Four Witches - New Holland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Four WitchesFour Witches

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BA SCORE
78
okay

194 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 194
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 17.75%
Wants: 3
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DannyDan on 06-02-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 194 | Reviews: 40
Photo of barczar
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%

Aroma reveals esters of green apple and general yeast funk, along with light roast and sweet chocolate. Flavor is sweet, roasty, and chocolatey, with pear and green apple accompanying must and earthy, dank basement tones. Surprisingly good yeast character in this $2 bomber. The sweetness is a touch offputting. A saison? That's a big stretch. A drinkable brew? Surely.

Photo of biegaman
3.57/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Four Witches, as is typical for New Holland beers, has wonderful label art. The liquid inside the bottle looks pretty good too; its burnt chestnut complexion is dark and largely black-ish but not without flickers of reddish colour and even some spotty clarity. Its head, though relatively pathetic for a supposed Saison, is still respectable and has a brownish tint to its froth.

Saisons are among the most aromatic of beer styles, so it stands to reason that one brewed with the addition of dark roasted wheat, caramel rye, and "mild spicing" (seems overwhelmingly like clove) should be exceptionally so. Except it's not. A kind of 'plain jane' cereal graininess overrides the subtle hint of coffee bean and the odd twang of bruised, lightly mulled dark fruits.

The flavour tells a similar story. There are some impressive notes of mocha, caramel macchiato, and maybe with a little imagination even a bite of pumpkin pie. But these features capture the attention only briefly, and don't have any lasting power in the finish. They're also only half the story - and the other half is much plainer, less exciting.

Four Witches has a truly unusual profile that blends black licorice and farmhouse grain with hints of over-ripe dark fruit skins and a pinch of clove. It won't be for everyone. And rightfully so - it's a questionable combination to say the least. But I kind of like it ("kind of" being the operative term). To its credit, however, it really doesn't drink its strength (8.9%).

The so-called 'Black Saisons' that I've tried have tended to be more 'miss' than 'hit' and Four Witches wasn't the exception to the rule I was optimistic it would be. It was, however, a very interesting beer that offered a lot of truly unique qualities; I'm happy to have tried it. Don't read too much into the scores on the internet. Try it yourself if you're at all curious.

Photo of brockg
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Only and it once...and thats good for me

Photo of TheCondor
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Neighbor brought this over for us to sample it and review it. A little hesitant about a black saison, those two things do not seem to go together. But I will give it a shot. Side poured with standard vigor into a Sam Adams glass.

Appearance - Pours like advertised, a jet black with a small half finger head that leaves the beer very quickly and leaves no lacing.

Smell - I could pick up some grains, spices, and what seemed like a metallic hint, almost like that of AAL's. Unusual. Not much in the nose to speak of, not impressive.

Taste - Even less impressive than the nose. It is so difficult to describe the taste accurately. There are spices throughout, with slight hints of yeast and grains, but not at all what a saison typically tastes like. It was a very strange flavor, and not at all in a good way.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, well carbonated. Finishes spicy

Overall - If it had not been for the fact that a good friend and neighbor had brought this over and paid money for it, I would have drain poured it. It was awful, not at all impressed. They may have tried to do too much with one beer, but if this is what a black saison is supposed to taste like I'll never drink it again. Small Paul hated it too. Not good, don't waste your money.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle a dark brown color with one finger of beige head.

Aroma of roasted caramel malts.

The taste was roasted malts, red berries and a hint of cocoa.

Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation.

Really not much of a saison here. Basically roasted malts and not much else.

Photo of burntoutphilosopher
4.04/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is for the NEW four witches. The name should be at the very top of the label, alcohol 8.92%, 18.5 degrees Plato

A – black … looks like porter, with brown tinge to the head, which faded almost instantly.

S – caramel and coffee, wonderful smelling.

T – outstanding. This beer wow’d me. It opens soft in flavor, inviting you to take a deep chug. Reminds me of a milk stout at first, except with a taste of citrus that is likely due to the yeast autolyzing. Has smokey tastes all the way through, but then the flavor fades and it leaves a perfectly bitter aftertaste. It doesn’t have an American hop kind of bitter, it has a dry lingering bitter usually found in Barley Wine.

M – smooth and creamy. Hangs on the palette.

