Saison Vautour - McKenzie Brew House

Not Rated.
Saison VautourSaison Vautour

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

48 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 48
Hads: 98
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 6.37%
Wants: 124
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
McKenzie Brew House visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tempest on 10-22-2007

Belgian style farmhouse ale balances a bold, spicy yeast character with a dry hoppiness. A significant addition of malted rye adds further complexity without betraying the styles roots.

GABF gold medal winner 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Draft/growler reviews should go here -  http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profi ... 1872/74927 
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 48 | Hads: 98
Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to G311 for getting me this bottle. Bottle 39/372 from the most-recent release served in a snifter.

Pours a nice golden-yellow color with some visible carbonation and a nice white head. a bit of lacing on the dies of the glass. The nose brings a really fantastic Brett presence with a bit of mild Band-aid presence in the background, though in a good way. Really quite earthy as well. The taste is along similar lines with a great funky Brett character as well as some light citrus character. The body is medium with a really dry finish. Extremely drinkable. (571 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chswimmer shared this one a while back. Thank you, Craig.

Cloudy, yeasty blond with a nice fluffy white head, signature saison appearance.

Really nice aroma, spicy and lemony, grainy and hoppy, yeasty and funky. Hard to tell if there's a mild brett character or if the saison yeast used to ferment this is just really intense.

On the palate there's some fruity sweetness up front, reminiscent of apples, pears and lemons. There's plenty of peppery spice too, and a little bubblegum. Medium in body, lightly tart and grainy with a moderate hop bitterness in the finish and a hint of orange peel and earth. Pretty damn good, this one really surprised me. (655 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Don't know what happened to my review of this. I'm 99% sure that I had put it on here, but apparently not. From notes.

Thanks to Richard for sharing and to Michael for sending a couple of these my way as well.

A: The pour is a slightly hazed golden straw color with a massive white head that clings to the glass.

S: A very nice earthy aroma to this beer providing some grass and hay notes. Lightly sweet malts with a bit of a cracker thing going on. A touch of fruitiness, but certainly some lemon zest that is very pleasing.

T: This one starts out with a very light tartness (of the lemon variety). Grass, hay, and leather give this beer a fantastic earthy character and really dry it out. A hint of of spice (white pepper) and a bready malt base completes this one.

M: The body is medium with plenty of carbonation and a very dry finish.

D: Just fantastic stuff. Glad to have an extra one of these sitting at home. (922 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet. Thanks to finewinemike for hosting the tasting and providing this bottle.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy yellow with an orange hut. There is a layer of white head that fades to just a trace on top of the pour.

Smell: Tart with some citrus, pineapple and mandarine orange. Bready yeast along with some Belgian spice.

Taste: A bit funky up front (in a good way). Tart citrus fruit notes with a nice amount of sweetness. Light and herbal with a bitter finish. There is a lot going on here.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side of medium. Tingly carbonation with a dry finish.

Overall: I thought this was a really great beer. So much going on and it all works together. (713 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BrewerDan23 for this one. Served in my Kuhnhenn tulip glass. No obvious year, but it had gold wax - guessing it's 2009?

A - Pours with three fingers of off-white foam that settles to a thick cap and leaves spotty lacework. Hazy peach body.

S- Big bretty pineapple and tropical notes, funk, must, citrus and stone fruits, rye malt that adds some spice as the beer warms up. There's a touch of estery alcohol as well, but it's not harsh or fusel. Wonderfully rich and intense.

T - Taste has more grass, herbs and spices, citrus zest, and light brett sourness. Not quite as intense as the nose, and a little less sweet as well. Still quite good.

M - Medium body that is sufficient for 7%. Slight carbonation tingle, soft body, no heat, and a satisfying dry finish. This is pretty much what I want from the style.

D - This was quite excellent, and I filled my glass a few times even after polishing off a Headhunter growler earlier. I may have to trade for more of this as it's in the top handful of Saisons I've ever had. (1,033 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 01/22/11 notes. Thanks to Thorpe429 for sharing this one; thanks Mike! Bottle 39 of 372.

a - Pours a murky golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sour apples, yeast, spice, brett, lemon, and citrus. Amazing nose. Some definite funkiness from the brett and sour fruit, mixing with citrus.

t - Tastes of spices, yeast, sour fruit and apples, funk, and brett.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, pretty nice.

d - A very nice saison with brett. I thought the nose on it was amazing and it was very drinkable. Would love to have again. (596 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Mike. Bottle 39/372

BRETT BOMB! and it feels so nice.

