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A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2) - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

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A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2)A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2)

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BA SCORE
88
very good

312 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 312
Reviews: 128
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 21
Gots: 32 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 11-13-2010

Brewed at Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus in Deinze-Gottem, Belgium with Dr. Canarus. This black saison carries qualities similar to a stout with light roast and burnt sugar flavors, spiced with Rose Hips, Hibiscus, & Schisandra berries.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 312 | Reviews: 128
Reviews by Neffbeer:
Photo of Neffbeer
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown color hinting at black with a tan head. Brimming foam with excellent pillow-like retention.

S: It smells very herbal and floral. There a notes of chocolate and bread along with some notable fruitiness. A bit of funkiness lingers at the end of the whiff, very interesting.

T: The roasted flavor is much more pronounced than the smell. Chocolate and caramel are present with a hint of berries. The herbal/floral character surfaces in the middle and it finishes dry and slightly funky.

M: Light and bubbly, it expands magnificently.

D: This is a really interesting brew from Stillwater that I would not hesitate to pick up again. It is a bit of a style bender for sure!

More User Reviews:
Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brown (near black) in color and poured with a finger high off white head that quickly faded away and left a ringer of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of dark fruits and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some flavors of chocolate malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Looks like a Belgian stout, what with an opaque chocolate color and a tightly bubbled foamy head; outlines the glass with a streak of lace

Smell: Roasted grain, filberts and unsweetened baker's chocolate

Taste: Opens with the roasted grain flavors and moves in a toffee and filbert direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the unsweetened chocolate adds depth but the finish was very dry

Mouthfeel: Medium body with gently, but frothy, carbonation

Overall: While I liked the beer I cannot help but think that something was missing, and that something was the interesting yeast character that I look for in a great saison

Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle, Best Before June 2012 on the right lower portion of the label.

Pours near black, under a larger then large and billowing medium mocha head, that stays and stays, leaving a thick collar, low sheeting and heavier bean shaped blobs of lacing.

Nose of vanilla, sweets, powdered sugar and toasted maple malts.

Delicate and complex, more lighly toated malt, maple, marshmellows, then some light chocolate shows its face and joins the party. I get some sort of a lightly perfumed or flowery note. Strawberries picked up, but not sure if I could have put my finger on this unusual taste without looking at a few earlier reviews...
Different, interesting, strangly refreshing. Well worth a try. Worth the splurge for Belgian style beer lovers.

Photo of BenHesk12
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark coffee black similar to a frothy porter. Smell is malty and yeasty. I think for the style this is an excellent beer. Nothing truly knocks you out flavor-wise but I must say that it's a great mix of a mild saison and a mild porter. Mouth feel may be the best part, extremely soft with a faint but not wimpy carbonation. Overall I'm drinking a well balanced mix of an elegant saison with some roasty porter flavors and dark color, I like it.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Malty dark dried fruit – fig to date – dominate the nose. the beer ours brilliant deep chestnut with a 1” off-white foam cap.
The palate is big and fruity with dark dried fruits predominating over background grain flavors.
The beer is very creamy with a medium full body and medium high carbonation.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

375ml bottle at fridge temp poured into a tulip. Not freshness info.

Pours out almost black, actually a dark ruby red in the light. Small layer of light tan colored head with some average retention. No real lacing. A decent amount of streaming carbonation bubbles.

Aroma is a bit lackluster. Lots of fruity and yeasty esters, some plum/ sugar plum, the slightest hint of alcohol. As it's warmed up you get a slight hint of a creaminess typically associated with the French saison strain of yeast.

Kind of comes together a bit more in the taste. Lots of sugar plum. Fruity yeast esters, a bit phenolic, a bit of a brown sugar sweetness, the tiniest hints of spice on the back of the palate. Finishes clean.

Has a nice effervescence and a strong carbonation, a touch of a sweet sticky feel that let's you know this is a dark saison. Feels like you would expect a Belgian dark ale to feel.

A pretty good beer, not really sure if I would buy this again, mostly due to the price tag, but it's worth one try. This could easily pass for a Belgian dark ale.

Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on 05/19/14.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown with a lot of bubbles. About two fingers of tan head that quickly fade into a thin patchy layer. Leaves some decent lacing.

