FestiveAle | Rogue Ales

201 Ratings
Read the review

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Shaw on 09-26-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Ratings: 201 |  Reviews: 186
Photo of shbobdb
1.42/5  rDev -57.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I wrote a review of this beer the first time I drank it and I will post it below. However, before you read the review, I want you to understand that this was my first saison. I, quite mistakenly, thought the entire style tasted like this beer and with that false impression, began lambasting Belgian beers quite unfairly. I still think this particular beer is truly god-awful; however, my original comments on Belgians are something of an anachronism. Thank goodness I tried Hennepin and it turned me around.
So, without further ado, the review I wrote while I was drinking this beer the first time:
Why do I bother with Rogue? This beer tastes absolutely . . . Belgian. I mean that in the worst possible way. The yeast flavours are, to use the parlance of our times, ‘off the hiz-zzay’. This beer reminds me of Skittle-brau. Nasty, Nasty, Nasty. If you like the yeast off-flavours that other BA’s seem to covet, then this is the beer for you: No head, no hops, nasty yeast/skittles flavour. Bad, bad beer!!!
After experiencing a few more saisons, here is my more recent review:
Nasty, bad, nasty. Skittle-brau is correct, nasty. Not good, avoid, avoid. This beer tasts nothing like other saisons I've had, and it suffers for it. Terrible stuff.

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Photo of Mitchster
1.42/5  rDev -57.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Brewed with Weyerman Pilsner Malt, Belgian Malted Wheat, Saaz Hops, Grains of Paradise, Ginger Root, Sweet Gale, Curacao Orange, Free Range Coastal Water, and Belgian Saison Yeast. No Chemicals, Additives or Preservatives.

14.5 degrees plato, 18 IBUs, 12 AA, 8.5 lovibond, 6.2% ABV.

Pours out to a hazy light amber with peach accents, forming a tall beige head with wonderful retention and sticky lacing. Carbonation is medium-strong with a solid "Psssht" upon opening.

The nose is not as distinct as I would think considering the brewers and the ingredients used. I detect cloves, orange peel (which is very subtle), pennies and yeast. The mouthfeel is powdery at first, but unfortunately very ruddy with a wet cardboard feel. Medium-dense body. The taste is plagued by bready yeast, dank cardboard, some higher fusels (it has a mouthfeel and tastes like Ommegang/Jolly Pumpkin yeast to me, which I abhore) and pennies. The spices and the higher alcohols leave a sickening feel in the stomach. Bitterness is mild. The finish is disgusting and the aftertaste is musty, but not in a good way. Like sucking on an old washcloth and chasing it with your piggy bank. Ugh.

This is the only bad beer I've ever had from Rogue. This is a horrible mistake, and unfortunately is a drain pour. Interesting, but as I was rinsing out the bottle, it took me 5 solid rinses to get the huge amount of concreted yeast out of the bottom. I bet alot of autolysis went on in this bottle. Blargh.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
1.61/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Presentation: Classic 22ounce Rogue bomber. Screen printed just like the one shown in the BA Database and sealed with a black, red and silver Rogue crown cap. Listed as “Festive Ale – Ale spiced with herbs & spices”. Geeky specs are: 14.5° Plato, 8.5° L, 12 AA, 18 IBU.

Appearance: Hazed orange marmalade body with lone streamers. Dirty vanilla head breaks quickly to a very thin cap. Good carbonation. Reasonable looks to start with but it soon suffers from a quickly failing head which lends an aged and old look to this one.

Nose: Sour oranges, Copper-Nickel 70/30 and sweaty ginger root mixed with depleted Uranium and a funky wet n' wild yeast that reminded me of ex-girlfriends. Weird to say the least.

Taste: Urrghh…….that was my honest initial rather “verbal” opinion of this one, and I live on my own with no-one to hear me!!! My second mouthful had more Yorkshire Expletives than I care to repeat. Saison? or Festival Ale? Seems like neither to me, this is nothing short of a messed up orange laden bitter juice. Gosh this is a serious sickly mess. I’m not wasting any more time describing it.

Mouthfeel: Like one of those horrid home-made incredibly chewy toffees that your Anutie uysed to make, the type that simply sucks in more saliva than it creates. This one soon becomes a staid, stodgy mess, sucking the life out of you; it soon has you swallowing hard on your tongue to desperately induce some saliva. It is hard to swallow at times after this one. Dare I say that the Mouthfeel is…..well…..lets just say it made me feel like BA JohnnyLieb-hurl-man behaved at the 2005 Pizza Port 9th Annual Strong Ale Festival.

