Sensory Series V.1 - Lower Dens - Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Not Rated.
Sensory Series V.1 - Lower DensSensory Series V.1 - Lower Dens

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

131 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 131
Reviews: 33
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 9.23%
Wants: 5
Gots: 12 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ThePorterSorter on 12-29-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed. 
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 131 | Reviews: 33
Reviews by stmgl01:
More User Reviews:
Photo of MadScientist
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: A hazy golden colored beer. The head doesn't last that long and is is made of white, rocky and big soapy bubbles.

S: Orange, earthy spicy, pepper and and an herbal aroma dominate. The herbal is sort of a tea and floral type of quality mixing in with a low soft, floral alcohol aroma. There is a low honey sweet aroma in there. There is some citrus peel and a light smokey character. There is a more fruit than just orange also a little dark cherry-like.

T: The taste reflect the aroma with mostly light fruit and earthy spice, a moderately-low herbal and floral component with a smokey undertone. There is a medium-low bitterness that seems partly hop derived with a bit of s citrus peel character. There is a low malt sweetness making for a balance that is slightly bitter. The finish is medium with a lingering pithy, bitterness and a slightly smoke flavor in the aftertaste.

M: A light bodied beer with strong carbonation and a slight prickle on the front and sides of the tongue.

O: A complex Belgian that's not quiet a Saison and not a wheat with a fair amount of an herbal component backed up with fruit and spice and mixed with a little smoke. I'm not sure what to make of the beer but I'm eager to seek out another sensory series beer whenever one is released after having this one. It's a good beer, not great but defiantly different.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a tulip)
A- This beer has a slightly hazy deep orange body with a thick billowing white head that slowly breaks down into sticky lace. There is a swirling carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The soapy mineral esters smell has some club soda yeasty notes and a dry herbal hint in the finish that might be coriander.

T- The hint of citrus esters and dry herbal leads to a flowery coriander note and a slight bitter note that lingers. There is a wheat dough hint in the finish as it opens.

M- The light mouthfeel has a tight little fizz that makes it almost creamy and no alcohol heat.

O- This has an odd mix of flavors, so I guess it does blend with the song, but the soapy spice character was really the dominant flavors making it pretty underwhelming. Especially for the price.

Photo of biboergosum
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

375ml bottle. Indulging by listening to a Lower Dens Youtube video while doing this. We'll see how it goes. Illuminati-approved label.

This beer pours a cloudy medium golden yellow colour, with two fingers of tightly foamy, somewhat fizzy, and if my imagination isn't kidding me, faintly pink-tinged white head, which leaves some swaths of fuzzy grotto arch lace around the glass as things duly settle.

It smells of sweet, grainy wheat malt, a lemon, peach, and apricot orchard fruitiness, earthy yeast, a subtle red herbal floral essence (hibiscus represent!), a bit of zingy white pepper spice, wet straw, mild black tea leaves, and faintly grassy, earthy hops. The taste is more semi-sweet, lightly biscuity wheat and pale malt, tart and fruity cherry and lemon, a dark red perfumed floral character, tame green yeast, and earthy, musty, and dried hay hops.

The carbonation is rather frothy, but in a pleasantly gentle manner, the body medium-light in weight, and actually quite smooth, the hops and fruit doing well to leave us alone at this juncture. It finishes off-dry, said fruit and the equally lingering blended malt carrying on like a twelve minute song.

A decent saison-style ale, with the added hibiscus flowers, which are more perceptible here than the previous three hibiscus-infused offerings that I've had to date, combined. Yet they still get lost in the other fruity, floral yeast and hop notes, which is hardly a surprise to me, for this brewer. Anyways, enjoyable enough, as was the 'In the End is the Beginning' song, one that's starting to grow on me - sort of reminiscent of a Radiohead/early Pink Floyd vibe.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

Pours amber with a large head.
Nose shows saison yeast, soft spicy, floral and pear notes.
Flavours include a stronger hibiscus note along with a bit of orange marmalade. Some farmhouse yeast notes remain. Finishes very dry.
Carbonation is much too high.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Pours a hazy golden amber with active carbonation and a fine three finger off-white head with great retention and pillowy lacing. Aroma of wheat, Belgian yeast, light fruit (apple and pear); spicy. Flavor of wheat, pepper, pear juice, lightly astringent and herbal spicing, lightly floral. Finish is dry with light hop and spice bitterness. Medium body with a nice mouth feel from active carbonation. Another interesting and fun to drink Belgian influenced ale from Stillwater.

Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is relatively clear yellow in color and has a moderate to high amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger and a half high white head that took a long time to die down and left a thin head covering the surface and a thick coating of bubbles down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of lemony hops and hibiscus are present in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell, except that there seems to be more flavors of hibiscus compared to lemons. Faint hints of bitterness are perceptible.
M: It feels light-bodied and a little airy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. A bit of dryness is noticeable towards the finish.
O: While the light-bodied nature of this beer could make it go down in a breeze, the interesting aromas and flavors make this a beer that is also good to sip and savor.

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. White head, moderate retention on a hazy golden body. Clear and soapy lacing sticks to the glass. Aroma is jumping up out of the glass, very flavorful. Includes green apple, pear, some sweet malt, honey and quite a deliciousy yeast like smell. Taste includes the above but I would add some percimmon, and green grape. Lovely beer.

Photo of StoutHunter
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Stillwater's Lower Dens, version one of their Sensory Series, last month for $6.49 at The Lager Mill. This is my first beer from Stillwater Artisanal Ales, I don't really know much about this brewery but, I'm interested in seeing what this brewery is all about, so lets see how it goes. Released December 10th 2012. Poured from a brown 12.7oz bottle into a Belgian tulip.

A- I like the label of this beer, it's got some cool artwork that reminds me of some drawings for the cd booklet of a Tool album, I like it and I really like the fact that this bottle says that the sensory series is all about pairing new senses with their beer and this one was inspired by the band lower dens with a QR code that links to a music video of theirs to listen to while you drink the beer, I think that's a nice and unique concept, I like it. It poured a nice light orange golden color that took on a nice hazy orange color when held to the light with three and a half fingers worth of fluffy white head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and left lots of nice lacing behind. This was a very good looking beer, I really liked the color and the head and lacing were both very good.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a some classic saison aromas with some earthy, straw, and wet hay aromas followed by some spcy white pepper like aromas and a nice mixture of herbal aromas. Towards the end I get some citrus rinds with a light cherry aroma to finish it off. This beer had a good aroma, it was true to style with some nice herbal and fruity aromas, it was nice.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness that had a real light honey flavor to it and was followed by some earthy, grassy, wet straw and real slight barnyard funk like flavors. After that comes some spicy white pepper along with some herbal and slightly floral flavors that show up on the finish with pretty much no bitterness just a lighter amount of tartness with an earthy, herbal and citrus rind like aftertaste. This beer tastes good it had all the flavors I would expect from the style with some extra citrus, herbal, and floral flavors, I enjoyed it.

M- Pretty smooth, clean, crisp, prickly, refreshing, medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was good, the prickly higher carbonation worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a good a beer and a good example of the style, the addition of the hibiscus didn't change the beer too much, it had some subtle herbal and floral flavors that blended well with the traditional saison flavors. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth and refreshing with some nice and clean flavors that did a good job at holding my attention, I could probably drink a couple of these during the summer, I think it would make a nice and refreshing saison to have on a warm summer afternoon. What I liked the most about this beer was how balanced the flavors were, nothing seemed to be too overpowering and the appearance was really good. What I liked the least about this beer was the price, it's a good Saison, but I think it's very expensive for what you get, it's a good beer, but I don't feel like it's worth the money. I don't think I would buy this beer again, I have another bottle sitting in the cellar to see how it develops over time, unless it transforms into something truly awesome I don't think I would buy it again anytime soon unless they drop the price. I would recommend this to anyone who like Saisons. All in all I have to say that I was happy with this beer and I thought it was a good example of the style with a little extra complexity. I really like the concept behind the Sensory series and I wish more brewers would think out of the box and come up with unique ideas like this, but I wasn't a fan of the music that went along with this beer, it was a little to weird and rambling for my taste, but I kind of liked the way the video was shot, it's a cool concept none the less. This beer made for a good first impression for stillwater and I'm interested in checking out more of their beers, good job guys.

Photo of Modernrickk
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%

Beautiful looking beer, solid aromas an extra dry finish. Spot on for a saison(that rhymes, depending on how you pronounce saison)

Photo of bubseymour
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Super incredible fruity smell Pineapple and a slight funk from the Brett. Taste comes off dry, dirty and earthy. No sweetness or tartness like you get in the smell.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. Served in a cervoise. Still need a Stillwater wine glass.

Pours golden with a very slight pink hue. Two-finger head with good retention and a bit of lace on the sides of the glass. Thin cap throughout.

Nose is very slightly fruity with mild floral and hibiscus. Faint tart cherry and wheat in the background. Just a bit of herbal character. Maybe a bit of peach.

Flavor starts with hibiscus and slight earth. Herbal through the finish. A bit of fruit as it warms.

Creamy with great carbonation. Body is light, but lifted a bit toward medium, though super smooth. Very layered. Slight finishing bitterness.

A great start to the series.

