Aug 26, 2013

Boulevard Brewing Terra Incognita

Terra Incognita, a collaborative effort between Sierra Nevada and Boulevard brewing companies, first made it’s appearance at the 2012 SAVOR event. The reception the beer received was such that the two companies decided to come together again and release it to the public. This year the final product is a blend of three different variations of the original recipe:

The end result is a very wild 9% ABV brew that also has a dash of Brettanomyces tossed in before letting the bottles rest for a few months — only then is the brew finally released. And when you introduce a wild yeast into any beer, things can go awry.

This was the case with the first bottle of Terra Incognita that I had purchased. The beer displayed some very off characteristics. The carbonation was overly active (as seen in the below Vine) and crazy sharp/biting while there was nothing but a soured (not in a good way) flavor profile that rendered the beer undrinkable. Knowing that this is the chance one takes when buying a wild beer, I opted to give Terra Incognita a second chance a week later.

Thankfully, the second bottle was more in line with what I had expected when first buying the first. It was appropriately soured and tart with subtle hints of wood. The wild yeast had gone in the correct direction this time around making for a much more enjoyable drinking experience.


Terra Incognita pours a dark, murky brown in color with a voluminous, light mocha crown of foam that exhimbited solid lacing as it dropped.


Sour tartness, subtle wood notes and very distant whiskey mingle with the wild yeast.


First off, the wild yeast still has brought way too much carbonation to the table for this style of beer. it’s prickly and sharp. The whiskey certainly shows through more so in this second bottle with a light about of smokey char and wood. It’s not as tart or as sour as the nose let on, but still packs a pretty solid pucker. At 9% ABV, the beer brings a good bit of warmth.


Wild yeast can be a tricky bugger as I’ve encountered with the two bottles of Terra Incognita. As much as brewing is a science, things can go in a different direction that the brewery had planned. I’m just glad that I was able to get a bottle that was more inline with what the collaborators had in mind in crafting this beer. That said, I’d rather have a bottle of Boulevard’s Harvest Dance or Rye-on-Rye instead.

Rating: 3.5/5

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