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Existent - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.

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

533 Ratings
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 BeerImmediately
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours without much tan head over a very dark brown body. Touch of lacing. Not your typical Saison.

Smells like a porter and nut ale hanging out together in a glass. Plenty of roasted malt, chestnuts, lightly smoky, with earth and root.

Incredibly smooth for a saison. Flavors are rich and roasty, with plenty of cola, and a charred wood finish. Light acidity, and light bitterness.

Quite creamy on the mouthfeel for a Saison. But maintains a fairly dry finish.

I really enjoyed this one - even tho it doesn't have a typical Saison quality... hence this being my highest score of the five.

BeerImmediately, Apr 06, 2011
Photo of farrago
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours maybe half a finger of the loosest foam you could imagine, the bubbles are large and impossibly thin, wispy lacing, if truly any. Very dark brown to black colored liquid, doesn't seem to possess any cloudiness, hint of orange or yellow around the rims and glass bottom. The nose has a grassy to herbaceous core but really is driven by cocoa powder, malt, powdered dark chocolate, all dry and dusty, slowly blends in orange peels, licorice and scone, maybe a brush of raw nuts, any fruit indistinct, same for florality. Medium-bodied, the weak carbonation makes it feel more stern and unyielding, pours itself into the mouth sort of like wet concrete. Very dry with the same bittersweet dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee bean fueled attack, about the only thing "wet" might be the grapefruit to orange citrus, even as sour as it is. Earthy enough with peat moss, lichen, fallen forest floor matter component, yet this too can't avoid the dryness of the high grade roast and toast. Minimal bread or yeast accents. Perhaps a slight uptick in fruit, this cherry, apricot, red grape in nature. It's as if it does not lack length per se, more so it just stops. Leaves you with this nagging feeling like you are missing its intended message.

farrago, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of Hoptometrist
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Hoptometrist, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of ocelot2500
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with a tight, tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smells of some slight fruits, roasted, and earthy tones.

Tastes of the roasted notes upfront with mild sweetness backing it. Coffee and over-toasted bread notes give way to some fruity notes that are characterized by apple and orange. Slight earthy bitterness comes on the end and rounds out the flavor. Spiciness also comes on the end with some pepper notes.

Mouthfeel is medium-light with a fine amount of carbonation.

Overall, not quite what I expect out of a saison since features roasted malt, but it is still quite nice.

ocelot2500, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Troubadour tulip.

Rose ebony body, extremely dark, but possibly clear, with ruby highlights around the edges of the glass when held to a strong light. Four fingers of insulation fills the top of the tulip, recedeing and thickening slowly to a lasting wheat colored stand of merengue. Dense soapy lacing drape over the sides like a blanket.

Musty/attic/barn aromatics along with buttermilk, coffee, and toast in the nose.

Fruit pits, alfalfa, beef jerky (faint smoke and peppercorn), and earth on the palate. Mild bitterness and faint fruitiness fades away into the finish which is dry and drawn out, with hints of rye, coffee, and molasses. Unusual.

Medium-bodied, soft, pillowy, with a delicate fleeting astringency.

When trying to characterize this ale, I have some difficulty nailing down it's stylistc origins - so I'll put that aside for the moment, heeding Nietzsche's words for a moment: "Art raises its head where creeds relax."

Fans of Bam Noire and other dark farmhouse ales, take note.

augustgarage, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of JRed
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black in body with red edges and off-white foamy head that eventually dissipates as the drink warms. Aroma of chocolate, dark fruit, prunes, and slight booze. Well balanced flavors of dark fruit, dark chocolate, earth, fades out with sour notes and dark chocolate that coat the sides of the tongue. Medium-heavy in body with light carbonation. A well balanced eclectic beer with sour notes, chocolate samples, and farmhouse leanings.

JRed, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay Goblet from a 750mL bottle. Pours deep black with an inch of tan head. Very nice lacing follows the beer down. Have not had a dark Saison before, but it looks very inviting.
The smell is rather weak and not nearly as appealing. Dark fruit, roasted malts with some bread and funk. Doesn't blend as well as I'd like.
The taste contains the same elements, but they blend a bit better. A plum or dark cherry is upfront with roasted bittersweet chocolate behind it. The hop notes are mostly herbal with a bit of grass and citrus. The yeast also makes a brief, but light appearance. Smooth and decently light going down.
I was very glad to try this beer, the bottle disappeared pretty quick. Stateside was my first Stillwater beer and this one certainly makes me interested in trying some more of their beers.

