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Existent - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.
ExistentExistent

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

598 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 598
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.35%
Wants: 18
Gots: 60 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  7.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 11-13-2010

Existent represents the philosophy behind Stillwater Artisanal. We strive to define ourselves through our passion and sincerity while accepting that not all aspects of life are readily explainable. To manifest this ideology we present an ale of intrigue. Deep & dark though deceptively dry, braced by a firm yet smooth bitterness and accented with an earthy hop and mild roast aroma. This is an ale for you to define...
’and if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’ –Nietzsche
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 598 | Reviews: 170
Reviews by flagmantho:
Photo of flagmantho
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: deep, dark amber hue which shines ruby when held up to the light. There's a strong effervescence and what appears to be a tiny bit of haze. Head pours a finger of creamy tan foam; quite attractive indeed.

Smell: light aroma with chocolate and caramel notes above a very light funk. Reminds me quite a bit of a porter.

Taste: more of the saison shows through in the flavor than in the aroma. A little bit of farmhouse funk, some fresh grassiness, just a hint of sour, a little butteriness and then a little bit of that chocolate from the aroma. Not too bad!

Mouthfeel: slam! Medium body with a huge carbonation and a massive, mouth-filling creaminess. Ba dow!

Overall: this is a tasty and quite drinkable overall beer. I would have this again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of wrycon
4.62/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Heavily carbonated. A dark chocolate rye in appearance. Smells strongly of wood, prunes, some slight citrus tang. The taste is exactly what I want. Coy at first, slightly toasted malt and strong carbonation. Swallow and a torrent of turned bread and earthy funk grabs your palate. Some rye, some bitter... Tastes fungal in a pure way. If I were a richer man, I'd drink this every day.

Like it? Immensely

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In a pint glass the beer was a dark brown color with a thick tan head.

Mostly cocoa aroma. Some spice and a whiff of hazelnut.

The taste was similar to the aroma. Cocoa, nutmeg, and hazelnut. A little bit of coffee also.

This beer was on the dry side, and a little on the sharp side.

Overall a decent beer.

Photo of mverity
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown color with a tan head. The color is odd, for a saison. Or maybe that's just my take on things. The smell is mostly earthy and deeply roasted malts. A bit bready too. Taste is interesting. I pick up lots of leather, some damp earth, lots of the malt that was present in the aroma, a touch of toffee/caramel sweetness, and an odd bitterness that is definitely not from hops; almost like burnt coffee. My first Stillwater beer that I don't absolutely love.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a wine glass.

Pours a dark brown that's almost black with a small brown head and a tiny bit of lacing. Nose is very light and mellow, there is a slightly spicy note and some dark malts.

Taste is more on the spicy side with some tart and sharp notes and a bit.of an earthy Smokey flavor on the finish. Mouthfeel is full and creamy and overall its quite good!

Photo of jondeelee
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Existent opens to what is partly a nice farmhouse ale aroma, with bananas and cloves mixing with a musty funkiness that smells like fermented apple cider and the inside of a grain silo, and partly a very light Flemish sour, with light touches of vinegar spotting the edges. There’s also a nice dose of rosewater, lemon, and pink grapefruit from the hops, which mixes with the cherry, berry, orange, and apricot fruit esters well, though it can leave a bubblegum overtone. Toast crust, biscuit, whole wheat bread, and a smattering of hay form an earthy base. As a whole, the nose is very nice, the sour vinegar providing an excellent counter to the apple cider, and the full assortment of fruity aromas proving very enticing.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a shot of bananas and cloves that mixes instantly with the fermented apple cider and musty funkiness of the farmhouse, followed closely by the touches of vinegar that add extra layers of flavor, and a few sprinkles of white pepper. Fruits follow, with berry, cherry, and orange dominating, though there are also flavorful threads of pineapple and syrupy sweet-tart maraschino cherry. Light grapefruit and lemon from the hops adds more citrus. Brown sugar and vanilla add a bit more to the mix, and the base of toast crust, biscuit, whole wheat bread, and light hay translate well from the nose. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main mouthful, the farmhouse banana/clove/cider/must especially present, and lingering on the tongue for a good while. Mouthfeel is a dry medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a well-made farmhouse ale which offers a wide variety of neatly-balanced flavors, and in good strength and proportion. There is a slight alcoholic overtone, especially later in the mouthful and in the aftertaste, but it doesn’t mar the palate. Worth trying.