Smell: A yeasty, spicy, and roasty dark Belgian style aroma with hints of chocolate and funk. Belgian yeast with some hints of clove, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and funk. Also some hints of the rose hips and berry. Dark roasted malt with hints of chocolate, dough, biscuit, caramel, toffee, grains, and straw. Dark fruit hints of cherry, grapes, raisin, and plum. Sweet hints of brown sugar. Also some subtle earthy and floral hops. A pretty solid and interesting aroma.

Taste: Like the smell, a spicy, yeasty, and roasty Belgian style taste with good notes of sweet chocolate and funk. Belgian yeast with some upfront notes of clove, black pepper, funk, cinnamon, and ginger giving a winter like spice taste. Subtle floral and fruity notes come through from the added berries and rose hips. Sweet dark roasted malt with notes of chocolate, cocoa, biscuit, dough, caramel, toffee, straw, and grains. Dark fruit notes of raisin, plum, grapes, and cherry. Background notes of earthy hops. A pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Spicy and somewhat prickly with a drying finish. Alcohol heat is minimal.

Overall: A pretty solid twist on a Belgian style Saison. Good mix of Belgian and winter like spices with some dark malt.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown color with a cream-colored head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of dark malts with hints of roastiness. Also present are moderate amounts of spices – allspice and cardamom – and slight dark chocolate aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Slightly dry dark malts up front are joined quickly by slight amounts of medium fruits and spices. Midway through the flavor profile dries out further after roasted malts come into play, carrying through to a mildly bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall this is another solid saison from Stillwater, but I’ve yet to have a dark saison that I really enjoyed. This one was one of the better that I’ve had though, and is worth a shot.

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a half of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Good, earthy aromas of bready, toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked French baguettes, as well as Belgian yeast, candied sugar, licorice, and a touch of dark molasses.

Taste: Delicious! Toasted malt up front, followed by lots of Belgian yeast, candied sugar, some licorice, black pepper, a touch of some dried stone fruits, such as apricots and dates, finished with a touch of piney, hoppy bitterness. An interesting aspect of this beer’s flavor is that it is really short up front, almost non-existent, but really long on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and pretty effervescent as there is quite a bit of carbonation. With an ABV of 8.0%, there is no alcohol on the palate, as it is very well masked.

Overall: This is another damn good beer from Stillwater. Highly recommended.

Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle. Spiced with rose hips, hibiscus, and Schisandra berries. More weird Asian fruit ingredients - cool.

This beer pours a hazy, very dark reddish brown colour, with two fingers of thinly foamy, fizzy pale beige head, which leaves a few upward strands of sea plume lace around the glass as things drop away.

It smells of grainy, somewhat roasted biscuity malt, medicinal dark fruits - cherry and prune - a spicy rye sweetness, mild barnyard funk, paint thinner, spent yeast, overripe apples, mildly herbal cloves, and a bit of crumbling forest-floor woodiness. The taste is lightly toasted bready, grainy malt, brown sugar, edgy yeast, softly sour red berries, a hint of stale black coffee, earthy anise, faint musty funk, a fading medicinal fruitiness, a tame floral, ethereally perfumed alcohol warming.

The bubbles are decently supportive, and a tad spritzy, the body an adequate medium weight, with a rising metallic edge that more or less precludes smoothness. It finishes off-dry, the sweetness fairly tempered by yeast, spice, and roast.

A pleasant enough experiment, the base saison pretty overwhelmed by the roasted character, as well as the fruit and floral notes. It all comes together for the most part, another step on the road to new style attainment, which seems to be a specialty of this particular gypsy brewer.

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark murky body, with initial abundant foamy head that dissipitates. Chocolate aroma, above all else. Lactose, creamy milk chocolate taste, with some sourness in the finish. Some spices in the secondary, chipolte-like, that remain on the lips.Above-average mouthfeel, and then its gone, great dinkability.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Import Series Vol. #2: Dark Saison Ale
brewed and bottled by Stillwater at Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus in Deinze-Gottem, Belgium.
Imported by 12 Percent, Brooklyn, NY

The "dark" saison is surprisingly dark, pouring a black body that allows no light to pass through it. Atop, a frothy head of tan drops steadily from a finger thick crown to a thin creamy cap. the head retention is amazing, and it will maintain a solid surface covering throughout the entire glass.

The aroma is also surprisingly dark, delivering an edge of roastiness and a bit of dark chocolate along with some sweet golden caramel. Some soft red fruitiness is present as well, along with a subtle touch of spice.