O – Obviously, this was a real winner for me. I’ve been trying a different fancy beer once a day for my week off, and this is the first one that I really loved. starts to soft and easy to drink, but finishes with a smokey bitterness that makes me sit and reminisce on it.

There are two batches of this beer. Buy the one that is 8.92% alcohol, and has the name at the top of the label.

Photo of nukem5
4.25/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Appearance is black as coal with a tan foamy cap. If you look closely at a light you still can't believe how dark it is. the head is frothy with very tiny bubbles almost like whipped cream.

S: Aroma is of grain and spices. there are slight Coffee hints in the nose.

T: Taste is out of the park awesome, heaps of dark malts all roasty and yummy. Touches of sweet carmel and barley.

M: Mouthfeel is a medium to full body, silky , smooth and rich.

O: Overall a great balance of flavors one that makes you to come back for more you barely notice 8.9 alcohol percentag that you will soon feel instead of taste.

Photo of breakingbland
3.64/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Essentially an opaque brown/black with slight red highlights. The beer pours with a nice light brown, though scant, head that converted to a foam ring.

Aroma: Coffee and a slight hint of fruit.

Taste: The taste follows the aroma but with more fruit. There is some sour funk as would be expected. This lingers a short time on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: The beer has good body and carbonation.

Overall: This beer has a pleasant rich taste, but overall, it is somewhat lacking in depth. I'd look for it again as I like this style.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Perhaps mistaken for Porter, this "Black Saison has dry toasted character and creamy-sweetness from wheat, and then turning spicy with husk-like rye. Yet its earthy peppercorn, charred wood and burnt currant flavors rises from its calderon, just ahead of a semi-dry and effervescent finish.

Dark and creamy, Four Witches pours with an ominous brown hue. Showing off garnet low lights, the beer's dark clarity gives a rich and masculine look. Its creamy head floats above the beer with stubborn retention and spotty lace. Its a handsome ale, just less exuberant than more authentic Belgian-made saisons; preferring English-like foam and carbonation to that of champagne.

Fruity, spicy and chocolaty, the common balance of Saison is complicated by the toasty and slightly roasty characteristics. Its fruit shift from apple and pear to blackcurrant and faint raisin. Its spiciness shies from the soft coriander and white pepper to the sharpness of fresh-cracked peppercorn. All this lays firmly on a bead of dry toast, chocolate and coffee.

Medium-sweet, the beer holds on dearly to its malt flavor and never prefers a quick transition to dry malt taste. Seemingly creamy and lightly starchy, the taste of thin corn syrups, yogurt and semi-sweet chocolate before its toasted and ground coffee finish. Its sweetness waivers slightly after the middle palate to allow for a spicy finish of black peppercorn, rye grain spiciness, burnt toast and grape seeds.

Its creamy body keeps the beer mid-sweet as the residual malt sugars cling to the palate and lessens its drinkability just slightly. But the peppery bite comes from a few different directions- rye, pepper, alcohol, toast, and coffee-type bitterness.

What's old is new again, as many contemporary aficionados thing that these darker Saisons are a current phenomenon. Turns out that darker Farmhose Ales have been alive for centuries and only highlighted in recent craft beer attempts, like New Holland's version- perfectly suited for upcoming Halloween!

Photo of KFBR392
2.9/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours with a thin head. Sits black in the glass with dark brown edges when held to light. Low carbonation active in the glass. No lacing on the edges of the glass.

Smell: Caramel malt is pleasant on the front end. A very bitter vegetable body comes on very strong. A yeast base is also very present. Interesting but nothing spectacular.

Taste: Some of the smooth caramel malt greets the palate right away. But an incredibly bitter body of celery, cucumbers, and exotic yeast hit way too hard. Even as the beer warmed up, the bitterness was too much. Finishes with a wild yeast dryness.

Mouthfeel: Yeasty twinge haves an interesting feeling on the palate. Dry but not as much as I expected.

Overall: Decided to go out on a limb and give this one a shot. Wasn't terrible but nothing I would get again. Black Saison is such an interesting style, but this one overall is kind of a miss.

Photo of alk3kenny
2.75/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours a deep black color no real head to speak of thin, tan gone in a few seconds. Nose has no hops, some booze, grapes, dark fruit. Flavor is slightly sour, no hops, sourness coming from a grape maybe red? Hardly any dark, roasted malt that you would expect from the color. Bought this because I really like saisons and bought this because I thought it would be an interesting mix. Unfortunately, it is not as intriguing as promised. Won't buy again.

