Existent - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

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ExistentExistent

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BA SCORE
85
very good

606 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 606
Reviews: 173
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.61%
Wants: 20
Gots: 64 | 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: 606 | Reviews: 173
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.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of jlindros
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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 BoldRulerVT
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of VelvetExtract
2.87/5  rDev -24.3%
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.

Photo of BierJager89
4.26/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours (from an epically philosophical bottle) black with a foamy light mocha head.

S: Pineapple, orange and some pine.

T: Lots of pine, citrus, lemon, orange, citrus rind, deliciousness.

M: Somewhat overly carbonated and on the full side of medium bodied.

O: Tastes essentially like a good black IPA, but feels like a saison. Delicious and definitely worth a try.

Photo of reebtaerG
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle dated ?/4/13 poured into Chimay glass

A-Pours dark brown with a thin beige head. Decent lacing.

S-Aroma is earth, yeast, clove, toffee, spice.

T-Tastes malty, slightly sour, slightly sweet, hints of herbs, citrus, doughy and bread.

M-Light body and low/medium carbonation.

O-Decent beer by Stillwater perfect for a cold winter night.

Photo of heygeebee
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From Sydney Wine merchants. Bottled 4/13. Fridged.

A- brown red body, one finger head. Modest sheet lace

S - English malts, toffee, liquorice(!)

T - same as smell, real mis mash and where is the earthy yeast a la Saison. No funk, no barnyard, add toffee , caramel, burnt BBQ, vanilla. And liquorice...

M - moderate carb, medium weight.

O - oh dear, what happened, an English Ale as a saison? And missing the flavour for the ABV. Burnt flavours come thru as it warms.... Pass.

Photo of smcolw
3.39/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Photo of bennetj17
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown/amber color, with a rich tan foam. Head settles slightly but never fully dissipates. Aroma has an interesting mix dark fruit and light spice. Hints of brown sugar malt are inviting.

There is a superb mix of flavors in this beer. Touches of brown sugar and plum fruit are well integrated, but never too sweet. The beer is fairly dry, with some light earthy spice abound. Strong, tingly carbonation. Medium body, finishes clean.

Overall I feel this beer exceeded my expectations. Complex and balanced, it is a nice sipper which keeps my interest throughout the glass. I think I will be more inclined to try other Stillwater offerings.

Photo of JeanDuteau
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A roast sweet smell with hints of caramel, this poured nice an dark with a good head that laced well and did not dissipate quickly. A nice fizz up front that did not overwhelm, I could taste the roast and the sweetness. A wonderfully balanced beer that had a pleasant lingering aftertaste.

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 JasonLovesBeer
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nearly black brown with a puffy tan dense head that lasts - the head is the only farmhouse ale trait so far.

S: Bready yeasts, some citrus, spices hiding back there as well.

T: Roasted coffee, saison yeast notes, there is also that saison apple/apricot character too. Slight cocoa. Really interesting and quite pleasant.

M: Saison-like body despite the colour and flavour.

O: Really enjoyable variant of the veritable farmhouse ale - another enjoyable brew from Stillwater.

Photo of Seanniek91
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Hill Farmstead stemmed tulip.

Appearance- Black with quick, bubbly ivory head. Expected more of a head than actually came out.

Smell- Malts, light cocoa, mild grassy hops, slightly roasty. Not too much happening here.

Taste- Pretty roasty. Some coffee, some light grassy hops, mild stone fruits and spice. Definantly some saison characteristics, but the malts are dominant and roasty. As it warms up coffee comes out more.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation, nice body, no heat, smooth and easy to drink.

Overall-Not bad, but certainly nothing to write home about.

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 Lawl3ss
2.3/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Chilled 12 oz bottle into a 33 cl snifter. Bottling date 4.25.13.

Look- Deep brown, quite clear but you can't see through the glass. Pours with two fingers of soapy foam that falls quickly, minimal lacing.

Smell- Mild, toasty aroma. Lightly floral, some wet hay. Swirling brings out stone fruit and something vegetal.

Taste- Nutty, dry, light peppery spice and baker's chocolate. Meaty, buttery flavor in the finish- farmhouse, yeah, but this much DMS and diacetyl makes me think this is just off.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full body, mild prickly carbonation on the sip. Dry-ish finish, but coating, milky feel left afterwards.

Overall- Some farmhouse experiments are worthwhile, but this just seems like a really crappy brown ale. Maybe This is generally a good beer, but the brewers need to keep their culture in check. Didn't finish it.

Photo of Aleks_P
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours very dark brown, can't see through it unless held directly up to light and even then only on the edges. Very thin head that dissipates quickly. Surprised to see a dark farmhouse ale, that is a first for me.

Smell: Don't pick up the spices like you normally would for this style. Smell more of a malty caramelly sweetness. Again, uncharacteristic for the style but interesting.

Taste: Doesn't look or smell like a farmhouse but tastes like one. Pick up some pepper and spice, and while the malt gives it some smoothness I taste the earthiness and spice.

Mouthfeel: Nice light carbonation and very smooth, not particularly dry. Lingering taste is a bit sweet, not really bitter.

Overall: Very interesting beer, my second from this brewery and I am impressed. A contradiction for the style, or at least my understanding of it, as it is a dark-looking beer with some sweetness but the real flavor is true to the style. I really like this beer overall.

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 Erbayd
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into Newcastle Geordie Schooner glass (spoils from Kip's trivia!!)

A: pours a clear dark brown with small amount of white foam

S: roasty, nutty, smokey malt with light fruity grape-like notes as well.

T: roasted malt flavor is most prominent, very little bitterness. Finishes with a prominent sour/citrusy flavor and a hint of dark fruits. The tart cider flavor definitely starts to stand out more as it warms up. Smooth finish and slightly grassy aftertaste. Little to no alcohol taste.

M: light with plenty of carbonation

O: Very pleasant and definitely different from what you'd typically expect from a Saison. A great combination of flavors and definitely worth checking out if you get the chance! I look forward to exploring more of Stillwater's selection

Photo of DIM
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

a: Dark, clear, cherry cola brown; pours with a medium sized, fizzy off- white cap.

s: Mild overall, but appealing. Dark breadiness, minerals, a hint of citrus, some prickly yeastiness, and a bit of roast.

t: Interesting, and difficult to describe. Bready overall, bread made with mineral water. The finish is an odd combination muted citrus, mildly dry saison yeast, and a nice hit of roasted malt.

m: Kind light with gently fizzy carbonation.

o: A unique experience for me, I really enjoyed this one.

Photo of DjangoThePackageMang
3.77/5  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.

Photo of Kerfluffel
4.65/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark brown with reddish hues and a nice light tan head with great retention and lovely lacing. Very attractive brew.

S: Just amazing, deep and complex. Smoky roasted malts accompany rich dark fruits and yeast funk. Notes of raw cacao and brett. I can't stop smelling this stuff.

T: Malty goodness, roasty and slight chocolate. Mildly sour and moderate hopping. Notes of figs, pumpernickel, brett, citrus, apples, and so much more. This brew evolves and changes it seems. Not as spectacular as the nose but still quite delicious.

M: Surprisingly light, perfect carbonation. Mild bitterness, dry.

O: One word: spectacular. One of my new favorite brews.

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.

Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
85 out of 100 based on 606 ratings.