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Zaison Imperial Saison Ale - Brewery Vivant

Zaison Imperial Saison AleZaison Imperial Saison Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

111 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 111
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 17.65%


Brewed by:
Brewery Vivant visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: MichPaul on 05-12-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 111 | Reviews: 29 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

3.61/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2012 11:47:20 | More by tectactoe
Photo of tone77
tone77

Pennsylvania

3.71/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Serving type: can

11-11-2013 12:08:15 | More by tone77
Photo of 71CrazyOtto
71CrazyOtto

Michigan

3.76/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: can

11-08-2013 19:56:49 | More by 71CrazyOtto
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

3.41/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Serving type: can

09-28-2013 01:24:20 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of Durge
Durge

Connecticut

3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Serving type: can

08-19-2013 05:32:29 | More by Durge
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

3.54/5  rDev -0.8%
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?

Serving type: can

08-05-2013 04:00:46 | More by woodychandler
Photo of JohnnyHopps
JohnnyHopps

Indiana

3.81/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Serving type: can

06-22-2013 20:41:18 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of barnzy78
barnzy78

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Serving type: can

06-15-2013 20:22:01 | More by barnzy78
Photo of Etan
Etan

Wisconsin

3.81/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Serving type: can

05-17-2013 04:54:23 | More by Etan
Photo of Alextricity
Alextricity

Michigan

3.74/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Serving type: can

05-14-2013 15:35:37 | More by Alextricity
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3/5  rDev -16%
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.

Serving type: can

05-03-2013 20:45:56 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

2.3/5  rDev -35.6%
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.

Serving type: can

12-15-2012 18:42:26 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

2.95/5  rDev -17.4%
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.

Serving type: can

11-13-2012 00:56:08 | More by ppoitras
Photo of beersabound
beersabound

Alaska

1.58/5  rDev -55.7%
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. :(

Serving type: can

11-04-2012 05:57:55 | More by beersabound
Photo of dfillius
dfillius

Michigan

3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Serving type: can

10-28-2012 20:52:04 | More by dfillius
Photo of pschul4
pschul4

Illinois

1.93/5  rDev -45.9%
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.

Serving type: can

10-16-2012 00:58:47 | More by pschul4
Photo of dudecandle
dudecandle

New York

3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful orange color, but the fluffy head dissipates quite quickly.

S: Something of an applewood smell, between the citrus and the Belgian yeast. Relatively one-note.

T: Lovely fresh orange citrus with a good dose of grass. It has a long-rolling finish of black pepper and the Belgian yeast. A bit boozy and almost lemonadey.

M: Surprisingly full, even once the carbonation dies down.

D: The flavor doesn't develop to be terribly complex, but I think it's one of the best citrusy punches I've come across in a while. If the carbonation would hold a bit longer, I think this would be a very impressive beer. The high alcohol is impressively not noticeable. As of now, it's still quite good, but it perhaps doesn't quite live up to its price tag.

Serving type: can

09-06-2012 23:23:03 | More by dudecandle
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

16oz can picked up at Oades... Pours hazed dark golden... short lasting white head leaves no lacing.

Nose is slightly spicy.. tons of fruit that reminds me of overripe apples.. dried apricots... and rotting peaches.

Flavor is heavy fruitiness... peppercorns come out swinging a bit mid palate but are KO by the fruity esters... tastes like apricot nectar with a metallic twinge... sweet and not "malty", just sweet..

Carbonation is too light... body is entirely too heavy... not "too heavy for a saison", just too heavy in general... Thankfully, I had a good fella to share this with or it would have been 8oz down the drain... Sorry... This needs a TON of work. Not even close to a Saison... Sorry.

All 3's and that is generous.

Serving type: can

09-04-2012 06:21:51 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Can to Duvel tulip.

A - Cloudy orange/yellow colour. One finger of off-white head that reduced to a film on top of the beer.

S - Big grassy aroma up front with a sweet bready malt backbone that has a touch of caramel coming through as well.

T - Fairly big tartness up front that was unexpected but settles down after a few sips. A fairly prominent hop bitterness is present with some grassy, herbal and floral flavours. The malt backbone is fairly prominent as well, adding some sweet caramel and bready notes.

M - Medium body with a fairly big chew. Light carbonation.

O - This one is a touch strange but interesting in its own way.

Serving type: can

09-03-2012 18:50:45 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of korguy123
korguy123

Ontario (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can into tumbler.
Special thanks to TheSevenDuffs for this.

A- Hazy golden coloured pour with a two finger white head that doesn't stick around too much. Lacing is minimal.

S- Spicy yeast, a touch of buttered popcorn, pepper and oranges.

T- Spicy yeast again, peppercorns, orange juice and pulp, some apples and pears.

M- Light bodied, prickly carbonation.

