Ale brewed in 2013 with Yerba Santa, Chinook & Nelson Sauvin hops. 7.2% ABV
Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, CA
By Bill Lau
Posted May 14, 2015
Anchor’s Zymaster Series started in 2012, allowing the brewmaster free range to create special recipes and explore the use of different ingredients in mostly one-off beers (though a couple have made it into the regular line-up, such as Anchor California Lager, which I previously reviewed). These beers can be found in single 22 ounce bottles and are up to No.7 in the series as of the time of this review.
Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale was the first in the series that I happened across some time early in 2014, and as I was becoming interested in farmhouse ales (and being an Anchor fan) I grabbed it. I never quite got around to trying it until recently, so this has unintentionally turned into a cellared beer review; not that there’s anything wrong with that, other than the fact that it’s likely very difficult to find at this point (sorry!).
Appearance (5/5): Bright, clear amber appearance topped with a fairly dense head of dark cream-colored foam. Leaves behind some nice lacing on the glass.
Aroma (7/10): Dark pit fruits with a tart edge, rich malt, spices & an earthy, herbal note. No funky yeast notes.
Palate (4/5): Medium-light to medium body with some fine carbonation bite. Slightly puckering on the back end.
Taste (7.5/10): Yeasty note, caramelized malts, and faint spices lead into a rounded, mild middle. Bittering comes in midway through bringing a tart fruity edge. Candied fruit in the finish with a pithy bitterness and citrus rind note. Leaves behind a lingering aftertaste with some yeast and an earthy, herbal character (hello, Yerba Santa!).
Overall (15.7/20): I didn’t get quite the yeast-imparted character I’d anticipated for a farmhouse ale, but that said, there’s plenty of flavor in this brew, especially when not too heavily chilled. The Yerba Santa adds a unique touch that blends well with the other flavors.