Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Philosopher's Stone - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone

Educational use only; do not reuse.

45 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 45
Hads: 76
Avg: 3.6
pDev: 13.89%
Wants: 6
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kmpitz2 on 09-23-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 45 | Hads: 76
Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a slight haze under a 1” light tan foam collar. Earthy dark malt aromas and a little chocolate and malt on the palate along with fruit and a hint of citrus and banana. Not real funky but pleasant and non-obtrusive.

 238 characters

Photo of zeledonia
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I haven't been biting on Two Brothers' anniversary series, but there aren't many dark saisons around, so I couldn't pass this one up. Tasted 23 November 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours dark brown in the glass, but light behind it reveas some reddish tones. Clear from the top of the bottle (though dark enough that that's only apparent when backlit), cloudy from the bottom as the yeast got stirred up. One finger of light tan head, fades pretty quickly, but some decent lacing.

Smell is spicy saison yeast. Definitely darker than the average saison, with slightly more roasty flavors, and lacking the fruity buoyancy that the pale malts give so many beers in this style. Spice is difficult to describe; something along the lines of cumin, but that's not really it.

Taste is kinda dull, and lacking any real character. I just don't have a whole lot to say about it. Peppery spice, a little bitter. The malts are almost there, but just when I go looking for them, they vanish.

Medium-bodied, tingly carbonation that fades out a little too fast. Okay, not great.

An interesting beer. I like their take, and I like the way the spice works with the darker malts. But I want more from it, especially in the taste. Finished a bomber no problem, so I can't really complain.

 1,272 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
2.95/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From: Friar Tuck's, Savoy, IL
Date: None on bottle, found in stores
Glass: Standard US pint glass

Two Brothers' black saison is a fairly subdued version of the style, lacking the complexity and depth I've normally come to expect. While some of the Brett character is there, it's not particularly strong, reducing the dimensions of spice and fruit that could be found in the style. One I wouldn't seek out again.

Pours a 1cm head of light tan foam. This quickly recedes to a thick ring around the glass and a few wispy islands of residual foam. Modest lacing, a few large spots/clumps along the sides of the glass. Body is semi-hazy, amber with orange tints; light brings out orange-brown colors. Carbonation is visible through the body, appearing fairly active.

Aroma is slightly sweet, a bit of white pepper, composting hay, and Brett character. Overall, fairly mild, not very inspiring.

Front of the palate features Brett character and palstic resin, slight caramel, and slight toasted malts. Mid-palate features continued plastic resin, slight caramel malt, and mineral chraracter. Back of palate showcases ethanol, plastic resin/Brett, mild caramel and toated malts, and a bit of ethanol. Aftertaste is grainy, a bit of caramel sweetness, and a bit of Brett character.

Beer is medium to medium-light bodied, and not entirely appropriate for the ethanol level. Carbonation is a bit high, fizzy for the weight, leading to a slightly prickly mouthfeel, then creamy and smooth later. Finish is not dry.

 1,507 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Review #2500! What's an anniversary series without a return of a black saison? Amiright? Anyway, this stuff pours a clear ruby-sienna topped by a short finger of wan cream foam. The nose comprises lightly-toasted biscuit, black pepper, clove, very light orange zest, and a touch of vague funk. The taste focuses on spice: clove, black pepper, light nutmeg, and mace. Slithering behind the spices are long streams of mild coffee, light roasted malts, very earthy greens, and straight-up dirt. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a pretty dry finish. Overall, a solid black saison, but one that seems restrained somehow, as though they didn't let the saison yeast really blossom and get all funky and whatnot.

 769 characters

Photo of bashiba
3.49/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark Brown almost Cola like in color with a thin off white head.

The smell has a nice mixture of Brett funk mixing with dark chocolate malts.

The flavors are solid in an understated sort. Light bits of chocolate, burnt barley, and spicy saison yeast with a bit Basement funk.

The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and a bit tingly.

Not bad, just nothing great either.

 378 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.16/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The Philospher's Stone has made a re-appearance as #9 of 15 of the retri release. The beer poured a dark, almost opague, mahogany with thin head that did not lace. The scent to me was wet burnt corn husks. The taste has more of a roast/burnt than fruity. The mouthfeel was medium to light body with good carbonation. Overall it was ok....I didn't like the smell and never really was a big Saison fan, but I think it is worth the taste.

 435 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

15 beers for 15 years, 2012 bottle. Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Lost Abbey chalice.