Photo of MattyG85
4.26/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on 01/21/14.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brownish black with some hints of ruby. About one finger of off white head that quickly fades away. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A dark and spicy yeast forward Belgian style aroma with good hints of roast and funk. Belgian yeast with some hints of clove, pepper, and farmhouse funk. Dark malt with hints of dark chocolate, coffee, toast, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and grains. Big fruit hints of bananas along with some apple, pear, grapes, and slight citrus hints of orange and lemon. Subtle earthy hop hints. Also some hints of candied sugar. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like the smell, a yeasty and fruity Belgian style taste with a big presence of dark malt notes. Upfront Belgian yeast with notes of clove, peppers, and some farmhouse funk. Dark roasted barley malt with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, toasted bread, biscuit, caramel, toffee, and grains. Big taste of bananas along with some fruit notes of pear, apple, grapes, lemon, and orange. Slight notes of candied sugar. Some earthy and grassy hops in the background as well. A pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Spicy, juicy, and somewhat prickly. Finishes dry.

Overall: A very unique and good take on a Saison. Has the spicy and fruity Belgian notes with a nice balance of dark malt.

Photo of GOBLIN
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Stillwater Artisanal Existent

Rustic

Poured into pint glass

A: Dark like a rich porter with floating sediments. Nice looking beer, kinda looks like a scene from the ocean depths. Crazy !

S: Strange mix of smells that really works well. Coffee, roasted malts, oranges along with that subtle but traditional farmhouse ale smell.

T: Taste is the same. Again, nice fusion of porter/stout/farmhouse flavors.

M: Smooth and easy drinking. Maybe a bit thin but that really surprises me considering the rich malt character.

O: Very impressed with this beer . . . I'll be back to visit this one. Good for any season.

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown color, Existent certainly defies the expectations for a Saison at the start. It's no surprise, though, given Stillwater's exploratory nature and American brewers delving into brewing Saisons with dark malts, smoking them, etc. While brown, Existent does exhibit a reddish hue. It develops a pillowy tan head that rises to nearly two fingers tall and rests there stubbornly. A good amount of thick patching is left behind on the walls of the glass as the beer recedes down it.
This is a toasty one with some muted yeast notes in the aroma and a bit of molasses, not as sweet as one might think, but adding more tot he toast note due to smelling not burnt but close to it. It is spicy, more the kitchen variety and plenty peppery. There is a faint whiff of band-aid, a very slight phenolic note, faint but detectable.
That doesn't translate to the flavor, though. It's very interestingly toasty, herbal, spicy, and lightly smoky with just a little sweetness as some dried dark fruits ride it out. Yeast comes out with the toast into the finish but really rounds it out well.
Carbonation is fairly high without being too filling or spritzy, and this medium-bodied beer holds an even keel between crisp and smooth.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottled 04/25/13.

A: Pours a clear dark brown appearing black in the glass. Slightly tanned head sits on top. Head is fairly quick to dissipate.

S: Rich roasty blend with chocolate and a touch of farmhouse yeast. Almost a baked cake like aroma.

T: Comes off with a fairly strong banana like quality combined with roasted malts and a hint of smokiness. Touch of booze on the backend. Chocolate lingers into the aftertaste.

M: Medium body, perhaps a tad thin. Mild carbonation with a fairly clean finish.

Overall this bottle doesnt do justice to this brew on tap a couple months ago. Will need to update the numbers if needed next time I have this beer.

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with strong aromas of toasted malt, which imparts notes of freshly baked French baguettes or biscuits, as well as some brown sugar, molasses, Belgian yeast, a touch of licorice, and figs.

