Harpoon Leviathan - Saison Royale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
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Ratings: 119 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by deanhead:
3/5 rDev -15%
Pale to straw-like in color, poured a nice adequately carbonated head. Nice lace which dissipated quickly. Head and lace completely disappeared before I was half way through beer.
Aroma is soapy and grainy, cereal like.
Sweet and candylike, finishes slightly winy, but still really sweet.
mouthfeel is viscous and almost syrupy and sweet clingy with an empty carbonated finish. While the head and lace disappeared, this beer remained
I have really enjoyed most of the other beers in the Leviathan series. I really like the Saison style, bit this one not so much. It reminded me allot of Unibroue's Don de Dieu. Unlike the Don de Dieu, I found this beer's drinkability is suspect in my opinion
09-28-2009 01:16:00 | More by deanhead
More User Reviews:
3.63/5 rDev +2.8%
Preamble: Charlie Papazian recently hosted the first of what will hopefully become an annual beer appreciation retreat at Whitehead Light Station, at a beautiful B&B off the coast of Thomaston, ME. My sister was working there on staff for the five days of beer bliss, and had a chance to meet and talk with Charlie. One of the beers he selected for tasting this weekend was this one. I am not suggesting that this beer is endorsed by Charlie. More likely, he saw it on the shelf and thought, "Hey, let's try this!" If you've read Charlie's book(s), you'll have a sense of his laid back attitude re: beer and know exactly what I'm talking about. Anyway, at the end of the five days, there was some leftover beer, and my sister brought me back some samples. There was one condition: Charlie said I had to share with her. Well, my sister's on a bus to NYC right now, and I'm trudging through coursework for my M.Ed., so I'm apologizing in advance for trying this without her....
Appearance: I've never really considered a beer bottle's label to be part of a beer's appearance, but it certainly counts towards presentation. With that in mind, this label appears to depict some kind of creepy sea monster with a giant orange eyeball. The dark label would suggest dark, mysterious, roasted maltiness. (Had I read the label more carefully, I would have seen "Saison Royale" in small print, and known better.) Much to my surprise, when I poured it my first thought was, "Is this a hefeweizen?" It's a shimmering golden with an effervescent head.
Smell: ....and it certainly smelled like a hefe....
Taste: ....but the first taste indicated that it was something more refined. The high %ABV was immediately apparent, as was the yeasty character of a farmhouse ale. I'd say it's a good representation of the style, although it's no Hennepin for sure.
Mouthfeel: The big difference between this beer and the top shelf farmhouse ales, I'd say, is in this department. It has somewhat of a syrupy aftertaste that better beers of this style manage to avoid.
Drinkability: I could easily drink three of these and then need to walk home. While this beer won't send anyone to the hospital with alcohol poisoning, it's not a small beer. Not for the faint of liver.
09-12-2009 19:46:21 | More by Marty
3.45/5 rDev -2.3%
Reviewed from notes on 6/22/10.
A: First off, this Leviathan has a really huge head (written with dripping sarcasm). I have about a 4 to 5 inch deep snifter and the head filled about 3 inches of the glass on first pour. I't s a fluffy and bubbly head, but a little to big for my tastes. The color of the body is a nice light gold. The lacing is clumpy and sticky and I spy tons of excited carbonation bubbles.
S: This is really a sweet smell for a Saison. There is a good amount of spice mixed in there, as well (clove, cumin, coriander), but sweet, sticky malts are the main aroma. It really almost smells like a good hard cider.
T: Sticky sweet. It's almost like a slightly spicy pear syrup. I would like this beer on pancakes. All of the characteristics of a Saison that I appreciate are evident (nice spice, crispness, spicy hop profile), but the beefed up malt bill trumps the other flavors and makes this beer just a tad too sweet for me.
M: Solid puckering spice feels good in my mouth and the sweetness of the brew helps in this category to give a solid medium feel.
D: The sweetness just detracts too much. I think a purposefully higher a.b.v. Saison can definitely drift to far into the sweetness stratosphere and is generally not the right way to go with this style. All of the best attributes of the style end up getting pushed to the background, which makes me a little sad. All in all, this is a pretty decent brew, but just a little too one-dimensional for me.
