xmarcnolanx (929) - Kirkwood, Missouri, USA - JUN 11, 2010
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Wow! Saison? Probably not.
Aroma is lacticsour, wheaty, lots of brett, and funkiness. Wow, an incredible aroma. Very similar in it’s lactic qualities to Fantome Pissenlit.
Taste is moderately sour, lots of brett and funk, and wheaty.
Finish is lactic sour, wheaty, barnyard, and refreshing.
Great imperial-berliner-that-had-sex-with-a-sour-ale-and Wow!
Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - JUN 10, 2010
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Courtesy of footbalm. Clear somewhat bright yellow, nice head, tiny carb bubbles. In your face peach/apricot combo, hints of oak. Flavor much the same, fruit character is nice and juicy, slight sour and tart, really well rounded. No hint of alcohol whatsoever, 7.3%?. Lively mouthfeel, perfect carbonation. Really impressed.
Pailhead (6322) - Plymouth, Michigan, USA - JUN 10, 2010
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JUN 11, 2010 Courtesy of Styles
Bottle: The aroma is floral, moderate lemon, funk, yeast, and light must. It pours a hazy gold with lots of sediment and a small white head. The flavor starts citrusy with moderate lemon. There are some faint vinous notes in the background. The finish has moderate funk, increased tartness, floral notes, and a hint of wood. Light-medium bodied with lively carbonation.
hopscotch (10532) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - JUN 10, 2010
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle…This beer rocks!... Hazy golden ale with a mid-sized, creamy, white head. Good retention. The aromatics are funky, fruity, bready and moderately acidic. Medium to full-bodied and mildly creamy with modest carbonation. The flavor is funky, lemony and fruity with lovely components of pale grains and funk. Finishes tart, funky and lightly dry. “Great” saison or “Great-est” saison?
Tsotsi (178) - Florida, USA - JUN 6, 2010
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
750ml bottle thanks to Orlando crew. Hazy golden pour with a white head. Nose was citrus, bready, and yeasty. Flavor was citrus, sourness and get hints of apple and fruitiness and slight funk.
Dickinsonbeer (5074) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - JUN 6, 2010
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
750 ml bottle shared by Maxxdaddy. Pours a hazy toasted golden with a nice foamy white head- diminishing slightly. Aroma is big oak and vanilla right from the start- some wine character, lots of American oak butteriness (not diacetyl though)some lihgt funk and fruity white wine- chard and sauv blanc with some spice and grapefruit as it warms it turns more to a torrontes- has a funky sourness and lemon citrus tart as it warms. Flavor is a bit more funky and not quite as much oak which is good- as the beer opens up and releases more grape notes, more funk, more wild fruits, almost seems like a castleton in its funk, orange pez, citric and lactic acid, and woody tones- has some whiskey notes as it warms, funk tart green apple, with an earthy and leather finish and more fruit. I think this was pretty good but it was WAY too much American oak all around and that kinda hurt the beer and covered up some of the subtleties while allowing out oak, vanilla, tartness, and some funk. Pretty tasty beer, but not even close to living up to the hype of the first batch. I think this was the second release? So I bet the first one was pretty damn good.
PhillyBeer2112 (2720) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - JUN 2, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Hazy golden, medium head. Nice sweet and sour with a fruity yeastiness. Finish hints at raisins, sour cherries.
thirdeye11 (5975) - Dallas, Texas, USA - MAY 26, 2010
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
(750ml bottle thanks to ericandersnavy) opaque yellow pour with a ring of bubbles. Nose of sour cherry, wet oak and funk. Taste of sour tangerine, apricot, wet barrel with a great tart linger. Nicely carbonated. This beer is hugely refreshing. Excellent.
SphinxTX (2875) - Mata Gorda, Texas, USA - MAY 19, 2010
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle thanks to ericandersnavy. Pours a hazy straw yellow with white fizzy head. Aroma of some citrus zest, brett, tart and some farmhouse. Flavor is very much the same with a light malt body. Mouth feel is light-medium body with high, fizzy carbonation. Overall, a very nice beer!
FlacoAlto (4133) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 19, 2010
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2010 Release; Sampled May 2010
I could only let this sit for a week in my fridge before its siren song could no longer be resisted; as such I could tell it was still not completely settled as a haze could be seen through the bottle. A standard pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a fat-two-finger thick, pale tan-tinged, off-white head. The beer is a hazy, pale honey color that shows a yellow tinge to it when held up to the light. The aroma smells of fresh cut weeds, a light ripe-cheese note, grassy grain, buttery oak and spicy wood aromatics; these last play a definite role here as the barrel seems to strongly finish after each draught of the aroma. It is interesting how buttery the oak character gets here, this is very different than one would find, for example, in a Bourbon barrel aged beer. A hint of orange aromatics that were noticeable at first now seem to have faded. There is just a hint of tartness in the finish that perhaps boosts a very light lemon-like aromatic note too. This is a very nice aroma, that is quite complex and engaging.
Light feeling as it first hits my tongue, a prickly texture belies an ample carbonation and there is a definite tartness to this that is so well integrated with the ample oak flavors it seems like it might be derived directly from the oak. Buttery oak flavors lean a touch towards coconut, both of which mix well with the hay-like, soft, pale-grain character that is found in the finish. Speaking of the finish, there is quite a bit of spiciness from the oak, as well as a sharp, barrel induced astringency and even a very soft, but firm hop bitterness that lingers just a touch on the palate after each sip. A soft citrus note, combined with the oak, make me think of a buttery orange sauce somehow. This has a fruitiness to it (that is boosted by the light tartness) that makes me think of a tropical fruit like white wine; it reminds me of starfruit, perhaps a touch of kiwi, some floral perhaps-peachy notes (this becomes more and more noticeable as the beer warms up), as well as that general, soft, but lush citrus note. As it warms a vibrant, though admittedly subtle, grape character starts to come through; reminds me quite a bit of chardonnay grapes.
There is a vinous quality to this beer (the oak certainly helps with this perception) that reminds me of a fruity, oaked, yet flinty Sauvignon Blanc. This perception is only boosted as the beer warms up from the mid 40s that it started out from. In fact I would even recommend that this starts out at about 50*F (10*C). The tartness is quite the anchor for this beer, it is light and perfectly acceptable for a Saison, yet adds to the complexity and boosts so much in this beer; it is just about at the perfect level.
The oak ends up being the "dominant" note here, but it is not really dominant, as the base beer and fermentation character play an almost equal role. Really what I am trying to say is that this ends up being very well integrated and tasty, with a complexity that is there if you want to explore everything that this beer has to offer. On the other hand, everything works harmoniously to make this a flavorful quaffing beer that I can see pairing very well with a plethora of light summer meals and lots of seafood too. Definitely a fantastic beer, and actually quite unique in some ways; it definitely fits in the farmhouse / Saison vein, but somehow manages to take it in a direction that is a bit unexpected based on all the other examples of the style I have experienced. The buttery, spicy oak definitely contributes to this, but it works so well with this beer that I don’t feel that this takes this even out of some fabricated, tight interpretation of the "style" that is Saison. In the end it is the interesting direction that this beer represents that makes it so enjoyable and complex.