In the flavor the dark malt dominates, although a bit of cardamom seems to be appearing as well. There's a nice, soft dark chocolate note to it, and the sweet golden caramel note found in the nose reappears across the middle as it warms a bit. It then it becomes slightly bitter before a flash of dark chocolate roastiness leads it into a dry, short-lingering finish.

In the mouth it's medium-light bodied, and the moderate natural carbonation leaves it velvety smooth across the palate.

Rather nicely done. It's not the first dark saison I've tasted (although it is the darkest), but it's certainly one of the most balanced and rounded. It's quite rich without being overdone; and I wonder what foods this would pair with. Well worth seeking out!

Photo of dirtylou
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap, paradiso - georgetown

paired with a a stout-cherry pizza topped with duck

appearance: to my surprise, this arrives in a vessel presenting a dark mahogany beer. i saw the saison description but didnt read the word "darkly"

smell: roasty, cocoa, spice, anise

taste: I'm not a dark-saison enthusiast really - i just feel like a saison should be light and funky, not dark and roasty. This offering features a decent amount of spice, anise, cocoa, roasty flavors, light yeast, touch of dark fruit. it's a fine beer, but it's just not what i look for in a saison

mouthfeel: light, roasty

drinkability: good

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle poured into an RR -tion glass. Batch #2, best by October 2012.

Appearance - Pours a murky dark brown with a bit of a head that's gone in a flash. Looks a little lifeless after a few minutes.

Smell - Chocolate malts on showcase, but all sorts of strange aromas in the background. They struggle to come through, though. Brighter fruits, but I couldn't specify. Maybe a touch of banana.

Taste - Less dominated by the chocolate malt, but it's still quite present. More yeasty than the aroma. Woody in flavor. Again, it's all very difficult to pin down. Brief fruit flavors that yield to bananas again.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, but light and easy to drink. Not a lot of carbonation, but enough.

Overall - I don't think I love it, but it's pretty good. Interesting more than it is good. More defined flavors would help a lot.

Photo of Kegatron
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle into a wine stem.

Pours a deep, dark amber/brown, with a couple fingers of fizzy mocha head. This peters down pretty quickly, retaining with mostly gentle foamy edging that leaves back a light cascade of spotty lacing. The aroma smells of ripe dark fruit, spice, and then a roastier malt presence across the back. This is mostly dark fruit and spices though.

The taste is similar, with dark malt, darker fruit, and an earthy hop presence. Plenty of spice is present too, which hangs strong in the finish along with a touch of dry bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and while mellow up front, this prickles up with some strength on the tongue. This has a pretty lively feel to it that matches up well with the spice.

I didn’t really get this one. Fruit, dark malts, and spice are what stood out to me the most here but the overall profiles just had a flat feel to them that didn’t get me excited in any way. I do like the label on this though and it’s basically what made me take a chance on it. I guess it did its job.

Photo of thagr81us
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared this one at an impromptu Hobo Tasting #7 with mikesgroove which turned out to be a good time in an Ingles parking lot out of the trunk of my Audi with my AR-15 in-check to keep the haters out! Served from a bottle into a Southern Tier tulip. Poured a deep dark brown with a half finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, raisins, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, and dark fruit. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. They hit the nail on the head adding 'darkly' to the name with all of the dark fruit presence going on in this one. There was very little saison presence going on in this one for me. Which didn't bother me too much if I'm honest as the rest of the brew seemed to carry quite nicely. I could have probably had a few of these and not grown tired of the flavors going on here, but that would be about it. Glad I got to finally tick this one.

Photo of Bung
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.7 Very dark pretty much black pour, light tan head. Pretty good staying power and laces ok.

Aroma, yeasty and rye like spice. Light toasted malt, chocolates, some molasses and citrus. Pretty interesting.

Taste, Toasty malt, grains, yeast, chocolate, peat. Wide array of flavors very well integrated. Christmas spiced cocoa finish. Reminded me a bit of some of the HaandBryggeriet stuff.

Medium bodied, very well coating, but very easy to put down. Good amount of carbonation but it is very fine. Alcohol is non-existent.

These dark Saisons have really been hitting the spot for me. Kind of like lighter accented stouts or some sort of opposite of barrel aging stouts.

I smell the need for a new style here...

Photo of akorsak
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's. A dark saison.

A: The ale is a caramel brown, dark with a mild radiance. A thin white head came along for a brief ride.