Drinkability: I managed to work through almost 2/3rds of the Bomber, vainly hoping that this would get better……but the rest got dumped in the sink. Well here is my take on this one, the main label says “Festive Ale brewed with herbs and spices”, that’s fine, but then a smaller bullet style logo above this also states “A Belgian Style Saison Ale”, and that’s fine too……..so Rogue have tried to mix the two it seems to create a “Saison for the Festive Season”. Well they failed big style. Not only do the styles cancel each other out, but you are left with an **utter mess** that is simply repulsive and very hard to drink. Drain pours usually get less than 2.0, but this really deserves a 1.0.

Overall: This is just a sickly congealed mess to me. It has no distinct character or redeeming features; it is lost in a World of unknown identity, maybe they should call this "Bastard Rogue" for its Parents Saison and Festive Ale are nowhere to be seen. It cost me $4.99 at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa…what a waste of the Benjamins, for an extra buck I could have got another luscious Yulesmith Xmas2005. I am far from impressed by this one, it gets a BIG Roman Thumbs Down from me, like the Christians, it should be fed to the Lions for entertainment.

Saison!?!? Festive!?!…Bob Cratchit’s boney white ass it is….Bah Humbug!!!

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
1.74/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

You've got to be kidding me with this beer. It should be in the running for the malt liquor of the year. "Brewed with herbs and spices", still waiting to experience those.

Poured like a Saison for a second, and then flat. American-Macro in its hues, literally nothing appealing.

I am serious; it tastes like a malt liquor. Tremendously sweet, with a dulling aftertaste (which I suspect are the "herbs").

My first couple of experiences with this brewery was similar to this one. The next couple was much better. I hope when I deviate from my interpretive BA decisions on this brewery it represents with some of its less popular styles.


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Photo of xav33
1.92/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Rogue FestiveAle
22 oz bomber
Unknown bottling, celebrated 11/06
Medium pour in a tulip glass.

Poured a hazy orange copper with a large rocky off-white fully lasting with good lacing.

Smelt of moderate oranges, bubble gum, cloves, and ginger.

Taste was upfront moderate sweet candied ginger and oranges followed a strong awkward bitter sweaty yeast taste on an average length bitter tasteless affront. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied, dry, lively carbonated with light to moderate astringency, mostly on the finish, and faint alcoholic burn.

Overall, a very disappointing Rogue beer and saison beer, as the bitterness seems too strong and overwhelms the other flavors. Not a pleasant saison by any means. I'm so disappointed by Rogue right now, hopefully they will tweak their recipe. They are so ashame of this beer they don't even have it listed on their website...

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Photo of mynie
2.02/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Very pretty pour. Full sunny honey with a large, retentive head and great lacing. Too bad everything goes down hill after that...

The smell is of traditional saison spices that are beaten down by the odor of funky cheese, or feet. It doesn't have that cidery smell of a bacteria infested bottle--it just smells like spices and funk mixed with fruit.

The taste is a slight improvement. It's too sweet up front, lots of fruit, which moves into the spices--white pepper, mostly--and ends on the sour funk of the nose.

Most saisons grow on you. This one was just the opposite. It started bad and tasted worse and worse as the bomber went on. I had no problem finishing the first twelve ounces, but the last ten were a stretch.

This is the first Rogue beer I've had that I would call "bad." It isn't simply "not good." It sucks.

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Photo of largadeer
2.06/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance - Straw-colored and fairly clear with an off-white head. Mediocre retention.

Smell - A bit tart and musty. Very spicy, but certainly not the most pleasant spice aroma I can think of. Ginger and lemongrass come to mind.

Taste & mouthfeel - Weird, unpleasant spiciness coupled with a somewhat astringent citrus bite. Dry in the finish with more of the funky spice flavor lingering in the aftertaste. Not particularly estery or phenolic. Light-bodied with moderate carbonation. What the hell, Rogue? This is the worst saison I've ever had.

