Sgt. Pepper - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sgt. PepperSgt. Pepper

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BA SCORE
84
good

311 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 311
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 14.97%
Wants: 12
Gots: 35 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 03-18-2009

farmhouse ale with rye and peppercorns
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 311 | Reviews: 91
Photo of soulgrowl
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bright orange and slightly hazed, with very little head. Lovely aroma of woodsy black, bright pink, resinous green, and musky white peppercorns, all present and accounted for against a backdrop of honey, pear, and cornbread. If I had to guess I'd have pegged this as some kind of lager, as there doesn't seem to be much of a yeast footprint – at least not a 'farmhouse' one.

Flavor starts off pleasant if a bit bland, then builds into something quite interesting and quite hot! Malty sweetness is followed by hoppy-yeasty white fruitiness, and then the onslaught of pepper. How do you describe the flavor of these four peppers in different terms? Sort of gingery, sort of clovey, sort of wheatgrassy, sort of peaty, and very capsaiciny. A hint of cinnamon. The heat is very rounded – punchy and slow-burning at the same time. It's all carried by a very nice, soft and dry mouthfeel with carbonation that seems to support but also mellow the pepperiness. Tasty stuff – not an everyday beer because of its intensity, but still very good. Possible food pairings: white fish, king prawns, filled pasta/dumplings, caprese salad, creamy pasta.

Photo of JOHNKNEEGEEZ
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love the peppercorn at the tail end of the palate! Great brew!

Photo of pburland23
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch no. 1. Bottled February 2012.

Picked this up while in Boston over Easter. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my CBS snifter.

Appearance: Beer pours a slightly hazed dark golden amber. Carbonation releases a thin wispy layer of slightly off white head.

Smell: The beer is brewed with five different types of pepper and they dominate the nose. The pepper is complimented nicely by the Belgian yeast. No real hops or malt smell.

Taste: Wow. What a great tasting beer. At the beginning it's all Saison...earthy, fruity and slightly tart. Then at the end, the peppercorns subtly bring warmth to the tongue. It's not overpowering but the taste of pepper is unmistakable. It's an delightfully tasty Saison.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of medium bodied. Lightly carbonated and pretty refreshing. You wouldn't think something with peppercorns would be refreshing, but it is. And at 6%, it's pretty drinkable.

Overall: An interesting take on the style. I wasn't sure what to expect from the taste but I was very pleasantly surprised. Well done, CBC.

Photo of JTWILDOATS
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The bartender enticed me to give this a try, and I'm so glad I did.

Turned out to be a great saison brew--away from the typical citruc/corriander theme of your average saison...this beer focused on PEPPER!!

As described and tasted later on, different peppers could be detected throughout. Cracked black pepper was present in smell and taste--the type of pepper we would crush on a steak to make a nice rub/marinade. After the initial taste, you could also make out a sort of crushed red pepper feel. None of this was too overpowering--as this brew still maintained the traditional Belgian base that we all crave.

The after effect was incredible. A slow and lingering and growing burn ensued--not a burn of alcohol, but rather of pepper and spice. Enjoyed with a basket of fries or alone, a must try.

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Real interesting take on a Farmhouse Ale here. Notes of pepper is often a distinguishing character of the style, here CBC one-ups things by adding whole peppercorns (Black, Green, White, and Pink) to the boil. The CBC website attributes different flavoring characteristics to each type of peppercorn, though most people associate pepper taste with ground black. The pepper is most noticeable on the finish, this is very much a spice beer similar to a chili beer. There are for sure other characteristics, Belgian yeast is used and pleasant barnyard funk is present, but all gets overwhelmed by pepper in the end. Unbalanced? Sure, but this beer goes surprisingly well with food (anything you might grind pepper over) and is refreshingly crisp. A unique beer with a cool hand-drawn psychedelic design. Seek out if you enjoy fresh ground pepper taste. Batch 01 reviewed.

Photo of rinhaak
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is brewed with five different varieties of pepper, and it shows from the very beginning. There is fire in this nose: lots of pepper aroma, almost reminiscent of Szechuan pepper corns. The fire doesn't end with the smell, either. With every swallow, there is a slight burning in the back of the throat from the pepper.

This beer really goes nicely with food (I had it with Mexican), as it cuts through the spice. But if the food is too spicy, this beer won't help, as it leaves your tongue dancing!

