Celia Saison | Ipswich Ale Brewery

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Celia SaisonCelia Saison

Brewed by:
Ipswich Ale Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Gluten-free Saison-style beer made with sorghum and brewed with orange peel.

Previously brewed by The Alchemist, Ipswich now owns the brand and production.

Added by grub on 06-14-2010

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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 245
Photo of smcolw
2.56/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Decent starting head. Some spots on the glass. Cloudy gold color.

White pepper and plastic smells. Reminds me of Creepy Crawlers.

Medicinal and plasticy taste--a clear miss. Behind this are the typical Saison flavor of astringent malt and hop bitterness. Good, lasting aftertaste of bitterness from the hop finish. Respectable body with a mildly elevated level of carbonation. Overall, I can't get over the plastic.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Clear pale amber body with a frothy finger of white head that settles into a nice cap and leaves some light lace. Pretty.

S: Hugely phenolic, dry, citrusy Saison yeast - definitely reminds me of the Wyeast French Saison strain that I've used for homebrew in the past. Intense and enjoyable.

T: Spicy, medicinal, dry yeastiness dominates, with a bit of mildly sweet sorghum underneath. A little muddled, but really great for being gluten free.

M: A little thin, moderately carbonated. All right.

O: By far the best gluten free beer I've ever had, but that's really not saying a whole lot. It's not a Saison that I'll be seeking out again.

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Photo of RyanLigeia
2.8/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy golden color. Lowish level of visible carbonation. Around a finger of head. I was expecting more head because after i popped the cap off foam started to slowly rise out of the bottle. Looks decent.

As far as the smell goes, Im getting belgian yeast before anything. Or at least some sort of belgian aspect. A slight sour smell, not sure if that was intentional. A hint of caramel maltyness. Lemon/orange citrus scents, faint grassy hops, slight peppery spice.

Tastes lemony, bitter orange peel, peppery,yeasty. Acidic. Apparent alcohol. Way more sour than I would have liked.

Mouthfeel is interesting. It has a strange "coating" characteristic. Sort of feels like it leaves an oily film behind. I woudnt mind that at all if it didnt leave the sourness along with it. Moderate carbonation. Slight grapefruit-like bitterness.

Overall this beer is...interesting. I haven't tried too many other gluten free beers, nm gluten free saisons, so its hard to judge without much to compare it to. I wasn't too impressed. Maybe not the best choice for my first beer by The Alchemist. Its definitely an interesting style to try and pull off though, so I'll be giving them another shot with an open mind.

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Photo of metter98
3.2/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high off white head that gradually died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of orange peel in the nose.
T: The taste has a mixture of sorghum and orange peels along with some hints of medicinal flavors and faint bits of spices.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is no dryness.
O: This beer has some off flavors but at least the orange peels help to mask some of them.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.33/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Color was a slightly hazy golden with a white 1 finger head. A few minutes in the head was down to a thin layer that clung a bit to the sides. Visible yeast at the bottom of the bottle. Aroma was heavy on the yeast, and was slightly sweet floral. Flavor was very upfront. A bit of tangy floral with a tad of sour in the back. Over time the sour seemed to linger in the mouth. Coated reasonably well, perhaps too well from the sour that was left lingering. A bit of strange feeling in the mouth. Overall a bit off from the sour, but not bad.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.33/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lightly hazy medium golden yellow in color with some orange highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall fizzy white head that quickly reduces to a very small thin patch, a very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of coriander, orange peel, sugary sweetness, alcohol, and some very light grassy hops.

T: Upfront there is a fairly strong flavor of peppery spices followed by the taste of coriander and orange peel, giving it a moderate amount of bitterness. Slightly medicinal.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Light to moderate amounts of chalky dryness in the finish.

O: Definitely one of the best gluten-free beers that I have tried but unfortunately as a saison fan I was a little disappointed in this one.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.78/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First had: bottle from the Alchemist

Poured into a Heady Topper stemless snifter, a darker amber color, fairly hazy, with a rocky off-white head that retained well and left some lacing on the glass. Bready malts and lots of funk in the nose, lesser notes of citrus rind and floral hops. Taste of funky wet hay, earth, cardboard, cobwebs, hints of old orange peel, pith and all, imparting a lasting bitterness. Stale and astringent, and not very good overall. Body was about medium, carbonation moderate. Seemed like a beer past its prime, though I got it straight from the brewery and it was in my fridge for just a couple weeks, so...I don't know. Not recommended.

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Photo of vfgccp
2.47/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Poor head with low retention and lace. Hazy orange gold body.

S - Lightly floral, honey, Smarties candy, tangerine, honeydew melon, just the faintest hint of sour.

T - Oh man, something is reeeally off on the back end of this. Rancid bacteria just absolutely wipes out everything else in the profile.

M - Medium body. Really low carbonation for the style.

O - Given the quality of the brewer I'd be willing to give this another shot in the future, but man... this bottle was really, really off.

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Photo of Amalak
3.75/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A. Bronze color, completely opaque, with a big bubbly white head, and some lacing.