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Photo of hero27
2.23/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 oz bomber.
6.2% abv, 18 IBUs

Foggy golden amber color...rocky head of off-white foam, very little lacing, though. Aroma is some citrus with some light toffee malts and hints of peppery spices that go along with a macro-ish familiarity of metallic tinge..
Quite a bit of malt backing for flavor..overpowering really. The spices and Belgian yeast just don't shine through like they should.
High carbonation also makes it somewhat difficult to swallow..
Man, I thought I'd enjoy this one..but it was pretty much a mess all-around. Just not put together very well, in my opinion..

One of the few Rogue offerings that ranks low for me.

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Photo of MVassar
2.24/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

The first disappointment I've had from Rogue.

Not really sure what they were going for here...

Murky butterscotch appearance. Little head, which disappears quickly.

Smells of brown bread, overripe fruit, steamed vegetables.

Overripe fruit, root vegetables in the taste. Touch of bubblegum, maybe a hint of clove. Not a particularly pleasant combo.

Adequate carbonation, decent texture.

Just not to my taste. Won't drink it again.

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Photo of bditty187
2.33/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear, brassy-gold in hue; I like the color but some haze would have been helped. Slightly off-white head, at the apex the foam was two fingers tall. Head retention was respectable, the bubbles slowly faded to a fleeting, soapy collar. There wasn’t a hint of lacing. The appearance, overall, is fair.

Aggressive nose but if fails to say much. At no point does this smell like a Saison and I have a wide “definition” of the style. I smell a mess of spiciness; everything is so overpowering it drowns out all the nuances. I suppose I can detect some orange peel and ginger, which is doing nothing for me. Tonic water, Sprite, and alcohol finish the bouquet. While the nose is not offensive it is very boring and way off kilter. I wanted a Saison; I don’t know what I got. I don’t know what to expect… I don’t have much of a need to take a sip.

The palate is, literally, a hot mess. What is this beer trying to be? A Spiced Ale or a Saison. It is both. It is neither. The label says “Saison” so that is what I expected. Sure, I didn’t think Rogue would create something like Fantome. Spicy (from the yeast?) upfront, quickly followed by ginger and orange peel; in the middle is Sprite and tonic water with hints of vodka and gin. The finish is sweet but airy… again like malt essence mixed with tonic water. Where are the hops? Where is the malt? Where is the beer? What a dud… Oh, and regardless of style this beer is flat-out poor. I mean drain pour.

Medium/medium-light in body, moderately high carbonation, the mouthfeel does little to help the flavor profile. Weak, airy, and empty… not what I want to feel on the tongue.

I can’t believe this is a Rogue product, it is so unbelievably lousy. Yikes. So, in summary, this beer is not drinkable. It is not tasty. I don’t like it and I can’t see any reason I’d buy it again. I purchased my bomber in Omaha. Avoid.

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Photo of kozmo
2.33/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

On tap at the Mellow Mushroom in Charleston, SC. Served in the traditional pint glass. I was hopeful as I know that the establishment sells lots of Rogue, and I believe they were granted this keg as the biggest outlet for Rogue in the state.

Poured medium dark to dark brown. No noticable head. Somewhat carbonated, but basically flat. First sip was surprising -- very heavy in the mouth, with an off-taste that was reminiscent of dishwater or perhaps just something stale.

As I continued, the impresstions were: somewhat flat, thick, murky, with some growing complexity. However, the off flavors continued as my taste buds searched for some of the fruit and yeast that I expect in a saison.

Overall, the beer was quite heavy and syrupy, with very unsubtle malt and sweetness that overpowered the hint of hop that I had to search for.

Not what I expect from a saison (too heavy and none of the fruitiness I'd hoped for). Perhaps a bad keg, and the server said that first keg they had was really different.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
2.4/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

No freshness info.

a: Muddy gold. Tons of debris, very hazy. Thin white head.

s: Spices and tart sweetness.

t: Very tart, tastes like something is off. Stale tasting. Not pleasing, worst Saison I've had.

m: Again, tartness is what comes to mind, not in a pleasant way.

d: I don't know if this is just a bad bottle or what, but this was not good. And at the price Rogue is charging, this is very disappointing. Didn't finish my glass, let alone the bottle. Rogue makes some great beer, but this is not one of them.

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Photo of SteveO1231
2.4/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a murky copper with a thick foamy white head, lots of excellent lacing in my glass.

Huge sour yeast aroma. This is what my beer closet smelled like after a homebrew exploded. Spicey ginger and citrus hints.

