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Four Witches - New Holland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Four WitchesFour Witches

Educational use only; do not reuse.

40 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 40
Hads: 198
Avg: 3.53
pDev: 38.81%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 40 | Hads: 198
Photo of DannyDan
4.25/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a new black saison ale that pours out a black hue with a thick tan head that leaves some retention, minimal lacing and moderate carbonation. It has a nice caramel, rye, yeast and root beer aroma. The taste starts out with wheat followed by some rye, caramel, yeast and some peppery spices on the tip of the tongue. The finishing taste reminds me of drinking a nice yummy creamy root beer. The mouthfeel is a nice smooth creamy feel even though it tends to leave the mouth dry with a chalky finish. This single batch seasonal is a must try as it gives a saison ale a slightly different feel and taste compared to traditional saison ales. It will be fun to see how many others like this brew as much as I do.

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Photo of nukem5
4.25/5  rDev +20.4%
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.

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Photo of theecaleb
4.18/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.1/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the bomber in a snifter, this "saison" pours a near blackish brown opaque with a nice brown head of foam that dies down to a thin swirling layer and a modest ring. Nose of earthy yeast, chocolate, light notes of dark fruits, spicy rye, and a trace of coffee. Flavors exceed the nose with chocolate, light coffee, and spicy rye all dancing on the front to middle. The taste fades to dark, ripe raspberries, earthy yeast, and dark toffee. Mouth feel is full and rich, creamy, and moderately carbonated with a deeply roasted rye aftertaste that mingles with the sweetness. Is this a saison....well.....maybe by some of the ingredients. It is more of a stout drinkers saison. If rating purely on the style it would not hardly rate, BUT rating on the quality of the product it comes through in spades. Nice.


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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.09/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip from a 12 ounce bottle.

A: Pours a dark brown with a finger of eggshell head that settles to a thin froth on the surface. Very subtle carbonation, and minimal lacing.

S: Earthy and herbal. Strong anise character, but with a sweet nose as well. Smells just like old-school sarsaparilla.

T: Much like the nose, but more subdued. Herbal and spicy up front, with hints of clove and anise, along with strong caramel on the mid-palate. Finish is dry and spicy.

Notes: Medium-bodied and extremely flavorful. Alcohol is well-hidden. This is one unique brew. Very enjoyable by my standards. I've never been huge on New Holland, but I had to try this one, and I'm glad I did.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
4.06/5  rDev +15%
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.

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Photo of FaceYourBeers
4.04/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you like GD Hibernation Ale, try this!

A. Good'n Black. No head. No lacing. Flat appearance.

S. I love how this beer smells. Licorice and candied sugar! Almost as decadent as a Belgian ale.

T. This reminds me so much of great divide's hibernation ale, which I love, only it's drier and a tad sour. Tootsie rolls + boozy licorice!

M. Surprisingly not as carbonated as I expected. Pretty creamy. Tho, It's not smooth.

O. Generally I don't go nuts for Saisons, but this is really good to me. Try it, definitely.

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Photo of burntoutphilosopher
4.04/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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Photo of bsp77
4.01/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown with decent light brown head.

Smell: Holy licorice! All I smell is anise. I would like to say that I can detect some roasted malt and spiciness, but I think that would be a lie.

Taste: Certainly taste a lot more than anise, but that is present as well. Nice dried out roasted malts that taste of smoke, char and coffee. Pretty spicy as well, with rye and clove.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, with a medium body (lighter than it looks). It is fairly smooth and lightly chalky, but the chalkiness doesn't bother me as it usually does because it works with the very dry roasted and spicy finish.

Overall: Other than the one-dimensional aroma, this was surprisingly good. Wish I had bought more than a single.

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

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Photo of Giggy
4/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
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!

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of barczar
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%

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.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown red color with no head and no lacing

S-anise, chocolate, spices and some herbal notes

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, anise, pepper, yeasty dough, tartness

F-light to medium body with low carbonation, smooth rather than crisp and refreshing

O-interesting take on a Saison. Had some interesting flavors and if you like anise, it works. Not a summer quencher.

