thenick (766) - North Bellmore, New York, USA - JAN 30, 2010
Tap @ SPH. Pours a hazy brown with a thin white head. Aroma is Belgian yeast, caramel, a bit of malt, and some dark fruit detectable as well. The taste is a sublime amalgam of yeast, banana, clove, and caramel, with a wonderful dark fruit and malt finish. Beer is smooth and holds up very well to the best this brewery has ever done. I loved it, and I’m even happier I left with 2 bombers. This is a very welcome addition to the lineup of this fantastic brewery. puzzl (3264) - New York, New York, USA - APR 6, 2010
750, all by my lonesome. Pours with a beautifully big head, medium-sized bubblez. At first, drinking a lot of head, and with a lot of CO2 sticking around, this tasted and smelled like the most generic "ale" imaginable, something like drinking Bass out of the bottle, or even Yuengling. Thankfully that changed. There is a dark, rusty, cookie note in the aroma that compliments a meaty, chewy nose with notes of licorice, prune, and pineapple. Really quite nice, especially as it warms up. FlacoAlto (4220) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 1, 2010
Perfectly full bodied without ever being sweet, with a mildly spicy Belgian yeast note, with flavors of black pepper and cardamon. Mid-body is earthy, with a long British hop finish. Attenuation is excellent. After thinking this crap at first, it has transformed into an absolutely wonderful saison in the past 1.5 hours. Highly recommended, but don’t drink this one in a tasting — save it for a cool spring evening at home.
Sampled March 2010arminjewell (9720) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - AUG 3, 2011
Extremely well carbonated, I end up with six fingers of amber / pale-brown, tan colored head that slowly climbs above the rim of my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass. The beer is a concentrated amber / brown color that shows a hazed, reddish hue when held up to the light. As the head slowly subsided it leaves some layered though not overly thick, lacing on the sides of my glass. The aroma smells predominantly of earthy malt and spicy grain at first, but there is a solid backdrop of raisin like fruit, a touch of plum, some caramelized bread crust notes, hints of brown sugar and a complex grain character. Spicy notes of black pepper, a hint of anise, and perhaps a vague spiciness that one gets in a rich molasses cookie or cake. The aroma really has a rich character that reminds me of whole grain, bread or baked goods that are lightly sweetened with dark sugars. The aroma is actually quite nice, I like the rustic grain quality that this has and actually the aroma really grows on me, even though I already liked it from the get go.
Lightly tart as this first hits my tongue (though not from a bacterial source), the beer picks up a peppery, earthy spiciness pretty quickly and finishes with this note lingering on the palate. There is a light sweetness here that accentuates a fruitiness of plums, fermented raisins and also notes of sweetness that one finds in a whole grain bread. The spiciness combines with some hop-bitterness in the finish to give this more bite than one might otherwise expect. It took me long enough to get to tasting this beer that the carbonation doesn’t seem overly aggressive, though it is somewhat effervescent. My second pour of this is highly carbonated, but interestingly enough the other textural elements in this beer accommodates the zippy carbonation quite well. The texture is actually quite nice for a Winter-Saison, light enough to be quaffed easily, but substantial enough to fit the season. It even has a certain creamy fell to it that is quite nice. There is almost an herbal quality to the spiciness, part of this is likely the rustic grain character combined with the fermentation signature of the yeast.
This is a very nice beer, I usually prefer my Saisons bone dry and thin, but this works as a Winter Saison. It has enough of a rustic yeast character, the earthy-peppery-spiciness, combined with complex malt character and a hint of hearty sweetness to make this substantial. In the end this is a fantastically well made beer that I expected to like, but am still enjoying quite a bit more than I anticipated.
750 mL bottle thanks to Brandon. Gushed out of the bottle, but nice dark reddish brown pour with off white head, aroma has notes of molasses, vanilla, dark fruit, some nice slight funk, touch of tart. Taste is some nice green apple, molasses, dark fruit, some earth, toast, some slight yeasty funk, spices in there as well. Very layered and complex, lots going on but blends together well. Carbed a little high but overall works well. fredandboboflo (1570) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 4, 2010
Bottle. Aroma very earthy and even basement-funky with oddly elegant clove notes and restrained candi sugar, some pleasant alcohol. Flavor has sweet elements from the candy sugar along with dry, earthy notes, and is richer than the aroma would indicate with a chocolate character. Strong peppery notes appear at the end as well. Pretty highly carbonated. I quite like this and can find nothing to complain about.
decaturstevo (6343) - decatur, Tennessee, USA - APR 27, 2010
Copper pour with off white head and lace. Vanilla, light caramel aroma. Brown sugar, light medium maltiness, and fruity. Aggressive carbonation from a medium bodied beer. beastiefan2k (4082) - HdG (past: NYC, KS, Rain City), Maryland, USA - JUL 9, 2010
UPDATED: JAN 19, 2011 750mL shared by Brandon through Bill, thanks LI crew. Bottle pops loud but doesn’t foam out of the bottle. Pours with a large, foamy head, Carbonation is way too strong but settles down eventually. Beautiful beer from the large head, has a brown body that I cannot see through. Aroma is a very nice and earthiness and very airy. Airy grainy buckwheat is what I get. Flavor is lighter, light bark-like earthiness, and more watery, this easy drinking. Ends lightly bitter bark. A nice beer, maybe good for aging, definitely a strong yeast. A bit more like a Biere de Garde and Saison mix. 8/4/7/3/16 Slipstream (2702) - USA - JAN 30, 2010
Bottle is aging nicely, really lost that BdG aspect and coming into its own as an airy, dark, Saison. Its lively and the yeast has eaten away some of the heavier aspects and the Saison yeast is coming strong. 8/4/8/4/16
So I am the second rater here - love it. Had a glass of this new release at the SPH release party today, and got to shake hands with head brewer Phil Markowski too. Brown pour, no head. Pleasantly sweet aroma. A roasty, malty, and astringent brew, with lots of rye bread flavor (as Adrian was the first to point out). Very enjoyable. LilBeerDoctor (4193) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 4, 2010
Bottle purchased at the SPH release. Pours a deep brown with a thick light tan head. Aroma of Belgian yeast, grainy malts, bready malt, light spices. Flavor brings out more of the rye and other bready malts, still plenty of yeast and spices (esp. in the finish). Super drinkable and super tasty. I really enjoyed this one.
blklab2007 (2120) - Connecticut, USA - MAR 13, 2010
bottle from the ris release poured brown in color with a huge frothy off white head. aroma is yeasty, peppery spice, light bitterness, and dark sugar. mouth feel is really frothed up by the carbonation. flavor kicks up the rye, nice yeast flavors, dark sugar, spices, and some fruit. Very nice saison with loads of flavor and lots of interest.