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Autumnal - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.
AutumnalAutumnal

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

106 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 106
Hads: 243
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 10.16%
Wants: 11
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: timtim on 10-12-2010

This deep amber hued ale takes it’s inspiration from Germany while still nodding to the Belgian farmhouse tradition. The base is comprised of German two-row, wheat, Cara-Munich, and roasted barley. Generously hopped with a blend of Perle, Spalt, and Hallertau Mittelfrüh and fermented with a rustic Belgian farmhouse ale yeast. These elements together provide a melange of earth and fruit aromas backed with hints of caramel with a dry clean finish.
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Reviews: 106 | Hads: 243
Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
2.04/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750mL to tulip. Sampled in March 2011. $8.50 for the bottle.

A: Three fingers of light brown, long lasting head of creamy/frothy texture. The body is dark amber brown and so murky that it nearly opaque. There is a whole army of bubbles rising rapidly to the surface to maintain the head. As the drink goes down, a fair amount of straggly lace is left behind.

S: Caramel sweetness and lightly roasted grain with a light citrusy floral hop presence. Earthy, leafy, musty. Kind of a clash in aromas.

T: Decent on the front end but any and all flavor completely vanishes from mid palate on. Very dry on the back. The shortness of the flavor really comes as a detriment to this brew. Tastes like Perrier with lightly roasted malts. Also, a hard to describe sour note is mixed in.

M: Medium body, minerally texture (again, think sparkling water). Fizzy effervescence. Where the carbonation ends and the dryness begins is indistinguishable due to the absence of flavor.

D: I've heard someone say that, even as you're drinking one, a saison is never fully finished attenuating. Well let me tell you that this one is. Way over-attenuated with bracing, dominating dryness that, unfortunately doesn't match the flavor profile one bit. (1,228 characters)

Photo of weatherdog
2.86/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750mL bottle poured into a Leinenkugels Big Eddy snifter

It pours a deep brown, nearing chestnut with a billowing tan head, the head dies down into a scattered layer of bubbles along the surface of the beer, no lacing on the sides of the glass.

The nose is really malty for a saison. I'm getting a hint of oxidation as well. Not much signature spice but a little roast is in there. I'm just not loving the mash up of a brown ale and saison they seem to be headed in.

The taste is even more malty brown ale-like with a bit of bitterness present. There seems to be a lack of a good saison/farmhouse character and the yeast have lent a more fruity ester profile akin to a warm fermented homebrew. I'm just not a fan of a the mildly roasted/ malty brown ale with some fruity esters. I've had much better dark saisons.

The body is teetering on the medium heavy side which doesn't compliment the intended style although carbonation is on the high side which is expected. It's just not very drinkable to me as the estery flavor is too distracting from what the beer should be. I'm sadly disappointed in my first beer from this brewery. A brewery of which I've heard really good things from. (1,187 characters)

Photo of 321jeff
2.87/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky looking deep amber, kind of like a dark tea with about a finger's worth of off-white head.

Aroma is strong but not overpowering, very sweet with caramel, fresh dough, some dark fruits, and some "wintertime" spices, pretty complex.

Taste is a little odd, some dark fruits and hints of spices and some sweet caramel. I also seem to be getting a strong yeast element in there as well. Overall a little on the sweet side.

Medium in body with some mild carbonation and a slightly dry finish. An interesting interpretation that's worth a try, but I doubt I'll seek it out again. (589 characters)

Photo of Jmamay22
2.95/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a ruddy dark amber, closer to brown with an ecru head that dissipates to a thin collar. Sort of muddy puddle looking beer. The scent is somewhat nondescript. A general malty scent with some caramel. Hops are not distinct.