07-08-2010 18:34:29 | More by TCHopCraver
3.38/5 rDev -4.2%
While I've enjoyed the Leviathan series, this beer was a disappointment. In a tulip glass it was a hazy yellow color with a thick, white, sticky head. A pleasant sweet, spicy aroma. A bit of orange in the taste, also some coriander. Not at all crisp, the beer was very heavy-feeling. Not one I'd want a lot of.
10-29-2009 22:39:13 | More by lordofthewiens
4.38/5 rDev +24.1%
Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Appearance: It has a hazy golden blonde body with yeast sediment floating around inside and on top of a tall frothy head. This thick head has a just off white color and a very slow fade. It hangs on well, keeping a small cap till the last sip. It also leaves some spotty lace patterns on the glass.
Smell: The aroma is full of lovely herbal hops and spicy notes wrapped around bready yeast.
Taste/Palate: It has mellow malty and yeasty character with a touch of pepper and ginger like spice notes. This slowly giving way to pleasant herbal hop notes that move across the tongue and brings a good balance of bitterness, spice and dryness to the finish. The palate is lively and easy drinking.
Notes: From the appearance to palate it all feels very well made. Overall I enjoyed it very much!!!
04-28-2011 19:55:22 | More by generallee
3.48/5 rDev -1.4%
12 ounce bottle, pours cloudy lighter golden apricot, loose off white head and leaving clumpy lace. Sweet fruit juice on the nose, also citrus and light spice. Sweet for a saison, with a white grape juice twang, that is not all that pleasant. Later sips reveal some underlying citrus and spice. Boozy, continued sweet and astringent and off putting, I'm not getting a real warm and fuzzy feeling from this Leviathon offering. Plenty of more pleasant saisons out there, highly doubt I would go for this again.
08-31-2009 02:41:32 | More by Billolick
4.28/5 rDev +21.2%
Saison Royale smells like a strange hybrid of mulled wine, apple cider, and a Belgian Quad. The nose is ripe with aroma, including fresh apple cider, cinnamon and cloves, pear, white grape, orange, and lychee nut--in other words, almost everything you wouldn't expect from a beer.
On the tongue, the brew is potent and immediate, bursting with fruity esters such as berry, orange, apricot, and pumpkin, and spice notes such as coriander, cinnamon, pepper, and cloves. A thick brandy-like river of brown sugars and alcohol runs through this ester paradise, and toward the end of the mouthful the sugars peel back to reveal a rosewater and spice base, which continues into the aftertaste. There's also a fair bit of bitter hops in the brew to balance out the sugars, tasting like far more than the mere 25 IBUs would foretell. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is quite high; in fact, the beer feels more like a thick champagne.
Overall, this is a good beer, and well-made for its kind, with a nice balance of spice, sugar, and hops. I suspect some might be turned off by the enormity of the spiciness, but I suspect far more will appreciate its qualities.
08-06-2011 18:35:01 | More by jondeelee
3.85/5 rDev +9.1%
12oz bottle a little above fridge temp poured into an ommegang chalice. no freshness date, but the harpoon website indicates this was originally released AUG 09.
pours out a cloudy, hazy yellow color with a bit of sediment. huge, huge billowy white head. took me several minutes to fully pour out the bottle and i was left with a huge foamy cap that slowly resided into the beer creating a creamy retentive foam. sticky lace covers almost every inch of the glass. lots of very fine bubbles rising to the top.
smells like a sweet tripel. sweet candied pale malts, phenolic yeast, a little earthy, some light lemon citrus and just a bit of spice. some alcohol as it warms.
again, tastes like a pretty good tripel. sweet candied pale malts and phenolic bubblegum belgian yeast at the forefront. behind that theres some lemon citrus, a bit of a peppery spice, and just a hint of herbal earthiness. alcohol evident the more it warms.
full body, fuller than most saisons. a fine, light bubbly carbonation.
one glass is enough, but i would drink this again. definatly more like a tripel, but a tasty one at that. id be interested to see how this ages.
