Beer Review 0354: Terrapin Side Project Volume 19 – Mosaic Red Rye Ale

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Terrapin Beer Company (Athens, Georgia) have put out a new volume of their “Side Project” series, which are a group of beers that are limited release, tend to be on the experimental side, and come in bomber bottles. Some of these beers eventually make their way into Terrapin’s seasonal releases in 12 oz. bottles.

Volume 19 — Mosaic — is a red Rye Ale brewed with 100% Mosaic hops. Mosaic are a relatively new variety of hop to the United States, the daughter of a combination of Simcoe and Nugget hops. Released in 2012, Mosaic were developed by Hop Breeding Company, LLC and offer floral, tropical, fruity, and earthy characteristics.

In addition to only being brewed with Mosaic hops, Terrapin’s Side Project Mosaic is brewed with rye malt. The beer is 6.6% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 60 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).

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The pour drew a small, soapy and fizzy head that quickly dispersed. The color was just as described on the bottle — red, with perhaps a lean toward brown. Body was slightly hazy, but there were no particles or sediment. Lacing, as with most rye beers, was good.

There were heavy hops on the nose, shooting forth lots of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, along with a very nice hit of lime. The rye is definitely present, giving off a mild spice and bread. I also detected a pretty big note of caramel. Overall, the hops are juicy and ripe, while the rye kind of gives a nice solid stage for them to dance around on. Nice.

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The taste, however, is a bit of a different story. The rye was up front; so were the fruity hops, but they weren’t anywhere near as prevalent as on the nose. I got a pineapple juice flavor along with some mango, then the rye completely took over, drying out the mouth. Very bready, the finish is like straight rye bread with a moderate grapefruit pith bitterness. Medium in body, the mouthfeel was also medium with a foamy texture.

Sigh…unfortunately another Side Project beer from Terrapin that I’m not crazy about. I’ve also found that the Mosaic hop can be very hit or miss with me — sometimes, it’s really fruity and candy bar like; other times, like this one, it tends to fade into the back if another strong flavor is there to dominate it. It sure did seem like Mosaic drank much heavier than 6.6%, too — I had a difficult time finishing this entire bottle. Not the flavors I was looking for, but it is a well constructed brew, like all Terrapin offerings.

Terrapin Side Project Volume 19 – Mosaic Red Rye Ale, 83 points. Price: $7.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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