Overall, though the pepper is lovely, it is almost too strong in that it covers up the Saison characteristics. I would have wanted a little more balance. That said, this is a mighty fine beer definitely worth trying.

Photo of TWStandley
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at CBC in a tulip...

Poured a hazy orange/gold color with a big thick billowing white head.

Smelled like typical Belgian yeast, a bit of spiciness. Cracked pepper smell became more apparent as the beer warmed to room temp.

Taste like a standard saison...at first. Some definite lemony/herbal/banana/orange/citrus upon first sip. As the sip finishes, much like the smell, the cracked pepper tastes emerge. Relatively strong tasting, slightly spicy.

Mouth-feel is light, with some serious warmth in the throat from all of the pepper.

Overall this was a tasty saison with a meal. Definitely unique, and quite delicious. Starts off refreshing, finishes spicy.

Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A) Very transparent. Bronze in color. Poured with a thin head. Nice lacing along the edge of the glass and all the way around.
S) Robust pepper aroma mixed with an earthy musk - similar to patchouli.
T) Peppery (go figure) and earthy. Spicy pepper "hotness" in the aftertaste. For He-man action figure fans - tastes similar to how the Skunkor action figure smelled.
M) Creamy. Smooth. Medium body. Slightly dry.
D) Very good. I think the peppercorns would get redundant after a while.

Photo of Dwkasper
4/5  rDev +7%

Great beer. Enjoyed this and would drink again

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +7%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an orange-yellow color and a cloudy texture. There was a two inch, foamy, long-lasting head. Not much lacing.

S: The peppercorns are center stage in the aroma, with some yeast evident as well.

T: Tasted of a lot of peppercorns, spicy Belgian yeast, and some malt as well. The typical saison funkiness wasn't very present, but the flavor here had a lot of character and complexity. Oddly tasty.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a prickly finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Definitely an offbeat take on the saison style. This is a strangely likeable and drinkable beer.

Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into a snifter, the brew appears a clear color of golden yellow with a big white frothy head. The sudsy white topping fades leaving fingers of patchy lace sticking to the glass. A light swirl revives.

The aroma is solid with the advertised pepper. Freshly crushed array of peppercorns but not harsh like the normal black. Taking a guess that white, pink or green were used in a more mellow to almost fruity zesty sense. A touch of saison yeast fruity quality with a bit of earthen aspect is also felt through the nose.

The taste includes a solid array of pepper and fruit. Lots of peppery quality comes off subtle from perhaps the yeast and then gets augmented by the addition of what seems like freshly cracked peppercorns. It is yeasty and spicy with a warming feel. A bit floral and a hint of green bell pepper. The warming sensation across the back of the tongue is reminescent of black pepper.

This is a medium bodied brew with an effervescent level of carbonation. Quite a pleasant warming spice of alcohol accented by pepper. This at times flirts with te heat of crushed red pepper, but not that extreme. If you have never experienced peppery flavor in a saison before, this is the one to really drive that character home. However, it might be off-putting to some. I liked it.

Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A hazy medium orange pour with a large fizzy slightly off-white head. Just a touch of lacing.

S: Certainly peppery. Lots of nice belgian yeast with cloves, as well as grass and oranges.

T: Lots of orange, grass and yeasty bread with some rye and pepper up front. Aftertaste turns into a BUNCH of black pepper. Not overpowering but not exactly subtle. Almost get a little lingering sting from the pepper - it lasts a long time! Pepper gets even stronger as it warms. A must-have for spicy saison lovers.

M: Medium bodied, smooth, and a little spicy.

O: A nice smooth, drinkable saison with a unique black pepper kick on the back end. I like it, very interesting, tasty and drinkable.

Photo of metter98
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy golden yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that died down, consistently leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of black peppercorns are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is very much dominated by flavors of black peppercorns but also has some notes of other spices and hints of Belgian yeast.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The peppercorns make it feel slightly prickly on your tongue.
O: This is an enjoyable saison if you like peppercorns because that is pretty much all you get in the smell and taste from start to finish. While it is not complex, I found it to be rather drinkable because it's not too spicy.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 3/15/2013 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a short white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains wheat, spices, Belgian yeast, bananas, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of spice, bananas and caramel. Then some breadiness comes in from wheat, Belgian yeast and a hearty but not too heavy malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The spiciness strengthens as you continue to drink the beer. The after-taste is spicy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, it’s a good beer to drink if you’re looking for something a little different.