Thin and crisp on the palate, malt sweet with a strong sour spiciness mixed with tart citrus fruitiness. The spiciness mellows as it warms.

Good beer a little too sour/citrusy from my taste. I like the style but just not this one.


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Photo of tempest
2.42/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

My first, and probably only disappointment from Rogue. This beer was just a mess. It poured a hazy gold, but went downhill from the smell: sour and funky without any balance. I could find nice malt and hops in the flavor, but it was just too off-putting. I dont know what happened here, I guess no brewery can make you happy all the time.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
2.42/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured an orange gold that has a frothy white head that subsided quickly leaving no lace at all. Nice streams of bubbles though they didn't help the head to stick around. The aroma has a slight hint of sweet malt and a lot of citrusy spice to it. It is hard to pick out the individual scents though it has a bitter citrus that stands out a bit. The taste is smooth in the beginning with a light sweetness from the malt that quickly segues into a fairly mixed up spicy bitterness that is a bit peppery and has some pithy orange bitterness and finshes very dry with the spicy bitterness lingering. The entire flavor created seemed to be overspiced without much character from the yeast being allowed to shine, it tasted better as it warmed and some of the malt came out more but overall the flavors seemed muddled. The mouthfeel is the best thing about this ale as it is soft and the carbonation just barely increases the percieved bitterness. The overall drinkability of this one is poor because after trying it once i would rather have a dead guy instead of buying this again.

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Photo of Phatz
2.43/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I opened the bottle (after letting it warm up on the counter for a while like I always do) and when I poured carefully into my tulip glass I got ALL head everywhere. About ¾ of an inch of beer after the head settled down but it was so much head it ran over the side of my glass. CRAZY! I don't think it was supposed to do the :) and I don't know why it did. The thick head was off-white and when it settled, the beer in my glass was a pale orange color.

Smell: From the aroma I got candy, and sour apples then a hint of yeast. The smell seemed to get more orange and more sour the longer it sat in my glass (like cleaning solution orange, very chemical).

Taste: Jolly-Rancher candy taste right up front; some artificial red flavor, and some white sugar. It had a floral taste like chewing on a bouquet of flowers followed by a strange sweaty salty sour. The after taste was subtly ginger but followed by the flavor of a sweaty body after a hard work out. I can't say I actually enjoy this taste (in beer anyway;) but I am not sure what they were going for here. I am not a huge fan of Saisons to begin with, but this taste just seems to be a bit of a miss IMHO.

Mouthfeel: It has a chewy oily slippery ‘hard candy and saliva’ feel. It is given a little bit of body only by the tart and dryness. With the carbonation it appears to have a medium-ish body at first, but it quickly falls apart as it slides to the back of your mouth. I would have to call it week.

Drinkability: This beer is very light in your stomach. If you enjoyed the flavor and feel you would probably consider it drinkable too. I am not really a fan, so I didn't even want to finish a bomber. This is just one man’s opinion. Maybe you will like it better than I did. With all the other GOOD beers that come from Rogue, I see no reason I will ever return to this one.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of RedDiamond
2.48/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer has no appeal to me. It moves in disjointed directions with a slightly soapy taste ending in a peppery bite. The ginger is edgy and it didn’t help matters to be served a flat-bodied pint at Rogue’s new Public House in Astoria. Stylistically, this beer is very un-Rogue, perhaps because Rogue abandons its hallmark yeast strain in favor of a Belgian import. It is densely unfiltered tarnished brass, headless, morose, and the aroma is a rank, corrupted spice.
A stylistic aberration.

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Photo of sloejams
2.49/5  rDev -25%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Anytime I see a new offering (or new to me) from the ever-reliable Rouge, I always put one in the shopping cart. A saison? Are you fucking kidding me? Definitely need this, even despite the crusty fella adorning the bottle.

I poured this 22 oz. into 2 different tulips glasses: one for me and one for the missus. The filled glasses couldn’t be any more different looking. Hers, the 1st pour – nice, hazy bright orange and mine, an opaque murky soupy brown with sediment a plenty. She laughed at mine. I told her it’s only because I’m so goddamn nice that she got the good one. She said she’d share if mine tasted like shit. It didn’t.

