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Existent - Stillwater Artisanal Ales


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

450 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 450
Reviews: 152
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 10.99%

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:
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

(Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 11-13-2010)
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Ratings: 450 | Reviews: 152 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BoldRulerVermont


3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap at Pizzeria Verita in Burlington.
Pours jet black with minimal caramel head.
Smell is yeasty, some sourness and roastedness in the malt backbone.
Taste was nice, a good balance between the saison style and black ale style. Neither won out though on my palate and I came away with bit of a 'it didn't know what it wanted to be' impression.
Mouthfeel was good and what I was looking for.
Overall, I liked the beer.

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2014 22:04:19 | More by BoldRulerVermont
Photo of VelvetExtract


2.86/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A-Pours an intriguing color. It's dark brown. The body does seem to be mostly clear despite the hue. Almost no head is found in my glass.

S-Aroma reminds me of a Porter with Saison yeast. A bit of roast and cocoa. Some Belgian spice. Also some light, earthy hoppiness.

T-The flavor isn't very good. I don't like this weird, Saison-Porter hybrid. Most of what I found in the aroma was apparent in the flavor. There was also a slight nuttiness in the flavor. The dark flavors don't mesh well with the Saison aspects.

M-Medium bodied. A bit chalky. Bubbly. I powered through it so I could go to my next selection at the bar.

O/D-Was not a big fan of this. I would not drink this again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2014 16:38:22 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of smcolw


3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown color where light comes through only on the edges. Modest head but the fine rim bubbles stay throughout the tasting. Leaves some streaky lace.

Dark chocolate and earthy to the nose. A bit of chalky, cracked malted milk ball aroma as well. A touch of alcohol warmth.

Neutral strart for such a dark beer. This would best be described as an American Porter. The swallow is where the flavor pops out--chocolate milk, dark cherries and cream. The body is thin and the carbonation high. I detect no Saison elements.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2013 18:57:13 | More by smcolw
Photo of DjangoThePackageMang


3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is my first beer review.

Appearance: a dull brown almost black color. With little head that faded quickly.
Smell: dark roast coffee notes, makes me think of a "soft" stout. Light on the nose leaves you wanting more.
Taste: a little bitterness not as strong of a flavor one would think of with the color or smell it has. A dull lingering of bitterness at the back of the throat.
Mouthfeel: smooth and refreshing for having an abv of 7.4.

Overall I would drink this beer again. Can't taste the alcohol in it, which helps to not over power the subtle note.

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2013 00:25:42 | More by DjangoThePackageMang
Photo of barczar


3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown, not opaque, fleeting light chocolate head.

Subtle aroma, roast malt, chocolate, slight vinous character.

Chocolate, slightly sweet roast malt and an underpinning of funk and sourness in the flavor. A tad acrid.

A little too much roast flavor for my liking. Not enough funk to overcome the malt.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2013 01:04:51 | More by barczar
Photo of 57md


4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is brown with a ruby hue. There is a finger of head that dissipates quickly but leaves some lacing. The nose is sherry-like. There is an enjoyable touch of cocoa upfront in the flavor profile. There is also decent hop bitterness combined with a touch of sourness on the finish. I am not a big saison fan, but I actually liked this one a great deal.

Serving type: on-tap

07-12-2012 04:59:36 | More by 57md
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, slight cocoa, dark fruit, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with a medium amount of spice and roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice set of aromas and flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2012 02:03:12 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stillwater : Existent

LOOK: A dark brown, almost black liquid. Off white head, and a fine display of lacing as well.

SMELL: Roasted malts, saison funk, citrus hops, fresh grass. Dark fruit.

TASTE: Unique flavor profile. Roasted malt, lightly tart from the yeast, white pepper, citrus, and a restrained bitterness. Little to no alcohol flavor, just saison funk, roasted malt and hops.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated, slightly dry.

OVERALL: A nice twist on the American Black Ale or the Belgian Saison for that matter. I'd like to age this.

Serving type: on-tap

04-22-2012 22:03:17 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of flannelman808


4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark brown with a very pale tan head. Thin alon the rim it settles and leaves behind nice lacing.

S: Milk chocolate covered grape flavored gummy. It reminds me of grape big league chew.

T: near tart white grape merging into chocolate malty flavors which are broken up quickly with carbonation. This is an odd bird and it finishes with a destinctly ESB sort of nature. The memory of chocolate and toffee on the tongue, having never experienced them in the first place. Altogether this one is a sensory experiance and finishes on the bitter side of things.

M: focused carbonation and a roasty malt driven bitterness (think pumpernickel bagel) + a touch of chalk.