OBeerMeGreatOne, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of MbpBugeye
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

MbpBugeye, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of Daniellobo
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice take on a dark and sweet farmhouse ale.

Presentation: 750 ml brown capped bottle. Dark brown label with a reversed/negative/solarized framed portrait of Friedich Nietzsche. Side narrative notes intent, main ingredients, and general characteristics quoting the philosopher. Notes 7.4% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Black pour with deep brown edges, short head with minimal retention, faint surface memory and little lacing.

S - Roasted touches, sweet fruit lingering in the nose as it embraces a yeasty whiff.

T - Nice chase in the flavor with the fruit coating the earthy roastness, herbal touch, and an overall soft sweetness that is rather nice.

M - Medium body with low carbonation and a smooth flow.

D - Very pleasing, there is something in the overall cogent result that makes it particularly drinkable for me.

Notes: Not a fav from Stillwater but it is mid/upper tier. I also was lucky to have it on cask, and while slightly more stimulating it is surprisingly nice on this occasion to see how this one is pretty close to that version.

Daniellobo, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of Leftfield00
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased the 750mL bottle at my local store, Sonoma Wines in Glastonbury. The young guy working there described it as somewhere between a stout, a black ipa, and a saisson. I really have no idea what to expect from that description...

Pours almost black, but with just a touch of lighter hue, like a really, really dark brown. Very little foam arises, unless I swirl it heavily. The foam that does appear is a dark tan/coffee color, and disappears pretty quickly.

It smells like a soft/curious black ipa. There is definitely some notable hops present, but mild. There is some unique aromas of yeast/funk, cocoa, smoke, and more that I can't quite put my finger on. It really does smell like a black ipa crossed with a stout.

The taste follows through perfecty! It's deep and dark like a stout, nice notes of caramel, chocolate, and smoke, as well as some mild hops. As the beer warms, the stout side of it subsides, and the hops and other flavors come through stronger. There is some subtle hops, mostly floral more than bitter. There is also some evidence of a belgian yeasty/funky/fruitiness to it.

It really does seem like a blend between a stout, black ipa, and a saisson! That kid's description was right on the money! I'm not sure this is a beer I'd have frequently. It's very drinkable, but it's somewhere between huge and awesome (like World Wide Stout) and easy and drinkable (like Weihenstephan).

Recommended, but not incredible

Leftfield00, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 750 mL bottle from Shawan. Thanks to anniesak.

A: The saison is black, a dark deep ruby red color on closer inspection. Along with the darkness, a white head arrives with the pour, standing in sharp contract to the body.

S: Coffee and burnt toast drive a full, stout-like nose. All is not lost though. Creeping through the blackness, a sweet yeasty aroma emerges. Candi sugars, apples and pears are prominent amongst the darker elements.

T: The darkest, most roasted saison in the Stillwater oeuvre, this one packs a Schwarzbier/stout punch. Dark, overly roasted malts set the stage with molasses, chocolate, coffee and burnt toast. The stark landscape dominates the first half of each sip. At that crucial midpoint, things detour to the sweeter side. Yeast and sugars pick up the pace, adding pear and apple to the mix. The harsh flavors are cut nicely as the Belgian side takes over. When taken as a whole, the saison is dark and mysterious; plenty flavorful though.

M: Another beer that is best served from a bittle at home. Time allows it to warm up, releasing the saison elements (perhaps a catch-all term). I am much more impressed with this one, as compared to the tap version.

D: The dark malts make the ale feel bigger than it is. Deception work, forcing me to take my time. A nice take on dark saison.

akorsak, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of avalon07
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick, opaque texture. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. OK lacing.

S: A solid aroma of chocolate, malt, coffee and bit of yeast.

T: Tasted of coffee, a nice amount of chocolate, malt, some Belgian yeast, and spices. Tasted more like a porter than anything else, but was still a good flavor.

M: This beer is in need of carbonation, but it does have a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: As I said, this is not a classic saison. It's not my favorite of Stillwater's beers, but it's still tasty and drinkable.

avalon07, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of corby112
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

corby112, Feb 19, 2011
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 drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer is pretty dark, served in Stillwater Artisanal Ales wine glass (because I can), it's nearly black / dark brown with a thick head of tan bubbles, small with great retentions, slightly over carbonated but it leaves lacing on the glass, overall looks good.