Photo of justintcoons
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Hazy pale gold with 3 fingers of creamy, white head. Low carbonation with some light yeast sediment.

Peach, lemon, nectarine and pear.

Bosc pear with notes of nectarine, lemon and a touch of peach. Light grains with dabs of caramel. Very light farmhouse character with touches of hay and lemongrass. Quick snap of lemon and ginger.

Light bodied, crisp and smooth.

Really light and easy drinking. However, for $7/bottle I expect to be punched in the face with flavor and complexity.

Photo of smcolw
3.84/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Lumpy white head that settles slowly. Ample amount of fine bubbles working upward. The liquid is a pale gold with a dollop of white cloudiness. Intermittent ring lace after each sip.

Semi-sour, semi-sweet aroma. Decent amount of yeast nose. Spicy--white pepper.

Plenty of pepper on the tongue up front. Relatively thin--typical of the style. I don't detect the hibiscus. Smooth body but with plenty of spritz. The swallow features a moderate amount of hop bitterness. Clean tasting.

Photo of avalon07
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a yellowish color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of foamy head that lasted a fair amount of time. Good lacing.

S: A sweet, fruity, floral aroma. Hard to place exactly what's in the aroma, but it is somehow alluring.

T: Tasted of some light fruit, a very definite floral element, light hops, and some sweet malt. Definitely an interesting, lively flavor. Quite sweet, but easy to like.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Light-bodied.

O: Lower Dens is an offbeat beer, but definitely has a lot of verve and likeability. Very drinkable.

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In an attempt to bring the sense of taste together with other sensory perceptions, Stillwater's first collaboration with music artist Lower Dens yields a flavor that becomes the bridge between music and ale. And apparently the character of hibiscus is the avenue.

Like most of Stillwater's saisons, the beer pours with a slightly hazed, medium straw color except with a slight rosy tinge. Heavy streams of carbonation constantly fuels the bubbly and airy head, keeping it light and fluffy until the last sip. Its solid creamy retention ensures that the beer laces with connected islands even as a swirl of the tulip attempt to break them up. It's a delightful looking ale.

Highly floral with the scent of honeysuckle, flowery tea, and grassy farmhouse must fill the nose with pungency, delicacy, and whimsy. Slight cork-ish wood, hay, and wet straw deliver the saison base aromas while mild rose wine, zinfandel, and perfume tell the story of Belgian farmhouse and French low land ales.

Where the aromas are all about hibiscus additions, the flavors smoothen out and demonstrate the saison character more profoundly. Early malt influences of lightly kilned barley provides a cracker-like, slight yeasty taste- chocked full of apple-like sulfurs, lemon, and hay. Grassy hops provide a lemongrass herbal taste with a racy bitterness that reminds me of gin and wine. Its dry malt taste is the perfect base for the lemony, herbal, and floral taste of hibiscus to express upon.

Lightly creamy and slight malt structures reward the palate with smooth airy texture. But the sweetness and carbonation recedes and allows the dry wine-like acids, mild tannin, and alcohol warmth to leave lasting impressions.

Whether the taste of the beer marries up to the sound of Lower Dens or not, the beer speaks on its own as an authentic tasting saison with more to spice it up than just hops. The hibiscus gives the farmhouse of seldom seen wine-like fruitiness to the otherwise spicy and bitter saison. Well done Stillwater!

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy bright gold color with a 2-3 finger fairly dense and fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings around the glass, with a large amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of lemon zest, pear, apple, white grape, black pepper, hibiscus, wheat, cracker, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and hibiscus/hop notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon zest, pear, apple, white grape, black pepper, hibiscus, wheat, cracker, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Moderate yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon zest, pear, apple, white grape, black pepper, hibiscus, wheat, cracker, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and hibiscus/hop flavors; with a great crisp malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and fairly prickly mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice spiced saison style. All around good complexity and great balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and hibiscus/hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to worldwidestout for the sick extra...right up my alley!!! enjoyed from my stillwater wine glass.

brew poured a really murky orange with a massive foamy head. milkshake like chunks...coated the glass and hung out for ages. as i sipped the beer, pretty big chunks clung to the glass' side.

smells like spicy fruits...sage...floral. not as in your face floral as hops n roses, but definitely present.

...then i noticed the side of the bottle and scanned the barcode for the "full experience" 12 min music vid. excellent...i had heard that brian was a musician before becoming a brewer...this should be cool. fairly retro 80's early electronica vibe with the visual (bassist is even playing an old school kay!!!)...very cool vibe and works nicely with this soft light summery beer. really great day to have this...still light out, 2nd day of summer...gorgeous day...perfect pairing.

check out the tune and details on it for the full experience of reading my review -

...but i digress...the beer - soft, floral, vanilla...similar to the nose. SUPER drinkable and wonderful. i'm REALLY enjoying this and would put it up there with my first experience with cellar door. VERY much worth checking out. i hope to have this again.

