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Island Reserve: Saison Farmhouse Ale - Cisco Brewers Inc.

Not Rated.
Island Reserve: Saison Farmhouse AleIsland Reserve: Saison Farmhouse Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

37 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 139
Avg: 3.87
pDev: 17.57%
Wants: 14
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: nas5755 on 10-30-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Saison Farmhouse was fun to brew and is fun to drink. Buckwheat, oats, and rye fermented with Brettanomyces and a Saison yeast in a 50 hectoliter french oak cask. Herbs and spices grown here at the brewery replaced most of the hops. On it's way into package it was treated to a host of microflora to create additional character over time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 37 | Hads: 139
Photo of pat61
4.49/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From tasting notes. Appearance: Hazy copper gold, 3” finely bubbled, moussey, lacy white head. Smell: A suspicion of bacon, a touch sour, fresh fruit, some over ripe fruit, a hint of Brett. Taste: Starts with a creamy mouth full that dissolves with a touch of sour, some fruit, light malts, a touch of lemon maybe a little orange and a faint hint of anise. Lingering fruit aftertastes balanced by mild hop bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium body but has a lightness of flavor and very creamy czrbonation. Overall: Very refreshing beer that calls out for calamari, fish and chips or a bucket of mussels. They need to brew this again.

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Photo of buzzarooski
2.6/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

LOOK: Hazy Yellow in Color, Minimal White Foamy Head Dissipates Quickly

SMELL: Lemon, Lemon, and oh yes LEMON

TASTE: Fair too Tart and Lemon Tasting for my Liking, Borderline Overwhelming

FEEL: Minimal Carbonation, Leaves the Pallet Dry and "Puckered"...if that makes any sense.

OVERALL: Since this type of beer (Saison) is NOT my preferred type of beer I tried to keep and Opened Mind....but at the End of the Day...for Many reasons I would have to call this Ale...A LEMON!

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Photo of Gaucho
1.25/5  rDev -67.7%

First, I must preface that I'm not sure if I had this specific brew. Consumed on tap at Armsby Abbey in Worceter as "Cisco Saison".

In any event, it was very disappointing. Always an interesting tap list at the Abbey, and since I really enjoy saisons, I inquired about the Cisco. He indicated "tart" (in hindsight, rather sheepishly).
Nice amber color and head, but the positives stop there. Overwhelming lemon flavor - more shandy that saison. So much lemon that it masked any other characteristics.
Wondering if it was a keg gone bad since most of other reviews are favorable. In the meantime, I'll stick with Hennepin or Tank 7.

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Photo of superspak
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, 2013 vintage bottling. Pours lightly hazy bright orange color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with solid retention, that reduces to a thin ring of lace. Minimal lacing on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of tart lemon peel, ginger, orange zest, tangerine, grapefruit, green apple, pear, thyme, herbal, grass, pepper, light caramel, bread, light oak, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice aromas with good complexity and solid balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and light oak notes; with good strength. A bit too strong on the spices. Taste of tart lemon peel, orange zest, tangerine, grapefruit, green apple, pear, ginger, thyme, herbal, grass, light caramel, bread, light pepper, light oak, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Good amount of fruity/earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon peel, orange zest, tangerine, grapefruit, green apple, ginger, thyme, herbal, grass, light pepper, light caramel, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and pale malt sweetness; with a great sweetness/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and fairly crisp/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice brett saison. Good complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and pale malt sweetness; and very smooth to sip on with the moderate acidity. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.31/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


Pours a clear amber gold with no head

Smells of lemon and fresh ginger with a light candy sweetness.

Tastes of tart lemon, ginger, light oak, and grassy malts.

Body is medium with tingles on the tongue.