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Photo of divineaudio
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, tulip glass.

a - pours black with a thin cap of coarse tan head that dissipates with the quickness.

s - grape juice, barnyard, faint cinnamon, faint sour cherry

t - lighter roasted malt character with notes of anise and dark fruits. a bit of rye spiciness and something more like cinnamon or clove. a lighter, earthy bitterness provides balance and a little funk rounds it out. finishes dry with notes of dark chocolate. anise becomes more pronounced as the beer warms, detracting a bit from the other flavors. serious complexity here.

m - lighter side of medium in body, medium carbonation with a med/coarse co2 profile that enhances the spiciness.

o - quite enjoyable, though doesn't seem to represent the style well. to be fair though, the few saisons i have tried have all been very different from each other. if it weren't for the anise flavors, i'd have rated this much higher. worth a try imo and i might pick up a few more just for fun.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
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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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.76/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out nearly black with no head nor lacing at all whatsoever. Where's the foam? An intense aroma of licorice, horehound, bubblegum, and a slightly medicinal cough syrup sort of smell fills the room! The flavor is very much like that old-fashioned BlackJack chewing gum combined with oven-roasted allspice seasoning, and presents a earthy raunchy rye fade-out with an odd little lift of sweetness at the very end, probably from all the wheat used. Medium body and medium-low carbonation that amplifies the pepperpot nature of the spicing somewhat. If only it had a head....

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Photo of cagocubs
3.76/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at NHB.

A: Pours a dark opaque black with minimal head due to water flush prior to pour.

S: Not much coming through the nose, some malts.

T: Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, caramel.

M: Nice and dry. Good coating and aftertaste.

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Photo of 57md
3.74/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.73/5  rDev +5.7%
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!

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Photo of breakingbland
3.64/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of GRPunk
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (vintage 2012) poured into a Lion tulip

A- 1-1/2 finger brown head. Black Saison? Actually, deep, dark brown. Just a shade or two short of black. The head settles to a thin film and leaves some good sticky rings.

S- Almost licorice at first. No, definitely licorise, or anise. Rye comes through if you're looking for it. Subtle chocolate. It all keeps coming back to the anise/black licorice. Close to room temps, things mellow a bit and bring out more chocolate and brown sugar, even a touch of coffee.

T- Initial chocolate mixes with rye to create an interesting flavor combination. Maybe that's the anise I get from the nose, but I don't think so. hints of black pepper. Subtle smoke. A little spicy heat.

M- Surprisingly light bite considering the flavor profile. Moderate body and carbonation.

O- The cap says, "sweet.". I'm thinking it's more savory. It's another beer that's difficult to score. Not really a Saison in my book. Maybe a Belgian dark ale? Definitely a sipper.

Labeling and robust nature have me thinking this would be a decent fit come October.

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Photo of biegaman
3.57/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of prototypic
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Four Witches pours a dark, chocolate fudge color. It looks black initially. When held to light, a few burgundy highlights are apparent. It’s not quite opaque. A light tan head covers the top. It’s modest and barely covers the surface before disappearing quickly. Lacing was very light and spotty on the glass.

The nose is alright. It seems a little weak. More strength would easily upgrade it. It does feature some dark malt notes up front. Chocolate, roasted, and caramel malts all seem to be present. Smells a little sweet. It does have some earthy and grainy notes throughout. Yeast brings some spicy notes to the table. Interestingly enough, anise seems to be the strongest spice scent. Perhaps a little pepper backing it. Alcohol is masked pretty well. Not bad.

The flavor keeps the pace. It definitely has a strong anise presence. If you’re not into black licorice, you probably won’t like it. It’s definitely a tad strong for my taste. The malt base is a tad roasty, but is mostly chocolate and light, sweet caramel. It’s not bad. Definitely intriguing. Belgian yeast is pretty flavorful. The spicy notes it brings to the table are interesting. I’m not sure if anise is a product of that or not. There are some pepper and clove notes, as well. It’s herbal and grainy throughout. Alcohol isn’t much of a factor at all. Finishes with a bit spices, herbs, and black licorice.

Four Witches has a body that’s on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation feels light and rather soft. It definitely doesn’t seem as refreshing as your typical Saison, but I’m sure they weren’t going for that. For what it is, I like the feel pretty well.

New Holland’s been a very hit and miss brewery for me. Four Witches falls somewhere in between the two. It’s alright. I like the idea of a Black Saison. This one has a bit too much of an anise or black licorice flavor going. It’d be better with a little less of that. Still worth checking out. Grab a single bottle if you can.

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Four Witches from New Holland Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.