S: Dark malts, caramel and rye, drive the nose. The ale is very spicy, floral with a Belgian mustiness. A peppery sage aroma runs underneath the surface.

T: Herbal and fruity, this saison is unusual. The flowers were a little much at first, overpowering alongside the darker malts. As the ale sat, the sweetness emerged. Flowers and herbs are still the driving force, sickly sweet with plenty of sweet yeast by-products.

M: The darker flavors need some time to warm up, slow to emerge. When they do, the ale gets much more complex.

D: I'm on the fence. Complex? Yes but it takes a little long to get going. The Wine Source was all out of bottles, so I'm on the prowl for one to try from the comfort of my couch.

Photo of Rutager
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Alpineclimber for this and many other great beers.

Appearance. Pours a deep brown with a massive frothy, khaki head.

Smell. Funky and spicy saison yeast, chocolate and a bit of dark berries.

Taste. Lots of creamy milk chocolate with that funky saison yeast, a little bit of dark berries and fruit in there and a very subtle floral quality.

Mouthfeel. Medium plus body, low amount of soft carbonation.

Overall. Interesting stuff for sure, haven't tasted a beer quite like it. Good flavours and a cool twist on the saison. Thanks again Alpineclimber!

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark black color ale with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of solid rustic malt with light funky ester with some light spices notes also easily identifiable. Taste is a somewhat unique mix between some roasted malt with dry notes with light funky yeast ester and some spices also discernable. The hibiscus and berries were quite hard to distinguish. Body is quiet full with great carbonation. Interesting experiment with good balance between different ingredient but not something I would necessarily seek on a regular basis.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Gehrig13 for this long time want.

Pours very dark, sort of a dark, dark brown, almost black. A dark tan head adorns, dissipating to a slight foamy ring. Definitely the most roasty dakr saison I've had. Slightly burnt, with noticeable spice notes, yeasty esters. The taste has some sweetness up front, a hint of fruitiness, roasted malts with some sweet toast, spices and yeast esters. The carbonation is a bit nippy. Light to medium body.

Overall, it's quite enjoyable. Dark saisons are a unique thing and no two are alike, but this is a nice and more roasty iteration.

Photo of smakawhat
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Batch #3 best before October 2013. This is one of the neatest labels I've ever seen.

A real light cocoa tan head very foamy and soapy quite large off the pour but settles nicely. Body color is truly darkly, very dark walnut, the few places the body gets thin it actually looks purple edged. This is neat looking. Later examining the bottom of the bottle has a huge chunk in it.

Bouquet is a real nice sense of purple grape without a big sweetness at first. THat sensation though doesn't return. Some small sugars, faint wild yeast maybe? and milk chocolate powder. Sort of reminding me of a porter saison mix.

Extremely classic crisp saison palate. Nice hot yeast feeling, and the senses on the nose come just as expected. Rolling milk chocolate with a high to medium carbonated feel that gives off a nice powdered cocoa sensation. Crisp maltyness gives a nice char, mixing in with bitter dark chocolate.

Overall, real interesting beer here, I am digging this, love this bitter dark chocolate angle hitting with saison crispness and bitterness. Real nice.

Photo of wedge
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a small, bubbly head that fades to a thin covering. Aroma is airy and floral to start, adding a light caramel and toasty malt note developing into more of a toffee quality after a while. Flowers, berries, nuts, and a gentle fruitiness. Tastes of berries, flowers, and caramel malt along with the expected clove-like Belgian yeast, toast, and slightly tart vinous fruit. Quite dry and crisp in the mouth. These dark Saisons are always iffy for me, sometimes clashing too much between edgy yeast and roasted malt, but this one is very pleasant. Fruity and floral, not too yeasty, the malts stay smooth and sweet, and the alcohol is well-hidden.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours very dark, opaque brown with a massive light tan head, allowing only half a bottle pour. Good retention and lacing. Interesting aroma of toasted malt, Belgian yeast and spicing, a bit of mineral funk. Interesting flavor of dark malt, faint chocolate with a distinct saison light fruit, mild funk and a peppery finish. The floral elements are not noticable. An unusual combination of porter and saison elements that I thought worked quite nicely. Light to medium bodied. I enjoyed this ale. Sint Canarus is a brewery for which I already had quite a bit of fondness and this collaboration turned out well.

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A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2) from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
88 out of 100 based on 312 ratings.