Taste: Nice flavors of toasted malt, black pepper, Belgian yeast, candied sugar, a touch of dried stone fruit and a touch of sourness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and pretty effervescent, as there is a lot of carbonation. With an ABV of 7.4%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: While this is the weakest of the various Stillwater beers I’ve had so far, (the others being at the time, Atumnal Amber, Cellar Door, Folklore, Of Love and Regret and Stateside Saison) I like this beer. It has good flavors of malt, Belgian yeast, sweetness and just a touch of sourness, balanced nicely in a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of biboergosum
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, day 7 of the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar. Once again, nothing about what this beer really is, just a lot of hippie psycho-babble in the marketing description.

This beer pours a clear, dark cola amber hue, with three fingers of aggressively puffy, and fizzily foamy beige head, which leaves some hanging clothesline lace around the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, fleshy dark fruit, overripe banana, earthy yeast, a bit of mixed holiday spices, and a soft leafy hoppiness. The taste is more lightly toasted caramel malt, dry toffee, astringent butter, earthy yeast, somewhat sharp black stonefruit, wet crackers, understated savoury spice, and a hint of warming alcohol.

The carbonation is soft, and weakly frothy, the body a sturdy medium weight, a tad clammy, yet mostly smooth, but for a slight metallic swath cutting through, origins hard to discern. It finishes more or less on the sweet side, the caramel, dark fruit, and subsurface booze contending with surprisingly little yeast or hop bitterness.

Kind of like a cross between a plainly malty brown ale, and a softly yeasty and fruity farmhouse ale. Not a marriage that I was dying to see happen, and the results become a lot more skewed towards the former as the glass empties, so I'm left with the feeling of 'what's the point?'

Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A complex saison that's overtaken by a shwartbier with chocolate and mildly seems like an imperial stout. Lots of roast, good drinking though not exceptionally tasty. Dark bittersweet chocolate milk colour with a bit of white head. Thanks Michael Pollack.

Photo of augustgarage
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Troubadour tulip.

Rose ebony body, extremely dark, but possibly clear, with ruby highlights around the edges of the glass when held to a strong light. Four fingers of insulation fills the top of the tulip, recedeing and thickening slowly to a lasting wheat colored stand of merengue. Dense soapy lacing drape over the sides like a blanket.

Musty/attic/barn aromatics along with buttermilk, coffee, and toast in the nose.

Fruit pits, alfalfa, beef jerky (faint smoke and peppercorn), and earth on the palate. Mild bitterness and faint fruitiness fades away into the finish which is dry and drawn out, with hints of rye, coffee, and molasses. Unusual.

Medium-bodied, soft, pillowy, with a delicate fleeting astringency.

When trying to characterize this ale, I have some difficulty nailing down it's stylistc origins - so I'll put that aside for the moment, heeding Nietzsche's words for a moment: "Art raises its head where creeds relax."

Fans of Bam Noire and other dark farmhouse ales, take note.

Photo of DrewShal9
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to larryi86 for this one!

A: dark brownish black with a huge white head
S: grapes and oranges? Some spices, chocolate, and a hint of alcohol at the end.
T: intense chocolate and fruits. Mainly grape.
M: chalky and bubbly. Really weird bubbles too.
O: I can't figure out what makes this beer so drinkable but I like it. Definitely a unique brew. Has me more interested in dark saisons.

Photo of GDBEERMAN
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml shared into tulip: from notes.
A: very well done on the appearance, a jet black body, with a light and retreating head of light khaki. Carbonation is a bit low for style, and lacing is right on.

S: The aroma is a lighter spice and fruity esters. The slight roasted and toffee comes through.

T/M: The character is light and refreshing, while being bold and assertive. Very much like the light character in the American Black IPA, ahem, American Black Ale, wink (Cascadian Dark).
With profiles of earthy spice and lingering hop and floral character, this makes a true beew to be defined.

O: Overall great take on a new style, but a bit thin on the finish and would have like to have had a bigger yeast character. But wow now the ideas for homebrew are sparking.

