Alter Ego - Smartmouth Brewing Company

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Alter Ego
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BA SCORE
85
very good

13 Reviews
THE BROS
86
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 13
Hads: 89
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 3.96%
Wants: 1
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Smartmouth Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Beer-A-Lot on 11-03-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 13 | Hads: 89
Photo of woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

I had been saying for a while that once I finished with the Great Bottle Purge of the Summer of 2014, I was going to resume The CANQuest (TM) in earnest and I am doing just that! I've been away so long that it's good to be back.
From the CAN: "Born and raised in Norfolk, VA"; "It's who you are on the inside that counts."; "Brewed for thought."; "The unexamined beer is not worth brewing"; "Release your inner spirit with Alter Ego (TM), an effervescent and refreshing beer with fruity notes and a dry finish. Brewed in the Belgian style, this Saison is a shout-out to the Alter Ego in each of us. Not only does it pair well with shellfish & ripe soft cheeses, it also inspired a certain lawyer to quit his job and go start a brewery."; "For refined palates".
I heard a nice, loud Crack! and so it was time for an inverted Glug. The tawny head was as fizzy as soda pop and so I sat back to see what would settle out. The answer turned out to be "not much". It fizzed its way down to nothing but wisps! Color was a cloudy Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 -5). Nose had a very typical musty, sweet, mixed fruit smell along with a light pepperiness. Mouthfeel was medium. Taste was musty, like old newspapers in the attic, with a fruitiness and a slight pepper bite on the tongue. Finish was semi-dry, leaving a lingering cheesy taste in my mouth. My palate may not be refined enough to truly appreciate such a beer, but I really would have liked to have had some cheese and crackers with this one. (1,485 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64 oz. growler shared with friends and enjoyed by me at home, brought back by my sister from Norfolk, VA, thanks Sarah Parah, growlered (if that's a word) on 12/17/12, just listed as 'Saison', I'm assuming it's this,

A: Pours a burnt orange, with a hint of haze, still has some considerable carbonation which I was happy about since this was lugged across the southern USA. Nice lace.

S: Quite yeasty with a fair amount of sugar initially. Nice bits of orange peel and pear.

T: Pear and apple esters with a lot of spice, especially on the back end. Nowhere near as sugary as the nose would suggest. Hints of orange blossoms, honey, and bready malt.

M: Medium-bodied, though it has lightness about it. Refreshing, crisp, the low alcohol is clear, this is quite a bit more drinkable than a lot of the saisons I've had. Definitely clean for the style.

O: This is a beer you can still taste on your tongue a half an hour after you finish drinking it. Nice to see a new brewery with a beer this good on their starting lineup. Well made, if I'm ever in Norfolk, I'm going to check these guys out. (1,095 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was unexpected. The day after Christmas and I'm still receiving presents; this time it was a full glass of Virginian saison, courtesy of Halcyondays. Served growler style at Beachwood BBQ, on to the beer:

Looks a lighter orange color with solid head retention and good lace ringing around the tulip. The nose is somewhat sweet for a saison, offering apples and pears, with a modest rusticness. At first, the beer tastes fruity and rustic. Notes of apple, pear, lemon and vague rustic notes make a solid foundstion. As the beer warms, it seems to pick up some herbal and minty notes, adding to the excitement. It's a medium bodied brew with low carbonation, and is an easy drinker.

Easy to approach and not too funky, I dig it. (734 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a stemmed pilsner, the beer is a cloudy, opaque, honey-gold coloring with a tall, frothy, foamy, big bubbled, off-white head. Aromas of subtle citrus, cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of clove, a bready backbone, and caramel sweet. Flavors are tangy sweet forward, with a blend of citrus and berry sweetness, highlights of floral hops, pepper spice, a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, some subtle funky notes, and a kick of resinous hops. Pretty balanced, and damn flavorful. The body is smooth and full, with a crisp, dry undertone. The aftertaste is more of the herbal blends, with citrus sweetness shining through, as well. Smooth, slightly effervesced, slightly dry finish. Good beer. (707 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy orange with minimal head and lace on top of a spicy, citrusy with mild fruit ester aroma with touch of sweetness. Lighter bodied than other saisons, a tad too spicy for my liking, kind of draws away from some good orangey-citric and sweet fruit and malt flavors. Spices and some sharp carbonation lead to a dryer finish than usual and there's a touch of sour puckering as I get near to finishing this beer. Not fantastic but a good session saison. (463 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #80 (Sep 2013):

Quite the bold Saison we have here. Feigns to be bigger than it actually is, and works for the beer rather than against it. New complexities open up with each taste. A real treat to sip, and we had no problem polishing off the growler. Perhaps Smartmouth should dabble a bit more in the Belgian arena?

