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Zaison Imperial Saison Ale - Brewery Vivant

Not Rated.
Zaison Imperial Saison AleZaison Imperial Saison Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

155 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 155
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 15.98%
Wants: 6
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brewery Vivant visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MichPaul on 05-12-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 155 | Reviews: 38
Photo of GRG1313
2.5/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Gold white color with light white head. Orange/light toast nose. Very big and bold flavors but not pleasing - sour in a weird "not supposed to be sour" kind of way. Tastes like spoiled oranges. No need to try again.

Photo of hosehead83
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Poured from can into a tulip glass.
Cloudy apricot in color, with a nice cap of bone-white foam.
Aroma-Toasted malt, orchard fruit
Taste-Sweet toasted malt,honeyed peach, very faint spiciness, sweet finish.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%

16 ounce can thanks to Trent!

It pours a hazy straw colour and brings a 1 finger head of foam. Lacing aplenty.

My, I sure can smell the orange peel. Other spices, but no real funk showing up for me.

Orange way up front in the taste too. It seems to bring some sweet and tart notes unless something else is doing the former or latter. A bit of pepper starts to show up after my 3rd sip. Tellicherry black peppercorns? Okay, I had to google that. Imparts floral and cherry flavours. 'splains a lot!

Medium bodied, medium carbonation, it starts of with the orange and finishes with it. There's not much heat from the alcohol or the peppercorns. It isn't the easiest brew to drink but it's enjoyable. I guess, my bottom line is...do "we" have to imperialize every style?

Photo of maxcoinage
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz can to Duvel Tulip, 2 finger fluffy white head, left some lacing, settling at a moderate pace. beer is a dark orange color

As I was pouring the can I could smell the yeast - belgian frutiness, hay/straw, a little bit of orange

fruity, slightly sweet, pepper, estery, some orange . orange not as much as i was thinking itd be,maybe ill add a slice for the next one to pump it up

good carbonation, medium body, finishes dry

solid brew, easy drinking, and will sneak up on you at 9%! not sure i'd purchase again given the price tag ( almost 17 after tax for a 4 pack of 16oz ), but enjoyed nonetheless and glad i tried it

Photo of zeledonia
3.66/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to GRPunk for the BIF beer. Tasted 5 July 2014.

Pours a clear medium golden yellow. Two fingers of fuzzy white head, good retention and lacing.

Smell is powerfully citrusy. That's the prominent character - a sweet, juicy citrus presence. I don't get much funk or spice, despite what the can says.

Taste is odd for a saison. It's quite sweet, and very fruity. Almost like a shandy. Doesn't have the zip or the dryness I expect. Tasty enough, just a little weird.

Feel is good. Medium body, fizzy carbonation that reminds me (again) of a soda or shandy.

Good beer, like a jacked-up shandy or a very fruity saison. The citrus is too powerful for my tastes, making it hard for me to pick up on subtler elements.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can opened on 5.8.14

A - Pours a cloudy medium orange with a large light tan head that fades slowly.

S - Saison yeast, citrus orange, peppery.

T - Very orange and bright, a hint of pepper in the finish.

D - Light body with good carbonation.

O - Light and very orange heavy. Good stuff.

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a cloudy golden orange with a two-finger foamy white head.

S - Yeast, orange peel, and light sweet malts.

T - Taste is sweet juicy orange juice mixed with the bitterness from the orange peel. Finish has a nice yeast flavor and a lingering bite from the peppercorns.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Dry finish.

O - This was a nice surprise. Could have used a little more carbonation, but still rather good.

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: light straw yellow color. two fingers of a white head that fade pretty quickly and leaves just about nothing behind. hazy and nearly opaque.

Smell: agave and citrus. pepper, some yeasty qualities.

Taste: opens with a little bit of agave, some pepper and spicy yeast. back end is full of orange and bitter citrus.

Mouthfeel: medium to heavy. pretty strong dryness. some lingering bitterness.

Overall: a pretty good offering from Vivant but misses some of the qualities that I enjoy in a saison. worth a try but I don't think Ill be visiting it again too soon.

Photo of StoutHunter
4.39/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a tall boy of Brewery Vivant's Zaison Super Saison last week for $3.29 at The Lager Mill. This is the second beer in Brewery Vivant's Brewery Reserve series, I thought that the first one, Kludde was pretty unusual so hope this one turns out good, so lets see how it goes. No visible canning date, but its a fresh spring release, pretty fitting for the season. Poured from a 16oz can into a tulip.

A- The can is pretty much the same as the other beer in the series. except it had a nicely drawn castle scene on the sticker, it looks pretty good. It poured a nice pale golden color that was kind of hazy and took on a nice bright orange tint when held to the light and it had two and half fingers worth of velvety smooth white head that left hardly any lacing and died down to a thin ring that eventually faded to nothing. This was a proper looking Saison but I wish it had some lacing and better retention.