A- pours a dark Brown with a 2 finger off-white head. Small blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- dark fruits, barnyard, sour aroma

T- roasted malts, sourdough bread, very little dark fruit, bitter chocolate, sourness

M- medium body and carbonation. Lighter carbonation for the style that finishes dry

O- not a huge fan of this beer. Like the nose with the dark fruits and sour from the Brett, but the taste just didn't work for me.

 532 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Blind Tiger. Pours a dark brown, almost black, with no head. Aroma of light sourness and sour candies. Flavor is very sour, with barnyard and yogurt notes. This tasted much more like a sour ale than a saison (I guess because of the brett). It was decent and drinkable but not very complex.

 299 characters

Photo of Nickls
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(From notes - on tap at Blind Tiger 7/29/09)

A - Deep, dark brown (nearing on black) color; poured with virtually no head. Kinda looked like soy sauce

S - Vinegary with a touch of yeast and spice

T - Sour; tart; bit of dark fruits; more like a lambic at this point, but in a good way

M - Thin; next-to-no carbonation; OK, but not great

D - Decent enough drinking; like the tartness and wasn't too heavy on any one account.

Overall, definitely not a typical saison, but was interesting enough.

 498 characters

Photo of joe1510
4.42/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber

2007 Bottling

This was shared by emerge077 at a tasting yesterday, thanks Matt! Philosopher's Stone shows off a flat black body and muddy brown highlights when backlit. The beige head snapped to attention without a problem and left sticky lacing down the glass. This is a mighty fine looking black saison.

Time has worked wonders for this beer. The brett has really asserted itself in the best of ways. There's a great deal of funkiness that includes lactic sourness, tart cherries, a good amount of horseblanket and damp oak character that I really enjoyed. There's a metallic twang that segues into wet rock to the point it's hard to pick the two apart.

The flavor mimics the nose expertly bringing along all that mature brett funkiness I mentioned above. The yeast throws off some spicy esters that wrap beautifully around brett funkiness. Horseblanket, minerals, lactic sourness, musty wheat, and tart cherries all come along for the ride. This beer has become great with a couple years to mature.

The body has a light feel to it like should be expected in saisons. The carbonation is at a moderate level and pushes the beer through at a solid clip.

Like all good saisons this one is far too easy to put away. The light body and funkiness kept the glass tilted more than it sat flat.

Two years in the cellar has done wonders for this beer. It's become incredibly delicious and funky with its time in the cellar. Thanks for sharing Matt, this was a gem!

 1,476 characters

Photo of Slynger
3.12/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Black with a slim dirty white lid that dies quickly.

Nice smell if somewhat light. Little bit of sweet chocolatey malts, fruit, and oak barrels, with a larger presence of sour cherries and barnyard funk. Some light grassy hops show up as well.

Medium bodied with a somewhat limp and dissapointing carbonation. Flavor kinda lacks as well. Light amount of sweet fruits and roasted malts with a general sour fruity funk.

I really like most of the stuff that Two Brothers do, but Philosopher's Stone just doesn't do it for me. Not terribly upset that they retired this one.

 572 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.1/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Lucent mahogany with red raspberry and orange highlights when the setting sun is allowed to enter the glass. Despite the usual 'pffft' on crown cracking, the beige cap topped out at a slim one finger after an increasingly vigorous pour and doesn't come close to qualifying as eye candy. A thick, jagged halo of lace helps the appearance a little.

Two Brothers Brewing Company fancies Philosopher's Stone a 'black saison'. The nose is in agreement with that style designation since each sniff brings a glancing blow of roasted malt and a subtle amount of farmyard funkiness. On the downside, the aroma doesn't leap out of the glass. As a result, there's very little complexity. I now wonder whether the flavor profile will measure up.

I love the basic blueprint, but the final product doesn't get it done. Who wouldn't enjoy a beer brewed with black malt, a Belgian saison yeast and an 'injection infection' of Brettanomyces bruxellensis, that then spent time aging in medium-heavy toast, new American oak? Plenty of people, I'm guessing, but it sounds like something that should be right up my funk loving alley.

First of all, the beer isn't even close to malty enough. It's way too thin and isn't helped at all by a serious carbonation deficit (as suspected, given the lack of head formation). Philosopher's Stone is reminiscent of a lighter-end-of-the-spectrum schwarzbier with a sour cherry fruity tang that makes it taste like a homebrewer's botched attempt at a wild ale-Flanders red ale hybrid. It isn't quite that bad, but you get the idea.

