A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2) - Stillwater Artisanal Ales
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Ratings: 219 | Reviews: 114 | Display Reviews Only:
4.63/5 rDev +18.4%
11.2 oz bottle poured into Pretty Things wine glass
Huge pillowy khaki colored head. Head hold fairly well. Basically the body of a stout. Black and opaque up to the light. Decent carbonation.
Smells of chocolate, oak/vanilla, and clean fermented spicey yeast. Smells good. The aromatics in general are very reserved/subtle.
Flavors of pine and resin, toast, molasses, black licorice and wood. Slightly sweet aftertaste. Caramelized sugar, like a thick stout aftertaste. Still quite refreshing. Yeast lends a spicier kick. Alcohol is well hidden. Very unique.
I'm really impressed with this beer. Superb example of a dark farmhouse. Acidic (not tart), with a soft finish. Clean, crisp, well carbonated. And most importantly delicious.
07-07-2012 19:42:33 | More by mlazzaro
4.5/5 rDev +15.1%
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!
01-14-2011 16:29:14 | More by NeroFiddled
4.5/5 rDev +15.1%
Deep, deep brown color with an enormous cocoa head on top that lasts quite a while. Moderate amount of roasted aroma. Mildly fruity with a deep, somewhat earthy spiciness. Great flavor-pleasant blend of moderate roasted grains, chocolate, a whisper of smoke and a certain spiciness. Nice lingering bitterness in the finish. Very smooth, almost sily mouthfeel against the bite on the back of the tongue. A great beer for sure-probably the best I have had from Stillwater.
02-19-2011 01:20:08 | More by lackenhauser
District of Columbia
4.5/5 rDev +15.1%
dark is definitely the theme here... dark purplish black with a tan head that holds and leaves lots of pretty lace. nose is lots of dark stuff. dark malt, dark chocolate, dark flowers, red grapefruit, dark fruit (plum?), dark bread (semi-sweet and in the middle of cooking when you can just start to smell it), dark spice (black pepper mostly), and winter/fall countryside (like dark, wet, fallen leaves) with a dark brown sugar/molasses sweetness helping to balance. it sounds thick and syrupy, but somehow, all the "darkness" gets expressed fairly brightly and dryly in the taste. everything is lively, and a healthy hopping leads to a good amount of bitterness which seems to make me salivate and opens up my palate to all kinds of complexities i didn't notice before; one of which being a kind of burdock-like earthiness. another being a character of the roast that almost seems smoky. it tastes like chocolate covered rosehips with a smoked sea salt finishing at times. also very rustic. the herbs are perfectly cured and integrated into the mix like it is an old recipe and they are meant to be there. medium-full body that seems much lighter than it is due to lively conditioning. pleasant bitter is prominent and overrides any kind of prickliness although there is some tingle to it. spice and fruit associated with traditional saison hits in the finish too, drawing a familiar connection between this strange brew and tradition. makes you feel like you've been drinking it your whole life. dark and complex, yet extremely drinkable for an 8+%abv beer. this is a beer for food. can't wait to have one of these with dinner. hope i can find a couple of bottles!!!
12-08-2010 12:51:59 | More by timtim
4.47/5 rDev +14.3%
Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Loterbol tulip.
Best before June 2012
A: Pours a murky, dark chestnut color (nearly black) with about three fingers of creamy, khaki colored foam on top. Lots of active carbonation streams help the head to retain for ages, but no lace was left behind.
S: Mildly fruity right in the beginning. Blackberry, black cherry, and lemon. Spices, grassy hops, and roasted malt round out the smell.
T: Mild dark berry, peppery bakers chocolate, earthy/grassy hops, fudge, ripe dark fruit, blackened malt, and loads of prickly spices.
M: Starts off with an amazing fullness that shows off bits of sweet and fruity. This quickly becomes very spicy and earthy during the middle before trailing off with a finish that's full of white pepper and oily hops.
D: Fantastic! This was only my second Stillwater beer and already I'm hooked. I loved how there's a bit of a spice rack thing going on here, but none of the traditional/typical Saison spices. Come to think of it, calling this a Saison is a bit of a stretch, and I loved it for that!
12-25-2010 13:58:03 | More by GbVDave
4.47/5 rDev +14.3%
A: Pours nearly black with a light brown head. Foam is soft and retentive.
S: Smells of dark malt and spice up front with a floral, almost wine-like finish, very inviting.
T: Begins with sharp roasted notes leading into a coffee and chocolate midpoint, and ends with a dry and crisp finish.
M: Much different than what I'm used to in a dark ale, very clean and with sharp carbonation. Loved it.