01-28-2011 01:43:54 | More by dogfishandi
3/5 rDev -15%
Pours a slightly clouded brilliant golden yellow hue with a large bright paper white with nice retention and scattered chunky lacing. Carbonation is effervescent tiny bubbles fill the glass. Aromatics offer up tropical fruits a touch of pineapple and slight banana esters with a nice spicy herbal effect. Sweetness overwhelms there's a bit of candi sugar added to the boil, I'm sure that aided the fermentation to reach the 9% abv. You can detect a touch of alcohol tickling the nares but I don't think it overwhelms or comes of fusel in anyway. Flavors blend petty nicely after a couple sips, the palate shock with this big saison really comes from the spicing and effervescence in combination with the booze and esters. Adding to the pineapple and banana I'm catching a bit more citrus than I did in the nose. Appealing spicy Belgian yeast strain with the additions of aromatic spices bringing more complexity to the oeverall flavor profile. A bit cloying as it warms nails you with the alcohol and spice washout. Palate numbing with the spice and herbal content, also the high alcohol pushes this into tripel territory for me rather than Saison and in addition it puts it into a rather harsh American style tripel versus the Belgian version with a bit much more finesse. I wouldn't think of going back for more especially comparing it to other Levithan releases so far.
12-18-2009 06:57:01 | More by WVbeergeek
3.23/5 rDev -8.5%
Poured into a pint glass and let it warm up for about 20 minutes
A - Beer pours a cloudy and hazy pale color. There was a rather large fluffy white head which produced about 2" of foam on my glass. This head dissipated in about 20 minutes to a thin layer of foam and ample lacing
S - Lots of peppery spice, clove, lemon and grapefruit on board typical of a saison or farmhouse type of ale. Pretty good balance of hops and malt with the spice factor leading the aroma.
T - peppery spice, clove and a nice lemony citrus that is balanced by a bread and biscuity characteristic to the taste. The finish is dry and lightly hopped.
M - Moderate carbonation on board with a lively mouthfeel to the beer. There are notes of sweetness and tartness all in one. Crisp light finish with very little in the way of alcohol taste.
D - Decent saison offering and nicely done by the folks at Harpoon.
03-04-2010 23:21:26 | More by racer2k
3.63/5 rDev +2.8%
This is a clear golden color, big swirls of carbonantion, light, bubbly high-headed. lots of foamy coverage and some decent floatie bits at the bottom.
Masssive herbs and spices on the nose, corriander right up-front, honey flavored malt, peppercorns, musty herbs and earthy hops.
The malt is really sweet, honey sweet and very thick feel right off, although it has a decent bite too, it's a hefty feeling malt. spices and herbs all-over give some balance with black pepper and corriander flavor's. The heat is pumped up to 9 which is a bit hot. It has a bit of a classic Belgian feel, but the malt is too slick. Lots of complexity, but once again, little balance with low drinkability due to the higgh heat and heavy malt. I like my farmhouse ales to be more traditional, and this seems like a style that might not be right for an Imperial counterpart. The 6 or 7 % abv that comes with most saison's is just right for the style. we have a bit of a Frankenstein's monster effect happening here.
A fun brew, but I can't take it seriously.
10-29-2009 22:47:31 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
2.2/5 rDev -37.7%
12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip.
Appearance: Lighter golden yellow, a big rush of foam that sinks down back to the body. Not a lot of bubbles. Not looking very Belgian or Saison-like.
Smell: I made a beer from the MrBeer kid called 3 Spice Lemon Weiss or something like that, and the smell was almost identical to this. It was coriander, cinnamon, and lemon juice, and maybe some nutmeg. This has a lot of ginger in there also. I was fairly happy with the one I made from a kit and extract and whatnot, but here they're CLEARLY doing basically the same thing. Instead of letting the yeast do its thing along with the phenolic activity and mysteries abound that could happen, they over-spice it like the world's going to end. It's like a pumpkin beer gone serial killer, with a ton more spice added. Floral for, say, a candle? Yes. For a beer, one that's supposed to be a Saison? No. And I would bet that if you make the aforementioned recipe, you'll enjoy it more than this. If I had a bottle from a year ago or so, I'd try them together, and I have a feeling the one I made would win.
