Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - APR 9, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
750ml bottle, marked with a hand-written "3". Not sure what that means. The pour yields a gorgeous, lightly hazy, golden-amber body strewn with ultra-fine streams of effervescing pinpoint bubbles. A smooth, lightly spongy head of pure white foam recedes very slowly, never fully dissipating. Ultimately, a paper thin center film leads to a slightly ramped-up edge, leaving tall, tattered splotches of lace all over the glass. Pretty much a picture perfect brew.
The nose is shockingly good. It smells of the perfectly balanced and complex essence of expert barrel-aged saison craftsmanship. Fresh-cut malted wheat is robust. Softly buggy farmhouse yeast is dry and dusty. Wisps of lightly peppery flower petals meet remnants of pungent grassy hops. And then thereís the barrel influence. Oh that barrel makes everything even better. Soft Pinot Noir tannins lend a fruity, aromatic bite, and lambic-esque lacto-citric acidity keeps things wild and dry. Tart, buggy, woody, sharp...it simply smells amazing.
The flavor is also exceptional. Wheat plays such a prominent role...probably more so than in any other saison Iíve ever had. The cereal-esque base is so distinct, and it works beautifully with the slightly dank grassiness of the hops. Nips of tart, tangy lemon and dried pineapple meet dusty wildflowers, wild farmhouse yeast, and funky, woody barrel bugs. Acidity slices right through the ever-so-slightly creamy malts. Damn tasty stuff. Not as mind-blowing as the aroma, but great nonetheless.
The palate? Itís dry, dusty, and zippy, with a moderate body and a crisp finish. The only downside is a a hint of papery character that is easily overlooked. I drank the bottle over the course of a few hours with tremendous joy. This is an excellent freaking beer. Look...the case is pretty much closed. Shaun Hill brews the best saisons in America...maybe the planet.
callmemickey (4148) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 8, 2012
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: JUN 9, 2012 Glowing golden yellow body, large creamy white head. Assertive lemon zest, wheat, tropical citrus,grassy hops, and yeasty zip. Light bodied, good carbonation keeps the flavors moving across the tongue. A clean, vibrant saison that is perfect for a warm spring afternoon.
Damico (3119) - Royersford, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 7, 2012
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours mostly translucent with a nice off white head. The aroma, my favorite part, is so sweet and pleasant with notes of sweet earthy honey and delightful saison yeast tame on funk and spice but so nice. The flavor brings sweet, grassy notes like a refreshing walk in a spring meadow on a perfect just right carbonated body.
italarican (1539) - Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA - MAR 31, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at Blind Tiger. Pours a hazy orange-blonde. This stuff is damn delicious. So clean with delicate notes of lemon and wheat. I donít know how they do it; itís subtle but so addicting.
PhillyCraft (5221) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 27, 2012
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Cant remember if it was a bottle or on tap at Mattís. Hazy bright yellow pour. Aromas of leather, oak, tropical citrus, and pine. Flavor is filled with white wine, pineapple, slightly bitter and orangey hops. Very very good.
Reynolds314 (3236) - Connecticut, USA - MAR 22, 2012
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Hill Farmstead saisons are the best period! Like always it poured a beautiful hazy yellow with billowy foamy white head. Aroma is moderate funk, lemon, apple, and dough. Taste was lightly funky and tart with citrus fruits and nice cracker malts. Topped only by Mimosa in my saison wall of fame.
orangesol (987) - Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 20, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: NOV 13, 2013 I shared this one with everyone after the bottle share a few weeks back. Bought it at the Brass Rail for way too much money...I believe it was a Batch 2
A - Pours murky golden yellow with a nice one finger tall white head leaving very light streaks of lace down parts of the glass.
S - Smells of typical saison funk, lemon, green apples, fresh cut grass, oak and some wet earth. Nothing too complex yet still very nice.
T - Starts off with some fruitiness - mostly citric fruit and fresh green apples - quickly giving way to hints of oak, grass, damp earth and plenty of chewy wheat. I was expecting a bit more funk, all tho I am not sure if it needs it. Finish is dry, lingering on the pallet long after consumption.
M - Light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Fairly dry finish lingers on the pallet for quite awhile after each sip.
O - I had the base beer of this one and thought it was decent but this one is definitely an improvement on that one. The barrels really helped to round things out. Good stuff for sure.
Ontbeertaster (2362) - Ontario, CANADA - MAR 19, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle, pours a really nice foamy head. Bright yellow pour. The aroma is very floral and funky. Its got a nice funk to it the whole way through. This stuff tastes almost like a light lambic. Its got that lambic feel a good light body. Very solid for the style
JAXSON (535) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 9, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Batch 3, pours clear medium gold with a medium white head. Lemon, cracked black pepper on the nose, fresh grains. Quite herbal and peppery, not as hop forward as I would have thought. Really sharp and sour in the mouth. Mineral/sulfur on the front palate with sour orange and lemon. Back palate is all brett, really sweaty, socky brett, Truly funky, in fact this defines funk. Flavor profile is totally fleshed out and is really vibrant at this young age, but itís weird and a bit fucked. Tastes like sweaty underwear all through the finish for a good 30 seconds. Carbonation is sharp. Flavors approaching vaginal. Still pretty good, wink! ;-)
drunkenpolack (319) - Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA - MAR 8, 2012
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Flora pours a cloudy pale yellow. Nice fluffy white two finger head is poured. Decent retention and lacing throughout the glass. A ton bubbles shoot from the bottom of the glass. Nicely carbonated.
The smell on this one is nice and delicate. Wheat of course, floral hops, lemon, orange, white grapes. Iím used to barrels doing more but itís done very little to this beer.
The barrel does a little but more in the taste. The grape characteristics stick around more this time especially at the end and after taste. Itís a crisp delicate taste. Once again lemon, wheat, citrus, and some nice tartness. Not a overwhelming tartness, just a tad. Lovely taste.
Mouthfeel is medium bodies, crisp, and well carbonated. Carbonation smacks the lips. Dry finish.
Really did enjoy this one. Itís refreshing. The barrel doesnít do much here other than adding some grape characteristics and the wild yeast adds a slight tartness to it. Nothing overwhelming here. Just a nice balance of everything.