Taste is mostly malty with notes of caramel and a slight roasted flavor. Not as crisp and dry as I expect from a saison. Really, doesn't come off as a saison at all. The yeast isn't very expressive either. Lively mouthfeel and a bit thin. Relatively disappointed by this one. Rather boring, yet has no glaring flaws. (546 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.08/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Autumnal does indeed have autumnal brown and orange tones but it's frustratingly hesitant to part with them; highlights are just about snuffed out by an overall complexion that's both dim and concealing. Too bad, this ale could be quite pretty, but if my LED desk lamp fails to tease out any colour then what hope is there? I might as well have poured the sediment in.

Brewed with wheat, Cara-Munich malts, and roasted barley, a trio of German hops, then fermented with Belgian farmhouse yeast, this one is, from a stylistic perspective, all over the map. From the consumer standpoint it's equally confusing; though brewed with so much, it actually smells like very little. I'm actually finding this crudely grainy, yeasty aroma off-putting.

That Autumnal doesn't resemble one beer style specifically is no surprise; the fact that it has no specific style of its own, however, is disappointing. Whatever is read on paper is only marginally tasted on the palate; there is a spiciness and dried fruit element (yeast), trace herbal bitterness (hops), and the odd hint of creamy chocolate on the finish (malts), but nothing stands out.

Nothing, that is, except maybe the 7.2%. The absence of malt allows a rough, unsophisticated, grain distillate-like alcohol presence to free reign. What little nutty sweetness is offered is not forthcoming enough to handle this kind of yeast; brutish notes of stale prune, rank fruits, and spent grain run amok in the aftertaste and really spoil the overall experience.

Autumnal proves the old adage that 'a Jack of all trades is the King of none'. Or, perhaps, it's like an intricate movie that has so much going on that you have to watch it a few times to really follow and appreciate it. Maybe - but I doubt it. If anything, this beer is a reminder of something we all learned in high school: trying too hard to be cool will not make you cool. (1,895 characters)

Photo of callmemickey
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Amber-brown body. With a hearty off-white head. Good retention and spotty lacing.

S: Spicy yeast, grain, and a bit of residual sugar sweetness.

T: Mostly spicy, astringent yeast notes. Grainy body. Not stillwater's best offering too date.

M: The yeast gives this beer an astringency and off-feeling on the tongue. Medium bodied with sufficient carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

D: Just not in the same league as some of their other offerings. The components from the yeast just drown out the malt and any hops here. (518 characters)

Photo of Patrick999
3.19/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Cloudy brown with a persistent two-finger head.

I got a whiff of O-fest-like malt when I popped the cap. Has kind of a musty doughy aroma in the glass.

I see the ingredients listed on the bottle. Seems to be a bock or festbier done up with a saison yeast. Interesting idea, but seems to come up a bit short. Dry and peppery with hints of grape. Occasional German-style bready malt. Almost comes off as a really dry Belgian Dark, or a dubbel that's too light on the malt. Not a bad beer, but comes a few steps short of the farmhouse.

Decent spritz here, not overly crackly. Accentuates the dry finish.

To me, not the greatest farmhouse ale, but ultimately, not an undrinkable beer by any stretch. I'd probably give it a higher overall rating if it didn't say "farmhouse ale" on its label. I won't have the slightest problem finishing it. (862 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a tulip. There is a dark brown body with very little clarity. There is a nice one inch medium tan head. There is some mild sticky lacing.

The aroma has some mildly fruity spice with some subtle maltyness.

The taste has a rich nearly roasty malt flavor. The slightly spicy yeast is placed mostly at the finish. This is just a little too malty for my liking.

This is medium bodied with crisp carbonation. Not bad but I prefer many of Stillwater's other offerings. (476 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

on tap at jose pistolas in philly

Pours a slightly hazed caramel brown color with some brighter red hues. Thin beige head dissolves, very little retention or lacing to speak of.

Slightly funky in the nose with yeast and some Belgian tones. Sweeter caramel malt and flairs of dark fruit. Touch of sugar and bitterness as well.

Floral hops and spice up front. Decent amount of caramel and darker malt swirled with fruit like raisin and date. A bit sweet, a little spicy. Finishes a touch bitter.

