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Existent - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

173 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 173
Hads: 623
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 19
Gots: 66 | 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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Reviews: 173 | Hads: 623
Photo of Taybeh
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

from a single into a GI tulip. looks great though unlike any saison I've ever seen... light black with a little red tinge and a khaki head. Nose is interesting/odd for the style. Some raisins, prunes, plums, as well as some roasted malt....a tinge of citrus, clove and hay, but these are lesser notes and take some time to get. Taste and mouthful make this really delicious: a little bittersweet chocolate that I missed in the nose, some great layers of flavor that unfold slowly, a little twang at the end that surprises, and fairly dry. Unlike any saison I've had but very enjoyable.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nietzsche once said “If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” how exactly this relates to Stillwater Artisanal Ales Existent Farmhouse Ale, well I guess I’m about to find out, it’s on the label so there must be something “abyssy” [word: made up. me. you know the drill] about this brew. It couldn’t be that dark given the Saison style in comparison to a Russian Imperial Stout. If that is what the reference is then I’m preparing for some disappointment... otherwise, well let’s just see what we find then.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep cloudy brown with cola highlights body with a firm half centimetre beige cappuccino froth head that slowly dissipates. It’s dark, the darkest Saison I’ve encountered, however it’s no abyss when it comes to a Stout of any stripe... looks good nonetheless. 8/10.

S: Complex and moody as the bottle would suggest with dry white wine grape, green apple, hint of smoke and sour cherry, touch of raisin as well... some good aroma notes to draw on right there. Not picking up any cocoa or cacao as some other reviewers have suggested, I’m wary as this brew has been cellaring for a little while. 7/10.

T: Interesting as this comes across quite Dubbel-like in the flavour with dark fruits (such as: plum, date, raisin) then hits with some brown sugar notes, a touch of toasty/breadiness from the yeast, and finishes dry and lightly bittered with medicinal herbs. It’s really quite a good drop. Aftertaste hints at something metallic which detracts from a perfect score. 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a touch of wateriness and a tight but light carbonation. Could use a bit more carbonation, the mouthfeel betrays the 7.4% ABV. 6/10.

D: This one was a bit of a surprise as it comes across on the label but it is really more of an American take on a Duppel... only negative: is this really worth coming back to at the price per bottle (which I recall was around the $8 mark over here in Australia) when there are so many good Belgian Dubbels that go for cheaper? (Grimbergen is one off the top of my head where it was perched erratically awaiting the rise to the correct drinking temperature before being poured into my glass - a common beer warming practice I assure you). 7/10.

Food match: Cheese platter, rich roasted meats - beef/lamb, with roasted vegetables and such.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Dark and moody deep chestnut brown pour under a 2” cream colored foam collar that quickly disintegrates. Very lacy. S: Faint laundry, slight funk, fruit, and grain. T: Dark fruit, fig, hint of caramel, saison yeast, grains, light chocolate, and some earthy notes. F: Very creamy and effervescent, medium full body, O: An interesting beer with a strong brown ale flavor intensity wrapped around a saison body and mouthfeel with a dose of funk.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a tulip glass
Bottled June 17, 2014

It pours brown a brown hue. When held to the light ruby highlights appear. It is capped with three inches of creamy tan head that leaves plenty of lacing.

The smell is of cocoa, but I still get wafts of funk.

The taste has lots of cocoa and some milk chocolate with a dry finish. I don't pick up much funk. It's kind of like a dry brown ale.

Medium and not as carbonated as I would expect a saison to be.

I like this beer. It may not exactly have all the saison characteristics that I expected, but the flavor and aroma are good. I would definitely have it again.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A late blooming, creamy chestnut head reaches one-half inch, then quickly settles to a quarter inch for the duration. Existent is dark brown and clear (SRM 27-30), and leaves a fine lace coating on the Dogfish Head fisheye pint glass.

Farmhouse funk is up front with a light, soapy astringency following. Burnt sugar becomes like black licorice.

The flavor builds with warmth, starting out bitter like raw molasses. That bitterness remains long into the finish. Additional highlights include roasted malts and baker’s chocolate with light pepper. Surprisingly, one may also find oak.

Alcohol is as expected in this medium-bodied, satin-textured dry beer with fine, lively carbonation.

This is an interesting take on a saison. It works well with cheese, a light meal, or as an afternoon refresher.

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Photo of silverking
2.51/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A- looks like a stout... Pitch black with cola colored highlights. Creamy khaki head with excellent retention and fantastic lacing. It's just too dark.

S- deep and toasty with some citrus highlights. This is not a farmhouse ale in my opinion. If you blindfolded me and had me smell this one, I'd guess it was a stout or porter.