Taste: Way too sweet. Hardly any earthiness or phenolic activity at all. More like a Wit than a Saison, but truly neither like either, if you want to go there. Kind of hurts your teeth, too. Way too sweet, again. Not a lot of flavor. All you taste is spice.
Mouthfeel: Big time cloying sugar bomb. Way too much sugar all around.
Drinkability: Not a Saison in the least. Way too much alcohol. Not enough balance at all. As an addendum, I'm finishing this review now, and the rest of it's going down the drain... I won't buy this again, but the Leviathan DIPA was good I thought, so I won't give up on the series. Just don't make this anymore please, Harpoon. It's not good. That's it.
10-06-2009 04:06:21 | More by asabreed
3.95/5 rDev +11.9%
Appearance: extremely carbonated (not a bad thing here) pour with only half of the bottle going into my Delerium tulip glass showing an inch of beer and the rest is a fluffy white tight foamy head. As it's settling it's leaving a nice lace. Light golden in color with a tinge of orange
Aroma: very complex aroma, full of yeast esters, spices and fruit: clove is dominant, white pepper, oranges, fruit esters. no hops. no off aromas. rosemary?
Flavor/Mouth: sweet malt up front quickly fades to a spicy tingly zinginess filled with spice flavors similar to aroma, touch of bitterness at the finish, quite dry and refreshing. aftertaste brings the alcohol kick with a slight burn/heat, which I'm enjoying on this cold evening.
overall: a well spiced saison with a kick. quite happy with this purchase!
12-19-2009 03:09:00 | More by harkjohnny
3.93/5 rDev +11.3%
A most drinkable beer and pleasant saison. I enjoyed the floral aromas with underlying spice.Light coloured body. The mouthfeel is average, it is creamy but it is offset by a slight harshness and overcarbonation. The taste is wonderful,cardomon, a tad of cloves and ginger,a little white pepper, and well malted.
03-14-2010 01:24:55 | More by Sammy
3.4/5 rDev -3.7%
Received in trade from ShogoKawada (thanks!). Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Troubadour tulip glass.
Liquid is a vibrant cloudy golden-yellow. Large rocky column of foam fills the glass and slowly recedes to an untidy stack of soft peaks. Thick sticky merengue-like lacing remains above the liquid line for a long time, though the expected legs aren't hiding underneath.
Very welcoming aromatics, a subtle but complex mix of citrus, melon, cinammon, and (maybe a little too much) lavender. Alcohol makes its presence known as well, but in a pleasant rather than solvent-y manner. A bit milquetoast overall though...
Citrus on the palate accompanied by sourdough, clover honey, and cherry. Peppery, slightly dry finish (though the sugars don't really abate), with hints of capsicum more likely suggested by the alcohol. Some good flavors, but the balance is off, and one element of the profile bears a very minor but still rather unpleasant resemblence to cough syrup. ABV seems a bit much.
Somewhat creamy body with strong carbonation, a little "slippery" for lack of a better descriptor, and rather hot on the lips and gums (though not so far as to be numbing).
Drinkable but not particularly refreshing.
Interesting take on the style - distinguished enough to reccomend, though I wouldn't seek it out to revisit.
10-01-2009 03:36:06 | More by augustgarage
4.75/5 rDev +34.6%
pours an exceptional mammoth behemothic ghostly white moby of a head that stays and stays and stays and leaves a nice, large carbonated bubble lacing pattern. after 10 minutes, it finally seems to settle...slightly hazy opaque deep straw color. nose is a very citrus-zest breadiness. smells very belgian. though expecting something thinner, this comes in chewy, tasting like 9%abv and reveals incredible depth with characteristics of muscatel and raw honey tang. did i say incredible? a bitterness slides across the palate as i adjust to all the notes going on. hops? nonetheless a very complex brew and one that needs to be savored....at most, a 2 bottle session is enough (the tongue will want more...the head won't appreciate more the next morning).