The aroma was light and fruity – orange, tangerine, spices including clove and coriander. The taste was very yeasty from both glasses. It was very light tasting, missing the tartness that I’ve come to expect from saisons. The were wintery spices too that were out of place: the clove and some nutmeg and cinnamon. Some sips were better than others - I enjoyed the citrus notes.

It had medium to light body, except for all of the sediment which made much of my glass difficult to drink even after 30 minutes or so. I won't be picking this one up again anytime soon.

A disappointment from Rouge.

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Photo of cjgator3
2.53/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a beautiful golden amber color with a nice white head. Aroma is orange peel and yeast that is slightly peppery and quite tart. Taste is overly peppery and tart that leaves a strong bitter aftertaste. The taste is just not very pleasant at all. I love saisons but the taste does injustice to the style in my opinion. Some may like, but it is not for me.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
2.53/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear gold...this is a saison? Nose is like dirty sweet tarts. Dirty sweet tarts. The candy. Yeah. Flavor is like drinking those dirty sweet tarts. Feel is standard for a regular old beer...but I don’t feel like this is anywhere near what a saison should be. Drinkable? Hell no. This is my least favorite saison out of all I have tried. I love Rogue and all they do, but really man. This is just bad. Bad with all capital letters. Bad as in a waste of money. Bad as in a waste of water. Ack. Really. What were they thinking. This is a saison? I can’t believe I am considering flushing a Rogue brew. Atrocious.

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Photo of watermelonman
2.56/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This poured to a great orange and copper color, although the head was a little small and left no lace.

The smell raises some concerns, most notably a large amount of ginger. The taste brings more ginger, with some other spices taking the place of interesting malt and yeast characteristics. The mouthfeel is reasonable, but the drinkability isn't very good.

With this style, I want a magnificent blast of flavors, but all I got here was a bunch of ginger.

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Photo of cokes
2.56/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Gloomy soiled brass with a manic and quickly reducing eggshell capping.
Wet flour odor amid piles of dirty laundry. Spice as well with a rubber-tinged orange peel and pepper.
Coarse as hell up front. Flailing lemony grains of paradise and just raw, exposed grain, and unchecked black pepper, and scraping carbonation, and even bursts of gin-fueled alcohol heat. It came thisclose to being drain-bound. But with time and added temperature, the flour and mango yeasty esters congealed with the orange rind bitterness and gentler chicory root and sassafras astringency. Albeit, this isn't very Saison-like, and still it is thoroughly FUBAR. It concludes with lingering tropical fruit juice on doughy shortbread with a lime leaf and black pepper bite. More solvent booze traits on the finish, especially as it warms all the way up.
Medium bodied, and the combative CO2 settles out to a merely grating rapid-fire.
In spite of its small turn-around, it's still pretty rough. More than rough, actually. It's just slightly better than horrible.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.64/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 6/17/2007 (Draft @ Alamo Drafthouse, TX):

Pours an amber brown color, no head. Little aroma. Very sweet salty taste, like candy. Sweet acidic taste, very unlike a malty beer. A sour taste, but not fruity. Warming up a bit. More malty & beer like as it warms up. Still a little acidic. Didn't realize this was a saison until now..

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Photo of necoadam
2.66/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured out a dark shade of orange. Not much carbonation in this thing. Nose consisted of orange peels, quite a bit of yeast, various spices, and some lemon scents comes out towards the end. Just seemed to be a bit of a mess. Taste was sadly the same way. Bitter wheat is a good way of how it starts out with some fruit and spices mingle together. But it's all out of wack. Mouthfeel was light with low carbonation. Just a sloppy beer with no direction in sight. Good to try it at least, but nothing to revisist after that.

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Photo of mwilbur
2.68/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from 650 mL bottle into cervoise.
A: Bottle opens with loud pop...tons of carbonation. Pours a pale orange-yellow...cloudy with sediment. Huge frothy white head produced by the high carbonation...decent retention.
S: Toast, yeast, and spice (cinnamon and all-spice).
T: Unfortunately, this tastes quite bad. Alcohol is most predominant...which says something with an ABV of only 6.2%.
M: Tons of carbonation is too distracting. Light body...fizzy.
D: I love Rogue, but I would advise people to pass on this one. Oh, and I don't know what this is, but it is NOT a saison.

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FestiveAle from Rogue Ales
3.32 out of 5 based on 201 ratings.
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