Experimentalis with Raspberries | OEC Brewing
OEC Brewing out of Oxford, Connecticut is a name that gets beer people excited, myself included. I visited Bad Apple to try an OEC beer they had on tap, only to find out it kicked. This was the last time I was legitimately pissed at a beer kicking. They recommended something else but it wasn’t close to the style that kicked. Thankfully it appears more OEC beers pop up at bottle shops around the area, usually in canned form. The bottles, however, rarely seem to show up, so getting something like their Experimentalis with Raspberry becomes a treat. Or so I would think.
OEC stands for Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores, loosely translated as Order of the Eccentric Brewers. Sure, they make standard things like IPAs, pilsners, milds and the like, but the real juice comes in the form of their, um, eccentric, brews. Things like a sour porter aged in wine barrels or a lager and oak-aged saison blend. Or an oxidized barleywine aged on quince juice and blended with cider. By those standards, Experimentalis with Raspberries comes out looking tame.
Experimentalis with Raspberries is the 4th iteration of the beer. Blended on March 4, 2020 (during a simpler time), it sat in a Gandona Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon barrel for 9 months with red and white raspberries. Nothing too crazy but interesting nonetheless.
Experimentalis with Raspberries pours like a slightly darker lager. It remains clear and has a yellow or golden color. A finger of white head forms that dissipates to nothing. The nose imparts a fair amount of fruity raspberries along with some white wine grapes. Some subtle funk runs throughout the entire sniff as well as some stone fruits like peaches and apricots. Nothing truly dominates the aromatics so a lovely, balanced smell permeates.
Experimentalis with Raspberries comes across the tongue as somewhat fruity, but it really couldn’t enjoy it much, mainly due to how absolutely and stunningly dry it finished. Like to the point where I couldn’t really taste anything else and needed a chug of water after every sip. That lovely raspberry aroma supported by some funk and stone fruit? The dryness obliterated it. All that briefly remained was some lemon-like tartness and heartburn. Yes, in addition to being desert-like dry, my heartburn started to kick in as well. I guess this would be like kicking sand in the wound?
Experimentalis with Raspberry’s carbonation level is of course high. Nothing remains – only dryness and some acidity. If some fruit had somehow snuck through or it didn’t trigger some heartburn, yeah fine, it’s not for me, but I can see some people liking it. In this state I found it increasingly difficult to finish my 4-5 ounce pour.
I found Experimentalis with Raspberries going too much in some undesirable directions – mainly the extremely dry finish and heartburn-inducing acidity. On the plus side, at least it didn’t give me a headache like a de Garde Black Raspberry Bu from the before times. Any complexity or flavor gets swallowed and it really wasn’t enjoyable to drink. OEC is one of those breweries where it’s a dice roll – sometimes the eccentricity works out and sometimes it backfires. It a gamble that I’ll still be willing to take, even accounting for this.