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

Not Rated.
A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2)A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

256 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 256
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11%
Wants: 20
Gots: 22 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 11-13-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 256 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of crusian
1.35/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Bottle from Dan at pinnochios, thanks man... or rather... no thanks. :) but seriously, you are awesome, this beer, isn't.

Pours with a head that desperately tries to escape the glass... dark dark saison... looks good.
The nose is a mix of saison and roasted... actually smells like vomit... and to be honest, tastes terrible, like death. if you can imagine what something that died a week ago tastes like... This review just got cut short. Drain pour. I am gagging. I don't taste or smell any off flavors per se, they just don't go well together. Bad.

crusian, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of Eighty
2.25/5  rDev -42.5%

Eighty, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of david18
2.25/5  rDev -42.5%

david18, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818
2.25/5  rDev -42.5%

ArsMoriendiOU818, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of nhindian
2.58/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Cantillon wine glass.

Batch #2, best before October 2012.

A - Pours a chestnut brown color with some dark hints in the middle of it. A bubbly head quickly rises from the depths, finally culminating in a 2-fingered head with moderate retention. It leaves pretty quick, but a half-finger cap lingers behind. Lacing is pretty low, not leaving foam.

S - The nose is much fainter than I would've expected, and bears almost no similarities to a typical saison. There's some burnt and even roasty notes here, as if it's trying to be like a Black IPA. Outside of that, some yeast and floral notes are buried here, but aren't readily apparent.

T - As in the nose, the taste brings elements of roast and chocolate, which honestly I don't think melds with the saison backbone nicely at all. The spices, hibiscus, and floral qualities also add a third element which doesn't quite fit anywhere as well. Strangely smokey and overly malty. Not a fan.

M - Mouthfeel is relatively light-bodied with high carbonation. A decent feeling beer, and finishes rather dry which is nice as well.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately low. Can't say I'm not disappointed in this one, especially for $5.99 a bottle (although the price doesn't factor in to this particular rating). A nice concept, but I'm not sold on it as you don't get much benefit from either the saison or the malt here without the other interfering. I'm glad I tried it, but won't be seeking it out again.

nhindian, Jul 26, 2011
Photo of ShogoKawada
2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

forgot who sent this to me but it's been rolling around in the fridge for a while now. Thanks!

Nice brown out of the bottle and a 3-finger oatmeal cookie head that has brown specks in it. Settles out in a few to a 1cm head. Smell is sweet and undefined; some grainy veggies and some dark spices. Taste follows, I get corn husk, black pepper, something sweet like red grapes and red apples. Plum skin, maybe. A mild tartness, and some lingering spices too. Overall, an odd beer- one I'm in no rush to revisit.

ShogoKawada, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -23.3%

GRG1313, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of Enochase04
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Enochase04, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of Timmy13T
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Timmy13T, Jun 23, 2013
Photo of mothman
3/5  rDev -23.3%

mothman, Saturday at 12:52 AM
Photo of andrewinski1
3.1/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip. Very dark color bordering on black. There is a giant tan head.

The aroma is dominated with roasted malt that yields mostly bitter char and slight coffee like aroma.

The taste starts out dry with bitter malt flavors. This tastes mostly like a dry stout with a gentle spicy yeast kick.

This is relatively light for a stout but on point for a saison. The carbonation adds a nice crispness.

Overall this is decent, but unremarkable. I don't get these dark saisons; the best parts of saisons are too fragile to hold up against roasted malts.

andrewinski1, Jun 10, 2011
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.

Kegatron, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of Bendurgin
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip. This one pours a dark cola brown with a light khaki head. Not gonna lie. This looks like a coke.

Yeasty aroma with a little bit of a floral hop aroma. A little bit of spice and some black pepper. Good dark fruit aroma like plumbs or figs. Belgian yeast on the pallet with dark fruits and some floral hops.

The body is medium with good carbonation. Overall this one is drinkable and I'll enjoy it but it doesn't hit the mark for me on the saison front.

Bendurgin, Feb 28, 2012
Photo of Schlafly33
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Schlafly33, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of BubbleBobble
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

BubbleBobble, Jun 18, 2013
Photo of Chou
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Chou, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of Carl_R
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Carl_R, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of vfgccp
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A – Huge, pillowy, pink-khaki head with ok lace. Dark cola body with dark brown highlights.

S – Fresh mint, lemon zest, hand soap, and a touch of caramel.

T – Potpourri up front. Wheaty center with coffee grinds, bitter chocolate covered cranberry, and lavender. Unfortunately the floral notes are bit too much, and they culminate in a floral soap-like finish.

M – Medium/light body. Dry finish. Relatively smooth with a nice carbonation.

O – A nice refreshing body, but the association of the huge floral notes with soap really hurts this brew for me.

vfgccp, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of drpimento
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a large, foamy, tan head and no lace. Color is a cloudy dark brown with some very active bubble trails. Aroma is bananas, yeast, musty, malt, a bit of other fruit and roasty. Flavor is way more sweet than the more traditional saisons and has more fruitiness but does still have as the yeast bitterness. Body is ok and carbonation is good (helps cut the sweetness). Finish is like flavor and the sweetness dominates and is longish. Ok as a dark ale, but not much of a saison.

drpimento, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of craytonic
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Very dark pour with an enormous head, no lacing or retention.

