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Autumnal - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.
AutumnalAutumnal

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

231 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 231
Reviews: 105
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.88%
Wants: 10
Gots: 13 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: timtim on 10-12-2010)
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Ratings: 231 | Reviews: 105 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
1.98/5  rDev -47.5%
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.

Photo of Gonzoillini
2/5  rDev -46.9%

Photo of chrispoint
2.5/5  rDev -33.7%

Photo of tfsimpkins
2.75/5  rDev -27.1%

Photo of 321jeff
2.83/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

Photo of weatherdog
2.85/5  rDev -24.4%
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.

Photo of AlexFields
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%

Photo of Jmamay22
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
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.

Photo of ConradKenney
3/5  rDev -20.4%

Photo of beernads
3/5  rDev -20.4%

Photo of biercycle
3/5  rDev -20.4%

Photo of biegaman
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

Photo of callmemickey
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

Photo of Patrick999
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

Photo of GreenMountainBoy
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of sneth019
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of david18
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

Photo of andrewinski1
3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Photo of pdoran10
3.28/5  rDev -13%
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.

Photo of xnicknj
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of ncfranklin
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of Brad007
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

Photo of mothman
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

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Autumnal from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
85 out of 100 based on 231 ratings.