S- The aroma starts off with lots of sweet malts that have a slightly wheaty and bready aroma. Next comes a pretty earthy hay and straw aroma followed by a slight tart aroma. Next comes those typical spice aromas that you get from the Belgian yeast followed by some citrus rinds and some peppery aromas. Towards that end I get some grassy and earthiness that could be from some hops. The aroma was pretty damn nice, and just how I would expect a well done Saison to smell and the extra alcohol didn't show up in the aroma.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma, at the start I get some some pretty sweet malty and wheaty flavors followed by some nice lemon and orange rind flavors and a lighter amount of peppercorns. Next comes a little bit more sweetness with some grassy hay and a very slight funky slightly barnyard flavor followed by a little bit of tartness. Towards the end I get a really slight amount of alcohol followed by some more and sweet and tart flavors and a sweet, bready, and citrusy aftertaste. I really like the flavor of this beer, it had all those normal Saison flavors they just stuck out more and were much bolder I really liked that.

M- Pretty smooth, slightly creamy, crisp, on the thicker side of being medium bodied, and it had a lower amount of medium carbonation that worked well with this beer. The mouthfeel is nice, it's much bigger then your normal Saison, but so is this beer, so it's needs a bigger body, it works out well.

Overall I really liked this beer and I thought it was a good example of a Saison, specifically the higher alcohol or Imperial Saisons, I haven't had many but this beer had all the nice flavors and aromas that I want from the style just way more intense. This beer had great drinkability, it's a bigger beer but the alcohol hardly shows, it goes down smooth, and has more then enough flavor to hold my attention, I wouldn't mind drinking on a four pack on hot day. What I liked most about this beer was pretty much every thing, but I thought the aroma and taste stuck as being especially good. What I liked least about this beer was nothing, I couldn't find one flaw with this beer and that doesn't happen very often, but I do wish it was a little cheaper and that this was a year round beer and not a limited release. I would buy this beer again, it's a little expensive but worth the price, in fact I will be picking up a four pack before this great beer disappears. If you like Saison's, but want something a little stronger with bigger flavors this beer is for you. I thought the first beer in the series was just ok, but Brewery Vivant really took it to the next level with this beer and it is pretty much everything I would want in a Super Saison, I might even try holding on to a can for a while to see if any of those light funky flavors get any stronger. Brewery Vivant did a great job with this beer and I can't wait to see what else they have in store for this series, I hope a Quad and Tripel show up in the near future, great job guys this is one awesome Super Saison. 2014 Update, so I did end up aging a few of these for a year and it got a little funkier and the spices really dropped off, I like it, but it's a different beer from when it was fresh. I might try aging one even longer to see what happens.

Photo of tone77
3.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a light copper color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell has some spice, funky, a bit different. Taste is yeast, oranges, spices, alcohol is present, balanced and tasty. Feels ,medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a unique and solid beer.

Photo of 71CrazyOtto
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Image of beer can here has changed to yellow/orange hue.
Bought the 4-pack and sessioned it.
First experience with a heavy peppercorn assault on my palate not including a dead cow on my plate and it took some getting used to but after first beer my palate shouted uncle and they went down smooth. The Tellicherry black peppercorns concealed the 9% well I will say that.
I view this as a bold attempt by a brewer and I salute the effort.
This beer isn't a home run but I would try again but I wouldn't drink through a whole 4-pack again because the famous india peppercorn had me dreaming of multiple arm hindus and sound of sitars...most unpleasant, lol.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Duvel tulip on 7/2/12

Thanks to beesy

A) Cloudy, dull honey tones. Two fingers of foam drops to 1/4th inch layer that remains fed by a stream of rising bubbles. Minimum lace.

S) Quite tangy, almost tart aroma - ripe apple, over ripe pear, peppercorn and some orange zestiness. Prairie grass and floral tones as it warms. Hints of biscuits and dough.

T) The taste is pretty tangy too, but there is a decent grainy presence to balance it out. Mild orange zest, but there is plenty peppercorn spiciness. Some alcohol is picked up toward the finish.

M) The feel is a juicy medium body. Carbonation is ample but not harsh; the overall feel is billowy.

D) Not too bad at all but it's a bit too ripe, as it were.

Photo of Durge
3.34/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Cold from the one pint can this brew is a clear golden hue with a fair white cover that breaks up quickly and leaves just a scant trace of lacing. The aroma has a distinct apple cider/vinegar, tart with a hint of straw wheat. Not much else. The flavor again hits me with a very tart apple and wheat blend, almost more of a sour rhubarb deal with a little alcohol along the lines of lime gin. If I think "sour" it works better but thinking it's saison on steroids isn't so terrific to me. It finishes with too much booze and loses any of the grainy goodness I associate with great saisons. It has a medium-light body and a somewhat slick watery feel despite a prickly carbonation. Disappointment to me but maybe it's just over my head.