Photo of KensWorld
4.76/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 4/25/2013. Picked up 4 pack last week and had no idea it was that old. I'm glad it was. I tried this back in 2013 & it was very good but nothing like it is now. Has aged very well. Best farmhouse ale I've had yet! Just perfect! 4.80

Photo of Fatehunter
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%

Pours a thin head on a dark red colored body. The aroma has lots of caramel, chocolate, milk and roasted malt. Nicely complex. The taste roasted malt sweetness with a bitter lemon back-note, some chocolate, finishes with a little sweet touch. The texture is smooth with good fizz. Enjoyable and different.

Photo of BSLemoine
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It took a bottle with my man Freddie on the front to get me to finally review a beer!

750 mL Bottle purchased 1/19/11. Served at 50 F, reviewed until 60 F.

A - Nearly pitch black and completely opaque. Cream colored, thin, lacy head. Almost no apparent carbonation.

S - Roasty and nutty nose. No fruitiness save a light citrus nose. Slight herbal hopiness.

T - Dark roasted coffee, tart and broad fruitiness. Slight earthy dank.

M - Medium (+) thick and velvety mouth feel with a balancing acidity and bitterness. Very little carbonation. The tart and bitter linger.

Not a bad beer but underwhelming. I was hoping more from a Nietzsche inspired beer (although Nietzsche thought beer made people stupid so go figure). Light aromatics and a less than complex palate, however the body was quite nice. I would drink it again, but I prefer many other Dark Saisons (I agree with the comment before that this is really more of a Belgian Stout).

Photo of russpowell
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours super-effervescent mahogany with 2+ fingers of tan head. Great head retention, good lacing

S: Vinegar, figs, woodyness

T: Brown bread, tart cherry, a bit of figs up front, some woody hops as well. A little bit of dark fruit & oakyness as this warms, some tartness too, just a touch of citric hop attack. Finishes dry, a touch tart, with lemons & grapefruit, slight woodyness, slight caramel sweetness

MF: Light bodied, lively carbonation, dry, balances nicely

Not a fave from Stillwater, but pretty good, pretty drinkable

Photo of DonDirkA
4.48/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose is cloves, banana, caramel, kind of nutty, cinnamon and a slight hint of coffee. Taste is really similar, almost exactly but the cloves are strong and right up front followed by roasted notes and coffee all rounded out by banana. To me it tasted very Belgian, which isn't what I expected. One other reviewer said that if you blindfolded him and smelled it he'd think it was a stout or porter and I have to agree with that. I'd think a Belgian-style stout. It was nowhere near as heavy as a stout though. It had a very dry finish and was a real nice sipper. This is I think 4 out of 5 awesome beers from Stillwater in my books. Very awesome.

Photo of HalfFull
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle poured into a large wine glass. The pour is a bit too effervescent as the cap of foam quickly rises above and engulfs the glass. Nice retention and lace but really? This is a bit much.

Aroma of chocolate and a touch of Belgian yeast.

Taste is coarse grain, bit of chocolate. Not sure where this is going but it's surely not a Farmhouse Ale. Bit chalky/chocolate on the finish.

Feel is wierd but who am I to say. Overall there is nothing Saison about this, and there is nothing Farmhouse about it either. A decent brew. But, I mean, seriously. A decent Belgian Dark Ale but not even a hint of love in the Saison department...

Photo of Stirner
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's the perfect farmhouse ale!

Photo of Bung
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml Dark mohoghanhy pour, large frothy light tan head. Sticks ok.

Aroma, yeasty with some red fruit, light brown sugar and spice, little funk. Fainter roast and cocoa.

Taste, the roast, citrus, yeast and chocolates work really well together. Finishes pretty dry, cocoa but lingers well with a nice herbal hop presence.

Fairly active heavy side of light. Goes down easy, really no alcohol.

Similar to a Saison Darkly and another of these dark farmhouse ales I enjoyed immensely.

Photo of jellikit
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Bottle.
Appearance: Dr. Pepper...dark Amber with a purplish hue. Thin head.
Smell: Belgian yeast. Not strong, but there. Plum.
Taste: dark Belgian. Plums and raisins, followed by Belgian yeast.
Weird hop? aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: medium high carbonation. Medium body. Dry.
Overall. Pretty good. Not my favorite from this brewery.

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Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
85 out of 100 based on 598 ratings.