D: Definitely best aspect of this ale is its supreme drink-ability, almost all of the alcohol is hidden and the stronger notes don't accumulate on the palette. The crisp, dry finish is outstanding.
01-22-2011 06:53:03 | More by djt06001
4.4/5 rDev +12.5%
Poured from a bottle into a goblet.
Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a little bit of light coming through at the edges. Initially, there are three fingers of tan head. The head dissipates, but a solid layer remains throughout.
Smell: This one smells quite good. Initially I pick up some sweet roasty cocoa. There is also a bit of Belgian spice. I also pick up a dry aroma that resembles oak.
Taste: Like the smell, initially I'm picking up a roasty, chocolate sweetness. There area also some hints of dark fruit and brown sugar. In the background there are some spice/herbal hints, and a bit of alcohol. The sweet roast remans throughout, but doesn't mute the other flavors.
Mouthfeel: Medium body and a bit slick on the tongue. The carbonation is on the high side. My only complaint is that I would like this to be a bit more on the dry side.
Drinkability: This is a very interesting good beer. I told my wife that I think we should try to pick up a few more bottles to see how this one does with more age. I think the flavors are very well balanced.
03-01-2011 02:19:30 | More by oline73
4.38/5 rDev +12%
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...
11-19-2011 03:58:10 | More by Bung
4.38/5 rDev +12%
Bottle -> Dogfish Head Chalice. Split with my buddy Greg on brewing/bottling day.
A - Pitch black, off-white head, fine bubbles. Little to no lacing.
S - Spiced dark fruit, roasty, slightly sour
T - It's an odd mix of spiced saison and dark roasted malt flavors. Somehow it works. Very enjoyable.
M - Carb pop adds a nice clean and crisp feel. Feels light to medium bodied.
D - Would get a few of these to keep on hand for when I'm in the mood for something different. Super easy to sip, not a hint of the 8%ABV.
03-12-2011 20:52:17 | More by tbrown4
4.33/5 rDev +10.7%
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.
12-14-2010 01:14:16 | More by Billolick
4.33/5 rDev +10.7%
Poured a very very dark brown that is probably black but its pretty hard to tell with the lighting in the room. It did have a big 2 finger khaki colored head with good retention and left lots of bubbly lacing sticking to the head. Upfront there was lots of dark fruit notes in the nose with slight bretty funky character alongside mild apple pear, and spice. There was some chocolate flavor in the taste that I did not detect on the aroma with roasty, mild apple, slight bretty, and malty accents; real tasty. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, chocolatey, roasty, mild fruity, and slight dry finish. It drank better than your average saison and took the style to another level. Really tasty beer and glad I got to try it.
01-02-2011 07:16:52 | More by Gobzilla
4.33/5 rDev +10.7%
A moderately aggressive pour fills half the glass with extremely delicate tan brown microfoam, so gossamer it's hard to say it has a steady dissolve. a little more lacing than you'd think given the character of the head. Dark brown colored liquid with a fair degree of murkiness to it, yellow aura, given its darkness the bubbles must be brawny and active because they are clearly visible. The nose displays a thickly constructed cocoa toast, very chocolaty, blending in orange peel, ginger spice, creamed coffee and lighter mintiness, the black cherry, blackberry, apricot fruit scents are nothing spectacular, however, there most of the time. Medium-bodied, the carbonation is tight and active from the first sip, brings a lot of energy to the show. Brings on all that cocoa, mocha, chocolate, more toast than roast so less coffee. Has a more sour side here, tart grasses as well as more biting orange, lemon citrus. Less baking spices, here more stuff like sage, basil or thyme, almost oily. Its dryness helps separate and highlight the various components. Parts fit together well, understated complexity. Just pour it way before you want to drink it.
02-10-2011 02:55:21 | More by farrago
4.33/5 rDev +10.7%
Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a globe glass.
A: Pours a pitch black with a one finger tan head that sticks around for a bit.
S: Floral, spicy, and hoppy, but no detection of roasted malts.
T: The money maker. Dark fruits, chocolate, and spices blended together perfectly, bitter roasted finish.
M: Smooth as can be, great carbonation, and medium bodied.
D: This goes down well, probably too well now that I noticed the ABV on it.
This tastes exactly how a Black Saison should taste in theory, and hopefully more brewers brew beers like this one, so this can eventually be recognized as its own style. It certainly tastes nothing like a traditional saison since it is much smoother rather than spritzy and crisp, and it has a great touch of roasted malt brewed in.
03-03-2011 04:44:30 | More by stimulus
A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2) from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
88 out of 100 based on 219 ratings.