Photo of woodychandler
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

If you are ever in the Chicagoland and CAN get to one of their locations, Binney's Liquors remains a CANQuest (TM) source nonpareil! This was a recent score.

From the CAN: "Special Limited Release"; "Freshly Brewed in Michigan"; "Imperial Saison Ale Beer brewed with tellicherry black peppercorns and orange peel"; "WHY USE CANS? We set out to build a sustainable brewery and found through our research that cans are a better option than bottles. Cans are much lighter in weight, contain more recycled content, are able to be up-cycled, and use less energy to produce. The canning line also has a much smaller footprint than a bottling line. If this was not enough, cans provide better protection from flavor degenerating oxygen and hop flavor robbing sunlight. This is the best package we can provide to bring our beer to you, tasting the way the brewer intended it. Enjoy."; "IMPERIAL SAISON ALE Zaison takes its name from the famous Saison style of beer made in the southern rgion of Belgium. Traditionally this beer is made in the coolness of the winter months to be enjoyed in the Spring and Summer. Our interpretation uses a special yeast strain that gives this beer a little funkiness and is accented with tellicherry black peppercorns and orange peel."; "COMPLIMENTARY FOODS Barbecue, curried mussels, hard salumi, farm cheeses or aged gouda."; "GLASSWARE A tulip glass provides the right shape to capture the spicy aromas and maintain a rich head on the beer."

My Crack once again revealed a brimful CAN that gave us a mild spritz and caused me to again await some settling. The Glug produced two fingers of bone-white head with decent retention. Color was a deep-gold with NE-quality and King Midas, Croesus and Mammon all suddenly appeared to begin fighting for a taste. Up those guys! The Old Lady and I had drinking to do! Mouthfeel was medium, approaching full and the taste had a tartness to it that I was not really expecting. The CAN mentioned "tellicherry black peppercorns and orange peel" so it may have been the CANbination of the two or their interaction with the yeast, but this was odd in terms of taste. Finish was dry and it was here that the peppercorns really came into vogue. I would have said something about black pepper anyway, but since they cop to it, who would I be to disagree?

Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a mini-snifter, Zaison was a handsome copper color with a slight white head. The aroma was rather underwhelming with a mild grainy aroma. Nothing in the aroma would suggest this to be a special beer. In the initial taste, one gets lemon, a grassy orange taste, mild pepper, and a faint twang of barnyard funk. In the aftertaste, the ale evolves into a sour grassy taste. Toward the end of the glass, I believe I detected a little heat. The thickness of the saison was on par, allowing the funk to linger in the mouth. Though unspectacular, this is very drinker. "Imperial" suggests something to be amped up, but there is little about this that seems amped up. Overall, a very drinkable saison.

Photo of barnzy78
3.34/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16oz can, a copper colored ale with a bubbly, white head, loads of carbonation to keep the head afloat. Bready and yeasty aroma with orange and booze. At initial sip, it's boozy and hot, with orange rind, bready malt, yeast, peppery, and fruity. Full bodied, but not how I want a saison, plenty of carbonation only makes it feel fuller - too full. I get where they were going with this - a huge saison, but it's too bold. One and done here. I wouldn't get this again.

Photo of Etan
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can into a tulip.

A: Pours a glowing golden-orange with a thick white head.

S: Heavy yeast, orange peel, sweet pale malt in the nose. Very citrusy.

T: Taste brings more bright orange and lemon zest notes, cakey maltiness, some mild stone fruit esters, tart edge. The peppercorns are subtle but provide a bit of spicy warmth on the palate.

M: Medium-bodied with light yet crisp carbonation.

O: Not bad. I wouldn't mind drinking this every once in a while.

Photo of Alextricity
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My very first Saison -- $4.29 16oz can bought and poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint ... no canning date.

Appearance: A very hazy yellow-orange color, with a tiny head that bubbles away quickly. Pretty significant, noticeable alcohol legs. The carbonation is insane on this one (I'm not sure if that's normally how Saisons are), as it sounds like pop being poured into a glass. Extremely active carbonation at the bottom of the glass. Once I got the whole can into the glass, the carbonation went down a little bit, and the appearance changed.

Smell: I definitely get the yeast in the aroma with some sort of citrus (probably the orange). The funk from the yeast is definitely the most obvious though.

Taste/feel: Being my first Saison, I didn't know what to expect. At first when I poured the beer, it had a SLIGHT haze with very high carbonation. Once I poured the bottom of the can into my glass, it changed quite a bit -- the carbonation mellowed out a touch, the beer got a lot hazier, and the taste changed just a tick. The sourness comes throughout the entire sip, which I guess is supposed to happen with Saisons -- along with that, there's a LOT of the orange flavor that's mentioned on the label. As far as peppercorns, it's there SLIGHTLY on the finish, and in the fact that Zaison should maybe make your throat burn a bit on the swallow... well, that, and the alcohol. I really find that this almost drinks like some sort of energy drink with its pretty dominant sour orange flavor and high carbonation. It's interesting as hell.