Serving type: can

08-27-2012 20:33:37 | More by korguy123
Photo of Lawl3ss
Lawl3ss

Texas

3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chilled pounder into a pint glass. I like how the can actually has a label on it. Not mind blowing, just something I haven't seen before and logical for a craft brewery. No visible freshness info.

Look- Hazy honey/light amber with a finger and a half of effervescent off-white foam. Just a few streaks of lace left by the time the glass empties.

Smell- Light toast, apple cider, apricot preserves, white pepper. Maybe some white raisin or grape juice. Jamlike sweetness, tart aroma similar to pulverized raspberry.

Taste- Flowery, light honey and lemon pith. Yeasty savory spice on the swallow. Overall impression is of some sort of lemon chewy nougat candy- floured light chewy caramel with a candylike citrus. Mildly grainy, finishes with a hint of cane sugar syrup and lemongrass.

Mouthfeel- Light-medium body, carbonation low to average for the style. Barest hint of sourness, clean, on the refreshing side, finishes lightly dry. 16 oz. feels like a pretty appropriate serving.

Overall- A pretty nice brew, hits the points required for the style, but it's pretty restrained. A summertime drinker for those that don't like the especially dry or sour incarnations of the Saison. Worth trying.

Serving type: can

08-23-2012 21:52:47 | More by Lawl3ss
Photo of zachary80
zachary80

Indiana

3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16oz Brewer's Reserve Zaison: Imperial saison ale. Beer brewed with Tellicherry black peppercorns and orange peel.

Light golden body with small white head that fades quickly and leaves no lacing.

Aroma is a faint blend yeast and lemon juice. Hint of the peppercorn.

The flavor has a cirtusey bite to it that dominates its taste. It isn't unpleasant, just one note.

Mouthfeel is heavy for a saison, but expected for an imperial.

Zaison is better than I expected from an imperial saison, but loses some of the complexity of the style to the almost overwhelming citrus overtones.

Serving type: can

08-22-2012 22:01:11 | More by zachary80
Photo of aasher
aasher

Indiana

3.1/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was courtesy of a coworker, thanks Will!

This beer pours a light bodied, very cloudy bright gold in color with a one finger bright white head. The nose smells of slightly sweet creamed corn, bitter citrus peel, and citrusy Belgian yeast character. The nose wasn't what I expected. The corn aspect threw me for a loop. The flavors feature slightly sweet pale malt, light Belgian yeast, citrus, an odd creamed corn character, and perhaps some grainy notes. It's different. There is a touch of alcohol in the flavors as well. It drinks light and is relatively easy to drink. Despite the odd nose and flavor it isn't off putting, it just means it isn't necessarily traditional and I wouldn't really recommend trying it. It's ok.

Serving type: can

08-16-2012 02:27:53 | More by aasher
Photo of BBP
BBP

Ontario (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden-orange with thin head, but excellent lacing.

The aroma is fruity with subtle spice. Ever so slightly peppery. Very refreshing.

The taste is incredibly smooth considering the 9.0% ABV. This is perhaps one of the easiest beers to drink in that regard. Lemon and orange come through accompanied by a bit of hoppy citrus. After that fades away a bit of pine seeps through. The spices are very minimal while complimenting the drink quite well. Usually I find spices to be overdone, but this beer works incredibly well. Some mild funk is inside of this, and it has a bit of vinegar acidity at times.

The mouthfeel is quite smooth while having ample carbonation. The nature of the carbonation isn't one bit aggressive though. The finish is moderately dry and slightly sticky.

Overall, this was a very interesting brew. The "imperial" aspect of this saison is mostly noticeable in the slightly reinforced flavor, but the drinkability takes no hit whatsoever. I'll definitely stock up the next time that I see it.

Serving type: can

07-14-2012 21:25:03 | More by BBP
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

4.4/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I stop by Vivant on my way back from a wedding and had to pick up some samples
This pours a slightly haze deep gold. The rocky white head fizzles away quickly like half an alka selyzelter.

The aroma is like orange, apricot and with some spice which is mostly pepper and something else. There is some low spicy hop aromas and some alcohol in the nose.

Wow it's like a hug hit to the palate with big thick layers of fruit and spicy the dominate flavors being orange, apricot and pepper. There is a moderately high bitterness and a fairly firm tartness like there tasting like they had used some orange peel. There is that belgian yeast quality in there with a hint of sourness. The hop type bitterness really hang in there after the fairly dry finish.

It a little thick for a Saison style with a medium-heavy body and high carbonation.

I didn't know what to think of with an Imperial Saison other than that sounds like a great idea. This really fits that description, it an assertive bold beer with the Saison characteristics amped up a few notches. It's a great concept and it's well executed.

Serving type: can

07-07-2012 00:22:26 | More by MadScientist
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Zaison Imperial Saison Ale from Brewery Vivant
81 out of 100 based on 111 ratings.