Forget being able to appreciate any qualities that may have been imparted by the oak barrels. There's so little depth and complexity here that the 'dazzles with a thousand facets' quote on the label is about 998 facets short of the truth. I'd love to see what a Belgian brewer could do with this recipe.

The mouthfeel, as noted above, is less than stellar. It's both too light and not bubbled enough, a combination that is almost never a good thing, no matter the style. Warming doesn't help.

Something must have gone wrong with this batch. I say that because the Ebel brothers know how to brew good craft beer. As far as this bottle, I like to find a real philosopher's stone so that I could turn this less than lustrous ale into 'black saison' gold. I'm willing to give a new release another shot.

 2,354 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.62/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown/black color with a thin offwhite head that quickly fades to spotty lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a fruity/tart scent along with a faint roasted malt aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth, yeasty flavor that boasts of fruits and an earthy finish. It's quite tart with just a bit of roasted malt present. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium bodied beer with less than adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. It has an exceptable flavor and the aroma is good. The carbonation is a problem. It tastes almost flat. Also, a little head retention never hurt. Overall, a good drinker.

 629 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Imagine Philosopher's Stone as the misunderstood distant cousin of the Opus 10 Kriek. Let's just stick it under "American Wild Ales" and call it a day. Certainly not a Saison by any stretch of the imagination, but that's what's on the label.

One year old bottle, time has treated it well. The Brett funk has had some time to develop, and has added some depth to it. The flavors are more integrated, and it has coalesced into something resembling more of an Oud Bruin.

Served in a Unibroue tulip, black burnt wood with crimson highlights. Very woody and malty upfront, sour cherry and oak in the aroma. Taste still carries the roasted malt I tasted a year ago, but more Brettanomyces/wild funk presence. Tangy cherry pits alongside notes of earthy leather and tobacco. Tart and dry feel, but not overly so. Lower carbonation detracts a little, really the only flaw in my mind. It was easy to finish the 22 oz. bottle at Underbar.

It didn't have the finesse of some Flanders ales, but it was approaching the ballpark. Although it may not be perfect, it has several redeeming qualities, and indicates an experimental direction for Two Brothers.

 1,145 characters

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

Thanks goes out to jpm30 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a deep black color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy head, which leaves some sticky lacing. The nose is tart, malty, yeast, some spice, cheeries, oak, and caramel. The taste is very tart, slightly malty, yeasty, oaky, some spicyness, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well, but slightly warming. The finish is dry/bitter/tangy. Medium body, well rounded brew. Drinkable, definitely a different looking Saison. I like this one, definitely recommended.

 529 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz bomber from a Dark Lord Day trade with czoch75.

A: The ale opens with a light hiss of escaping gas and pours with a dunkel color, dark as soda syrup. The darkness prevents any sedimentary analysis. The off-white head measured near a finger on pour.

S: Funky barnyard aromas abound in the ale, creating a musky tartness that dominates the nose.

T: The ale has an herbal body, hinting at anise and coriander below the surface. Those flavors remain a mere hint though, as the brettanomyces has lent a horseblanket dose of gamey-ness to the ale. That funky natural flavor melds seemlessly into a bitter tartness that coats the mouth and leads to a smooth finish. The tartness lasts long, keeping the tastebuds on their toes.

M: The mouthfeel does not reflect the oak-aging but the brett infection more than makes up for that. The tart flavors are drying and refreshing, making me immediately want another sip.

D: The abv is a bit high to really get into but I like the flavors and the brett element. The infection does drown out most of the typical saison elements that I enjoy though.

 1,104 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.42/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear deep mahogany tone. A slight beige head is formed. But it disappears as quickly as it formed and leaves only sporadic swaths of lace. Aroma is a little cherry, a little oak, a little Brett. And some dark, bready like yeast tones. I get some funk on the palate with a little brett character. Light cherries. Slight oak. Mouthfeel is undercarbonated. The beer feels kind of listless. Nice concept here, just not a great end product.

 436 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
3.57/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, 8.5% ABV, 24 IBU. Cool looking mahogany color, with some ruby shades to it. Thin white head disappears immediately. A few spots of lace are left on the glass, but nothing outstanding.

Sour, fruity, oaky aroma. Fairly complex in the nose, and interesting.

Sour up front in taste, followed by some sour fruits, and oak. A bit of spices in the background and black licorice. Fruit and oak flavors seem to fade away very quickly. Earthy spices at the very end.

Low carbonation and light body. I thought a bit more carbonation might help out. Overall, interesting.

