Sgt. Pepper | Cambridge Brewing Company

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very good
91 Reviews
Sgt. PepperSgt. Pepper

Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

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

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Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 343
Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another brewery that contracts out to Ipswich, MA’s Mercury Brewing Company – these guys must be good. Cheers!

Bottled more than eight months before the date of this tasting: 01/31/2013.

A: Golden-amber, fizzy, light haze. Head of soft white fizz with short but lasting retention.

S: A brisk, spicy nose with massive amounts of fresh-ground black pepper. Dry, floral yeast scents compliment with notes of clove tea, lemon juice, and a tart, grapefruit-rind funk. Powerful, intriguing.

T: Stings with a black pepper kick to start and a long-lasting habanero heat that you can feel going all the way down. Tastes of light vanilla, ginger, coriander, and grass are mixed in by the yeasts; malt flavors, on the other hand, provide a subtle backdrop of biscuit dough that thickens the palate. The aftertaste is fruity, mild, and slightly sweet, like peach pulp, with lingering chili pepper heat and a note of sesame.

M: Soft, flat texture, only mildly carbonated when compared to your standard farmhouse ale. Thin for an ale with such an upfront flavor profile.

O: Sgt. Pepper has a solid focus on spice and heat, and if it were only a bit less watery, it would be a miracle of a beer. As it stands, it’s still a wonderful interpretation of all that the peppercorn world has to offer to beer drinkers – who knew a pepper bomb could be so pleasing?

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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 HopHead84
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed on tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad on 11/1/2009 in a 10oz glass. The beer is transparent gold with no head (ugly bar pour).

This isn't too surprising, but the nose has a lot of peppercorn. I detect white pepper, lemon, and orange. It's phenolic with grassy notes. It's a nice balance of spicy peppercorn and fruity esters.

The taste is very spicy, with peppercorn and white pepper. The white pepper attacks from the back of my tongue and up into my nasal cavity. Citrus flavors are of lemon and subtle orange. The finish is very spicy with grassy notes and lingering citrus. An interesting take on the style.

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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 hsway
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap in to a 12 oz. or so tulip glass.

A: Nice reddish color with a lingering off-white head and some lacing. Quite pretty, actually, but I'm a sucker for tulip glasses.

S/T: Very, very peppery. I couldn't quite identify the taste at first, but I knew it was spicy. Then I read the name and description and put two and two together. I really liked this aspect of the beer - quite unusual. Nice Belgian yeasty backbone.

D: One was enough, thanks.

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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 GratefulBeerGuy
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

you gotta love the Dr.Frankenstein aspect to CBC's brewing!! don't stop experimenting guys!!!

This one pure amber with golden hues and a thin, lacy white head that is pretty sticky.

The aroma is mostly, well Peppercorns! and a shit load of them! spicey and zesty yeastieness with very subtle fruits.

This is a light and crispy brew with a zippy, peppercorn flavor, it's pretty intense but not annoying. Peppery yeast and peppercorns dominate, but it's not at all tough to finish even though the heat seems a bit high along the peppery effect.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from batch 1.

Hazy copper with a short-lived head of white. A mostly placid surface with a thread of foam around the edges.

Apples, honey, fruit loops, cloves and a hint of mango in the nose.

Light bodied with a crispish mouthfeel.

Honey-drizzeled biscuity malt with pepper burn on the palate. Earthy spice and pepper heat follow through.

Finishes with a lingering pepper burn and a trace of crackery malt.

The bottled version is way more peppery and hot than I remember the draught version being. The bottled version is also suffering from low carbonation for the style.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from a bomber into a perfect pint glass. 10/18

Pours hazy orange, lighter on bottom. Very light foaming. Fruity and peppery nose. Funky malty taste. Light peppery finish, and really there in the aftertaste. Buzz stays in the mouth.

Pretty good.Perfect for lovely Rita, meter maid. (Where would I be without you?)

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Photo of jneiswender
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a liter bottle into a tulip glass. Served cool.

Pours a copper body and a white head that is thick at first but then quickly goes down.

Smell is faint belgian smelling yeast and very pronounced black pepper flavor.

Hops are there and so is grain but the main flavor is the peppercorns. You know what you are drinking here.

Light and okay carbonation.

I really like this beer. If you say pepper on the label, I want to taste pepper. That happens here. However, farmhouse ales and saisons are beautiful beers to look at . The body is very nice on this but the head sucks. Please cork these beers.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A- Hazy straw yellow-orange body with a fair one finger white head. Not much retention or lacing.

S- Lots of peppercorn, some pale malt and yeast spices. Heavy on the peppercorns.

F- Peppercorns, bread, earthy hops, yeast. Pretty strong on the peppercorns, to the slight detriment of the other components of the beer.

M- Medium body, a bit less carbonated than other saisons. Very easy to drink though a bit less refreshing than I'd like. Strong peppery finish.

O- Peppercorns made for a very interesting addition to a solid saison base and seemed to complement it well enough. Definitely worth drinking on a warmer day.

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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 lordofthewiens
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

In a snifter the beer was copper colored. It had a scant head and scant lace.

A nice peppery aroma. Some spice. Fruity.

The taste agreed with the aroma. Pretty peppery. Some cinnamon. A little bit of apple.

This beer had a nice kick to it. A perfect beer for a hot summer day.

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Photo of BeerMaverick
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Feb. 2012. Poured from a bomber into a wine glass. Paired with chicken caesar salad.

A - Copper/bronze color with no sediment, which is surprising for a farmhouse ale. About a quarter-inch of head that fades fast leaving little/no lace on the wine glass. Most saisons tend to have a frothy head.

S - The Belgian yeast is prevalent as is the peppercorn, which is promised in the name and description on the bottle. Floral notes are there along with some faint rye malt aromas.

T - The Belgian yeast is still there, but it is almost overwhelmed by the peppercorn, which I suppose should be expected with a name like Sgt. Pepper. The floral character is very faint here and there is no hop presence (any bitterness is completely hidden by the spicy pepper taste). This pairs extremely well with the peppery caesar dressing.

M - All spiciness in the aftertaste for this relatively light-bodied beer. Not too carbonated for a saison.

O - A very drinkable and distinct saison that I would definitely buy again (especially for the price). As I mentioned before, it pairs well with caesar salad and I can imagine that it would go together with any other light summer meal. The peppercorn compliments the Belgian yeast and spices as well.

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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 ksimons
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Somewhat hazy golden color. Very spicy peppery aroma which carries over to the taste with some spices and saison yeast in the finish. Medium body. I normally like spicy beers but this is almost overwhelming.

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Photo of DIM
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a: Slightly ruddy golden, pours with a fluffy, sticky head.

s: Prickly Belgian yeast, light apricot and pear, earthy grains, and noticeable pepper.

t: Nice dry saison up front with spicy rye and a hint of fruit. Big, lingering pepper bite, a bit too much for me.

m: Light and airy.

o: I've never tasted a pepperier saison. Good stuff but 22oz was kind of a chore.

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Photo of Tilly
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

P: Hazy amber, fine tan one finger had that dissipates fairly fast but leaves great lacing.
A: Not much special here. Lemon, malt and yeast.
T: Real lemon lime first, fresh bread, malts, strong Caribbean spice.
M: Spice on the tongue, well rounded, nicely carbonated, slight bitterness. Looking lasting pepper corn.
O: I actually like this Farmhouse Ale, it has some interesting tastes and mouth feels that the modern asked seem to becoming far too predictable! Well done CBC.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip- pours a hazy orange/auburn color with very little head, no retention, and no lacing.

Smell is surprisingly contained- no big whiffs of pepper, just a little pale malt (maybe a touch of rye) and some belgian yeast.

Taste is very interesting- starts out as an uninteresting saison, almost like a lager in how light the taste is. Pale malt, belgian yeast, blah blah. However, the AFTERTASTE is all pepper. It stays with you for a LONG time.

Mouthfeel is standard- light body, moderate carbonation. Interesting brew- give it a try. I won't get it again but I'm glad I did this time.

Update: Paired with lamb vindaloo (trader joes) and noticed a lemony taste that I hadn't before. Doesn't quite stand up to spicier food however..

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

@ Atwoods, Somerville MA

Arrived amber colored with a tight, thin head in a 12oz princess glass. I hate hipster Cambridge/Somerville small pours. Aroma is an abrasive melange of spices, I'm guessing several different peppercorns and rye is distinctive. Tastes even pepper-ier than it smells. Between the pepper and rye spice and dry finish this is a in your face saison. I can get behind that. I was worried about the caramel malts due to the color of this beer but it's not as caramel/bready as it looks. I consulted the Cambridge website and sure enough it's caravienne. Far too aggressive to have more than one.

I like that Cambridge wasn't afraid to push the spice as far as they did.

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Photo of brentk56
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color; the head is strong and leaves plenty of streaky lace

Smell: Biscuity and spicy, with rotting stone fruit and clove tones

Taste: Biscuity malt flavors with apple and rotting stone fruit elements building; after the swallow, the peppercorn and clove flavors hit the taste buds and continue to build, with the heat of pink peppercorns starting to dominate the finish; the malt is also pronounced in the tail end as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; heat on the tongue

Overall: While I didn't mind the heat, I was not crazy about the phenols here; the rotting fruit was somewhat unpleasant

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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 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 cjgiant
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: translucent yellow with orange hue, carbonation evident, fueling a thin sustaining head.
S: subdued yeasty and citrus, nothing overpowering to me, some mild cooking-like spices can be picked out (maybe thyme or rosemary)
T/M: up front spiciness (but I do not consider this first taste peppery). Minor tartness and mellow finish, no dry pull. The pepper "sneaks up on you". I don't notice it much in any sip, but after a few pulls, my tongue is tingling from it. It's an interesting sensation. I've had some chili beers before and would say this is a different sensation, but similar.
O: interesting part noted above, I would like to try this beer again. I think it would be an interesting beer to pair with food, as it isn't overly distinctive in itself (other than the interesting build up mentioned, which is just a small part of the beer.

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Photo of Billolick
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber, bottled in 4-13

Pours hazed medium amber, with a slight golden hue. Minor head quickly departing, and leaves just a hint of a film, no collar and nearly no lace...ehh look to this one fo sure...

Just a hint of yeast and pepper on the nose.

Other have mentioned how this is sort of a one note brew...and the note is pepper...lots of pepper..I like pepper in my saisons, but more is needed here.

Carbonation on the low side

Not my favorite saison. Barely worth a try as there are a lot of more interesting and worthy saisons out there...go try some

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Sgt. Pepper from Cambridge Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 343 ratings.
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