Excellent saison, top notch quality and unique flavor. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.64/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

this is one of the best saisons i have ever tasted, maybe the best period. it has a little age on it, i have overlooked this thing a million times on the shelf, and now that cisco isnt in colorado anymore, i have a new favorite beer. figures. a grain base of buckwheat, rye, and oats gives this beer a radiant brass color, with a few little yeast pieces but rather good clarity. the head is large, bone white, and comprised of pretty big bubbles. the cap launches off this bottle, age has let the brett really go crazy, and this has a ton of carbonation as a result. the aroma is unique and mouth watering. its loaded with tropical fruit, mangoes, passion fruit, tart white grapes, its awesome. i also get a majorly herbaceous thing, basil, jasmine, lavender, hibiscus, tons of botanical lushness and freshness. the brett is subtle here, i get more saison yeast than brett, but the tandem is great, just enough funk and fruitiness. a little sweet, but interesting from the grain at the same time. the flavor is one of the best ive ever had. the yeasts are kicking butt here, and have dried out the fruitiness quite a lot i imagine. huge tropical fruit though, passion fruit mostly, not unlike their island reserve lager in that respect. the oats give body and sweetness, the rye a touch of earthy spice, and yeasts are so interesting. my mouth waters for it while its in my mouth, just that good. the herbs are robust as they are in the nose, basil for sure, maybe lemon balm or something similar, and a definite floral thing, cherry blossom maybe, so cool. as fizzy as they come, huge bubbles and high carb levels make it really snap. its super dry too, almost hard to hold in the mouth, finishes clean but again leaves me wanting more. one of the most overlooked and i would add underrated beers, a real diamond in the rough, a hidden gem, the crown jewel if you will. so dynamic and layered, so artfully made, a nice mix of yeasts and brett, and just a touch of oak. if you see it, buy it. world class all the way.

edit: this must go through some waves, as i bottle i have held awhile really tapered off in terms of overall enjoyment. the brett funk is way back, and the herbal side is almost over the top. medicinal and sharp, as much wine-like as anything else. still different and distinct, but not as awesome as the first few bottles i had last year. bumping down a score here just a touch to reflect that.

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Photo of WarEagleJeep
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Rich hazy orange color and aggressive white head and yeast debris even from gentle pour. Head stays the entire glass with lacing.

S: Funky yeast, pear, apple, lemon grass, aromatic earthy spice, and wet grains

T: Tart funky yeast, sharp bite from carbonation that fades after time, tart pear and apple, subtle spice. Acidic and subtle dry finish.

M: Strong carbonation, light feel, and clean dry finish

O: A lot of yeast flavor in this one. Similar to other Brett saisons I've had. Enjoyable tart fruit flavors and crisp carbonation but the yeast debris did creep me out some. Interesting saison if you are looking for a real funky sour saison.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Capped 750 ml bottle poured into a globe glass. Pours an orange honey in color with a fair amount of haze. Off white cap is meringue like and offers robust, in fact a bit too much, retention and lace.

I tend to buy these American Saisons with a bit of trepidation, particularly from brewers who don't specialize in Belgian style ales. And the aroma here is no different than many an experience as the added spice appears to be firmly overdone for my tastes. Lots of pepper/grains of paradise and lemon oil initially through the dense foam. As the cap settles the spices balance a bit but still come across as a highly spiced witbier. Warming yields a light Brett fruitiness that tries, albeit in vain, to balance the added spice.

Taste starts off fairly well but by mid palate it's all lemongrass then a lingering finish of spice. A bit puckering in a sense though not at all sour. No bitterness and no funkiness though there is a bit of fruitiness from the Brett I would gather. Bit more balance with warming.

Feel is a bit creamy and a bit thick for the style but not unexpected given the citric notes and high level of carbonation. Overall a decent beerand quite enjoyable but one that lacks any true Saison character. Brett 1/Saison 0 on Yeast pay per view.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage
750ml to Duvel tulip

A - Pours a dark burnt orange color. Even with a gentle pour, a massive 3 fingers of head grows on top. Bubbles stacked up to the top of the glass and takes a solid 10 minutes to sink to half. Fat chunky lacing all over the glass.

S - Funky and earthy wheat, pepper, lots of fruit esters coated in funk, bananas, peaches, lemons, apricots, cantaloupe, some dusty basement, old antique wood finish, medicinal phenolics, lavender, very earthy and peppery.

T/M - Earthy wheat grain, aggressive carbonation attacks the tongue with stinging bite pretty quick. Vinous acidity provides more tartness than I was expecting, white grapes, lemons, apple, peaches, apricots, earthy grassiness. Malt is sweet but the tartness levels it out. Plenty of old basement wood. Moderate foamy carbonation mellows out a bit when left to sit but is still over the top.

The yeast seems to be really coming around on this beer dominating most of the flavors. (In a good way) Lots of tart fruit and a very distinct basement wood furniture character. Carbonation gets better as it sits. Glad I waited to crack this.