Photo of Zach136
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into belgian tulip

A - deep straw with excellent carbonation, solid head that dissipates into a consistent thin cap that leaves excellent lacing.

S - Sweet doughy malt bill with a touch of spicy Belgian yeast character.

T - The hibiscus really comes out, touch of lemon grass and funk in there as well.

M - Light, airy and refreshing, with a drying finish. Makes you want to take another sip like a great Saison should.

O - Really phenomenal example of the style. Another knockout from Stillwater.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pour is hazy golden with a tight white head. Nose is nice, sturdy grain malt bill up front, loads of lemon and some spicy pepper, light touch of sea salt towards the back, a bit herbal in back. Taste is sweeter, grain bill isn't as prevalent, lots of lemon, faint touch of candied sugar, a hint of sea salt a light lingering grassy herbs in the finish. Growing spice as it warns in the back. Body is semi dry and fairly well carbonated, light and drinkable.

Photo of brentk56
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy goldenstraw with a two inch ivory cap; quite a few dots of lace line the tulip glass

Smell: Wheat bread, yeast and pear with faint lemon and floral tones

Taste: Bready, up front, with pear fruit developing; subtle lemon, herbal and floral tones interplay in the mid-palate; a little tart, a little bready and rather dry in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A nice Saison; perhaps the floral flavors were bolder when the beer was fresh as they are very subtle now

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

375ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.

Uncaps with a fizz and proceeds to froth over the countertop. After a little time, it pours rather sedately, in fact, a clear golden hue with a surprisingly minimal head of white. Stacks of carbonation though feeding it, and it rushes through the rather light body.

Nose is pleasant. Mild, dry white wine acidity, with a touch, perhaps, of the hibiscus lending a little fragrant sweetness. Some earthy tones come through as well, especially as it warms. Pretty nice.

Taste has a slight soda acidity on the front, developing into a rather dry mid-palate laced with a little funk. Musk and earth towards the back, with a chewy finish that's sweeter than I expect. Feel is rather pleasantly subdued. Despite the seemingly robust carbonation, there's a smoothness to the fizz that stops it from getting too aerated.

Overall, yep: this is another solid beer from Stillwater. Clean and bright facade with earth and funk hiding underneath it. The hibiscus is only subtle, but it does add a little twist to add some interest to it. I think it's fair to say though that this is mostly just another solid beer in the same style Stillwater always does.

Photo of beergoot
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy, golden color and produced a fluffy, creamy, rocky, white head. Lemon drops and wet grass smells; some faint esters in the background. Delicately sweet flavor with a lightly bitter backdrop. Medium bodied, soft and delicate; dry finish.

I wasn't sure what to expect when trying this beer, but I was pleasantly surprised at the subtle complexity and depth with this beer. The bottle says it was brewed with hibiscus, which probably explains some of the delicateness, yet there is also a nice complement of wheat smoothness (I don't know if wheat was used) and an interesting, light-handed citrus/floral hop presence. Well, whatever the ingredients, the brewers did an outstanding job producing this easy drinking beer.

Photo of larryi86
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- A hazy orange copper color with a four finger white head

S- Very floral, hibiscus, yeast, some light fruits, slightly bready.

T- Hibiscus, light fruits, really floral and herbal, some citrus, bready. Well balanced, not overpowering.

M- Medium body, smooth.

O- Another great beer from Stillwater. Really tasty and balanced. Love the idea of the Sensory Series, can't what to see what other beers come out of this!

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy golden-orange with a finger of frothy white head. Fades fairly slow.

S - Sweet wheat and grainy malts, hibiscus and other herbs, Belgian yeast, spices, clove, banana, lemon zest.

T - Sweet grainy and wheat malts, hibiscus and other herbs, lemon zest, Belgian yeast, banana, clove, pepper other spices.

M - Medium bodied, moderate-plus carbonation. Smooth with a herby, spicy, dry finish.

D - Nice spiced beer. The hibiscus is strong but not overpowered.

Photo of Knapp85
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a pinkish yellow, the pink tones are very subtle. There is a foamy white head on top that leaves a thin retention and scattered lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer is earthy with a slight floral note to it. The taste of the beer is a little spicy upfront and as it settles there is a nice wave of wheat flavors that come out after each sip. The mouthfeel of the beer is carbonated with a sharpness to it that really dries the beer out. Overall it's a good brew, Glad I tried it.

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Sensory Series V.1 - Lower Dens from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
87 out of 100 based on 131 ratings.