Beer is yellow with low carbonation but forms a soft white head of small bubbles, minimal lacing, slightly hazy.

Whoa...Brett c anyone? Funky lactic nose. What a saison.

Beer is strong with the funk, weak on the lead off but the mid and late palates are interesting. There is a series of different funk flavors from the brett in this one all leading up to the finish, mildly dry, light bitterness. It was fun to drink for sure. (493 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was just telling Deuane I really wanted to try this one and the very next day Kramer brings an unlabeled bottle to Ffej of July IX!

A - Pours slightly hazy golden yellow with a nice bright white one finger tall white head leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S - Tons of barnyard brett throughout this one to go along with hints of lemon peel, wheat, a touch of spice from the rye, and a tiny bit of earthy hop bitterness. Very nice nose.

T - Starts off with a big dose of funky brett that lingers throughout consumption. Once the brett dies down a bit you can detect hints of lemon, spicy rye, chewy wheat, and a touch of earthy hop bitterness at the very end. Finish is pretty chewy, lingering for a short period of time. Not as good as the nose but still very nice none the less.

M - Light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Chewy, funky, feel with plenty of it lingering through the finish.

O - Damn, this is one good saison. I had never even heard of this one until last week and when I looked it up I instantly knew I had to track down a bottle for myself and then Kramer just happens to bring one to the party and boy am I glad he did. Excellent stuff for sure. (1,190 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Nellie and thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy yellow color with a white head. The aroma is lemons and wheat. The flavor is yeast, lemons and wheat and is slightly tart. Very drinkable and refreshing. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (274 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken 12/11/10, shared at ClockworkOrange's tasting. Bottle #120/372

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a light hazy golden yellow color. A yellowish stained head appears and sticks with a webbing of lace around the glass and top of this brew. Somewhat poor retension, a swirl revives a quickly dissolving cap.

The aroma of this brew is very lemony, lactic and brett'd. The typical classic style saison scents of barnyard funk come through more as the beer warms. It has a light sulfur quality that leans towards a strange scent that is almost plastic-like.

The taste mimics the aroma with a full throttle taste of seemingly artificial lemon, lactic acidity, Brett, funk and a moderate oily bitterness from clingy hops. The aftertaste is somewhat plastic-like. A dry tannic aftertaste comes out once this brew gets warm.

This is a light bodied brew with a lower than expected level of carbonation. Somewhat watery at times in the feel. It is however, light refreshing and easy drinking for 7% abv. There is seemingly no indications of alcohol in flavor or warmth. I'm not sure about this particular experience/bottle, it is worth trying again though. (1,178 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

Bottle 39 of 372

A: This saison appears a hazy yellow hue with a half inch of white, fluffy head. The head falls away to a thin layer after a few minutes, leaving a thin sheet of lacing on the glass.

S: Stunning aroma! This beer smells simply fantastic. Funky and wild, similar to a Belgian lambic, I could take in this scent all day. Citrus, floral and spice notes linger behind the funk, creating a delectable bouquet of scents. Very enticing indeed.

T: While the beer tastes rather delicious, it doesn't quite measure up to the phenomenal aroma. The funky, wild aspect is more subdued in the flavor. Citrus, earth, light funk, and subtle spice comprise the basic makeup of the flavor profile.

M: The body is a bit thin and the feel is just slightly too watery - a minor flaw in an otherwise fabulous beer.

D: A pleasant surprise. What a terrific beer. Highly recommended. (921 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL gold wax dipped bottle, "October 2009" printed on label. Apparently this is the batch that won Gold at GABF in Belgian/French Saison, which is different than the version on tap or the 2007 Gold winning version. Description states it contains "25% rye-based saison with German Tradition hops and French Stisselspalt" and was also bottled with a little of brett.

Appearance is a translucent gold with a slight orangish hue. Large fluffy white head that is supported by a steady stream of bubbles and leaves thin sticky wall of lacing. Aroma is dominated by a funky, brett aroma, barnyard and horse blanket like. Underneath the funkiness as the beer warms up is a sweeter, more citrus aroma, with coriander and other spices. Mouthfeel throughout is medium-full, with soft carbonation resulting in an effervescent body. Finish is very clean and dry. Flavor is immediately sweet, citrus and honey like, before being balanced by an earthy spiciness and mild brett funk. Very complex, pleasant balance of flavors, though slightly sweeter than expected for the style. There is some mild spiciness, but I'm not sure I detect any of the rye. Overall, a very nice saison, definitely worth seeking out, but I'm mildly disappointed that this isn't the same as the version regularly available on tap (though I haven't tried that yet to tell the difference). (1,351 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 GABF Gold Medal Winner.

