New Holland Four Witches Black Saison
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RATINGS: 110   WEIGHTED AVG: 2.85/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 219   ABV: 7.3%
As we kick off our Summer seasonal, Golden Cap saison, we’re excited to roll out a single-batch seasonal, “Four Witches” black saison. It’s an opportunity to explore flavor within a remarkably interpretive style. Saisons are intriguing beers as they have traditional roots, yet are a delicious forum for variation and development.

The Four Witches art, illustrated by Kyle Bice, develops on Golden Cap’s theme, with a nod to Wizard of Oz, as L. Frank Baum wrote the book while summering in Holland, MI. White and dark roasted wheat provide deceptively delicious body, and a playful reference to Oz’s contrast between good and wicked witches. Caramel rye and barley continue the story, along with a unique yeast character and mild spicing.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Drake (11116) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - JUL 31, 2012
Served on draft at Beer Run. Pours a clear dark reddish brown, near black. Thin head, decent head retention. Aroma of anise, banana, spice and chocolate. The taste is spice, herbal notes, anise, earth and banana. Medium bodied. Licorice bomb.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
kp (10884) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - OCT 14, 2012

Name: Four Witches
Date: September 08, 2012
Mode: Bottle
Source: Appachelian Vinters, Asheville
Appearance: black, fine tan head, streaks of drippy lace
Aroma: sweet and spicy aroma, sweet licorice, plenty of spicyness
Body: creamy body
Flavor: rich spicy flavor, light sweetness relative to the aroma, plenty of phenolic spicyness, licorice, just a touch of bitterness
Aroma: 6/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 6/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 13/20
Rating: 3.3/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: **+ /4

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
hopdog (10255) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 20, 2015
12oz bottle. Poured a black color with a smaller sized off white head. Chocolate, licorice, and spices.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
Sammy (9981) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 12, 2013
Unique, but something I could not drink much of. Black, very dry. Like the base for something that had to be added. Aroma was OK. FlandersNed.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
shrubber85 (9454) - Greenville, Indiana, USA - SEP 18, 2012
Bottle. Musty yeast and light toffee malt aroma. Dark brown with large tan head. Dry musty chocolate toffee malt flavor. Nice body and blending. Very nice.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
DocLock (8798) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 2, 2012
Bottle from Capone’s. Pours dark blackish with 3-finger tan head. Nose is heavy black licorice, resiny hops, rye malt. Tastes of black patent malt, rye malt, hops, black licorice. Doesn’t reallt meld well, and gets more anisey as it warms.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
BVery (8684) - Plymouth, Minnesota, USA - JUN 18, 2012
Tap at Pig and Fiddle. Very dark pour with a creamy head - beautiful pour. Black licorice aroma. Taste is black licorice with spice. Nice beer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Ughsmash (7426) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 4, 2012
Purchased for $4 (12oz) before reading the reviews. Poured deep brown with about 1.5 fingers’ worth of uniform tan head. The aroma picked up lots and lots of licorice.. some bready malts and sweet biscuits, but it kept coming back to the licorice.. a touch of mint too.. not offensive by any means, but very one-dimensional, and a weird dimension for the style. The flavor found more, mostly sweet licorice throughout.. some cola helped support.. peppery rye and an odd, dish soap-like character around.. finished dry and earthy over more licorice.. more acidic and weird as it approached the finish.. almost like a very licoricey and minty cola. Medium-bodied with too much prickly carbonation on the palate.. too focused on the licorice.. again, non-offensive, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
djd07 (6616) - Houston, Texas, USA - JUN 16, 2015
Bottle. Pours black with medium beige head that lasts. The aroma is roast, caramel, raisin, rye. Thin mouth, similar flavors to nose, light spice finish, good.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 5/20
BBB63 (6507) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - JUL 28, 2012
Bottle, served in a Ommegang Tulip and tasted side by side with Stillwater ’A Saison Darkly’: Dark brown with some ruby highlights (slightly darker than the Stillwater) with a fading frothy head and left spotty lacework upon the glassware. The NH looked slightly better and had better head retention.

The aroma has notes of heavy star anise and charred malt, some caramel and dark rye with a slight hint of spearmint and Turkish Pipe Tobacco. I much prefer the nose of the SW as the massive liquorice tone of the NH makes it hard to define other aromas.

The taste: The anise is foremost the unique character of this brew and I am not much a fan of black liquorice when it is the primary flavor. Some pumpernickel bread, charred peaty malt, and a dash of juniper berry. This is borderline undrinkable for me, others may like this more. While the flavor profile of the SW is hardly earth shaking or that interesting, it is far more drinkable than the anise driven NH.

Mouth feel: The 4 Witches is smooth, sticky, oily and lush with just enough booze to keep it from becoming to much. Perhaps this is where the wheat went to hide from the spices.

Final verdict: Too spiced and ruins any chance you have to discover any dark Saison characteristics. Drain poured second half of bottle, could not stand it anymore. A beer that looks nice but is for a very minimal crowd.

The aftermath: Mixed some 4 Witches into the Saison Darkly... even with a rough 60/40 mix that anise overtone is already dominating the slightly subdued character of the Saison Darkly. That did not turn out as I hoped.

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