Photo of kanno
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obtained from the brewery in a

L: Pours a hazy reddish gold color with a head that dissipates quickly and minimal lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is of bananas and cloves, malty and bready. You get a hint of the spice and pepper right away.

T: The belgian yeast flavors start it off, reminding me of a hefe, but then the hops and peppercorns kick in and you're on a whole different ride. A strong peppery finish (even stronger as it warms), but it certainly works and compliments the rest of the beer very well.

F: The crisp mouthfeel and carbonation brings the most out of the spicy flavor of the beer, giving it a little extra kick in that regard. Not too light either.

O: Not something I'd drink every night but a pretty cool beer to stir things up a bit when you're sick of the same old styles. The quality is evident.

Photo of brother_rebus
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange gold. Little to no head. Smell of yeasty honey spices. Taste brings the same with the hint of rye and a spicy peppercorn finish. Nice carbonation with a fizzy bite up front and smooth wash at the end. Overall delicious and very drinkable. Hope to buy it again.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip. Pours a golden color with slight rim of white lacing. Looks nice but not outstanding. Smell is great...lots and lots of peppercorn mixed with saison yeast. Awesome caramel malt mixed with saison yeast and hops...and lots of pepperco. It works so well...really nice. Its a bit spicy but good. Overall its not the best saison but its exactly what it says it is...and it works so well. Nice unique brew.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

How this bottle made it all the way to Portland, Oregon's The Beermongers bottle shop I have no idea... but there it was on Monday night (last one on the shelf). Picked up a 22 oz. bottle and opened it/poured to 2 pint glasses earlier tonight. Watched the swarming swifts dining in the skies above our backyard on a cloudless late summer night.

Orange label with a 60s-psychadelic skew, a flowering turntable

A: Deep golden/honey pour, plenty of carbonation, slightly hazy. Head is white, but very short, barely 1/4" of skim, receding to a ring with a swirl of skim. Broken lace rings, ebbing to speckles and dripping patches.

S: The peppercorn add-in is pronounced! Besides its nose-twitching spiciness, there's a sweet breadiness.

T: Liked the aroma, *really* liked the flavor: lots of (expected) peppercorn, especially in the lengthy finish. Just enough sweetness to offset a sturdy rye spicing. Orange-citrus, even some dry apple - pretty interesting fruitiness.

M: Smooth feel, but not a terribly thick one. Rather light, effervescent. Starchy finish.

O: Tasty beer, its reliance on peppercorn gives a very pleasing dry spicing. Refreshing, clean-ish aftertaste. Very good balance, surprisingly 'Belgian' tasting. Would gladly have more - a very good beer to end the summer with!

Photo of DefenCorps
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 13th Jan 2013, I paid $9 or so for this. I initially balked, but my time at CBC several years back was great, and so, I had to get this.

A clear honey gold with a dense, white head with decent retention and lacing, this looks solid. The nose shows why this is named so. Peppercorns - black, green and Sichuan (especially the Sichuan) lend a bright spicy and piquant note to the nose. Now, the CBC website tells me they only used white, black, green and pink peppercorns, but the combination of the green and pink pepper with the rye really brings to mind the aromatics in mapo doufu. Honey and rye are present, along with a moderate yeast character that's not particularly saison-like, but will do. It's closer to a fruity/ estery yeast profile rather than a more traditional spicy/rustic yeast character. Quite excellent.

The palate opens with a blend of mild sweetness (honey, cantaloupe), a moderate pepper flavor and a mild heat. The peppercorn flavor is quite excellently expressed here, and pairs well with the honey sweetness that's initially present. The rye is noticeable on the mid-palate. As the beer lingers on the palate, the heat grows and lingers on into the finish, with a fruity pink peppercorn heat. The flavors in this beer are great, but the only disappointment is the palate - it's just too damn watery. Drying, spritzy and peppery on the finish, this has quite a bit of fruity and estery yeast flavors here. Very nice stuff here.

Photo of rebelthrower
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 1, bottled in February 2012.

A - Orange/golden yellow color a little bit of a haze. Big white head. Took a long time to go down. Very little to no lacing.

S - A bit of the peppercorn. And a bit herbaly and Belgian yeast.

T - A little citrus. Peppercorn comes through at the end.

M - Smooth, medium to light carbonation. Tingling in the throat from the peppercorn.