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Photo of babaracas
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy light amber with two fingers thick white foam that settles to a quarter inch. Rings of thick lace down the glass. Smell: lemon, wheaty, mild barnyard brett, lactic, herbal and medicinal notes. Taste: sourdough, lemon, herbal thyme-ish. Carbonation is a little high. Good, a little one dimensional... acidity + a little brett.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour for New Brew Thursday's 3rd Anniversary event held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, spices, and yeast. Taste is much the same with an herbal flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
2.91/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle courtesy of cosmo4u pours a very hazed gold color with a massive, foamy white head…glistens like soap bubbles. Poured gently, but even so was super-foamy and took forever to recede.

Nose is very spice-oriented surprisingly. Grains of paradise and nutmeg come to mind as well as orange and/or lemon peel. Grains seem pretty neutral and hops don’t seem to be much of a factor.

Taste is better than I thought it would after the smell, I am not really a fan of grains of paradise. The spices are more subtle (though still pretty notable) and the biscuity malt plays a more prominent role. Smoothes out almost to the point of watery though and the over carbonation is annoying to say the least. I really don’t get much of the brett or other 'microflora' noted in the description, perhaps the spices are too overpowering to notice? I must admit, I like my saisons without any spices added...why fuck with an already exceptional style of beer? It’s not bad as far as spiced saisons go, but overall I’m not a big fan of this beer.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden orange, huge plume of bone white head which grew even after sitting. Scent filled with strong notes of funk, tart citrus and a big dose of floral and herbal notes. taste expands a bit on the nose, funk is strong up front, followed by tartness... as the palate adjusts, lots of lemon blending with the floral and herbal notes, lightly sweet malt, notes of wood and earth appear on the tail end. Medium bodied, bubbly and active. Decent all around, but slightly unfocused.

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Photo of BDIMike
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great looking beer. A light brown to orange color. A great hazy look with a serious amount of carbonation creating a thick white fluffy head that sits on top of the beer throughout the drink.
Smell has some fresh wheat characteristics to it. A good sour sweetness to it. A good spiciness and some fruity apricot like smells.
Taste has some very nice complex things going on. A strong clean, wheat backbone. Some strong rich fruit tastes of apricot and other sour fruits. A bit of nuttiness too.
Mouthfeel is awesome. A good silk smoothness to it. Also a nice crisp refreshing carbonation to the drink too.
Drinkability is awesome on this beer. A lot of nice tastes, but this beer has such a great balance to it. Tastes go through a roller coaster of different flavors. Great beer, glad I could get my hands on one of these.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured into a duvel tulip to a cloudy golden orange with a two finger slightly off white head that maintains pretty well
S: smells yeasty, a bit musty, a bit of lemon zest
T: slightly tart lemon flavor, spicy yeast, a bit musty, hints of oakiness, a little wine like flavor and a little grassy. a bit more citric lemon flavor on the swallow along with some slightly chalky yeast
M: fairly light on the palate with active and soft carbonation
O: a very tasty brew, I love the brett and the sourness. Got this one in a trade and couldn't be happier

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Photo of mwilbur
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 mL bottle into cervoise.
A: Pours a very murky light caramel color (more yellow and orange hues with backlighting) with 1/2 inch white head. Good retention and lacing. Interesting looking brew...if it's possible to look complex, this one does.
S: Tough to pin this one down. Alternatingly sharp citrus hops, softer caramel malt, toasted grains, and sweet melon. Hints of brett funk and mustiness. Again...complex.
T: Like the aroma, this takes a bit to sort out. Dry citrus hops seem to hit first followed quickly by sweet fruit notes (apricot, peach, melon) and a burst of peppery spice. This gives way to brett funk and earthy grains in the finish. Hint of nutty caramel malt and herbal notes in there too. I'm not going to say it...oh what the hell...yeah, it's complex.
M: Bright and spicy up front, turning more smooth and calm in the middle, and finishes dry and tart with an almost wine-like acidity. Light body.
D: Low ABV lends this to easy drinking. Definitely a different take on the saison (which I'm usually not a fan of), but a very enjoyable one. This one definitely falls into the "interestingly complex" category. The brew's enjoyment is enhanced by peeling apart the layers and thinking about how it was constructed. Seek it out if you can!