Zaison is strangely compelling. From what I read about Saisons, this is what I expected. I don't know if they all drink just like this one, but this one truly tastes like it could be an energy drink, even with the slight boozy flavor. While I'm not too sure I'd pick this up for the price of $4.29 a pint can, I definitely do quite enjoy it -- it's definitely unlike any beer I've had before, but that's more than likely just because it's a Saison. If I'm looking for a beer that's a little bit different, this one would be on my radar. Solid beer, even though a pint can might just be a tad too much.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Shit, we can barely pronounce this style properly, now these guys wanna go and alter the spelling here? We're screwed... Anyway, this stuff pours a cloudy sunset golden-auburn topped by over a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises banana peel, orange peel, black pepper, and plenty of white grape skin. The taste brings in more of the same, with less banana and a a strong vein of caramel and sweet biscuit. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a slick feel. Overall, I found this stuff to be too sweet and too, well, boring for its own good, coming across more like a mildly Belgian-inspired amber ale than a saison. Sadly, another letdown from the former shining light of Vivant.

Photo of Thorpe429
2.32/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to my parents for picking up this can. Pours a golden-orange color with a good white head and some lacing. The nose carries some peppercorn and a bit of citrus. Some alcohol present. Earthy as well. A bit too mixed and muddled. Flavor has spice and citrus. Again, too much going on without being integrated. Medium body with spice and some alcohol.

Photo of ppoitras
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

16oz can received via Growling at the Moon from Stonequarrywest. Thanks for the brew, Gabe!

Poured into an imperial pint with a 3/4" blonde head over the cloudy golden brew. Head dwindles gradually, with thick coating lace. Aroma is tart with spices.

Taste starts spicy, comes on strong in the middle with the sour grapes, which carry through the close, where the spicing tries to overcome, but cannot. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, if you can ignore the tartness, and drinkability is ok. Would make for an ok thirst-quencher, but the abv isn't agreeing too well with that idea. Not what I was really expecting.

Photo of beersabound
1.64/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer had a massive amount of sweet white grape flavor which was not pleasant. This characteristic also made the beer seem much sweeter than most saisons. I was pretty fired up to try this beer. It had a decent head, was clear and looked nice in the glass. Overall, though, this is not a tasty beer. :(

Photo of dfillius
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass
A: Gentle pour yields 1/2 finger of tight off-white head with so-so retention. Hazy orange-gold looks like a beautiful IPA. More head please, as it is non-existent after 30 seconds.
S: Orange peel. Slight earthiness. Slightly cheesy. Pleasant but not complex.
T: Alcohol is a bit overpowering. Orange peel is a bit heavy too. Peppercorns are apparent but unfortunately overpowered. Decent but too warm and imbalanced. Tastes more like a cocktail or a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.
M: Very sweet finish, I'd like it to be drier for a saison. A tad cloying. Strong on ethanol, but not boozy.
O: Would not buy again and would not order another. Won't finish this pint probably. Just too alcohol forward and sweet.

Photo of tectactoe
3.61/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden with a hint of orange. Hazy, with a nice-sized white head. No lacing to speak of. The nose is full of wheat, orange zest, lemon peels, herbal spiced tea. The taste hits with background notes of banana and clove, along with nice warming alcohol. Peppery spices, lemon herbs, and pineapple really come through about halfway into the sip. The aftertaste leaves the palette with a slightly bready and sweet malty flavor with a touch of bitterness and sweet fruity esters. Slight hint of floral notes in the background, but hard to notice. Medium body with sharp carbonation.

My first saison. Tasty brew here, although it's hard to compare to other saisons since this is my first one. Based off of this one, the Belgian style is noticeable, but I would prefer a Belgian strong ale or dubel/tripel over this type.

Photo of pschul4
2/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A- Leaving it in the can because whalesbro

S- Interesting nose. Sweet notes, alcoho notes, malt in there a little bit, sour and funk a little too

T- I hate to say it but this is BAD. I might pour it out to see if that helps it at all but at the moment this is going to be drain poured. Abrasive vegital sour note that overtakes all else

___

Okay start over, pouring this into my Great Lakes snifter (numeric score reflects this time around)

A- Pours a slightly dark orange with a white head that completely dissapears

S- Nose s te same, maybe a bit more pungent

T- Improved over drinking from the can but still not good. More vegital notes with some sweetness and funk flavors. Something is really wrong here though

M- Totally still, no carbonation whatsoever

O- Maybe this was a bad can but this really sucked.

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Zaison Imperial Saison Ale from Brewery Vivant
82 out of 100 based on 155 ratings.