 584 characters

Photo of mcallister
3.32/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I like the looks of this. Dark mahagony turning bright ruby when light is introduced. Head is miniscule, no chance for lacing.

Nose is full of oaky aromas, toasted vanilla, dark bread, burnt malt, yeasty qualities, and bretts. Sour yet full. Some raisin, prune quality, and what seems to be anise/black licorice. Very complex aromas with a neverending plethora of aromas.

Well this loses all complexity in the mouth. A straightforward roasty bordering on chocolate quality with somewhat out of sync bretts souring things up. Oak is more toasty and does help the dark bready, yeasty spicey flavors out a bit. This isn't bad tasting but just out of whack. Mouthfeel is too thin for this style. Not overly carbonated either. Not bad but not one I would search out.

 767 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.47/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really like Two Bros as a brewery; they do a lot of different things. This beer does not strike me as very saison-ish. Rather, it is much more like a kriek in its flavor...with a good amount of roastiness. I would compare to Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Cherry Stout. It is more interesting than my rating would indicate. Recommended.

Color is black and opaque. Head is almost nonexistent; by heavily pouring into my glass, I was able to generate a little bit of very loose head. Aroma is lightly roasty but mostly sour. Flavor is of dark roast, but mostly a very heavy bitter cherry flavor. Mouthfeel is unremarkable, but not bad.

 640 characters

Photo of
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle. Brett infused and oak aged.

Deep, clear, mahogany color. Medium + sized, light brown head.

Belgian barnyard, but very mild. More earthy than barnyard. Grassy and herbal. Initially, fruity. Jam-like and sweet, maybe raspberries? Some candi sugar.

First impression, more bitter/sour than sweet. Grassy and citrusy. What I am starting to recognize as a fairly typical brett taste. Kind of disconcerting, as the taste seems very different than what the appearance and smell would lead you to expect. Finish picks up the grass taste again. Alcohol was there, but not very noticeable. Oak barrel effect was MIA.

Medium body. Low to medium carbonation. Quite refreshing.

Not a beer I would want every day, but very good and quite different. Feels a little like something you would get from Fantome. A sour saison.

 835 characters

Photo of bruachan
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

saison in black. deep mahogany, rather. with a sudsy coating at the surface. not what i would call a head, but it doesn't look like it's going anywhere (decent lacing)

the aroma is funky and fruity, built above some richness.

for whatever reason i haven't had a saison recently (despite an affair with them not to long ago), but i'd be hard-pressed to identify this as one. the brett contributes enough that i can't even tell if a saison yeast was used as the primary strain

sour, and i should note that most of the complexity comes from the brett. there's very little spicing and very little malt or hop complexity

 625 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown/red, medium sized tan head, some lacing, decent retention. Smell is neat, sweet, malty, vinegar, sourness, fruits, toffee, chocolate, very nice. Taste is toffee hit, fruits, sweet/sour middle, milk chocolate, very mellow, just the right amount of sourness. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, very nice and smooth. I think this one hit its peak after most people tried it, I thought it was pretty fantastic.

 452 characters

Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black saison, what a neat idea! Cool!
Pours dark, deep, dark brown with some ruby. Head sets in and stays, very responsive to any swirlling. Funky yeast! ... and with a dark note! Very organic, barnyard funk. Drinks like a lambic gueze but with darker notes. Very clean. No hint of alcohol percentage evident at all, covers it very well. Appealing notes of sticky, dark malts. Some definite raspberry fruityness. Not much lingering on the palatte. This was surpringly awesome considering a not so well known brewer. A well worthwhile offering for anyone to try.
Big thanks Viggo!

 584 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to NucularGeorge for this beer.

A: Bit darker than standard cola but a bit more opaque. Not much head at all, just a thin film of light beige bubbles top the brew.

S: Red grapes, peach yogurt, fresh dough, day old coffee, some cocoa and cherries.

T: Starts off really sour, pretty much what under ripe black berries taste like. Definitely some brett in this beer, fairly strong peach yogurt and other interesting funk applying itself. A lot of red grape with dry grassy notes, playful oak and dusty dark fruits. Finishes spicy up front and tangy around the sides of the tongue. Sort of a dirty metallic taste rests in the middle of the palate.

M: Medium body, fairly smooth from the low carbonation.

D: I wasn’t expecting all this brett, which I’m a fan of. A bit too sour in the grape area, I usually am not a huge proponent of that aspect in beers. Overall, not too bad.

 897 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Philosopher's Stone from Two Brothers Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.