O: pretty damn unique stuff and I'm putting it out there right now this is full of rye in the mash. Grape and subtle fruit flavors melding into typical malt driven expressions. All together this one is a ya but confused but nonetheless is a great departure from the norm.

Serving type: on-tap

02-08-2012 22:07:13 | More by flannelman808
Photo of kingcrowing


3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

06-17-2011 23:02:37 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of Hoptometrist


3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a 10 oz. mug at Pratt Street Ale House.

A- Dark brown with ruby undertones frothy khaki head and fairly good lacing.

S- Some sweet funky maltiness and fruit

T- Coffee, bitter chocolate, funky fruitiness (perhaps plum) caramel sweetness, very mild hopiness, and a little smokiness

M- Pretty thick mouthfeel that finishes dry. Very filling beer

O- This is the first saison I have ever had. Definitely an interesting beer that tasted like a funky fruit infused stout. Not sure I could drink more than one, very filling beer and lots of funky sweetness.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2011 04:11:02 | More by Hoptometrist
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Bodega. Served in one of the new tulips, right on!

A- A saison that's deep and dark? Sure is. Its a hefty onyx black with a fine, frothy light tan head. Lacing is fairly decent but nothing crazy. The pillowy foam looks soft and inviting. This beer looks creamy and stout like. Quite deceptive.

S- Quite the spicy aroma. Its full of lemon notes that are countered by darker stuff like roasted malts and dark fruits.

T- A flash of tartness starts things off in a crisp way. Lemon and lots of grass. It gets very peppery also. The flavors are all very light and subtle. Lots of belgianesque dark fruits. Tart black currants and black cherries. The finish yields lemon that follows a light, dry cocoa flavor.

M- Fuller bodied, especially in the world of saisons. Dry and crisp. Very spicy with a bittering finish.

D- Pretty nice. This one is one of the better dark saisons. I think it would be worth it to buy a bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2011 21:57:08 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of corby112


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Capone's on 2/17.

Pours almost pitch black and completely opaque except for slight mahogany edges when held to a light. One finger off-white head that slowly fades into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind.

Slightly smokey aroma with zesty peppery spice, bready yeast, chocolate and toffee.

Fuller bodied than expected with a good balance of earthy tartness, zesty spice, roasted malt, bread/yeast and light fruit. Earthy with zesty pepper as well as some silky chocolate malt flavor. I'm also picking up hints of toffee, bread, banana and light fruit, notably apple. This beer has a very unique clash of roasted malt, earthy spice and light fruit. The ABV is well masked making this beer very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2011 08:05:27 | More by corby112
Photo of mmercede


4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just had it on tap at Capone's

A: Black at first glance which shows some dark brown hues in the light. Very small head with no lacing.

S: Pretty light aroma. Some roasted grain and chocolate malt. A balanced hoppy smell on the back end.

T: The taste surprised me after the appearance and aroma. Starts off very dry with light chocolate and caramel flavors with a slightly milky taste. Finishes with complex saison yeast flavors and a great hop profile. It hides any semblance of alcohol completely. I was very pleasantly surprised!

M: Surprisingly light bodied for the color. Perfect levels of carbonation to accentuate the flavor.

D: This beer is a true sleeper and could be enjoyed any time of day. The alcohol is completely masked and the wide range of flavors are quite refreshing. A very interesting take on a sasion.

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2011 01:42:03 | More by mmercede
Photo of oline73


3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap in a pint glass at Max's

Appearance - Pours almost black with some light coming through at the edges. Smooth tan one finger head goes away almost immediately, there is some lacing.

Smell - This one is quite roasty with hints of hops and a little bit of spice from the yeast.

Taste - Burnt roast definitely dominates here. There is an herbal hoppy flavor in the background. I don't detect much that would tell me this if a farmhouse.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with a delicate smooth carbonation.

Drinkability - This one tastes like a hoppy stout to me. That being said I liked it, but I don't think I'll be looking for any more.

Serving type: on-tap

01-30-2011 03:29:53 | More by oline73
Photo of mdfb79

New York

2.93/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 01/14/11 notes. Had on tap at Rattle N Hum in NYC.

a - Pours a black color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation..

s - Smells of roasted malts, smokey, floral notes, and

t - Tastes of smokey roasted and toasted malts, light floral notes, and something weird I can't quite place, like burnt caramel or toffee. Not that great.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - This was listed as a Black Saison, and I wasn't a big fan of it. The taste just seemed a little off to me and the smell was average. Wouldn't look to have again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2011 00:15:25 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Errto


3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Cask Republic, New Haven, poured into a wine glass.

