The Jolly Pumkin’s Perseguidor 5 (their fifth release) is a coveted beer for several reasons:

1) It is a “Grande Reserve.”  This means it has been extensively aged.  I was told by a Jolly Pumpkin employee that this years release was three years old, which probably includes the six months it aged on oak as a blend, and the six month is conditioned in the bottle.

2) It is a blend.  The art of blending different aged beers is due for a revival.  Perseguidor 5 is a blend of La Roja, Luciernaga and Bam Biere: all excellent beers in their own rite.

3) It is an extremely small release. Only 480 bottles of this sour ale were released to the public.

After my harrowing ordeal of waiting in line for the Perseguidor, the beer was even more beloved.  I planned on drinking the Perseguidor (which incidentally means Persuer or Persecutor–I’d love to know the symbolism) the Monday after the weekend purchase trip.  All day Monday at work, all I could think about was drinking the Sour Artisan Ale.

The Pour:

I popped the cap of the 12 oz Perseguidor and released a mild hiss.  The beer poured a musty/hazy burnt umber, that displayed brown, orange, and red highlights when rotated up in the light. After pouring about two ounces, it appeared that there was going to be little to no head so I helped it out and poured a bit more vigorously in to the center of my tulip glass.  The result was about a centimeter of thin white head, and little to no lacing.  Carbonation seems really low, but five minutes after pouring, extremely microscopic bubbles were still noticeable, bubbling up creating a sheetlike white film.

The Nose:

I love the smell of sour ales, and this one does not disappoint.  Extremely acid, apple vinegar, peach and white grape.  The aroma smell so much like homemade cider; that is, the type of cider that I make with apples from dad’s orchard using only the ground up apples and the bugs (yeast, bacteria) on the surface of the apples. The brew is full of spicy aromas:   Brown sugar,cinnamon, clove, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  Despite the obviously sour aroma, one expects a sweet punch.

The Taste:

At first sip, Perseguidor surprised me.  It is much milder than I expected, lacking any forthright sweetness.  The cider quality from the aroma carries through, as it is loaded with sour apple, white grape, and vinegar flavors.  In fact, it so reminded me of my natural cider, I have to wonder if some of these locally familiar bus penetrated the porous oak barrels that once housed the ale.   Earthy bitterness comes from the hops.  Call me crazy, but there is mild vegetable quality…celery and spinach.  What a perfect finish.  Mouth puckering tartness balanced with a subtle malty sweetness, and gritty euro hops…delicious.

The aftertaste just does not go away…almost every quality of the beer remains on the back of the tongue and throat.  A slight peach and whiskey flavor remains on the tongue.

Overall Thoughts:

Well done, Jolly Pumkin!  The more I drank the beer, the more I wished I had more than 12 ounces in my glass.  It is milder than expected, both in tartness and sweetness, but the complexity of the beer allows for this deviation.  My only mild complaint is I wish it were just a tad more carbonated.  If you can get your hands on this rare gem, do what it takes!  It was worth the wait and company in line!

Nate’s Rating:

Overall Satisfaction: ★★★★¼ 

Among other Sour Ales: ★★★★¾