T- cocoa and coffee. The finish is nutty and earthy.

M- medium bodied with low carbonation.

O- It is NOT a saison. I understand that styles are open to interpretation, but this has gone too far. It is delicious, however, just don't expect a saison when you purchase it.

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Photo of Stingraystripe
2.27/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Very bready nose and I also smell some dried fruit. Poured with A thick foamy head and quite dark - an opaque chocolate color - unlike any farmhouse ale I've seen. Taste is raisiny and malty. Drinks like a barley wine - to the point I kept checking the label. I don't think this one is true to style at all. There's a slight sour at the end that hints of farmhouse but that's it. Stillwater greatly impressed me with their stateside saison and I assumed this was on par. It's a decent beer, but nothing like a farmhouse in my opinion.

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Photo of KensWorld
4.76/5  rDev +24%
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

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of GregBarleycorn13
3.46/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good head retention. Darker than I expected from a saison. A little spicy aroma. Taste was somewhat spicy and a bit fruity. Good mouthfeel. It stayed on the tongue a long time so you savor the taste.

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Photo of babaracas
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Massive gusher, 10 minutes of cleanup required. Off to a bad start Freddie.

Forgiveness comes slowly, pouring a hazy dark brown with fluffy khaki colored head, settling slowly to a half inch; splotches of lace on the glass.

Smell: chocolate, caramel, roasty stale coffee and nutty notes, plum skin. Also substantial hopping which really mucks things up, coming off as a bit of green-apple scented windex.

Taste: green apple candy, cocoa, dark brown sugar, grainy, earthy with substantial clean hopping, some peach towards the finish.

Dark / black saison is goldmine territory but this one is significantly rough around the edges.

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Photo of ChrisWhoDrinksBeer
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Deep dark pour, pleasant foamy white head. Foamy, malty smell. A deep stout yet fruity flavor with caramel, roasted malty finish tinged with bitterness. Mouthfeel is fluid but a bit thick. A really delightful combination of flavors. Perhaps too intense to drink in large quantities but it's great.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.8/5  rDev -1%

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.

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Photo of jellikit
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

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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Photo of drtth
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours into a Duvel glass with a 1/4 white head that soon recedes to leave a ring around the glass, an island of foam in the middle of the beer. Some speckles of lacing with sipping.

The smell is an interesting mix of the yeast and roasted malt that seems to have a bit of dark chocolate character.

The taste is lighly sweet with dark roasted malt and light hop bitterness appearing about mid way through and then transitioning to a lightly burnt flavor. The whole then trails off into a nicely dry finish that leaves one ready for another sip.

Mouth feel is medium to light bodied with a background of persistent carbonation.

Overal this is an interesting and quite drinkable beer if only because it is my first that could be called a black Baison with dark roasted malt replacing the light and lighter roast malt ordinarly used in a Saison. Pleased to try this one and am always happy to try almost anything from Stillwater as they are usually both good and intersting. That said I'll probably not be going out of my way to seak this one out again.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served in a flute glass.

A: Pours a dark brown color forming a huge and aired bubbled beige head. Great retention and lots of soapy and lingering lacings left in the glass

S: Quite peculiar in the nose. Sweet, fruity and citrus followed by some roasted malts followed by some sort of weird mix of tropical fruits (like watermelon and pineapple) and spices

T: Slightly sweet taste. Roasted malts. Tropical fruits and spices. Slightly sour. Medium bitterness

M: Medium body and carbonation. Watermelon aftertaste

O: Great drinkability. Peculiar and interesting beer

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Photo of lewzer99
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: It pours a coffee brown, with a thin off white head.
S: I get some chocolate, pitted fruits, and booze.
T: First there's chocolately roasted malts, a mild sweetness, yeast, and an earthy hop bitterness on the back end.
M: Medium bodied but good carbonation
O: It's pretty good, but a little disappointing.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 21 January 2014. Tasted 2 June 2014.

Pours a deep soft brown, clear but dark. Little head, which actually grows after the pour thanks to the abundant bubbles (which formed a cool clover shape on the surface). Decent lacing.

Smell is funny. Definitely more like a BSDA than a saison, with sugar and dark fruits. As a Belgian dark, I like it. As a saison, it's weird - nothing about it says saison to me.

Taste is similar. It's got some candy sugar flavor, some of that slightly astringent quality I associate with tripels. I'm wondering if there was a mix-up in the bottling; is it always like this? Once again, I get nothing from it that says saison, though it's decent as-is. A little flat, kinda empty on the back end.

Feel is okay. Medium body, carbonation on the light side. Kinda settles, bringing a sinking heaviness that needs more carbonation to counter it.