09-21-2009 22:42:17 | More by mempath
4.55/5 rDev +28.9%
Sat on this one for a while, aging for well over a year in my beer cabinet. Pleased that it was quite delicious still!
Poured a cloudy yellow-golden, with massive carbonation. White suds, and sparse but ornate lace.
Nose was brisk and appealing. Buttered biscuits, tart fruit. Superb.
Flavor was a burst of deliciousnes -- more tart fruit, spices, and almost a lemon pepper and clove character. Amazing and complex. I got a little hops in there among the strong malts and spices.
This is a wonderful saison with a serious wallop (9% ABV).
06-15-2011 05:13:41 | More by secondtooth
3.43/5 rDev -2.8%
Picked up a four pack today at Oak Tree. Split with a friend in a wine glass.
It's a straw yellow color, very bubbly head to start that disappears quickly, much like champagne. Carbonation present through the transparent liquid.
It is very funky and fruity smelling. Very dry, almost like dry raisins or grapes very dominate the nose followed by some barnyard funk with a hint of spicy yeast. Also a little bit of alcohol spice present as well.
Dry, acidic, sour, fruity, alcohol and spice all present. Their is a touch of sweetness too, very similar to the previously release Leviathon quad. Very complex, almost as if too much is going on. Each sip is a little different, some pleasant some not. A litle age may be good.
The mouthfeel is rather light, dry and acidic. Pretty accurate for the style.
I am glad I split this beer with a friend because half a bottle was good. Would go back and have this beer again, but something worth trying.
08-20-2009 21:46:21 | More by mikey711
3.73/5 rDev +5.7%
On tap. Seems more like an imperial saison based on the ABV.
A - Cloudy golden color with a medium white head.
S - Aroma is spicy with bananas, Belgian yeast, citrus, and floral hops.
T - Lots of spices, with rosemary and black pepper standing out, pale malt, herbs, citrus, banana, and just a little bit of alcohol.
M - Body is medium with carbonation not quite as high as I'd like for a saison. Still, this is pretty good.
D - Average for the style or a little better.
09-28-2009 21:33:11 | More by nickd717
3.63/5 rDev +2.8%
Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a nice big meringue head that slowly dissipated into a chunky cap. The aroma is of spicy belgian yeast; some clove, pepper, and banana, perhaps a touch of farmhouse. There is also some fruity aromas; green apple and lemon. The taste has a noticable pale malt presence with clove and pepper yeasty spice. Quite sweet from the candi sugar; this saison is definitely on the big side. There is also some honey and green apple notes plus a slight kick of grassy hops. The feel is moderate and very very fizzy; sweet overall but does have a hoppy bitter balance. Slighly sticky in the end. Authentic belgian flavors, and quite tasty, but seems too bold for the saison style, definitely borders on the tripel style. The high ABV seems a touch out of place as the brew feels a bit hot.
10-16-2009 23:43:45 | More by Gmann
4/5 rDev +13.3%
Crsystal clear lemon with great carbonation and a great initial head.. Smell is grassy with a distinct malty presence. Taste is rich, with a distinct alcohol and malt presence, Plenty of bite! Mouthfeel is DRYYY. Very warming on the palate. For the higher abv, drinkability is very good.
09-28-2009 22:37:04 | More by edchicma
1.88/5 rDev -46.7%
12oz bottle. Pours a very nice cloudy dark yellow with a huge white head that lasts. Leaves good lacing. Smells absurdly over-spiced. Ginger and a lot of pepper. There's a bit of sweet malt, but it's mostly masked. The taste is also dominated by egregious amounts of spice. Very sweet with a bit of alcohol. Some stange flavors remiscent of soap (though I'm certain it's not--I only use hot water to clean my glasses). Sweet finish. Slightly syrupy body. This is essentially everything a saison shouldn't be. Spiced (into oblivion), incredibly sweet, and huge alcohol. Pretty terrible. Went down the drain.
10-06-2009 01:58:53 | More by philipquarles
Harpoon Leviathan - Saison Royale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 119 ratings.