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Existent - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

174 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 174
Hads: 624
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 19
Gots: 65 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 174 | Hads: 624
Photo of GOBLIN
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
2.87/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of reebtaerG
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of heygeebee
2.9/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

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Photo of smcolw
3.39/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

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Photo of JeanDuteau
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
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?'

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Photo of JasonLovesBeer
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of Seanniek91
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.8/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
2.3/5  rDev -40.1%
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.

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Photo of Aleks_P
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.15/5  rDev -18%
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...

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Photo of Erbayd
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
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

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Photo of DIM
4.07/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of DjangoThePackageMang
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of Kerfluffel
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Rich cola exit from the bottle sits a flat black in the vessel accompanied by a 3+ finger porous, foamy, dark khaki colored head. Retention was good, sloppy patchwork lacing with a covering that sticks around for most of the drink.

S: For aroma some root-beer, sweet cola, soft nutty maltiness with some sweetened vanilla coffee roast with a moderate amount of awareness.

T: Flavor of coffee, roasted chocolate bitterness, nutty attributes, small grainy muskiness, dried cola with a roasty dry bitterness. A hint of sweet fennel, warm pine and some woodsy notes. Some creamer lingers over the coffee roast with a warm dry honey sweetness.

M: Mouthful was moderate carbonation, yeasty roastiness with some creaminess and a dry bitterness.

O: Overall drinks like a belgian stout, good yeasty attributes, smooth creamy roastiness and chocolate base. Good variation of spiciness, funkiness, solid good.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled April 4th 2013.

A nice dark walnut brown body, with light mocha pin head bubbles at first coming from the body. Settles with a large styrofoamy head, light tan and foamy retention appearance.

Nice subtle nose here. Light brett and dark sucrose with matching raisin and Belgian classic sweetness. Kind of dry, and a nice light fruit component and subdued quality. Kind of a dry sourdough dark bread going on.

First sip brings some nice dark malt and brown sugar sweetness, then quickly the palate gets incredibly dry with lots of crisp and dry brett action. Good mild hop sting, with a large sour and dry yeasty finish. Real nice balance between sweetness and brett dry qualities. Sweet palate fills with raisin and fig, with the dry qualities coming with dark sourdough brown bread, and a near champagne texture.

Overall a very solid and fun offering from Stillwater.

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Photo of mverity
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of cbutova
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The third of the Stillwater 4-packs, how will this stand up to the others...

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into an over-sized tulip glass. The body is pretty much black but some dark brown can be seen as light shows through around the edges. A nice light brown head forms with a frothy, creamy texture and about one finger high. Retention is good and lacing is super spotty.

S- Strong Saison yeast up front with the dark malts in the background. Yeast notes of fruit, apple, banana, and some spice like clove and nutmeg. Nutty, brown sugar and slight roast malt hints behind that. Warmth helps to open the roastiness and some rich depth.

T- Things re-arrange here but the same basic spicy dark Belgian ale feeling stays put. The fruits feel darker here, maybe combined with roast bitterness and I get a strong spiced raisin and cherry feeling. Nutmeg, banana, roast grains, pepper and plum all come to mind. Definitely comes close to hitting that medicinal feel.

MF- Very foamy and somewhat creamy overall feel to a moderate-light body. Carbonation is high, hence the foaminess, and there is a pretty strong spicy bitterness in the finish. Slight alcohol heat. Just a bit abrasive.

I would be very interested to learn the true differences in recipe between this and something like Cellar Door. The fruits all feel like raisin and cherry and overall it is super spicy like a Dark Belgian Christmas brew. Good and complex but is somewhat harsh with the spicy bitterness and slight alcohol heat.

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Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
86 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.