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: cloudy orange/light brown, trace head, fine lacing

S: floral, yeast, lemon peel + zest

T: lemon peel, big floral, yeast, earthy grassy finish

M: med body, smooth, solid carbonation mouth

O: Very nice offering from a good brewery. Enjoyed this special brew.


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Photo of Kendo
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bomber (which I purchased at the brewery) into a glass. Body is cloudy dark golden with a 1-finger whitish head. Some clingy lace.

S: Slight funkiness and florally, perfumey. Good for the style.

T: Slight earthy funkiness and spice over sweet malt (think honey, or caramel malt). Like the nose, there's a floral-like flavor. Lemony at the finish.

M: I wrote, "Slightly off." Carbonation is lacking. Heft is light-to-medium (closer to medium).

O: OK; a decent Saison.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a cloudy hazy dirty orange color ale with a medium size foamy head with minimal retention and not much lacing. Aroma consists of light Brett notes with some rustic malt and light acidic notes. Taste is a mix between some Brett notes with acidic undertones and lightly sweet malt with light rustic notes. Body is full with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. This one is a weird one one with Brett notes that off and the malt backbone isn’t well balanced. Peppery yeast notes or prominence of ester are also hard to detect.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is a cloudy golden color with a large white head. A pretty nice aroma. Lemon is prominent, good citrus peel to it with a touch of yeast and some white pepper. Quite a bit of bready malt and a little bit of straw. The flavor is lightly tart with some big time lemon and green apple. There’s a really strong barnyard character to it as well. Heavy on the yeast, too.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked bomber into an oversized wine glass- pours a bright orange color with,a finger and a half of frothy white head, good retention, nice streaks and splotches of lacing.

Smells REALLY funky; lovin it. Definitely got that brett weirdness to it; not as tart as it is just plain funky. Maybe a little bit abrasive.

Taste is more complex and balanced; moderate tartness up front, followed by the funk, smoothes out into a nice pale malt sweetness, but the funk is always lurking. Definitely taste some garden herbs in the mid-palate as well; hard to say what.

Mouthfeel is great; light body, well carbonated, tartness not overwhelming the quaffability. This is a very interesting and nice beer; maybe the smell is overdone. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Brett.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazey amber, copper, unmalted wheat grain color with an awesome head, head retention, and bubbling. This beer is almost perfect looking.

Tart green apple and grape fruity aroma with a little yeast dryness in teh nose. Smell some light toasted bread and maybe some lemongrass as well.

Definetly on teh tarter side of the saison spectrum. Tart fruity and yeasty flavor and palate thats heavy on the front end. But does lighten up on the finish. Chalky lemongrass, tart apples and grapes with some mildly toasted barley and wheat. Complex and interesting. I'm not a tart beer guy, but this was well received and worth a try.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy lemon yellow with a ton of bubbles. Decent white head with a little lace.

Some musty yeast and funky aromas, but not quite enough.

Flavor makes up for aroma. Great yeast and grain husk funk and bitterness. Some spice and soda water with a little tart edge. Nice carbonated bitter and tart finish.

Medium to medium-light body. Nice carbonation.

Great domestic Saison. Very drinkable and refreshing.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into D'Achouffe tulip.

A- pours a hazy straw color with a 2 finger white head. Leaves small bubbles and some clumps of lacing on the glass.

S- definitely some lemon, slight pine sol smell, also some barnyard tart smell from the Brett I would asume.

T- very tart lemon, some vinegar and nice funky flavors.

M- light body with high carbonation. Slightly acidic mixed with the tartness of this beer makes it a little difficult to drink.

O- really nice beer. Has nice citrus you look for in a saison mixed with the Brett gives this beer some nice sourness as well

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Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy very dark yellow in color and has a bit of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high off white head that quickly died down, consistently leaving a thin film of bubbles on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of butter (of the movie theater popcorn variety) in the nose along with hints of oak. As the beer warms up, the smell becomes stronger and some sourness becomes noticeable.
T: Oak flavors from the barrel aging seem to dominate the overall taste, which also has some complexities with notes of sourness and hints of yeast.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation. There is some dryness in the initial taste (but not in the finish).
O: This is a nice and interesting saison to drink due to the addition of the oak and sour flavors. The mouthfeel is a bit chewier compared to other beers in the style.

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Island Reserve: Saison Farmhouse Ale from Cisco Brewers Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.