names: Classic (basic styles), Elevated (extraordinary versions of familiar tastes), and Exponential (inventive or novel tastes). If it sounds a trifle pretentious to you, you’re not alone. At any rate the Belgian yeast and fresh berries come together to give Brainless® Raspberries a sweetly teasing taste. Belgian yeast often brings hints of banana sweetness, but here it presents more as a bubblegum taste for an overall raspberry gum characteristic. It’s paired well with hard cheese and dark chocolate as an aperitif beer.

The Beer:
Brainless® Raspberries is deeply reddish-pink, a sort of red-tinted peach, with very light white carbonation. The nose is all sweet juicy berry and promises a lush full-bodied fruit beer. The beer’s body is much lighter than its aroma, though, with just a bit of stickiness from the sugar. At first blush Brainless® Raspberries hits you with tart intensity. It’s almost as acidic as a sour at its face with little in the way of raspberry flavor. It does slowly develop as the palate becomes accustomed to the acid. It tastes like a strong raspberry juice concentrate- strong, acidic, and slightly artificial. Brainless® Raspberries finishes with coppery sour aftertaste lingering in the back of the mouth.

The Breakdown:
This beer was a real roller coaster. It started out pretty aggressive and I thought it might be another ultra-sour (I have this theory, that sours are the new IPAs and the easy way to be trendy & cool in craft beer is by throwing your minor variations on as much acid – rather than hops – as possible). It improved somewhat as the fruit flavor developed but there was just something off about the raspberry. It never felt natural, the use of real raspberries in the brew notwithstanding. And then by the end, there was a funky metallic chemical taste that it STILL hanging out on my soft palate. Not a huge fan of this – I’d make some sort of pun on the word Brainless® but it just feels too easy.

The Bottom Line:
In case you’re wondering, Epic does in fact use the ® symbol after every instance of the word “Brainless” on their web site. How could I resist following suit?

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