Smell: Wet leather, dark fruits, tobacco juice, tea and plum.

Taste: Mirror of the aroma, tobacco juice, bakers chocolate, wet leather, blackberry, black cherry and plum. Very wintery and a bit muddled.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, good carbonation

Drinkability: I wasn't crazy about this one.

craytonic, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of kiddynamite920
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clearly a very dark saison. A dark brown with a tan colored head that is pretty voluminous at room temp. Never seen a saison of this color, so it's hard to review by style.

S: Incredibly still has the main characteristics of a saison, with great citrus and grassy notes. Has an added malty sweetness and a twinge of alcohol aroma.

T: You would think this is a different beer after smelling then tasting. Loses all its saison quality and instead is replaced by a large malt presence with some bready and yeasty flavors. The citrus is almost non-existent and the crispness on the aroma is not translated to the palate. Has more of a Black IPA quality, with minimal hops. Hard to take points away, because this isn't a bad tasting beer at all. It simply doesn't taste like a saison though.

M: It's malty and medium bodied. Quite Belgian in the yeast profile.

D: Very enjoyable beer, way off style. Who couldn't like a Belgian saison though...

kiddynamite920, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of Reaper16
3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. bottle -- best before June 2012 -- served into a tulip glass

Pours a deep chestnut brown color. This beer looks nothing like a Saison, and I can't really rate the appearance to style because the nature of this beer's experimentation (i.e. bringing dark malt flavors to the Saison style) necessitates an nontraditional look. This would be a fine looking English Porter: that nutty dark brown body plays off of the two fingers worth of khaki head, creamy on top but composed of medium-sized bubbles. After the head dissipates a bit, I can start to make out some lighter brown shades around the edges of the glass, giving the beer a color close to a glass of cola. It looks good for a beer of this color, so I suppose I will rate the appearance as 'good.'

The aroma, though, is a place where I do feel comfortable rating to style. How well does Stillwater's dark malt experiment work in terms of aroma? Not incredibly well, I don't think. But it is certainly unique and intriguing. The initial smells are all fruit and sugar: sweet stonefruit candies, granulated sugar. Then a slight dusting of cocao powder wafts over before yielding to a massive amount of bread crusts. Like straight-out-of-the-bag, Wonder Bread crusts. I was hoping for more of a Black IPA or India Porter type nose, but this is fairly benign. I desire some roast character. Then again, the thinking could be that roast would take away from the farmhouse ale aspects of this beer. The beer starts off like a too-strong Saison, then gives way to the bread, but then more yeast aromas start muscling their way into the fray. Some dentist's office phenols and musty flower shop scents bring up the back end of the nose. The mustiness really become stronger with warmth, taking those bread crusts and making them into more a graham type scent . I'm kind of digging this nose, but I don't think that it's anything better than average for the style. The darker malts just aren't doing anything positive for the beer, and in fact might be contributing to the odd mustiness and the slightly-off phenols.

A Saison darkly fares much better on the palate in terms of acting like a farmhouse ale. That abundant bread character from the nose does not show up at nearly the same strength when drinking the beer. Instead you get a sweet milk chocolate-like base for the yeast to play around on. There's plenty of fruit here, both slightly dark and sightly citirc; the best way I can describe it is that it tastes like a mix of blueberries and sweet ruby red grapefruit. The phenolic structure of this beer, as in the nose, is affected by the darker malts. My mouth tastes like it's been to the dentist's office. The flavor is so reminiscent of the general anesthetic that my dentist uses. Some good black pepper & red flowers cut through the phenols on the finish. I like a lot of this beer's individual components, but I find that it isn't a cohesive beer on the whole. This beer doesn't deftly transition from first sip through the midpalate and onto the finish, it just harshly leaps from startling flavor to startling flavor.

The body is still well within the Saison wheelhouse despite the addition of these darker malts. I do appreciate the carbonation, which is not prickly but still manages to give a fine, gentle scrubbing. The only thing holding this beer's mouthfeel back is that it doesn't finish as dry as a Saison should. A Saison Darkly is just a bit too juicy to warrant high marks for the style. Overall, this is a perplexing, unique take on the style. It doesn't cohere, but that's the price of experimentation. I think this beer is well worth trying, and I do enjoy it more than the score might indicate.

Reaper16, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of yourefragile
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark charred brown, mild mahogany tones against light with a creamy sand colored head. Long lasting retention and little lacing.

Aroma is creamy, lactic, chocolate malt, floral, yeast and a slight berry presence in the finish. Interesting, but doesn't mesh very well.

Light body with strong, fine carbonation. Finish is thin and has a lactose-like creaminess to it. Flavor is similar to the nose, very interesting, but missing balance and cohesion. The fizzy carbonation makes it difficult to pick out details, but this much maltier and roastier than the nose with very light spice and berry sweetness.

I enjoyed this more than my scores reflect, but I was left with a nagging feeling there was too much going on competing for my attention. The thin body with fizzy carbonation didn't help matters. While Of Love and Regret has benefitted greatly from some age, I don't expect to be able to say the same about this.

yourefragile, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of sourdog
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

sourdog, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

TheSevenDuffs, Nov 21, 2013
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A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2) from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
88 out of 100 based on 256 ratings.