All I can say is, what's up with this beer? I love saisons, and in no way do I think this is a saison. Unless they did some weird stuff and threw a saison yeast into it. It's basically a mid-level BSDA.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.34/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Stillwater Artisanal Existant has a thin, cream-colored head, a very dark brown appearance, with noticeable and fairly large yeast chunks floating about, and bit of a lacing sheen left behind. The aroma is of slightly dank, bready malt, with just a hint of spice. Taste is of sweet, spicy, rich, gourmet bread, dark fruit, fairly strong bitterness, and some hard-to-pin-down herbs. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and Stillwater Artisanal Existant finishes rich, full, and memorable.


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Photo of MattyG85
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/5/2013. Pours lightly cloudy nearly opaque dark brown color with a 3 finger dense and rocky khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a large amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, roasted malt, pear, apple, toast, peppercorn, clove, herbal, floral, grass, dark bread, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, caramel, toast, pear, apple, peppercorn, clove, herbal, floral, grass, dark bread, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy yeast spice on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, roast, caramel, toast, pear, apple, peppercorn, clove, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/roasted malt flavors; with a nice crisp malt/yeast flavor balance with zero cloying after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, moderately prickly, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent dark saison. All around great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/roasted malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

sort of a saison porter/stout hybrid here, big thick dark malt flavors and textures, with that drying and farmy saison yeast we know from other stillwater brews. its big for sure, and the yeast gets lost just a little bit amongst the heavy hitting and full bodied grain in this one. syrupy look, but sill well carbonated. the nose is as much chocolate malt as it is french saison yeast, with some bitter notes in there and even a little oak, although I'm not sure this ever saw a barrel. heavy roasty notes on the front end that hint at burning cigar and bakers chocolate. the yeast isn't quite enough to dry this all the way up in the finish, so its a little more sweet and heavy than it needs to be, but i like the way the yeast mixes with these flavors. a tannic almost wine character resounds through the finish as well. i like this most because its unique, bigger than other dark saisons. some brett might make this next level, i just would like a little more dryness to the overall experience. tough to drink more than one or two of these, but i certainly appreciate this one from stillwater.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I picked up this beer from Vintage Estates. Love the stout so hopefully this will impress.

A - Very dark no so much porter dark since it has ruby highlights throughout the glass. Never experienced such a dark yet clear beer. Head is a 1/4 inch that settles to a great lace ring and I mean EXCELLENT.
S - Mostly getting mild funk, maybe some peppercorns, and some yeast. Not much in the roast or coffee market that everyone else smells so I sip on.
T - Ow my that is different. Like a Belgium strong ale mixed with a farmhouse. It has all the attributes mixed together still very dry but not either way. Like fruity yeasts but not intertwining with the taste of the funk or the peppercorn spice but still very dry. Good.
M - Its a bit medium bodied. Not too light to drink but its smooth.

Overall I am not too sure if I like this beer I love the traditional stout. It's much better than I thought though just being another boring farmhouse beer. Yep.

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Photo of jlindros
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Interesting looking style of Farmhouse, with hop season upon us, and saison season just around the corner, figured I'd crack this. Picked up a few weeks ago but the bottling date says 4/04/13, so a lot older than I expected.

Pours a darker colored fizzy fluffy 3 finger head that just rises over the top of the sides of the glass as it fades back at a fair rate, lots of messy spotty lacing too, super dark molasses brown color.

Nose is interesting, a blend of some creamy dark malts with mild farmhouse aromas, a little creamy roast and coffee notes, hint of cocoa, and some nutty caramel, into a mild grainy toasty malt with farmhouse spices, hint lemon rind as well, bit grassy and herbal, a bit of a yeasty aroma, and some saison like funk, into a mild phenolic note and hint of booze.

Taste brings more funk, farmhouse saison funk, chewy and a bit yeasty, with big phenolic note, little estery as well, with mild saison spices, grassy herbal little spicy chewy hop note, with more grassy herbal notes from the saison as well, little lemon rind and lemongrass. A mild dark malt note, much less than I thought, faint hint of roast and coffee, a bit of burnt toffee, with just a touch of caramel, touch of crackers, bit of an over fermented carbonation thing too. Finish is sticky and a bit sweet, more herbal spicy hops, and herbal farmhouse saison funk, little yeast, bit of a creamy dark malt too.

Mouth is med bod with tons and tons of effervescent carb, too much so that it's very distracting.

Overall not bad, an interesting blend of dark malts and saison farmhouse flavors, they didn't step on each others feet too much as the malts seemed ot still take a back seat to the farmhouse. Enjoyable for a pretty big beer, although the hops eventually do get a little nagging.

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Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
86 out of 100 based on 173 ratings.