Existent - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.

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

569 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 569
Reviews: 163
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.35%
Wants: 18
Gots: 53 | 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)
View: Beers (37) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 569 | Reviews: 163 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Antnyd82
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of kaelingirl
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of dumptruck81
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of ncaudle
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to tulip.

A - Very dark brown. Lots of head on the pour that slowly receded to a thin layer.

S - Bready malts. A touch of chocolate. Lighter Belgian yeast and spice notes are present but they aren't dominant like in many saisons.

T - Belgian yeast a touch of chocolate, raisin, dark fruit and spice. All the flavours are well integrated with nothing dominating, including the yeast characteristics.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Moderate carbonation.

Photo of Caskaway
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
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!

Photo of Travisnin
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of bradfordjohnson
2.5/5  rDev -34%

Photo of AgentMunky
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a brandy snifter.

A: Two fingers of off-white head. The beer is gorgeously black with ruby glints in direct light. Good lacing.

S: Muted and vague, with some zesty yeast. Spicy, but not that interesting.

T: Roasted Belgian yeast is the first thing that comes to mind. It's bizarre, but very tasty. The endtaste is long, lingering, and almost porterish in its chalky, nutty, clinging bitterness.

M: Generously full-bodied throughout, with a sense of flavour.

O: A nice beer, interesting and recommended. A sort of hybrid saison-porter. It's got the spicy yeast and the roasted malt. Would try again.

Photo of DonDirkA
4.48/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose is cloves, banana, caramel, kind of nutty, cinnamon and a slight hint of coffee. Taste is really similar, almost exactly but the cloves are strong and right up front followed by roasted notes and coffee all rounded out by banana. To me it tasted very Belgian, which isn't what I expected. One other reviewer said that if you blindfolded him and smelled it he'd think it was a stout or porter and I have to agree with that. I'd think a Belgian-style stout. It was nowhere near as heavy as a stout though. It had a very dry finish and was a real nice sipper. This is I think 4 out of 5 awesome beers from Stillwater in my books. Very awesome.

Photo of jbertsch
4/5  rDev +5.5%

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

Smells fantastic! It doesn't smell like any other Saison that I've had though, if I were in a blind tasting, I would consider this aroma as coming off of a porter or stout. Chocolate is the first thing I get, with pumpernickel black bread and a touch of light funk on the tail end of the aroma.

Very dark brown with ruby highlights where the light strikes. It has a light mocha froth head and lacing comes in the form of nice rings around the glass.

Existent is a beautiful beer! Upfront I get chocolate with a hint of sage. It lasts through the finish but is accompanied by this kind of gritty floral taste in the mid palate to the drying finish. Moderatly high carbonation with a smooth medium body. Tasting this reminded me of why I like Saison so much, and this has a nice twist on the style. I'll be enjoying this one for a while as I take my time with it.

Photo of vfgccp
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Towering khaki head with moderately loose bubbles.  Great retention and stellar lace. Deep mahogany body.

S - Dry nose.  Dandelions, mint, hay, roses, and Chardonnay.

T - Lightly toasted malt and caramel latte with great, dry, woody and floral hop notes throughout.

M - Refreshingly light body.  Nice carbonation.

O - Well executed. The delicious roast profile is prominent but well restrained, and manages not to overwhelm the otherwise light and brisk Saison frame that supports it.

Photo of frontalot
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of cpetrone84
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is black with a tan head. The nose is interesting, citrusy with an assertive smoke to it. Light peppery spice that is very faint. The taste is sweeter but not sugary, it has a faint smoke and some tropical fruit notes. Good soft body, gentle carb and dry finish.

Photo of stephens101
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a magnum of this at Lukas Liquors while visitng St. Louis.

Ok. Well what do we have here? Pours an unexpected brown and has a large, static tan head. Smells of yeast, earthy and musty with a bit of taffy and dark fruit toward the back. A second whiff brings forth some hops and molasses. Unique and very promising brew we have presented before us so far. Sour and tangy to the tongue up front, followed by more molasses, diacetyl, prunes and a hint of oak. Dry. Almost crisp. Has a medium body.

This is a different take on one of my new favorite styles. I only wish it was available in these parts because a revisit (or five) is definitely in the plans.

Photo of Brewsed
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours super-effervescent mahogany with 2+ fingers of tan head. Great head retention, good lacing

S: Vinegar, figs, woodyness

T: Brown bread, tart cherry, a bit of figs up front, some woody hops as well. A little bit of dark fruit & oakyness as this warms, some tartness too, just a touch of citric hop attack. Finishes dry, a touch tart, with lemons & grapefruit, slight woodyness, slight caramel sweetness

MF: Light bodied, lively carbonation, dry, balances nicely

Not a fave from Stillwater, but pretty good, pretty drinkable

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of WanderingFool
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Existent pours black into the glass, with a big, frothy light tan head on top. The foam dissolves slowly leaving behind a netted pattern of lace on the glass.

The aroma is sweet and malty with notes of bread, toffee, dark fruit, grapes and a touch of grass.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is slick and soft with mild carbonation. The flavor is mainly malty with some fruity notes. It begins with chocolate and caramel, followed by dark fruit, nuts and a touch of spice. It finishes dry with mild grassy bitterness. Once gone the dark fruit and chocolate linger.

Very tasty beer with great creamy mouth feel. Not really what I was expecting for a farmhouse ale.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle courtesy of lackenhauser pours a surprisingly dark brown color with a big, fluffy tan head. Nice retention, moderate lacing.

Nose is honeyed brett with a little bit of cocoa powder and carob. Sour fruits and SweeTarts. Very complex.

Taste throws out some wicked funk...lots of wood, some brett and a bit of tartness. A really well executed beer, has a little bit of everything. I’ve never been a big fan of black saisons, but this is the best one I’ve had in this pseudo-substyle. The roast and the tart combination is still a little odd, but they don’t seem to contrast as much here. I’ve had a few Stillwater beers now, and I’ve been pretty impressed with all of them.

Photo of rolltide8425
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of jh1982
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of jrenihan
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown, almost black. Big, frothy tan head. Good retention. Decent lacing.

Nose is filled with red grape, other dark fruit, coffee, roasted malt, a bit of yeast.

Taste contains a good dose of roasted malt, restrained dark fruit, a bit of funk. Finishes dry, a little bitter.

Medium bodied, low carbonation, a bit heavy.

Overall, decent. I find that the roasted element overpowers the saison element too much.

Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
85 out of 100 based on 569 ratings.