StewardofGondor (1933) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 3, 2006
Bottle, courtesy of Schroppfy. (I owe you a kidney, Michael, take your pick.)MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - JAN 31, 2006
Cloudy, dull and orangish-gold in color with a creamy, foamy head that’s off-white and leaving beautiful lacing tracks along the sides of the tulip. Aroma is, in a word, heavenly. Tart nectarines and souring mandarins, sauvignon grapes, freshly split lemons halves, herbal buttered crescent rolls and a touch of sugar and vanilla crème. At times, other alluring aromatic sentiments reminisced of scone batter and lemon shortbread girl scout cookies. Flavor is divine as well. A touch of spiciness is sweetened by sugar-sprinkled lemon heels while a coalescing background vanilla current weaves a creamy tale. Herbal extremities, a touch of mild cackled white pepper and fresh cotton aid the delectable country cadence.
Riesling like tartness is evident and oh so admirable (it’s the character trait that seals the deal and elevates its status to world class.) Soft lemon butter infused with sage further hints at the artesian farmhouse roots. Spicy, curt and teetering on the tart & sour scale, boding flawlessly throughout the palatary playing field. Effervescence is perfect. Yeast strain, perfect. Spicy hops, yes, perfect. Husks spritsed with lemon juice and squeezed tangerines - with a tiny pinch of sugar - bring this beauty to a close. Again, Jolly Pumpkin dominates my favorite beers of all-time. Ron, you’re beautiful. Never change.
12oz - Aroma is funky yeast, lemon, wheat, hay, and hops. Equal to many Belgian saisons. Pours solid golden yellow with a huge fluffy head and great lacing. Flavor is spicy yeast. Full of wet hay and wheat. Subtle hops and lemon. Palate is sticky and sweet. Very tasty farmhouse ale. When I called it a saison, Ron corrected me and said "It’s a farmhouse ale." Okay, you’re the boss... Pailhead (6543) - Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA - JAN 30, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 14, 2007 Bottle: Aroma was loaded with a rotten sour fruit funkiness that lasted for the first few minutes and then all of a sudden, it was gone. Light yeastiness and a hint of orange peel was hidden behind the sour fruit. Pours a transparent golden-orange with a decent white head with fair retention. Real light sourness up front. Light yeastiness in the middle. Finishes with a flowery bitterness and light orange peel. Flavor was not nearly as funky as I expected after the aroma.
SuIIy (1984) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JAN 28, 2006
Tried this again under the reccomendation from Styles that maybe we had a too small a sample size, a bad bottle, or bad combination of beers beforehand during a "tasting." Rotten sour fruit dominance is gone from the aroma. A pleasant floral aroma dominates now, with a nice sour orange character (almost like sweet tarts) as well as some orange peel with slight hints of pepper. Don’t remember if I got the top of the bottle initially, but this one is rather hazy. Also has great lacing, while the first bottle had virtually none. Flavor seems much more flowery than I initially tasted as well as a more pronounced woodiness. Probably one of the best floral flavors you’ll find in a beer. There’s an underlying sourness that is rather subdued, but lends a lot to the flavor of the beer. Much more enjoyable the second time around. Styles thinks it may have to do with an initial smaller sample size or a bad combination of beers beforehand. I’d say it was probably a "bad bottle" (which wasn’t really bad). Aroma had a lot to do with the improvement of my score, but flavor improved a touch as well. As good as any Saison I’ve had. Right up there with PP SPF 45. Original score was 6-4-8-4-15.
This is easily my go to session beer.
12oz bottle also sampled at the brewery. Pours a dark golden very hazy color with a big white foamy head. Nose is peppery, ligh coriander, some other spices as well, and some light hops and lemon. Taste is a very subtle but welcome sourness, a bit of funk yeast here and there and a nice fizzy finish and a clean palate. BBB63 (6567) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - JAN 28, 2006
12 ounce bottle, handlabeled by Ron himself: Poured a cloudy yeasty golden hue with a small but tight frothy head and good lace. The aroma has notes of pink grapefruit, tangerine, noble hops, flowery and funky yeast esters, bready malts, and a hint of pepper and wood. The taste is quite interesting with a bold initial hop bitterness adding to the acidic and woody barrel character before leading onward with a soft grainy and yeast finish. The aftertaste is a twangy thought of the citric hop nature showing the dry hopping is still around even after some time in oak. The feel is a bit weak but then again it is intended to be a Farmhouse Ale and a session biere. Quite a different sort, again not easily classified into a style genre. One of those new bred hoppy Saisons.
Schroppfy (2362) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - JAN 23, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 3, 2006 Rerate: I love the intermingling of the yeastiness and the hops and the pilsner malt that (as my good friend says) cushions the beer. Fascinating. I take back my comment about a watery hole in the palate as that clearly was just the first bottle. The slightest sourness you could imagine. Upped the flavor and overall .1each. Original: Entered as a Saison, as Ron has said explicitly that this beer is modeled after Thiriez XXtra. And boy is it! The word that springs to mind here is pillowy softness; it’s not that the hops aren’t assertive, as they most certainly are, it’s just that the whole concoction is smooth and the flavors are so well-melded. The hops are flowery and smelling like pencil shavings, with a delectable subtle acidity. Straw and biscuit flavors, and the whole thing gets better with the yeast pour; softer, more expansive. A slight hole in the palate is detected (wateriness) midway through the flavors. Delicious, hits the intended mark, and scores better because of the value for your dollar. Having only had 1 bottle and a half of this beer, I cannot wait to drink it in large quantities, all spring and summer long.