Dec 5, 2014

Three Brothers Brewing Atramentous

The word “atramentous” is defined as meaning “black as ink.” And while this Three Brothers’ brew of the same name certainly looks as described, it’s also a bit muddy in character — just as ink can often become.

Built off of the base of a Belgian-inspired imperial stout, Atramentous is then aged in the same bourbon barrels employed by the brewery’s Resolute, before then having “wild brett yeasts and lacto” tossed into the mix for good measure. I knew all this prior to making my purchase, so none of this was a surprise when the decision was made to pop off the top.

Now, I’ve had some seriously sour stouts before (hello, Tart of Darkness) so I’m used to the combination of elements, but there’s just something not quite right about the tartness of Atramentous. The flavors of a decent stout are all present — espresso, cocoa, roastiness — as is a good bit of Belgian yeast, but the sourness just doesn’t feel right here.

Three Brothers Brewing Atramentous photo


The brew pours an inky black in color with a fleeting cap of brown foam.


Expresso, chocolate notes, light wood and a twinge of sourness fill the nose briskly.


I think perhaps, I was expecting something with a bit more subtlety with regard to the sour presence as the flavor isn’t quite what I expected. The elements of espresso and coffee are there as are light chocolate notes, a woody character and a light roast. That sour trait comes in quickly and rather strong before slowly fading in the lightly drying finish. I don’t get any bourbon influence in the flavor and the brew is pretty light bodied for a stout.


I’m not sure how to explain this review any better than saying, I’m a fan of the geueze/lambic genres of beer and have plenty of experience within this realm, so this isn’t a novice interpretation of what I am encountering here. Essentially, this ain’t my first rodeo and I know that this brew should have a light sourness to it, but it just wasn’t the right kind for my palate.

Rating: 3/5

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