On-tap at the Malvern location. I'm told they brew this with a bit of rye, I don't know if I could taste that in the beer, but what I did taste was freakin' amazing. I'll just start by saying the only thing that seems off was the carbonation, the bubbles weren't fine like a good saison is. Mouthfeel aside, the flavor was all over the place, yet seemed balanced. It was sweet and bitter, funky and fruity, there's some spice, some white pepper and citrus rind. Yeah, just trust me that this is damn tasty. Find this beer while you can. (568 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unlabeled 750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Apparently barrel aged?

Appearance - Hazy orange. Nice white head. Eternal retention.

Smell - Bretty, oak. Yeasty and pale malt. Bright citrus.

Taste - Very bretty. Keeps a bright citrusy flavor going to stave off the earthiness. Yeasty and just a bit of funky. Earthiness comes back with some oak.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated. Maybe too much. Bretty as hell.

Overall - Excellent without being overly complex. Just a solid brett saison. (491 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottled versions of this beer are dosed with brett.
Lightly haze of gold with small white head that sticks around for a while. Scatered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, citrus, wet hay, vanilla, gently roasted grains, earthiness, barnyard, and a hint of dry, slightly tart rye.
Flavor is of the mentioned aromas with a beautiful taste citrus, caramel, spice, and vanilla cream. Beautiful beer.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, dry, and spicy. This is such a cool beer. I could drink this one all night. (538 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

6/24/2011

Thanks to Jason for opening the bottle.

A: Straw colored with a lively white head that fades to lingering bubbles.

S: Wheat, hay, and a vibrant floral redolence. Nice fruit profile, composed of lemon and ripe apple. Lightly tart and lactic with some horsey and leather Bretty notes. Evident oak with a decided graininess. Light phenols reminiscent of white pepper. Earth with lots of pineapple. Killer nose.

T: Apple, lemon (slightly tart), and wheat. Light citric acidity accompanies slightly spicy white pepper. All aspects are balanced. Very nice. Grain and earth with mustiness. Finishes dry with a light lemon tartness.

M: Light in body with high carbonation. Mouthfeel is dry and sticky.

Overall: An excellent sourish Saison, which I just happened to get as an extra today from yourefragile today so I'll be able to revisit it.

7/17/2011

I opened up my bottle from yourefragile with seaoflament and was able to enjoy it slowly. Really fantastic stuff. Awesome aroma. Highly recommended. Thanks again! (1,024 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An unlabelled bottle, distinguished only by a sticker. Thanks to Kramer for the share.

A: The saison is a darker amber color, still translucent but lighter than several other saisons from the night. A white head is generated but no lacing results.

S: The saison refuses to shy away from its bretty side, allowing a musty dirtiness to come through. Lemony citrus is the calling card for those funky beasts. Grainy breads joint the roll call of flavors, representing the malty base underneath the funk.

T: Lemons, citric and tart, come through thanks to the brett, a dirty mustiness coming through as a result. The brett dries the ale out, requiring multiple sips in a futile attempt to sooth my palate. The recurring bite is nice, reminding me of the complexity fo the saison. The wildness completely overruns tha multy base, dominating with its dirty flavors. Funkiness defines the finish; the dryness making me want another sip.

M: An appropriately complex saison, brett adding a mature depth to the ale. Sign me up for more, a delicious blend of funk and spicy saison. (1,074 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big big thanks to jwjon1 for this bottle (thanks Jason!!). Part of a BIF package, and this bottle was VERY welcome in my stash. The label calls this "Saison Vautour du Bois", apparently this beer has several names. Gold wax on top.

The foam started moving for the exit as soon as the cap was removed, but at a slow enough rate that nothing was lost. This pours a very hazy light golden color, with several fingers of foam on top.

Huge brett presence in the nose, a bit of a weizen style ester behind that, some light fruits as well. This smells absolutely delicious.

It tastes initially sweet, with grains and maybe some spices in the middle, and a dry tart bite at the end. A little fresh mowed grass in there, at least that's how it now smells after taking a sip.

Soft and dry mouthfeel, there are no bad marks against this beer anywhere. Outstanding, unexpectedly so, this is a fantastic take on the saison style. I'll go ahead and place this on my WANTs now, would love to try this again any time. (1,006 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Grant – thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a white head leaving solid lacing.

Smells of light malts with earthy hops, bright citrus hops, and light funk. Also present are hints of lemon rind and tropical fruit hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not as complex. Light malts up front are joined by moderate amounts of light citrus flavors. Solid amounts of funk round things out. The ending is crisp. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall this was a solid beer and the funk from the brett was integrated well. A nice beer that’s well worth a shot. (608 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two HUGE shout outs on this beer. First, to BYO magazine for writing an article about this small brewpub making kick @$$ American Saisons, which initially peaked my interest, and then much more importantly, G311 for reminding me during our in-person swap this past weekend and for reserving me the final 3 bottles of the year.

Pours a gorgeous light yellow, almost golden color with a gorgeous white fluffy head. I let this get a little warms before I opened it to guarantee a nice pour.

The aromas begin with delicious smells of lemon zest, ripe pears, light vinous white grapes and lighter lemon juice. As you further examine you are greeted with the light grassiness and emerging Brett mustiness. Light pilsner graininess in the background.

The flavors perfectly follow the nose with initial tart lemons, clementines, melon, all backed by the slight pils graininess. As it warms more you get light earthiness and lesser amounts of musty funk. I cannot do the taste justice here. There are so many light fruits and slight tart, grass, herbal notes that continue to dance on my palate. As it warms you get a little more evident Belgian Saison spice and a nice crisp finish. The rye malt really adds a nice dynamic to this style which I originally did not think would work/balance because it can easily be overdone, but here it is a delight.

The mouthfeel is light in body with high carbonation. Drying hopping is evident here which helps to add a nice bitterness and allows this to finish both extremely crisp and clean while also being dry and sticky.

Overall I had no idea what a rye saison would taste like or if it would work but I am thoroughly impressed. This is definitely not one of my favorite styles by any means because it is often too clovey, spicy and doughy from the traditional old world estery Belgian yeasts. But this was different thanks to the dry-hopping and unusual rye malt additions. It is extremely drinkable and complex and I cannot recommend it enough. (1,984 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 750ml bottle, 44 of 372, thanks to Sean, poured into my Hill Farmstead glass... Murky honey gold body, semi-transparent. Head is a bright off white, watery and light, not much retention or lacing... Outstanding aroma, very funky floral muskyness, some nice brett... Taste has some nice things going, this is a musky sour brett saison, not sweetness, makes no bones about it. Finish is tons of brett.

Crushable musky saison, well worth trying. (448 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle generously shared by Thirstybird. Bottle 145 of 372. Pours a golden-orange with a semi-hazy clarity and no head, just a cluster of bubbles. Nose exhibits that classic farmhouse musty, skunky, funk characteristic of Belgian exports, but often missing in domestic offerings. There's also a citrus quality that permeates the nose. Taste expresses citrus, vinegary funk, peaches, apricots and a minty character. Mouthfeel is light-medium with some citrus astringency and a lively, crisp carbonation. Finish is semi-dry to dry. Perhaps one of the best domestic Saisons I've had to date. This beer truly epitomizes all of the qualities that the Belgians have mastered. (675 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sean for bringing this one.

A - A hazy golden color with a good sized off-white head. Some spots left on the side, but not much else, poor head retention.

S - Great smelling beer with appropriate saison-floral notes and a great brett aroma. Good amount of funk and sweetness present.

T - Apples give the sweetness in this. Belgian yeast, funk, oak, floral notes, and a lot of brett. A lot of kick for a saison, which I tend to find one of the milder (and generally more boring) styles.

M - Medium bodied with a dry finish.

D - Quite easy to get this one down, and I recommend trying it as it's a really good beer. (628 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a cloudy pale yellow color. Some good white froth.

(S)- Pretty dry with some orange peel. Slight Brett-like funk.

(T)- Fairly dry with lots of orange peel. Slightly sweet with minimal funk.

(M)- A bright and lively carbonation level. Nice balance of sweet, dry, and funky.

(O)- A good Saison from the states. Not too sweet, but balanced well overall. (402 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from Kiel.

Pours a hazy golden yellow with very little head to speak of and subsequently it leaves no lacing.

Aroma is fantastic with lemonzest, vinegar and some nice grassy notes. Plenty of other citrus notes are present - peaches and apricots - as well as some brett and oak.

Taste isn't quite up to the nose as the fruit is a little less prevalent and there is actually a noticeable floral character, and I mean flowers, not floral hops. The finish is dry and oaky with a hint of brett. Not much spices.

The mouthfeel is slick with low carbonation and maybe a little thin for the style. Very dry in the finish.

This is a really nice saison and extremely drinkable. One of the better McKenzie beers I've had. (728 characters)

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Saison Vautour from McKenzie Brew House
93 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.