From the outside this beer looks like a stout. Hard to see the full effect in slightly dim lighting, but it's more or less pitch black with a tan head. The head is thin but generous lacing.

At first the smell also resembles a stout. Chocolate and almost coffee-like roasted bitterness.

The flavor is where this beer stands out. At first, when it's still a bit chilled, you get some caramel, a bit of astringency, but there's something different. This something appears more and more as the beer warms and you realize that yes indeed, it's a saison. It's those earthy flavors of Belgian yeast and Continental hops, sort of a mustyness, a bit of lemon and pepper. Over time these come to dominate and you forget that this beer is dark. Roasted what, now?

Surprisingly easy to drink for what seems at first to be a peculiar combination of flavors. Definitely recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2011 04:11:45 | More by Errto
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice beer, had on tap at Churchkey in DC.

A: Dark, dark brown with purple highlights. Small ring of head.

S: Roasty nutty character overall. Belgian malt mixes with sweet and savory malt notes and dark fruit.

T: Great balance. Belgian style bases of malt and yeast go together with pecan/walnut, roasty malt, burnt dark fruit, and more. Nice beer.

M: Medium feel with light-medium carbonation.

D: It's nice.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2011 00:06:30 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of ahalloin


4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, this beer is classified in the wrong category. This is definitely a Belgian Stout.

Poured into a wide mouthed goblet.

Amber flushed dark brown fluid with slight light tan head. Head reduced to thin lace and a few spots floating atop the liquid.

The smell is really interesting with major nutty notes, slight coffee, caramel and some roasty quality. A spicy Belgian note pemeates the darker aromas. There is a very pure, layered aspect to the aroma. All the notes are cleanly evident without being muddied.

The taste exhibits the same qualities as the aroma with dark caramel, nuttiness, and slight roasty, surrounded by a spicy Belgian yeast character.

Mouthfeel is apropos with light carbonation but medium full mouthfeel.

Drinkability is very good with well balanced flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2011 22:09:32 | More by ahalloin
Photo of tbrown4


4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Max's (Baltimore) on tap

A - Mostly pitch black, thin tan head, thin sticky lacing

S - Light coffee and chocolate aroma

T - Nice and roasty, not too coffee or chocolately. Slight bitter middle that sticks through the end, then quickly disappears. Kind of reminds me of a stout. Not as much of a spice as I'd expect.

M - Decent carb feel and bite, thin and just enough to coat the mouth with flavor

D - Incredibly easy to drink. No alcohol hints at all. Could put back 2 or 3 without thinking about, which is dangerous at 7.4%

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2011 01:01:09 | More by tbrown4
Photo of timtim

District of Columbia

4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

another fantastic brew from Stillwater. Dark as night with a tan head that leaves attractive lace. nose is roast, toast, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, spice (star anise? something woody/barky?) and fruity, citrusy, piney, earthy hops. what i like so much about stillwater's beers, and his "dark" beers especially, is that somehow, he gets dark flavors to express themselves brightly (if that makes sense). the roast is right up front and the bitter from the hops and roasty (almost smoky) malts intermingle beautifully. chocolate, coffee etc in the middle and spiced roast at the end. picking up just a touch of peppery tingle too as it starts slick and ends up dry and crisp. clean finish on medium-full body that has just enough conditioning to really carry it. extra points for mouthfeel because he gets these flavors to "pop" like they do in such an elegant, delicate way. the mouth isn't left feeling coated and oily, and the stomach isn't left feeling bloated like so many other beers that touch on the same profiles. related to saison, related to black ipa, related to stout/schwarz. just like the rest of his beers; one foot in tradition and one foot in outer space. dig it. thanks brian. more please!!!

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2010 12:44:56 | More by timtim
Photo of johnmichaelsen


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's tonight.

The beer pours a darkish cola color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive, showcasing rootbeer, vanilla and some light burnt toast. The flavor profile replicates the nose, though there is some attractive saison flavors of honey and orange citrus as well. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, with a fairly dry, lightly hoppy finish. Drinkability is pretty good, with the alcohol almost completely unnoticeable.

Nothing really earth shattering here, but for all that, this was another tasty effort from Stillwater

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2010 23:16:44 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of DrDemento456


3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2014 03:56:07 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of jlindros


3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 22:53:41 | More by jlindros
Photo of GOBLIN


4.16/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Stillwater Artisanal Existent


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.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 01:58:58 | More by GOBLIN
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Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
86 out of 100 based on 450 ratings.