Medium body, high carbonation, dry, bubbly, and lingering on the palate. It's an alright fall take on the style, but I've definitely had better from Stillwater. (660 characters)

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.29/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

So, this is a weird find. I want to say this guy brews at other breweries using his own recipies...Didn't read his blog all the way down far enough to know, but that's my guess. I'm probably wrong...

$9.99/750ml bottle and 7.2% ABV...this is a tad pricey...

Pours a slightly hazy amber. I always thought farmhouse ales were a tad more cloudy and also a lighter straw color. Hmmm, curious...Beautiful, soapy head persists and mellows into a creamy crown. Leaves nice lacing. Super carbonated, at least that's to style...

There's some nice sour notes in the aroma, that's to style for sure...also some of the spicier notes akin to a farmhouse..I'm getting more excited. De Ranke's H.O.P. Flower Power is my fave in the category of farmhouse, so we'll see how this holds up...So far, the aroma has given me high hopes...

Flavor is not saison-y or farmhouse-y enough for me. There's a nice, bright tang right away. This then gets very malty in the middle, and I fear too much caramel malt is being used, as that becomes the dominant flavor through the middle. The yeast notes kind of get lost, but they are still there. The finish is more to style with a long, sharp tangy note that carries and some nice, muted hop flavors. Overall, this is too Amber Ale-ish for me. I like a brighter, crisper flavor in my farmhouse ales. A nice effort, but for the price there are many better.

WHat I like most: The wonderful, clean bright aroma profile.

What I like least: The malt dominated flavor profile.

Verdict: more akin to an American Amber, this is just not saison-y eneough to justify the high price. (1,599 characters)

Photo of pdoran10
3.29/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Autumnal pours out a deep brown color into a snifter, with two full fingers of off white head. That fade slowly and leave very nice lacing.

Smell is candied malt sweetness, with an herbal spicy hop presence. Very sweet in the nose.

Taste is big malt sweetness, slight chocolate and spice notes. Herbal and spcied hops blend with sharp slightly tart carbonation on the finish. It's almost like an Oktoberfest beer fermented with saison yeast. The flavors don't mesh well.

The mouthfeel on this beer is well done. Substantial and thick, but dry with high carbonation.

Overall a well crafted beer, and I get what they were going for, but the concept and flavors just don't mesh that well. (691 characters)

Photo of Apostlebrews
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a dark amber in color. The carbonation is evident in the pour as it left about three-fingers worth of head. Lots of lacing on the glass. Fortunately, the head dissipates quickly.

Lots of spice, yeast, and sweet fruits on the nose. As the beer warmed, I could pick up some caramel in the aroma as well.

The taste is a Belgian bomb of sugar, spices, and dark fruits. Slightly sour. Grape, ginger, and figs are the dominant flavors up front before the Belgian funk shows up. This beer has a creamy caramel finish that took my by surprise. With all the carbonation that hits the tongue up front, I wasn't expecting such a creamy finish. The carbonation fades in the mouth and allows this beer to end with a smooth coating on the tongue.

At first, I wanted to write about how this is a decent beer, but sort of forgettable, and then I remembered what I learned about farmhouse ales. These are brewed to "get by" on the farm. They aren't meant to blow your socks off with a bag of tricks. They come from a time of simplicity and hard work. They're rustic. And when I think about that, I think Autumnal successfully embodies this style. It's not the best beer I've tasted, but it's satisfying. I think that's all it needs to be.

Check out more of my reviews at thebeerapostle.com

Cheers! (1,298 characters)

Photo of Brad007
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a mild amber hue with ample carbonation and a slight bit of graininess. Leaves a decent two-finger head.

The description claims that this is a Belgo-German ale. It's a bit hard to tell at first. The aroma of spicy yeast mingles with german 2-row malt. There is just a slight bit of sweetness.

Taste is full of spicy belgian yeast that doesn't seem to fit well to the malt bill. There's actually a bit of sourness here as a result. Very conflicting taste-wise.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering sweet malt and spicy yeast. Again, the malt just doesn't seem to hold its' own against the yeast.

