Brasserie Harricana Continues Refining their Wild Barrel-Aged 7205 Series
An Article by Noah Forrest
Back in 2017, Brasserie Harricana launched a new line of bottles entitled 7205, which are aptly named after their address. These beers would become experimental one-offs showcasing the wild and barrel-aged side of things. Each is categorized numerically, having begun with 7205-001. I’ve had most of them to date, and they are always a treat.
Each bottle carries its own character. Whether pulling flavours from various barrels or blends, or infusing with fruit and adjuncts, they always fall within the tart and funky spectrum. Like everything barrel-aged from Harricana, these beers tend have a pronounced tannic structure, and this now quintessential Harricana flora that’s quite recognizable.
I covered the first six bottles in two separate articles. If you are interested, you can check them out here and here. This time however, I want to dive into the more recent concoctions, and specifically 7205-008 through 7205-011. Here we go.
7205-008 began as a mix-fermented sour beer, inoculated with their house culture. It was aged in neutral barrels for 6 months, and was then transferred to cognac barrels for another 2 months. Finally it was matured with the addition of loads of sour cherries (griottes) and re-fermeneted in the bottle.
The nose releases a flurry of funky flora, carrying bright acidic aromatics mixed with musty and leathery phenols. It’s almost smokey. That said, the star of the nose is the lovely cherry pie jamminess.
The palate matches, but carries a more intense sourness that I wasn’t quite expecting. Sharp sour cherries mix with lots of bacterial acidity to really pucker things up. It’s crazy dry, leaving a nice tart tannic linger on your palate after each sip. That said, the sweetness from the fruit helps balance those tannins, which rounds things out well.
Lots of jammy cherry pie comes through, while the flora adds layer upon layer of dusty brett funk, oak, and a really nice lacto acidity. 008 might be my favourite to date!
7205-011 is 100% brett fermented. It was first aged in specially selected barrels for 8 months, then matured for 2 more months with apricots.
The nose is dominated by bright and juicy apricots, followed by some dusty Brett funk, and lots of barrel.
The palate matches, but comes off dryer than the nose led on. There is an approachable tannic layer that cuts through the juiciness of the fruit. It’s big apricot up front, followed by vinous-infused oak, and a lingering tannic finish. The acidity isn’t that intense, but certainly apparent, and lends a flora-rich profile to the whole thing along with the dusty phenols.
Overall 011 is juicy, very dry and quite drinkable. Another brilliant one. Reminiscent of nectar drinks from my childhood, which always bring me back.
7205-009 is a blend of sour amber beers, barrel-aged and mix fermented with the addition of cacao.
The nose begins subtle, carrying a fruity flora that lends acidity to the aromatics. Next is a peaty later of smoke and roasted almond.
The palate begins tart, carrying a tannic oak-filled flora that has just the right amount of funk. It’s dry, with lingering tannins that stick around before your next sip. There is a fun nutty layer, but not particularly malty, and there are hints of smokiness.
This beer comes off complex but straightforward. It drinks super well and disguises itself as something dark, but it’s hardly noticeable on the palate.
7205-010 is a blend of various sour beers, aged in barrels for 8-12 months. A fresh multigrain saison was then added to the blend and the whole thing was aged another 3 months.
The nose begins with that quintessential Harricana flora funk. Apple cider, white pepper, and pear provide a nice bouquet. This is balanced by hints of smoke and light floral notes
The palate matches, delivering lots of amazing barrel character, alongside zesty acidity, musty phenols and general tang. Some cider notes meet citrus zest, sour lemon juice, and green grape skins. The tannins are apparent, but not too aggressive, working well to dry the beer and add layers of tart complexities.
Brasserie Harricana continues to improve and experiment with their barrel program. Francis Richer is a seasoned brewer who pushes limits while still managing to make accessible and well balanced offerings. I’m always excited to try his latest concoctions and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
An Article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest