Sgt. Pepper | Cambridge Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
85
very good
90 Reviews
Sgt. PepperSgt. Pepper
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
farmhouse ale with rye and peppercorns

Added by ClockworkOrange on 03-18-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
90
Ratings:
341
Avg:
3.77
pDev:
28.65%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
46
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 341
Photo of kojevergas
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired at a local SoCal beer store. This is only the second beer I've had from Cambridge Brewing. Expectations are high; I' love a good farmhouse ale and I'm really in the mood for one. Curiously, it has a World Beer Cup award for the Herb and Spice Beer category. 6% ABV confirmed. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label and unbranded standard pressure cap served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. I don't see any obvious best before or bottled on dates.

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger white colour head - disappointingly thin - of no cream whatsoever and mere average retention. The ABV isn't even that high; I'm pretty disappointed with the head. Lacing is light and even. Body colour is a fairly vibrant clear bronze. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Looking substandard for a farmhouse ale. It's not much to look at. Appears filtered.

Sm: Definite peppercorn presence. Pale malts. Fragrant floral hops. I do pick up on the rye malt, but I wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't been searching for it after reading the label. Spicy robust yeasty character with notes of biscuit and clove. It's not that spicy in comparison to other farmhouse ales, but it's got a definite spice presence. The pepper is quite evocative; that's remarkable. I'm looking forward to trying it, but I do want more depth and complexity from the aroma. Nicely subtle and above average in strength. No alcohol is noticeable.

T: Remarkable peppery character throughout - both black and white pepper is noticeable. The rye really complements the spicy character on the climax going into the third act; that's a lovely pairing of flavours. The floral hop character lends a pleasant background flavour letting the spices and yeasty complexity take centre stage - exactly as it should. Malty foundation is well-executed rye alongside light biscuity grains and I suspect some pale malts. Spice, light biscuit, and clove from the yeast. Peppery spice is definitely dominant here; I love that. Make no mistake - it's spicy in the sense that lots of spice notes come through, but there's also a bit of spicy heat here. Fortunately, no alcohol heat is noticeable. Impeccable balance, even if it is a bit simple for the style. These cats really knew what they were doing when they brewed this gem. If you're after a peppery-as-hell farmhouse ale, this is the beer for you. Subtly executed. I'm really enjoying it.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Understated. Near ideal carbonation; it's just a touch too high - but that'll help it cellar if you're so inclined. Good thickness and body. Complements the flavour profile well - mostly by keeping its head down, supporting the flavours, and not making itself noticeable. It even approaches refreshing - a nice counterpoint to the spicy pepper of the flavours. This texture was developed with intentionality, and the marriage to the flavour profile is rewarding. Well-executed. Not creamy or buttery or milky. Excellent presence on the palate. Just soft enough.

Dr: A surprisingly good farmhouse ale from Cambridge Brewing. I'd definitely pick this one up again; I'm glad I stumbled across it. I'm now very interested in trying their other beers. Surpassed my meagre expectations. Very drinkable, but the spice may creep up on you. The low ABV for the style makes this a go-to when you're trying to stay coherent. They aimed to brew an extremely peppery farmhouse ale, and damnit, they succeeded. The execution is great for the concept. Well done, Cambridge. I'd recommend this to friends.

Low B+

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Photo of Immortale25
4.26/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Bottleneck says Bottled On 1/31/13.

A- Pours a medium amber color with a 1/2 inch white head that doesn't retain very long before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and random light wisps of surface foam. Lacing is non-resilient.

S- Whoa, you can really smell those peppercorns. Very peppery with some other spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Very lovely if you're a fan of these.

T- The spices hold up just as well in the flavor as I was hoping. Very unique blend of pepper, clove and nutmeg that actually creates an almost soil-like taste. A considerable capsaicin burn comes from the peppercorns. I don't get much saison characteristic out of the beer. Once again, very earthy.

M- Very sharp and tingly from the spices with medium-low carbonation and a medium body.

O- More like just a straight up herbed/spiced beer than a saison since the yeast and carbonation aren't where it should be for that style. Still, this is very tasty for people who are fans of pepper and heat. It's almost a bit too much for me since I'm a bit sensitive to capsaicin but I respect it very much for what it is.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 13th Jan 2013, I paid $9 or so for this. I initially balked, but my time at CBC several years back was great, and so, I had to get this.

A clear honey gold with a dense, white head with decent retention and lacing, this looks solid. The nose shows why this is named so. Peppercorns - black, green and Sichuan (especially the Sichuan) lend a bright spicy and piquant note to the nose. Now, the CBC website tells me they only used white, black, green and pink peppercorns, but the combination of the green and pink pepper with the rye really brings to mind the aromatics in mapo doufu. Honey and rye are present, along with a moderate yeast character that's not particularly saison-like, but will do. It's closer to a fruity/ estery yeast profile rather than a more traditional spicy/rustic yeast character. Quite excellent.

The palate opens with a blend of mild sweetness (honey, cantaloupe), a moderate pepper flavor and a mild heat. The peppercorn flavor is quite excellently expressed here, and pairs well with the honey sweetness that's initially present. The rye is noticeable on the mid-palate. As the beer lingers on the palate, the heat grows and lingers on into the finish, with a fruity pink peppercorn heat. The flavors in this beer are great, but the only disappointment is the palate - it's just too damn watery. Drying, spritzy and peppery on the finish, this has quite a bit of fruity and estery yeast flavors here. Very nice stuff here.

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Photo of Either_Aether
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Golden orange and a bit cloudy

Smell - Instantly notice a strong peppery haze

Taste - The saison characteristics find themselves on the backburner, while the peppercorn flavors emerge to the forefront. I would have liked these two to have been switched. One can notice a subtle hint of lemon on the tip of the tongue.

Moutfeel - Not too full, not too thin. The beer lost it's fullness with time, however.

Overall - The beer deserves some kudos for thinking outside the box, but I feel the saison style was not represented to the extent I would have liked.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I've had this a few times now, hard to forget this one. Thanks to Kevin for splitting this one.

Poured to my Unibroue tulip hazy orange with some flecks. A small white head forms to a thick ring with a few spots as the cap, bits of lace left.

Good amount of peppery spice in the scent, some lemony and farmy yeast and bread. A bit on the simple side.

Huge pepper spice in the taste, like chewing on peppercorns, lingering long after swallow. Some yeast/bread, light fruit (apple, orange), herbal-ness, but the saison part is nearly smothered with spice.

Good body, with a nice foaminess to it. Big spice builds up with every sip.

I do enjoy it, but the pepper is way too strong in my opinion - I'm good with this after a few ounces. I appreciate the spice but wish it was integrated better.

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Photo of Brad007
4.78/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Love the artwork!

Pours a beautiful golden blonde with about a 85/15 ratio. Thin head in my glass. The thought of peppercorn in a beer is enticing.

Spicy yeast meets peppercorn. Very intense aroma that draws the nose in.

It tingles the taste buds with a spicy kick enhanced by the use of peppercorn. It's literally like pouring ground black pepper into a beer. I do not mean that as a slight because it's unique.

Lingering citrus, spice and peppercorn notes. Can't forget the citrus. Oddly thirst-quenching too, which is a traditional hallmark of the style.

Highly recommended if you want something that will literally tingle the taste buds.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 3/15/2013 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a short white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains wheat, spices, Belgian yeast, bananas, caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of spice, bananas and caramel. Then some breadiness comes in from wheat, Belgian yeast and a hearty but not too heavy malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The spiciness strengthens as you continue to drink the beer. The after-taste is spicy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, it’s a good beer to drink if you’re looking for something a little different.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip. Pours a golden color with slight rim of white lacing. Looks nice but not outstanding. Smell is great...lots and lots of peppercorn mixed with saison yeast. Awesome caramel malt mixed with saison yeast and hops...and lots of pepperco. It works so well...really nice. Its a bit spicy but good. Overall its not the best saison but its exactly what it says it is...and it works so well. Nice unique brew.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

"Holy peppercorn, Batman!"

Cambridge's not-so-subtle, pepper infused, Belgian-style Saison kicks off with an exuberent golden pour. Lightly hazed, the bubbly elixir thrusts its carbonation into a fluffy, short statured head that cowers to the pepper additions and falls apart relatively soon after the pour, leaving no meaningful lace behind.

But the aromas are alive with the tingle of freshly cracked black peppercorns. As the spice tantelizes the olfactory senses, other background notes lurk in the pepper's shadows: green apple, pear, and berries give a fruity tone that make the low-lying malt a bit more apparent.

And its the taste of pepper that dominates the flavor profile. Early grain sweetness is lightly bready and dryly starched. But then the spicy pepper taste greets the front of the tongue with husky, rye-like character except it continues to intensify to near capsasin-like taste. Although soft under-ripened orchard fruit and yeast spices keep the beer wine-like, the sharpness of peppercorn makes the more finesse elements in balance go largely unnoticed.

The dry malt taste translates well to texture, but allows for the abruptness of peppercorn to spike the tongue with intense heat and prickling sensations. Finishing hot from the spice additions, the beer dries early on the palate and stays that way through the aftertaste.

In general, the Saison base beer is solid but not absolutely authentic. But the peppercorn additions through the balance way off for me. I'm sure that those who prefer hotter cuisine than I will appreciate the beer much better. I'm glad I split the large bottle with a friend as the whole contents would surely incite heartburn.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First had: on tap at CBC

Hazy golden-amber pour with a wispy white head that stuck as a ringlet and left a few dots of lacing on the glass. Aroma of toasted grains, peppery spice, with hints of earthy yeast. They weren't kidding with the peppercorn aspect of this beer, as it was front and center in the taste, earthy yeast, pale malts, and a mild fruity sensation. Body was light-medium, moderate carbonation, making for an interesting and quaffable brew overall.

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into a snifter, the brew appears a clear color of golden yellow with a big white frothy head. The sudsy white topping fades leaving fingers of patchy lace sticking to the glass. A light swirl revives.

The aroma is solid with the advertised pepper. Freshly crushed array of peppercorns but not harsh like the normal black. Taking a guess that white, pink or green were used in a more mellow to almost fruity zesty sense. A touch of saison yeast fruity quality with a bit of earthen aspect is also felt through the nose.

The taste includes a solid array of pepper and fruit. Lots of peppery quality comes off subtle from perhaps the yeast and then gets augmented by the addition of what seems like freshly cracked peppercorns. It is yeasty and spicy with a warming feel. A bit floral and a hint of green bell pepper. The warming sensation across the back of the tongue is reminescent of black pepper.

This is a medium bodied brew with an effervescent level of carbonation. Quite a pleasant warming spice of alcohol accented by pepper. This at times flirts with te heat of crushed red pepper, but not that extreme. If you have never experienced peppery flavor in a saison before, this is the one to really drive that character home. However, it might be off-putting to some. I liked it.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a brassy golden-orange color with a mild haze. The rocky white head stands at a solid three fingers and doesn't budge. Thick collars of lacing remain on the glass.

S: Incredible nose: doughy malt with a touch of chopped almonds, chalky yeast, bit of clove-like phenol, some tropical fruits (pineapple), floral/spicy hops, soft spices, potpourri, and black peppercorns.

T: Doughy malt tastes open. The Belgian yeast is chalky, vaguely spicy, and a touch fruity. Hops come through with mildly citrusy and spicy tastes of their own. Peppercorns and crushed black pepper show up on the mid-palate and build in intensity. The peppery, prickling heat reaches impressive levels. Finishes with a big peppery burn, mild floral hop tastes, and a receding chalky and fruity yeast taste.

M: Light in body. Full and fluffy in the mouth. Creamy and smooth. Great mouthfeel.

O: CBC has outdone themselves this time. This is not a gimmick. The base beer would be an excellent saison in its own right. While the pepper is the main focus of the beer, it plays off of the saison beneath quite nicely. I hope they turn this into a year-round release. It's one hell of a food beer.

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Photo of rebelthrower
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 1, bottled in February 2012.

A - Orange/golden yellow color a little bit of a haze. Big white head. Took a long time to go down. Very little to no lacing.

S - A bit of the peppercorn. And a bit herbaly and Belgian yeast.

T - A little citrus. Peppercorn comes through at the end.

M - Smooth, medium to light carbonation. Tingling in the throat from the peppercorn.

D - I really like the peppery. To me it was very drinkable.

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Photo of Bendurgin
2.54/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a pint glass. This one pours a clear golden color with a thick fluffy white head.

The aroma is full of spicy pepper. Hints of saison characteristics in the background, but the pepper dominates. The pallet is mostly spicy pepper. Again hints of yeast and some other saison characters but the pepper really takes the forefront.

The body is light with a bit to much carbonation. Overall this one is simply not very good. The pepper detracts to much from this resembling a saison.

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Photo of PEBKAC
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1 bottle from the CBC fridge & into an Ommegang chalice. Almost 8 bucks!

Clear, honey/orange body. Second pour had a fair amount of sediment despite settling in the fridge for a while. An inch of off-white soda suds fizz out before it completely settles.

Smells of dusty lemon pepper seasoning, yeast, & crackers. Some cider-ish notions as well.

Curious bittersweet fruit notes up front. Middle is toasty malt, chalky/uninspired yeast, & lettuce-y bitterness. A subtle heat lingers & grows well past the finish. Black pepper really stands out. Flavors popped better when cold then cool I found.

Tired carbonation & boring yeast kept it from being really refreshing. Price is an issue. Better then I remember it being on tap.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden/orange in color with a white head. The pepper aroma on this is huge. That’s pretty much all I smell, actually. A bit of sweetness from the bready and toffee malt. The flavor is nice. It’s a bit sweet and very peppery. And that’s pretty much it. While enjoyable, a small pour is really all that I could handle.

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Photo of maximum12
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ferillo for this amongst other lovely rye beers...this is the last survivor. Pop! Now it's not. I'll wager this is one of the odder descriptions I've seen on a label. Peppercorns, rye, saison, Belgian yeast...time to dive in. 22 oz. bomber split in two. Batch 1 bottled February 2012, props & points to Cambridge for the clear dating.

Pour is a not cloudy but not clear orange. Nose is like sniffing raw black pepper off a mirror in an '80's movie - yowza. Anybody who can smell something else is either a better man, a liar, or a canine.

Sgt. Pepper could never be sued in a court of law for false advertising. Pepper! But unlike the nose, other components do raise their hands. First is a light yeasty shot of Belgium, then a fleeting glimpse of lemony saison & wheat, before the pepper comes on & the screen goes blank. Pepper! Then pepper. More pepper. Whatever nice subtleties arrive in the first swig are gone quickly as pepper conquers the world & enslaves all. Mild heat builds after repeated sips. This should be a chore to drink, but it's not. Huh.

I wouldn't want to drink this every day, & there's no hint of rye underneath the glacier of pepper, but this ain't bad. If you're looking for pepper, seek no further. Good beer.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, bottled in February of 2012. It was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Sgt. Pepper pours a color that bounces between orange and tangerine, depending on the strength of the backlighting. Clarity is pretty good and the beer ends up crowned by almost three fingers of just off white foam. Head retention is very good, and some spotty lacing is left behind. The nose is fairly aromatic, but perfume-y, spicy peppercorns are pretty much the only thing to come through. There's a brief swirl of pale fruits at the beginning of each sip, lots of granny smith apple and just a bit of pears. From there the peppercorns come in and close out the beer. There's a little bit of heat, but also a good amount of flavor coming through. The body, while dry, is not as bone dry as you'll find in some saisons. The carbonation is fairly active, probably helping highlight the peppercorns similarly to the way it does hops. Sgt. Pepper is a good, fun twist on a saison, and another above average offering from Cambridge Brewing Company.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Reagan1984 for this oddity. Batch 1 from February 2012. Served in a tulip.

A - Quick-dissolving white foam settles to a thin ring, wisps, and minimal lace. Hazy peach flesh body.

S - Tons of peppercorns, spicy esters, herbal and zesty hops(?), and some peach and other stone fruits from the malts.

T - Taste is overwhelmed with white pepper flavor, as well as some vegetal notes, and spicy black pepper and chile heat? Maybe a touch of saison in the periphery.

M - Smooth body, with zesty carbonation, and a very dry finish. No obvious alcohol, which is a plus.

D - Too peppery, even for my tastes. Not the easiest beer to drink. Kind of interesting to try, but Jason and I barely finished our pours.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. The color is golden with orange hues. There is a small off-white layer. Lacing is non-existant.

The aroma is full of black pepper; not much else.

The flavor starts out with mild malt flavor. This is light in flavor. There is a mild typical saison yeast flavor following, which indicates some spice, but this is quickly overrun by hot, spicy black pepper.

This is light in body, with nice crisp carbonation. This is a bit one-dimensional, but it's tasty and fun to try. I always enjoy having pepper beers.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 01
Bottled February 2012

Pours a golden color with a light orange tint, smallish head that fizzles fast away, not much lacing on the glass, no cap.

Smell is quite interesting and appropriate for the name, I actually get a quick whiff of pepper at the beginning that almost makes me feel like I should sneeze.

Holy crap this beer is spicy, like spicy peppery hot, leaves a lingering burning feeling, the malt tries its best to cool down and balance things but the peppercorn overwhelms everything.

This would be a perfect beer for hot wings!

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a slightly hazy golden yellow with a thin white head that fades quickly. The nose is a super, fresh peppe with some sweetness and yeast. This beer screams peppercorn more than any pepper beer I've had (Beatrice, white magic). The aftertaste has a slightly peppery bite and it almost triggers my sinuses for a sneeze, but not quite. Very tasty beer that drinks like a spicy Saison and has potent notes of peppercorn as well.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slight hazy bright orange color. Bit of white head but nothing out of the ordinary. Fruity aroma up front. Citrusy notes mix in with just a bit of yeast aroma. Spice notes become more apparent on the palate than the aroma. Just a hint of juicy sweetness before a lingering peppercorn kick comes through. Dry medium body mouthfeel. Overall, a pretty unique tasting saison but not as much yeast character as I'd like.

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Photo of pburland23
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch no. 1. Bottled February 2012.

Picked this up while in Boston over Easter. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my CBS snifter.

Appearance: Beer pours a slightly hazed dark golden amber. Carbonation releases a thin wispy layer of slightly off white head.

Smell: The beer is brewed with five different types of pepper and they dominate the nose. The pepper is complimented nicely by the Belgian yeast. No real hops or malt smell.

Taste: Wow. What a great tasting beer. At the beginning it's all Saison...earthy, fruity and slightly tart. Then at the end, the peppercorns subtly bring warmth to the tongue. It's not overpowering but the taste of pepper is unmistakable. It's an delightfully tasty Saison.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of medium bodied. Lightly carbonated and pretty refreshing. You wouldn't think something with peppercorns would be refreshing, but it is. And at 6%, it's pretty drinkable.

Overall: An interesting take on the style. I wasn't sure what to expect from the taste but I was very pleasantly surprised. Well done, CBC.

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Photo of rinhaak
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is brewed with five different varieties of pepper, and it shows from the very beginning. There is fire in this nose: lots of pepper aroma, almost reminiscent of Szechuan pepper corns. The fire doesn't end with the smell, either. With every swallow, there is a slight burning in the back of the throat from the pepper.

This beer really goes nicely with food (I had it with Mexican), as it cuts through the spice. But if the food is too spicy, this beer won't help, as it leaves your tongue dancing!

Overall, though the pepper is lovely, it is almost too strong in that it covers up the Saison characteristics. I would have wanted a little more balance. That said, this is a mighty fine beer definitely worth trying.

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Sgt. Pepper from Cambridge Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.
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