Climax Brewing Incompetent Scholar


Beer: Incompetent Scholar
Brewery: Climax Brewing Company
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: Unknown! 6% (estimate)


Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa



Sight: Hazy, deep maroon body with a small, whispy head.

Smell: Alcoholic raisins. Well, strong raisin, plum, rotten apples, and cheap brandy aromas.

Flavor: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK. OH GOD THIS IS SO TANGY. SO SO FUNKY AND TANGY. MY FACE WILL FOREVER BE IN A PUCKERED CONTORSION. I WILL NEED BOTOX JUST TO RELAX MY FACE MUSCLES. OH GOD. Okay, I’ll try to describe this sensation. It literally feels like drinking lemon juice, though that isn’t the weird-ass flavor that this tastes like. Rather, it tastes like bitter cherries and rotting citrus.

Feel: Thin with moderate carbonation.

Concluding Remark: I’ll start with another caveat: I love sour things. Lemons, Warheads, dill pickles, vinegar…you name it. I thought I loved all sour things. However, I realize, I love sour things that don’t taste like rotting fruit. I also need to state that this is THE Belgian style I’ve been talking about: this is an Oud Bruin. These are supposed to be quite tangy due to  an extended fermentation that causes  the yeast and other yummy bacterias to develop a sour flavor. And they’re supposed to taste like cherries, plums, and malts. So, Climax’s Incompetent Scholar would appear to not fall far from the Oud Bruin tree. But something went horribly wrong…

I was hoping that the previous beer (McChouffe) was going to be a reference point for how this American Oud Bruin should taste, given that it is actually from Belgian. However, as we learned, McChouffe likes to hang out in Scotland and the Incompetent Scholar is soley a Flemish creation (although Climax Brewing is out of Roselle Park, NJ). I TOTALLY appreciate Climax experimenting with obscure euro styles, but guys, you still need to sell beer. If I hadn’t done my research and tried this, I would’ve sworn it had spoiled. It really tastes like rotten lemon juice. Admittedly, I did some quick research on this beer to see what other fellow beer enthusiasts have said and it seems that it’s hella delicious on draft, but bottled…not so much. Despite some on the surface similarities (aromas and color), this is NOT what an Oud Bruin should taste like. There goes what I was hoping to be an educational experience.

I can say with confidence that very few people will enjoy this. I can’t finish it. And that’s saying a lot. Again, I’m not exclusively blaming Climax, but rather that this is an inaccessible style of beer that most consumers should stay away from. If one should brave this bizarre style, find an ‘authentic’ Oud Bruin, like the La Folie from New Belgium Brewing or Goudenband from Brouweij Liefmans.

Categories: Brown Ale | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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