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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.
very good

257 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 257
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
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: 257 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wisrarebeer
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

$5.99 for 11.2oz from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee.

A: jet black, opaque, tan head
S: rich roasted malt, cocoa, coffee
T: rich roasted malt, doesn't strike me as a saison but deep malt and nice hop bitter finish, lacks complexity and spiciness of a traditional blond saison
M: rounded, mellow, well-attenuated, good balance

wisrarebeer, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of EasyReader
5/5  rDev +27.9%

EasyReader, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of goldie2828
4/5  rDev +2.3%

goldie2828, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of brandoman63
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

brandoman63, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of DoctorB2B
4/5  rDev +2.3%

DoctorB2B, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Bung
4.38/5  rDev +12%
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...

Bung, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +2.3%

JAHMUR, Nov 16, 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 bpfrush
4/5  rDev +2.3%

bpfrush, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of bmur112
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

bmur112, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Jspriest
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Jspriest, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of jlindros
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge fizzy head of 3+ fingers forces me to stop pouring at the end, but it fades pretty quickly but then slows, over very dark almost black colored beer, hints of brown light sneaking through the edges.

Nose is interesting, some darker malts, hints of roast and black patent even, some creamy caramel malts, with a light spicy saison like aroma, with hints of spices, a light earthy farmhouse rustic malt aroma, and slight hints of fruit.

Taste starts with smoked malt flavors, with a bit of roast and black patent again, a nice smoke flavor that I wasn't expecting, almost chewy with the malts, some darker crystal malts again with a bit of caramel and hint of molasses and slightly creamy. There are saison spices again but muted compared to the darker malts and the nose even. Saison rustic farmhouse like flavors but light, with hints of spices and fruit. Fairly dry at first, then gets quite dry on the finish, very dry actually almost like its sucking the life out of my tongue. Then bitter hops hit as well, fairly bitter finish with a bit of spicy hops and spicy spices, as well as a bit of lingering malts.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb, hint of warming and tingly booze.

Overall really interesting. The dark malts take the front stage, but the interesting rustic and spicy saison flavors come through in a complete juxtaposition for it. Some smoked malts really surprised me as well, and the booze is there but not heavy. It was actually kinda fun to drink, complex and tasty.

jlindros, Oct 11, 2011
Photo of warbird07
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to MrChopin for this extra..poured from a bottle into my over-sized snifter..

Appearence is dark brown, average size tan head that disperses quickly into whisps...thin ring of lacing...

smell is of dark fruit, leather, distinct Belgian yeast aroma, earthy, nice

I dont drink alot of saisons, so the taste is good, bu not remarkable..I have had reguar saisons, but this one is as advertised, dark..a bit of candied sugar, beet, leather, dark fruit...interesting beer

mouth feel is crisp, according to the style..good carbanation, lends to the experience..

overall this beer in good, intersting..worth trying..

warbird07, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of onefalsemove711
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle. Vol.2 BB 06/12

Bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- Deep dark brown (almost black) thick tan head that disintegrates relatively quickly.

S - Interesting aroma, banana bread, raisin and musty smoke.

T - Bread, chocolate, coffee and malt with a slight twang and dry finish.

M - Fairly effervescent, kind of tickles the tongue.

O - Quite unlike any other saison that I've ever tried. I guess that's the point. Really interesting and quite complex. Enjoyable experience.

onefalsemove711, Oct 07, 2011
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 alpinebryant
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a massive light cocoa head

S: Aroma of cocoa, roasted malts, roasted caramel, light saison yeast

T: Tons of cocoa up front, a Belgian Strong dark ale nearly completely in taste. I am not entirely sure where this becomes a saison other than the yeast which is normally a bigger factor, but really this is a Belgian Strong Dark ale. It resembles a Russian imperial stout in many ways but has a little lighter body and more of a belgian spiced flavor. Plenty of toffee , caramel, and molasses flavors blend together. I can taste some cinnamon and some other spicing which I cannot entirely grasp but they add a nice touch to the beer. Perhaps some flowery flavors as well.... maybe lavender?

M: Medium to Thick for a Saison / Farmhouse ale.

O: This is pretty good. I wouldn't spend $5 on it again but worth a try.

alpinebryant, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of jminsc76
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Into a tulip, initially pours a large, mocha head atop a dark, chocolate brown body. Nice legs as I tilt, but the carbonation does not last long.

Smells of burnt cinnamon and sugar, as well as dates, plums, and...(at this point my notes on the aroma teetered off for some reason). I do remember the bouquet opens up quite well, and it's quite complex.

Flavors of spices, mild chocolate, and farmhouse funk near and at the finish. This starts off really, REALLY sweet, and soon develops into an ultra bitter version of The Bruery's Saison Rue. All sort of craziness going on here.