Photo of Sammy
3.07/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Unique, but something I could not drink much of. Black, very dry. Like the base for something that had to be added, and it wasn't. Aroma was OK. Bottle from Steve. Some licorice. Low drinkability. Missing hop, mouthfeel, malt. I may cook with it though.

Photo of scottfrie
2.73/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into snifter. Thanks for the bottle jbck109.

A: Pours near black with a finger of fizzy dark brown head that quickly bubbled away into basically nothing.
S: My first thought was this beer was infected but upon further inspection it may be just a strange bill of ingredient. I’m still getting a strange kind of infected cherry sweetness, but notes of anise, caramel, booze, and chocolate come through as well. Clove and a little bit of dark fruit too perhaps.
T: Anise and spices dominate along with that strange dark fruit cherry taste. I get notes of root beer and cola, cherry cola, as well. This tastes like black licorice cherry rootbeer cola if that makes sense.
M: The carbonation is super airy and froths up on my palate. I’m not saying this beer is infected, but the carbonation sure does froth up in a way that reminds of infected bottles of stouts I’ve had in the past. Medium body, frothy soda mouthfeel.
O: Anise cola with a splash of cherry. Definitely strange, not sure I like it. Not undrinkable, just not my taste. Thanks for the tick though, Jay.

Photo of NilocRellim
2.91/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured cold from the bottle, this beer was pitch black. It had a nice cream-coloured head, while sitting on the black beer, looked very nice. The smell was very strong and very complex. There were notes of spices, burnt barley, molasses, and a dominant anise smell. The taste followed the smell like a map... Very complex, almost too complex, with the anise taste overpowering the other flavours. The anise flavour lingered for a bit while the aftertaste of roasted barley took over, which was a nice finish.

Would I buy it again? No. I enjoy the taste of anise, but this beer had too much going on.

Photo of Giggy
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a dark brown leather couch color with a thin tan head.

S: aroma seems lighter than appearance. Nutty, spices, apple, wood.

T: spicy, licorice, pepper, vanilla, cherry, cola

O: Great beer. Mild with flavor. Alcohol is well hidden, very balanced.

Photo of Minkybut
2.75/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer poured a really black color with a nice big tan head. However the head did not last long but the lacing lingered pretty well. The beer smelled spicy and cloves flowed over the edge of the glass. I was hopeful. Alas though the beers head faded away quickly and the taste was just not good. I will not buy again.

Photo of bennetj17
3.28/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Looks dark like a Porter, with a medium thick, soapy looking tan foam that holds nicely. Chocolate, hints of dark fruit, licorice, and a bit of caramel in the aroma. Not sure where this is going but it does smell decent.

Tangy sweet malt with a bright intensity. I don't really like the combo of roasted toffee and caramel malts with the tangy fruitiness. It doesn't work well with each other and there isn't enough dry roastiness in the finish to round it out and add another dimension. Smooth, velvety body, good carbonation.

Overall this is not a success. I'm not sure about this trend of making dark Saisons, it's such a great style, why pervert it and make it taste almost like a stout? Furthermore, without knowing the name there is no way you possibly guess this was a farmhouse ale of any kind. It doesn't bear resemblence.

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - black with a reddish hut; big foamy brown head that fades quickly

S - black licorice, anise, figs, raisins

T - anise, black licorice, roasted malts, figs, raisins, some faint chocolate, some peppery rye, some funky yeast comes through

M - crisp, medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a surprisingly complex and unique saison. It's has a ton of flavor. The black licorice and anise notes dominate which I'm not crazy about but the uniqueness, the rye, the dark fruit, the roasted malts and chocolate all play a part as well. I'm impressed. This is definitely worth a try.

Photo of Knapp85
3.97/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep brown color, it's black in low lighting. There is a thin tan he's on top that settles into just a light ring of foam aroun the edge of the glass. The smell of the beer is really interesting! It's got some sweet nutty aromas with some spices and grains, not much roast though. It's a much brighter beer on the nose than the color suggests. The taste is quite nice too, the flavors of anise and sweet grains balance nicely with the hops in the finish. There is a very distant roasted note on the far back end of this beer. The mouthfeel is soft, gently carbonated and easy to drink. Overall I really enjoyed this crazy hybrid of a brew. I would drink again for sure!