S. Very rich wheat scent...for a gluten free beer. Sweet.

T. Very nice and smooth, with a good lemony and wheat tingle. Some passion fruit taste to it.

M. It's carbonated, with a sourish aftertaste.

O. Not too bold or tart.Flavorful and refreshing. Surprisingly good for a gluten free beer. In a one off it is good.

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Photo of davey101
3.73/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'll preface this by saying that I have tried quite a few gluten free beers on the market. Green's, Bards, Red Bridge, New Planet, T'weason'ale, New Grist, Daura, etc. This is the best one I have tried hands down. As a gluten free beer its excellent. As a saison...well....its average.

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Contract brewed in Ipswich, MA. Fancy! The label is lacking the words "Gluten Free" as well as the required nutritional facts.

A - Hazy burnt orange body with a very thin edging of bone-white foam. Lacing is on the thin side. The head is almost non-existent, but the beer itself looks amazing.

S - An odd, but somewhat pleasant aroma that is also hard to describe. It smells almost wheaty, but there obviously isn't any grain in here. Its somewhat grassy and sweet, almost syrupy. Finishes lightly spicy with a touch of dried orange peel.

T - Very neutral. The strong sorghum spice that I normally associate with gluten free beers is missing. Instead its a boring take on a saison. Sweet grass, light coriander, black pepper and orange peel. Finish is cereal like. Its tasty though. Mouth feel is probably a bit on the thin side but its very well carbonated. Drinkability is high.

O - Well it certainly can't compete with a beer like Fantome, but when compared against other gluten free beers its a clear winner. The sorghum is barely present and it has a nice and refreshing flavor with some light spice and sweetness. Very well made beer.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Celia opens with a lovely Saison aroma, full of musty fruits, breads, and spices. Especially noticeable are the pineapple, banana, and cherry fruit esters, backed by lighter touches of orange and peach, and the floury rye bread toast crust, which adds a layer of pepper and earthy dough. There is, however, still a strong remnant of the sorghum used to make gluten-free beers, adding an acrid-sweet burnt sugar and molasses overtone to everything, which doesn’t mingle very well with the sweet esters and lovely breads, and in fact comes across smelling slightly like bicycle inner tube. As a whole, the Saison aromas in here are lovely, and perfect for the style but the sorghum doesn’t quite mix, providing a strange and slightly off-putting counter.

On the tongue, the beer presents much the same problem. The Saison aromas are full and lovely, with musty pineapple, cherry, and banana notes mixing with floury bread dough, and bits of sour apple cider floating through everything and mingling with pink grapefruit and touches of pine resin. But again, the sorghum adds an acrid-sweet burnt sugar and molasses layer that makes it seem like the mash was somehow overcooked, much the way slightly-burnt garlic still tastes like garlic, but also like charcoal and ash. The effect does slightly meld with the sour and musty Saison notes, but not completely, and the result is strange. The aftertaste is a continuation of these main notes, with slightly less emphasis on the sorghum, and lingers for a good while on the tongue. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, and recognizing that this is a problem I have with all sorghum-based beers, I found the sorghum flavors simply too overwhelming, and not able to blend well with the other textures. Having said that, Celia does qualify as one of the more flavorful and enjoyable of the gluten-free beers I’ve had, and I can see why it won a gold medal in its category. But for someone who doesn’t regularly encounter sorghum flavors in beer, the result is still strange and overly reminiscent of burnt sugar.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
1.45/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Sorry but this was horrid, and it's not that I've never had a gluten free beer before either. Poured a half inch off-white soap suds head which faded fast. The body is a hazy apple cider color with no effervescence left in it. It smells weird, hard to describe, yet I do smell the citrus and spice. The taste is heavy on the spice, which I guess I understand considering without the spice it's a weird sour unpleasant taste, but really this comes across kind of like one of those overspiced pumpkin beers (without the pumpkin of course). Long finish but not of a taste I wanted to stick around. 90% of this bottle got poured down the drain. I guess I should just feel lucky I don't have celiac disease. But then again I've had gluten free beers I did think were OK.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into my New Belgium globe. Pours an orangey haze with lots of bubbley head. Belgian dry yeast aromas, but very veg like...its unique but weird and not in a good way. Taste is very dry and vegteble like..I taste tomato, herbs, some hops, but mostly veg...its the V8 of beer for me. Its way overly carbonated, champagne like with no real body. Overall, its probably one of the worst saisons I ever had, but I guess its unique and good to expand on the gluten free category...just not sure why they chose to go from Heady to this....

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Photo of Sammy
3.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Its missing some body, being gluten free, still drinkable. Spicy Vegetable, herbal tea like tulsi with red mango, something I would be Ok with health food, buckwheat and chia seeds. Pronounced orange peel is a nice touch.Dry finish, carbonation is above average. I would be OK cooking with this or using in place of...balsamic vinegar? Saison yeast in aftertaste. Medium yellow, fairly clear, a foamer with a touch of lace.

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

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - hazed brassy color with a white head that just thinned to a ring.

S - sweet floral aroma with a citrus background.

T - sweet clementine upfront with a little too much citrus rind bitterness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with fizzy carbonation.