Mouthfeel is light and thin, slightly dry.

Overall, this is a beast. Plain and simple. While I'm ambiguous on whether I like it or not - and I think it's primarily because the latter half gets really funky and harsh - this is a good Saison to try out.

To summarize: think a Belgian Dubbel meets a Saison with copious amounts of burnt chocolate malts. Definitely original.

jminsc76, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The beer poured a dark black color with a big frothy covering of chocolate head. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind lots of lace.

S - The aroma is a complex mix of toasted grains, peppery spices, some earthy herbal notes, and a bit of sweet dark fruit.

T - Starts off with a healthy serving of roasted and even borderline burnt grains and malt with a bit of earthy and herbal spices coming in right behind. Through the middle, the sweet dark fruit flavors come through with some yeast and floral characters. The finish is a mix of yeast, roasted malts, and spices that linger nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels smooth and quite dry form the roasted flavors and spices.

D - Very drinkable. The roasted flavors are really interesting and work extremely well with the saison base. The spices also balance out the beer really well.

ngeunit1, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 8/17/11
*From notes

A: Rustic leathery brown in color. A decent pour yields a 2.5 finger head that fades quickly and leaves behind some merely mediocre lacing.

S: Raisin and ripe plum. Freshly chopped mint and herb box steal the show.

T: Cola, tanned leather and autumn spice. It's fresh and herbal, yet classically Belgian in the yeast profile.

M: Much appreciated - it's got more to it then I'd expected. A good amount of carbonation and the texture is appropriately luxurious.

O: Stillwater's Saison Darkly Vol. 2 is a well done saison. It's well suited to autumn evening around the fireplace. It isn't as wildly crazy as I'd hope for, yet it's another winner from the gypsy brewer out of Baltimore.

Rhettroactive, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #2, best before October 2012. Served in a Struise cervoise.

A - A few fingers of tan foam settle to a thick cap, leaving a few spots of lace. Opaque dark brown body with reddish highlights.

S - Lots of spice, smoke, and peppery yeast. There's some chocolate, cherries, and stones fruits in the periphery, but this is dominated by the yeast character. For more flavor depth, let this one warm up a bit. Maybe some alcohol too.

T - Taste is more chocolate-heavy. Farmhouse yeast, peaches, and thankfully less pepper and spice. There's some unpleasant herbal flavor in the finish. I liked the taste better until I got to the finish and aftertaste.

M - Lower carbonation, chewy medium-full body, some mild alcohol warmth, sticky finish. Could use a bit more spritz

D - Not a big fan of this one. It's not a bad beer by any stretch, and it delivers exactly what it promises - just not anything I was interested in trying in the first place.

MasterSki, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of popery
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes 8/12/11. Bottle. Surprisingly good. I’m always a bit suspicious of dark saisons, particularly ones with some oddball ingredients, but this one works. There are notes of various fruits, flowers, citrus, chocolate, spice, earth and caramel. And it all meshes together. The rose hips and hibiscus provide a pleasant tartness and somewhat tannic feel. Fruitiness is plums, peaches and raisins. Taste is a bit sweet with caramel malt sweetness. Pours a deep, dark brown with a big fizzy head that dissipates to a thin line of bubbles. Good beer.

popery, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of clayrock81
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with loads of carbonation that gave off a large head that dies quick and leaves lace rings. Fruity esters and a floral citric hoppy bitterness make up most of the aroma and there are also some bready, dry malts as well as tart fruit and some funk. Has a good bitter, fruit flavor as I pick up citric, tart and touch of dark fruits as well as a nice dry malt sensation. Also some standard sugary, yeasty and orangeish/citric twang I expect in a Belgian. It goes down nice and easy w/ a medium body thickness yet a lighter smoothness and I like the taste profiles I'm picking up, but for some reason stuff like funk, black cherries and roasted malts don't completely mesh in my opinion. Interesting to say the least and the alcohol gives a nice pop at the end but overall this is a really good beer, just not great.

clayrock81, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of TonyReaves
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I love Stillwater's different takes on saisons. It's more interesting than all the IPA variations we're getting lately.

Poured into a tulip from the dollar store.

The aroma is spicy and chocolaty at once. A woody smell. Pours brown to black. Had a fizzy head that subsided pretty quickly.

Flavor is a bit sweet with burnt notes. Medium-to-light bodied, this beer is dryer than you'd expect from the color, but faithful to the style. Carbonation is lively, even if the head disappeared quickly.

Personally, I enjoyed this a lot. It reminded me of the dry, spicy ales a lot of brewpubs serve in Montreal. The high carbonation makes a slow sipper for me, which is a nice change of pace this summer.

TonyReaves, Aug 03, 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
A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol. 2) from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
88 out of 100 based on 257 ratings.