GJF (1371) - Mount Vernon, Iowa, USA - FEB 4, 2011
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
On tap at the Sanctuary. Very dark, thin brown head. Itís a subtle beer. Some fruity esters to it, a bit of spiciness. I wouldnít really call it a saison (closer in character to a dubbel, but thinner). Intriguing, but not great.
BREWMUSKCLES (2422) - New Jersey, USA - FEB 3, 2011
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
a generous bit of rye and smoke and pepper in a hoppy concoction that is dark. interesting spiced up brew that bleeds through to the body. demonstrative.
FreshHawk (596) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - FEB 2, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A - Dark cola brown with a healthy, creamy, thick, full, off-white head. Really nice retention with a very nice creamy lace.
S - Strange aroma. First whiff I did get some of the hay and floral type of saison aroma (not really funky/barnyard though). Next whiff I get some spice with pepper, rye, and clove along with some roasted malt and chocolate. Hints of banana that along with the dark flavors, resemble a dunkleweizen.
T - Not really all that much like a typical saison flavor. Spiced with a lot of rye, clove, and roasted malt/chocolate. Pepper is definitely present but itís not a peppery saison like I was somewhat expecting. A good amount of earthy flavors and a faint phenol hint. Interesting and fairly spiced although I would probably say more earthy than spicy, but definitely not what I was expecting.
M - Medium body with average carbonation. Slightly crisp and dry.
D - Not exactly what I was expecting from a saison, just a little too earthy and slightly spicy to be all that drinkable. Glad I had one, but probably wouldnít really want to drink another right after.
Notes: Bottled 01/03/11. Interesting beer, not quite what I was expecting and doesnít seem entirely focused but it was good and definitely has some potential. Not really like a saison with roasted malt, chocolate, rye and earthy flavors being strongest. Worth of try and it is good, but it could be better.
Boliv (1150) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 30, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
2011 bottle. Pours dark red and brown, ruby red along the edges, with a slight haze and a small off-white head. Spicy Belgian yeast dominates the aroma, with accompanying bubblegum, slight lemon peel, raisin, and cocoa. The flavor is sweet fruit and slightly tart yeast, raisin, and bubblegum, with a slightly spicy, citrusy finish. Medium carbonation and medium to full body, with a lightly warming quality. This is sweet, smooth, and overall good, although I would have liked a little more heat/spice from the peppercorns.
Frank (3534) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JAN 30, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
First off, this is a beautiful beer. Donít let anyone tell you otherwise. Itís a pretty reddish brown and fairly clear. The head is just amazing. I donít think Iíve ever seen a more tenacious, thick and evenly bubbled head on a beer w/o nitrogen enhancement. The texture is really nice too, quite as creamy as the appearance applies. The yeast character here is quite spicy and it tastes of juicy bananas. I am not sure this is a siason as Goose Island claims. To me, it is is just a plain old Belgian ale. It veers more toward richness rather than light drinkability. Even so, it is quite good and Iím thoroughly enjoyable.
jredmond (6517) - New York, New York, USA - JAN 29, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft at ginger man with Linh. Pours the darkest body of any saiskn Iíve ever seen, leaving me questioning whether they gave me the right beer. Aroma is sweet notes, wheaty, and slight roast. Mouthfeel is smooth and balances with notes of wheat, funk, much more Smokey and roasted flavours.
tastybeer (1850) - Indiana, USA - JAN 29, 2011
3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bottle, thx tarheels. Pours black with a nice frothy chocolate head. Aroma is belgo yeast, smoke, dark malts, dark fruit. Flavor is oily, smoke heavy with pepper and a dry finish. Mouthfeel is light. I see what they are going for but comes off unbalanced.
ekoerper (596) - Iowa, USA - JAN 28, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at Redís Alehouse. Nice funky, spicy saison aroma. Waitress brought a jet black beer to the table, figure there was a mistake since I ordered a saison.. But, no mistake. Nice thick head which dissipates after a few minutes to a thin tan layer, good lacing. Medium body with good carbonation. Flavor is roasty, some pepper and spice, bit of the usual saison funk. Very drinkable beer.
GT2 (9410) - Oceanside, California, USA - JAN 25, 2011
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
651mL. Pours a near jet black with a healthy tan head. Very healthy retention and lava/obsidian formations on the sides of the tulip comprise sticky lacing. Aroma is all saison yeast: pepper, melons, durian, a little meaty, lime, sweet kumquat. Very on target for saison despite its stout like appearance. The taste up front is light and fresh with not too much character. Slowly you can pick out some plastic phenols and then some peaty, smoky flavors. There is a bit of a burning plastic, peat, soap, and smoke character I would compare to Islay scotch. But overall it comes off a bit watery and eventually lavender soap dominates. Carbonation is wildly soft. Palate is oily, coating like a stout and finishes pretty quickly with some suddy soapiness and herbal/floral notes. When I think black saison I can only envision some of the odd Fantome creations that are really hit or miss. This has wicked potential but perhaps needs to be a little higher gravity and be attenuated a little be less to give a smidgen of sugar body. Still, this was a great idea and executed with precision from a brewery that has gone from decent to world class in the past couple of years.
GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - JAN 25, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Draft at Redís. Poured an opaque black color. The head was tall and light brown with good retention and lacing. Smelled of pepper, subdued clove, roast, and a bit of sassafras. Medium bodied and sweet. Spicy, roasty, chocolatey flavors. There was also some cola. Lower carbonation. Pretty good stuff.