I don't think that this worked out well. It's overpowered by the choice of yeast, drowning out any flavor that should be present. I'm not a fan. (743 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper amber color. A finger of beige head.

Aroma: Apricots and fresh fruit. A light farmhouse funk. Grassy and straw flavors. Fairly light on the flavor.

Taste: Dry spice flavors. Bready malts. Some fruits, but more more malts. Straw and lemon flavors.

Mouthfeel: Spiced and dry. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, a decent saison, but was way too dry for me. Not refreshing like I would like it to be. (455 characters)

Photo of ncfranklin
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml into a tulip.

A: Murky brown. Very nice two finger head of tan with some thicker lacing. Quite nice looking.

S: Nose of sour fruit, cherry and apple dominant. Breadiness undertone.

T: Slightly tart, with some sour that's more medicinal than funk. Bready levels underneath. No where near the fruit the nose indicated. Not pleasant, as no flavor really shines through.

M: Well carbonated, leaves the mouth slightly dry.

D: Quite a disappointment. No real burst of flavor in the mouth, just a mash of slight sourness and grain. No where near worth the $13 bottle price tag. (584 characters)

Photo of petacutlasaurus
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Kind of like a belgian dubbel, those were my first thoughts - a brownish, amber beer that felt less like a saison. I really enjoyed it, but not as much as the existent or cellar door. It wasn't as exciting, maybe not as off-beat, but still really enjoyable. (257 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.39/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at Max's during Baltimore Beer Week. Poured into a sample glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark amber with a finger of off white head and a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Malty and bready but not very sweet. There is a very mild tart note.

Taste: Malty with a mild sourness in the background. Fruity and herbal notes with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I didn't think this was as remarkable as many of the other Stillwater offerings. It was pretty good and well balanced. (556 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent caramel with 3+ fingers of khaki head. Slightly murky, great lacing, average head retention

S: Jammy, pears,the nose fades as this warms.

T: Pears, slight date flavors, some herbal hops & green appleskins up front. Leafy hops, more appleskins, some white grape & jammy notes as this warms, some boozeyness & maybe a touch of chardonnay. Finishes dry, fruitty, & a bit jammy

MF: Light bodied, slight carbonation

This didn't wow me as much as some other offerings from these guys. Not bad, glad I got to try it... (539 characters)

Photo of jneiswender
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this beer at the Belgian Beer Festival in Boston. On tap and served in a two ounce tasting glass.

A.murky amber body with an off white head

S. Sweet caramel or toffee smell

t.grass. spice. Some grain

M. Medium

d. Okay. I Would drink this again. I think this would pair well with food. (293 characters)

Photo of hwwty4
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this sitting on the shelf at my local this weekend. Love me some Stillwater Saisons.

Poured a capped 750ml into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. I'm really torn on the appearance. It pours a watery coffee brown with a massive 4 inch head that leaves sticky soapy lacing down the sides of the glass. I think it has to do with the trend for breweries making saison noire's. While it has the requisite massive head and sticky lacing, it just reminds me of muddy brown, coffee water. I just don't think it makes for a very striking beer. The aroma hits with a nice Belgian spiciness. Fresh ground pepper, yeasty breadiness mixed with floral hops. All of this is offset by a roasted coffee aroma the lies underneath the rest. It creates an aroma dichotomy that isn't necessarily the greatest. They don't play well with each other, it's more of a juxtaposition. The flavor hits with nice yeasty esters that's followed by a mild roasted coffee. Ground pepper and grassy hops with a bit of a floral component. The mouthfeel is yeasty dry. Like biting into a cake doughnut. In my mind, it definitely is the best aspect of the beer. Overall, I don't know if its just that I'm a saison purist who prefers light bodied, dry saisons or its just that I think the roasted malts through a wrench in the interplay of a saison but I'm just not the biggest fan of it. (1,349 characters)