STYLE: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 6.2%
AVAILABILITY: Year-round

LOOK: Hazed golden orange, sufficient lacing

SMELL: Lemon zest, green peppercorn, pithy, taffy, bready, nutty yeast, hint of alcohol

TASTE: Crisp pop, smooth, medium bodied, grainy, mildly biscuity, peppery, alcoholic warmth, mild medicinal phenols, lemon peel, balancing bitterness, bread crust, yeast, ripe pears, semidry finish (745 characters)

Photo of JayQue
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy golden color with a medium size delicately bubbly white head. Good retention and some lacing on the glass. The aroma is mild...some Belgian yeast and light fruit.

Taste is more prominent. Light fruit, some Belgian yeast, lemon zest and a bit of spicing.. Good flavor but lacking the Saison "funk" that I like.

Mouthfeel is light (not weak or watery) and nicely carbonated. Lighter than most Saisons

Overall, a good summertime ale. Not the best Saison out there since it lacks the musty/funky aspect. (515 characters)

Photo of damndirtyape
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz can, no date, served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy golden yellow. Thin white foam with lots of persistent fine lacing.

Smell: Musty, earthy, grains, chalky yeast.

Taste: Earthy herbal/leafy hop flavors dominate. Some wheat and bready malt underneath it all.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light carbonation, good thickness. A little bit sticky on the teeth.

Overall / drinkability: I've been spoiled by Saison Dupont, and with this I view it as having some of the flavors of a saison, but not capturing that light refreshing feeling. Still, tasty enough, just not a great beer. An above average one though. (611 characters)

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice hazy-orange color. Small head but decent lacing.
S - Mild, citrusy.
T - Light, easy-drinking beer with more going on than you may first realize. Very refreshing. Well-balanced and not overly carbonated.
M - A bit light, but gets better as you drink.
O - A nice beer. Well done for Smartmouth's first offerring. (323 characters)

Photo of Xandrose
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Orangish and a bit hazy. Poured a two finger head. Left a nice ring around the glass.

S - Low amount of citrus hop aroma. Fairly sweet nose with a bit of honey.

T - Belgian yeast apparent. Slight malty sweetness on the front end, but more dry and spicy at the finish. A bit of pear coming through.

M - Light to medium.

O - Solid and drinkable beer overall.

Type: on-tap and then from growler 2 days later.

Note: As of 7/13/13 when I visited the brewery, this beer has an ABV of 6.2%, not 5.3%. They must have changed/improved their recipe since they opened in Nov. 2012. (Also, I showed up 10 minutes after they closed and they still gave me free samples as well as a private tour of the brewery. Nice!) (713 characters)

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.51/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Cloudy, light golden-aber hue, with a thin, quickly-fading, off-white head.

S: Fruity esters dominate, with faint vinegar notes. Sweet, yeasty bread also present.

T: Not much malt - it goes straight to tart, dry fruit, and even that is short lived. The dry, bitter finish arrives early and stays late, albeit with some yeasty and earthy notes as well.

M: Moist and nicely carbonated, transitioning to quite dry in the finish.

O: Less complex than I was expecting for the style, and even based on the smell. Drinkable, but I've had better saisons for sure. (562 characters)

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Smartmouth Brewing Company. Pours a hazy golden color with a nice white head. Has a nice, fruity taste and good body. An across the board above average Saison. (179 characters)

Photo of sierratwohearted
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

12 oz can, canned 8/27/14. 6.2% ABV.
a - hazy straw-yellow, frothy head.
s - spicy, banana peel - subdued classic belgian yeast scent.
t - spices, fruit. banana peel, lemon. a little juice-like in the finish.
m - slightly creamy, light-med bodied.
o - comparable to a classic belgian saison...even a belgian wit for some reason. not very unique. clearly an imitation of the classic belgian taste. a good offering though, from a small, local brewery. (449 characters)

Alter Ego from Smartmouth Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.