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Four Witches - New Holland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Four WitchesFour Witches

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

181 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 181
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 18.4%
Wants: 3
Gots: 10 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: DannyDan on 06-02-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 181 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.04/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

Sammy, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
2.25/5  rDev -33.2%

Thorpe429, Sep 17, 2013
Photo of Texasfan549
3/5  rDev -11%

Texasfan549, Aug 31, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

GRG1313, Jul 21, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
3.73/5  rDev +10.7%
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!

BEERchitect, Sep 27, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3.98/5  rDev +18.1%
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!

Knapp85, Aug 26, 2012
Photo of oberon
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep dark chocolate brown with a nicely formed light beige head atop.alot of black licorice in the nose along with some sweet spiced cherries.First off the black licorice just seemed to overwhelm my palate,Iam not a fan of black licorice so that was a bit unpleasant,undereath the onslaught I picked up some earthiness and dark toast.Started off real well but for my taste I just got to much licorice to really enjoy,obviously alot of people like black licorice and may like this more than me.

oberon, Jul 12, 2012
Photo of zeff80
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

zeff80, Nov 23, 2013
Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

duceswild, Oct 30, 2012
Photo of superspak
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

superspak, Jul 26, 2012
Photo of biegaman
3.59/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

biegaman, Oct 29, 2014
Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +18.7%
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.

tdm168, Sep 01, 2012
Photo of sendbeer
1/5  rDev -70.3%

sendbeer, Dec 03, 2012
Photo of pathman
4.25/5  rDev +26.1%

pathman, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of Darkmagus82
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Darkmagus82, Aug 19, 2012
Photo of tommy5
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%

tommy5, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of Bung
2.85/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. Nearly black pour, nearly no head. Off white what there was.

Aroma, molasses and sassafras. A funky root beer, it's not really very pleasant. I don't get much else.

Taste, not quite as bad. Caramel, molasses, sassafras again. But there is also some chocolate and estery and spicy yeast notes, though very little.
The aroma just radiates and controls this one in a bad way.

Almost mid bodied. Kind of coats, not nearly enough carbonation. Alcohol is hidden, but it is too syrupy sweet.

Bought a four pack and regret it immediately. I absolutely loved the dark saisons I've had in the past, this is not in that boat. Definetely a Belgian Dark. Not my cup of tea. Like a very bad less alcoholic version of Gulden Draak.

Bung, Jul 23, 2012
Photo of prototypic
3.55/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

prototypic, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of scottfrie
2.75/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

scottfrie, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of crobinso
3/5  rDev -11%

crobinso, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of lupercmda
4.5/5  rDev +33.5%

lupercmda, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of Hanzo
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Hanzo, Jul 26, 2012
Photo of Morey
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Morey, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of mrebeka
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%

mrebeka, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of Molson2000
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

Molson2000, Jun 04, 2013
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Four Witches from New Holland Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.