Photo of 57md
3.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a dark ruby brown with no head. The nose is an interesting combination of apple brandy and birch beer. The taste is lightly nutty and wheaty; a nice combination of flavors, but slightly thin. There was a sour citrus finish to this offering.

Photo of theecaleb
4.18/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Dark, deep red or amber tint. Deep Carmel head. Lacing is minimal.

S: Spices, and honey hints of cloves and barley.

T: Much like smell. Spicy and sweet with small tastes of yeast.

M: Thick, good carbonation. Warmth of alcohol.

O: I was pleasantly surprised by this beer.

I would recommend this beer to a friend.

Photo of Lawl3ss
4.06/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lightly chilled 12 oz. bottle poured int a shaker pint. Bottling date 5.18.12.

Look- Ruby brown with two fingers of sticky toasted marshmallow head that falls within a minute or two. Decent lacing.

Smell- It's like honeyed licorice tea, very, very aromatic. Sweet burnished wood, cinnamon, caramel, root beer, brandied cherries. Delicious.

Taste- Similar to the aroma, but more on the ginger beer/root beer side. I don't know if the "spices" mentioned on the label are just licorice root, but I'd believe it. It's a bold flavor that nearly overpowers the subtler pepper, vanilla, rye, and cherry, but I have to admit that I like it quite a bit (and I actually loathe black licorice candy.) With an unusual brew like this one, go bold or go home.

Mouthfeel- Light-medium body, soft carbonation, silky feel with a slightly astringent edge. Drinks like a whisky & cola.

Overall- I've never had a "black" saison before, but I may be a convert. Absolutely worth trying.

Photo of BB1313
3.24/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours black with no light getting though. Small off-white head fades quickly and leaves decent lacing and rentention. The first thing I smell is anise and black licorice. It actually dominates the nose along with some chocolate malts. It sure doesn't smell like a saison, and it really doesn't taste like one either. There's a slight tartness in the flavors. I can pick up some black cherries, dates, and raisins. Bittersweet flavors. Reminiscent of a stout? The Belgian characteristics are lacking. Mouthfeel is nice, light and has a moderate amount of carbonation. Finishes dry. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Interesting beer.

This is a very unique beer. It's pretty hard to classify what I'm drinking. It's definitely a hybrid. The anise/black licorice characteristics seem to dominate, so if you're into that, this is for you. If you're looking for something different, this is for you. It's a very odd beer. One second I'm enjoying it, and then the next I'm confused. It reminded me more of a porter/stout than any Belgian style beer. Unique..

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a surprising dark brown nearly black colored brew with a one finger brown head. The head faded slowly over time to give a medium level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of black licorice. This is mixed with some sour dark fruit aromas of cherry. The aroma is rather tart smelling as would be expected of a farmhouse ale, but yet has a light roast aroma as well.

Taste – The dark malt flavors shine through in the front. Brown Bread and chocolate flavors are quite heavy in the start. As the taste advances a peppery-yeasty taste enters the flavor profile. This is quickly followed by a tart cherry flavor as well as some haylike and funky flavors as well. These sour and tart flavors grow stronger toward the end and leave a rather odd but quite tasty tart-chocolate flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body is light to medium with a carbonation level that is rather average. Neither were really that great for the style, although they really were not bad either. A more creamy and thick body would have done well for the initial roasty flavors, while a higher level of carbonation would have gone nicely with the more sour tastes at the end of the flavor profile.

Overall – This was a mighty tasty beer. While the dark and the tart may not seem like it would go together well, New Holland has pulled it off with this brew.

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2012 vintage. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense khaki tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some decent spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of roasted malt, licorice, raisin, chocolate, caramel, molasses, cola, pepper, clove, herbal, earth, and yeast spices. Pretty nice and very unique aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of chocolate, licorice, roasted malt, raisin, prune, caramel, molasses, herbal, clove, earth, biscuit, rye, nuttiness, toast, and yeast spices. Light roast and fruity tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malt, biscuit, toast, clove, earth, rye, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Nice flavor complexity and balance; with no cloying flavor notes at all, very well blended. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good black saison. This was certainly an interesting and unique experience as I expected. It turned out to be nicely complex and balanced; and quite enjoyable stuff.

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Four Witches from New Holland Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.