Aroma is surprisingly lacking of any roastiness, mostly a spice or a yeastiness, estery.

Beer is thin in body and a little sweet / alcoholy on the get go. The following is an interesting spiciness that I can't quite put my finger on. The beer is nicely carbonated on the palate, the finish is mildly bitter, no aftertaste, overall it's a nice beer, just not my favorite from them so far.

drabmuh, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of mmercede
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

mmercede, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of jrbuch
2.88/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in Brewer's Art Goblet.

A: Approx 25 SRM. Extremely dark for the style with almost no head. Surprising for an American Farmhouse Ale.

S: For a AFA, I would have expected a lot more. The smell is faint but sweet, roasty and some pear. A mild hop presence. Minimal esters

T: Roasted and chocolate. Some hop. More like a porter

M: This beer doesn't have enough body or carbonation.

D: Overall a fine beer. Not an American Farmhouse Ale. More esters, less harsh malts but equally dark, stronger carbonation with a heavier mouthfeel could help here.

jrbuch, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

25oz bottle into a pint glass and some..

Existent is black from a far but deep burnt brown up front with some red peeking through with some light. A hard pour produced zilch. There was also no hiss when the cap was popped.

Smell is a hoppy brown beer, I would not really classify this as a saison as roasted malts and some tootsie rolls come out. A fair amount of earthy pungent hops ans some chocolate//cocco. Can't really pick up any yeast.

Can't really pick up where this beer is going, many directions, Im leaning towards hoppy brown with a Belgian kick. Some nutty characteristics of a dubbel, bready belgian yeast influence, chocolate and roast from the malts. Dark fruits are tame and give off some berry flavor.

Feel is tame, not spritzy enough, this kinda comes off flat. Body is medium and carb is almost non existent, yep I went there. The liquid semi coats the tounge with malt galore and some berry.

After about seven ounces or so, this wore on me and I still had 18 ounces to go. This was a chore and I drank it all cause I paid for it. A 12oz bottle would of been fine.

This is something strange and different. I don't know if I like it or not. Points for creativity though. It's just that I don't know what this beer is trying to be.

BARFLYB, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of oline73
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

oline73, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of clickpush
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into pint glass. Flat looking body with large foamy bubbles that reduce to tiny halo. Smell is piny with hints of roasty funk. Very hoppy smell. Taste is similar with lingering viscous, roasty farmhouse. Still hoppy without being bitter. Mouthfeel is flat and lacklustre. Chewy finish.

clickpush, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of BSLemoine
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It took a bottle with my man Freddie on the front to get me to finally review a beer!

750 mL Bottle purchased 1/19/11. Served at 50 F, reviewed until 60 F.

A - Nearly pitch black and completely opaque. Cream colored, thin, lacy head. Almost no apparent carbonation.

S - Roasty and nutty nose. No fruitiness save a light citrus nose. Slight herbal hopiness.

T - Dark roasted coffee, tart and broad fruitiness. Slight earthy dank.

M - Medium (+) thick and velvety mouth feel with a balancing acidity and bitterness. Very little carbonation. The tart and bitter linger.

Not a bad beer but underwhelming. I was hoping more from a Nietzsche inspired beer (although Nietzsche thought beer made people stupid so go figure). Light aromatics and a less than complex palate, however the body was quite nice. I would drink it again, but I prefer many other Dark Saisons (I agree with the comment before that this is really more of a Belgian Stout).

BSLemoine, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of mdfb79
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

mdfb79, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was pleasantly surprised by and really enjoyed this beer. I didn't have low expectations or anything (I got a batch of cellar door that had, I guess, an abnormally large deposit of white sage, fell in love with it) but from the first sip I was sold.

It's almost like a hollowed out ten fidy from Oskar Blues - whereas that might pour like motor oil, this one's a little less syrupy. It was complex and very drinkable. Can't wait to have another.

petacutlasaurus, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of Errto
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Errto, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of koopa
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Capone's in Norristown PA.

Appearance: Pours a dark chestnut brown with a 1 finger off white crown that displays moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Moderately roasted malt, chocolate malt, a slight cherry fruity note, and a tinge of alcohol.

Taste: Same as nose but more pungent all around.

Mouthfeel: A fairly nice medium body with active carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly easy going down but the mouthfeel and alcohol presence limit it.

koopa, Jan 15, 2011
Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
86 out of 100 based on 533 ratings.