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Existent - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.
ExistentExistent

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

533 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 533
Reviews: 159
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.32%
Wants: 17
Gots: 51 | FT: 2
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 533 | Reviews: 159 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Sammy, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

t0rin0, Feb 21, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

djrn2, Aug 02, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Bilbo Baggins event with Brian welcoming Stillwater to Virginia. Brian described this as being inspired by a combination of a schwarzbier, IPA, and farmhouse ale.

Served into a wine glass. Pours nearly black with a one-finger tan head. Large carbonation bubbles with some pretty good lacing. The nose is quite earthy with a bit of light roots. Some slight resin as well. Maybe a bit of birch.

The taste adds in some nice bitterness with earthy and pine hops. Some really nice earthy notes. Slight wood and birch characteristics. The finish reminds me a bit of that of Life & Limb, which I'm thinking is due to birch in that one. Feel is light to medium with a nice, dry finish. This is really intriguing and tasty; looking forward to being able to grab this in bottles fairly often.

Thorpe429, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

zestar, Oct 11, 2013
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +5.3%

nmann08, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

acurtis, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brownish red in color (opaque when viewed from afar) and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The first pour resulted in light brown colored head than beer; subsequent pours resulted in increasingly proportions of beer compared to foam, the latter of which consistently left a head covering the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of earthy yeast and dark malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has additional flavors of roasted malts and some hints of dark fruits.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: I found this beer to be rather interesting for the style but overcarbonated. It almost seems like it should fit into a "Black Saison" category, just like there is one for a Black IPA (American Black Ale).

metter98, Mar 22, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A spectacular pour, with a densely packed tan head laying atop the coffee colored liquid; plenty of stickage and lace

Smell: The beer has the black bread aroma of a schwarzbier along with the citrusy hop character of an IPA

Taste: Black bread with an underlying smokey character, up front; joined by the the pithy citrus from the hops by mid-palate; in the back, well after the swallow, there is some yeasty complexity that could be described as adding a sour hint to the mix of flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderately high carbonation

Drinkability: There is a lot going on in this beer, though I would like to see a bit more of a Belgian character in the yeast profile and the mouthfeel; still, this is really worth seeking out

brentk56, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep dark color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and fruity ester with light funky notes is pretty unique and very interesting. Taste is also dominated by light roasted malt with some light funky ester and some what of a fruity and dry raisins finish. Body was quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very different and complex – almost like a mix between some element of a foreign stout and a farmhouse ale.

Phyl21ca, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I generally make distinctions between how Belgian brewers make authentic and high quality tasting ales and how American brewers try to emulate them. Where I usually think American versions fall short, I may have to re-evaluate that reason if beers like Existent becomes the new benchmark.

With a russet and tawny rubyish brown hue, the yeasty haze casts a mystic glow of eerie effect. The nearly opaque beer immediately releases a billowing sand-stained head which retains stubbornly and laces impressivley with random character on the glass.

Strong aromatics of toast, starch, burnt embers, and scorched molassas begin to frame the malty matrix. Not to be outdone, a balance of spice ensues- led by the scent of freshly cracked peppercorn, coriander, and grilled fruit, fennel, the beer's aroma is strong but never plays favorites. It has to be said that a light phenolic note of burnt plastic persists far in the background.

Flavors however do not. As the taste of dry heavy toast, cocoa powder, smoky mole, light vegemite , and spent coffee grounds provide a robust and creamy taste that starts early and extends well into the finish. But the middle palate of coriander, fennel, currant, red grapes, and curacao ride just above the starchy taste of spaghetti before landing at the dry threshold of dry toast and peppercorn that return in finish.

Medium-dry in texture, the high effervescence pushes the beer off the mouth and creates a sense of dryness from the very start. But as the carbonation subsides, its the interesting dialogue that continues with creamy maltiness and peppery spice. - all works toward an off-dry finish of acrid toast and dry spice to close the beer with minimal aftertaste.

Immediate comparisons come to mind with Goose Island's Pepe Nero. Existent pushes further into that balance of flavor with greater fruit, spice, and malt complexities while offering similar drinkability. Score one for Stillwater!

BEERchitect, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Texasfan549, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

very hazy, and very cloudy dark color coming forward, much darker then I thought it would be for the style. Nice head, maybe two inches with some really great retention and a wonderful bit of side glass lacing. Lots of carbonation was visible streaking up from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma was a little bit light for me to be honest. Some nice notes of yeast, grain, with lots of breadiness in the middle, not nearly the funky farmhouse ale I was expecting it to be. Lots of light fruit notes with hints of peppery spice dominating on the flavor. Quick hints of pear, peach, maybe some apple, all in that general family

mikesgroove, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +5.3%

kjkinsey, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

spycow, May 02, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Large off white head on a very deep amber dark body with nice lacing. Darker than any other farmhouse ale I have had.

S: mild fruity aroma with a slight mint and evergreen note.

T: Flavor is not so much like a traditional farmhouse. Up front you get the mild fruity and belgian yeast flavor you would expect with roasted malt, coffee, smokey notes in the finish.

M: full body and moderate carbonation. dry finish.

Overall: Very unique and interesting for the style. I rather have a traditional saison however this one is certainly memorable.

kylehay2004, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +5.3%

jaydoc, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this twice, the first time I bought a bottle for myself and opened it I found this brew to be quite hoppy. The color was black and just really nice looking overall. The smell was similar to a Belgian IPA with some roasted aromas in there too. The taste had some big citrus notes mixed with the dark malts too. The mouthfeel was light for a darker style brew, overall I enjoyed it both times I've had it. The second time after a few months had gone by I was given some and I noticed that the hoppy flavors and aromas were not nearly as strong. This had turned into a much more earthy brew with the aging it had. Pretty interesting how much a little time made on this one.

Knapp85, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of zeff80
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown color with a two-finger, light brown head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of dried dark fruits and candy sugar.

T - It tasted of rich maltiness, chocolate and cherries. A touch of spiciness, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a really tasty saison. Not surprising that Stillwater has done a great job here.

zeff80, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of biboergosum
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
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?'

biboergosum, Dec 08, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +5.3%

JAHMUR, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +5.3%

WVbeergeek, Feb 04, 2014
Photo of nickfl
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A gentle pour down the side of the glass produces a huge, four finger head of light brown foam on top of a dark brown body with just a touch of light showing through. The head settles slowly and leaves good lace behind on the glass.

S - A musty aroma of brown sugar, caramel, and some funky dark fruit notes.

T - Thick, dark caramel up front with some notes of chocolate and molasses that come out in the middle. The beer finishes with black cherry, burnt caramel, and some licorice.

M - Medium-thick body, high carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - A very different take on the world of saisons. The combination of dark malt and lightly fruity yeast works quite well and the light funky character really makes everything pop. Very nice, this brewery is really starting to remind me of other idiosyncratic saison brewers like Fantome and St. Somewhere.

nickfl, Apr 12, 2012
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Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
86 out of 100 based on 533 ratings.