Photo of thain709
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - The beer was served with a brown body that had some nice ruby higlights...the head was thin and had a tan tint to it...some decent lacing

S - The aroma wasn't strong but I could pick out the saison funk along with roasted malts

T - Flavors mirror the aroma...a slight sweetness and roastiness from the malts...both fade quickly and slide into the earthy, saison funk...I much preferred the initial sweetness because after the funkiness was gone I was left with a sour, hoppy finish

M - Medium bodied...low carbonation, sour, funky

D - This was kind of a roasted saison...at least that's what I was picking up...I enjoyed the roasted malts and the initial sweetness they gave off...what I didn't like was the saison funk and sourness at the end of the beer (763 characters)

Photo of WorldWideStout
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A translucent brown body with an off-white head that rises to three fingers in my tulip, but doesn't hang around as long as expected.

S: Not strong, mineral and overripe dark fruit.

T: Starts off with a slight lemony sourness that quickly turns to overripe plums. The taste becomes sweeter (less vinegar) towards the middle; this is also when a bit of earthiness emerges. The taste of dirt grows into the finish, and leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingers for a good ten seconds afterwards. The mineral taste is a sort of backbone present throughout most of the sip.

M: Decent amount of carbonation at the front of my tongue that slowly dies off about halfway through the sip. The beer lies softly in my mouth, with just the right amount of heaviness so that it doesn't become overbearing.

D: Not bad, not great. Flavors aren't in your face, but I don't like them enough to give this a real high score.

A decent beer. It does seem appropriate for a fall-themed saison, but I don't find it terribly complex, and none of the flavors are that enjoyable. I've enjoyed some of Stillwater's other saisons a great deal, however, and will certainly continue to try their new offerings. (1,198 characters)

Photo of THECPJ
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown with orange hue and a 1 finger off white head

smell: caramel, malts, belgian yeast,

taste: malty, citrus, belgian yeast funk,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: pretty decent saison. I will be looking for more of these beers from Stillwater Artisan.

Cheers,
the CPJ (331 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Review #2100. I honestly have no idea why, but I got the urge to take down my sole Stillwater bottle whilst watching some YouTube videos from the 40-drinking crew. Good times. This stuff pours a clear sunset russet topped by over a finger of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises hay, light dusty caramel, light orange peel, and a slight tinge of cocoa powder. The taste holds notes of orange zest, light lime zest, clove, light rye bread, banana, caramel, and a few drops of maple syrup. The fruit and malts clash a bit, never really melding all too well, but also not completely ruining things. Strange, really. The body is a straight medium, with a moderate carbonation and a lightly grainy feel. Overall, a pretty good saison, but one that doesn't quite come all the way together for me. It's still not bad, but it's missing that something to put it over the top. (911 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Following a common theme of black saison farmhouse ales, this dark ale carries a bold black pepper flavor and bite across an expansive carbonation and very dry finish.

Autumnal Ale pours a dark brown hue with a billowing lightly tanned head that retains very well, while showing only slight strands of lace. A very froathy and hearty look.

Peppery notes fill and tickle the nose while a malty-rich backbone takes the shape of true malt or malted milk. Light notes of charred currants, berries, and walnuts give a little variety without undue attention.

The peppery attitude continues in taste: black pepper being the dominating taste, the beer claims a spicy demeanor with the maltiness contributes a rich, but not sweet, support. Low on hops, the beer relies on the peppery sharpness and light grain tannin contributions for balance. A light, nearly vegital flavor emits from the maltiness in a very odd and creamy way. Still, heavily charred fruits give a tart and toasty vibe throughout.

Creamy early due to expressive carbonation, but the beer dries out beautifully across the mid palate and into the evaporative-dry finish. Light bite and prickle of alcohol further emphasize the peppery phenolics. Tannins give a mild astringency that hides behind the timid hop bitterness and provides the only real distraction as the beer thins out late.

Thanks bbehr! (1,364 characters)

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Autumnal from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
84 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.