D - I really like the peppery. To me it was very drinkable.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

never really had anything like this beer. poured into a wine glass a moderately cloudy pale orange color, compatible with the label on the bottle. patchy white head is all, but it is very well carbonated despite that. it smells like good hearty saison yeast, and a little citrus, but I don't smell much pepper in this at all. the first sip reminds me of nerds candy. sweet, but then you suck all the color off and you are left with that white crystal that tastes like both sugar and salt. sweet and savory, that's how this one starts. it finishes with a whole lot of pepper though, it continues to intensify long after the swallow, a characteristic that is even more pronounced as the beer warms up. a mix of peppercorns maybe, but no chili. still its a little hot on the tongue. the spice goes well with the natural spice from the yeast, a very unique and intriguing flavor experience. light enough to drink a lot of, and bubbly enough. a great first impression for me from Cambridge, who is just recently in the state of Colorado.

Photo of alexbutler
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Relatively thin white head which rest on a nice, golden/amber body. Very nice lookjng beer here.

S - Very interesting aroma, like nothing I've smelled in a beer before. There's a distinct sweetness that floats off the surface (described on the bottle as peppercorns balancing with spicy hops) And though not overpowering, the aroma certainly lures you in.

T - Peppercorns certainly make their presence known from the first few sips. Nice job. The spicy hops tend to linger in the background... it reminds me of a very tame Viva Habanera.

M - Light to medium mouthfeel, certainly nothing heavy. As noted, the spiciness gives it a kick, but doesn't hang around as an aftertaste.

O - Very ambitious beer here, and I enjoyed it a lot. I can see why people would be looking for a bit more of spice, but I think the balance works.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another brewery that contracts out to Ipswich, MA’s Mercury Brewing Company – these guys must be good. Cheers!

Bottled more than eight months before the date of this tasting: 01/31/2013.

A: Golden-amber, fizzy, light haze. Head of soft white fizz with short but lasting retention.

S: A brisk, spicy nose with massive amounts of fresh-ground black pepper. Dry, floral yeast scents compliment with notes of clove tea, lemon juice, and a tart, grapefruit-rind funk. Powerful, intriguing.

T: Stings with a black pepper kick to start and a long-lasting habanero heat that you can feel going all the way down. Tastes of light vanilla, ginger, coriander, and grass are mixed in by the yeasts; malt flavors, on the other hand, provide a subtle backdrop of biscuit dough that thickens the palate. The aftertaste is fruity, mild, and slightly sweet, like peach pulp, with lingering chili pepper heat and a note of sesame.

M: Soft, flat texture, only mildly carbonated when compared to your standard farmhouse ale. Thin for an ale with such an upfront flavor profile.

O: Sgt. Pepper has a solid focus on spice and heat, and if it were only a bit less watery, it would be a miracle of a beer. As it stands, it’s still a wonderful interpretation of all that the peppercorn world has to offer to beer drinkers – who knew a pepper bomb could be so pleasing?

Photo of axeman9182
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, bottled in February of 2012. It was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Sgt. Pepper pours a color that bounces between orange and tangerine, depending on the strength of the backlighting. Clarity is pretty good and the beer ends up crowned by almost three fingers of just off white foam. Head retention is very good, and some spotty lacing is left behind. The nose is fairly aromatic, but perfume-y, spicy peppercorns are pretty much the only thing to come through. There's a brief swirl of pale fruits at the beginning of each sip, lots of granny smith apple and just a bit of pears. From there the peppercorns come in and close out the beer. There's a little bit of heat, but also a good amount of flavor coming through. The body, while dry, is not as bone dry as you'll find in some saisons. The carbonation is fairly active, probably helping highlight the peppercorns similarly to the way it does hops. Sgt. Pepper is a good, fun twist on a saison, and another above average offering from Cambridge Brewing Company.

Photo of HopHead84
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed on tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad on 11/1/2009 in a 10oz glass. The beer is transparent gold with no head (ugly bar pour).

This isn't too surprising, but the nose has a lot of peppercorn. I detect white pepper, lemon, and orange. It's phenolic with grassy notes. It's a nice balance of spicy peppercorn and fruity esters.

The taste is very spicy, with peppercorn and white pepper. The white pepper attacks from the back of my tongue and up into my nasal cavity. Citrus flavors are of lemon and subtle orange. The finish is very spicy with grassy notes and lingering citrus. An interesting take on the style.

Sgt. Pepper from Cambridge Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 311 ratings.