O - It's ok but I'm glad I can tolerate gluten!

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Photo of NardiByNature
1.92/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Unfamiliar with gluten-free brew.

A: Hazy orangey body, with a white head that sticks around.

S: At first the typical powdery phenolic/sweet saison smell, but there's a really odd smell here: raw and bitter unlike anything i've smelled in a beer - raw vegetable?

T: Vegetables: bitter and dry and tastes like i bit into a raw gourd.

M: Drying with a lingering bitter aftertaste.

O: Pass.

If this represents beer sans gluten, I'll pass on the lot. I can respect the emergence of gluten free, though, because I'm sure plenty out there appreciate it.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.17/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light copper body beneath he vanilla colored head packed loosely with foamy bubbles of carbonation which patiently froth away to faint traces of lacing.

Pleasant aromas of pepper, coriander and fruity zest float from the glass.

The flavor also offers hints of pepper but is more focused on yeast and lightly tart fruit like green apples in the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium in body with generous carbonation and Drying champagne like finish.

Certainly not a mirror of some of the style staples like Hennepin but certainly an excellent example and the shift towards a drying tart finish is nice.

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Photo of Gmann
3.62/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dirty golden straw color with an airy puffy white head. Definitely a couple of shades darker than a traditional saison.

The aroma is floral and sugary sweet. Big clove and candi sugar presence with some flower and bubblegum notes. Some white pepper and light grass/hay. Its a nice aroma a bit aggressive for the style.

The taste is not as bold and more to the style. The malt is a little dirty but has a dry pils character. The hops are subtle and grassy. The yeast provides some floral notes and hay, not much clove or bubblegum. Light orange peel provides a nice fruity note. I am glad they didn't overdo the orange. It has a dry and lightly bitter finish which hits the style points.

The feel is light and dry. Good balance between sweet and bitter.

A very respectable saison and props for it being gluten free. No off flavors, perhaps a tad bitter with the orange peel and hops.

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Photo of harrymel
1.64/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Gluten Free, made with sorghum. I'm excited for this given the advance of some sorghum beers lately (Widmer really did it right IMO)
Bottled: unk

Muddled apricot color with a fine light cream sheet of foam. Nice cloudy lace. Smells of flowers, coriander, clay, udder hand lotion, a hint of butter and some orange peel. The yeast is pretty intense in the nose. Flavor is heavily yeasty and has an almost mushy consistency for me, hard for me to get past the yeast here. Some medicinal character and black olive juice flavors. Boom, just realized why I dislike this beer - the yeast reminds me of Unibroue - nasty. Full thickness and slippery with a longer than desired finish for me. I am thankful to have had this, I am thankful to never likely have this again.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.15/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. This pours a slightly dark golden color with a thin cap of white head that fades to nothing relatively quick.

Lots of sweet orange aromas up front with a little bit of bubblegum in the background. This smells sweet. A bit of a musty flavor with some candied orange in the finish. A bit of a bitter hop finish lingers.

The body is medium and somewhat sticks to the pallet. Soft carbonation. Overall this isn't bad. That being said I'm glad I can have gluten in my diet. However, for those who can't this is a nice option.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

an orange/amber pour, light in color but opaque. 2 fingers of white head dissipated quickly, great retention. smells of oranges, very citrusy, floral, black pepper, bready yeast. a very fresh smelling saison.

the taste is a spicy bitterness up front, followed up by the taste of apples, then oranges, then back to being bitter. spicy breadyness throughout, thanks to the yeast. and a funky mold taste that leaves an earthy after taste. not too impressed.. it's pretty good, but i've heard SO much about heady topper, that i had way higher expectations about this.

medium body, medium carbonation, slight creaminess.

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Photo of cosmicevan
2.55/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked this one up locally...just couldn't resist checking out something from the alchemist. enjoyed from my HF tulipy wine glass.

a - brew poured a murky orange with a foamy head and visible carbonation. the head fizzled away quick, but left a thin skin of bubbles.

s - sweet coriander and orange peel. some grassiness and a bit of bubble gum.

t - at first a burst of coriander, orange peel and bubblegum sweetness which is almost immediately overtaken by some weird off spiciness. each successive sip boasts more of this almost moldy flavor. not really digging it.

m - prickly but leaves an off aftertaste. the orange peel is there, but the forefront of the beer is just like an odd pepper dominant thing that i don't love.

o - overall, i figured anything alchemist is a safe bet. i have a few friends who are gluten free and as a beer geek i feel it is my responsibility to help show them that you can still have cool beer even if you are gluten free. as such, i've had a few gluten free beers and it is cool to see folks experimenting with various styles for gluten free beers, but all i can say is that i'm glad i'm not restricted to these types of beers as some friends of mine are. everyone's palate is different so i might pass one of these along to my gluten free friends, but this is not one for me.

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Photo of dmgnyc
2.73/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I figured if anyone could make a palatable gluten-free beer it'd be The Alchemist. Given the constraints, this is a pretty good beer, but I still wouldn't ever choose it to the exclusion of those with a traditional malt bill.

Cloudy orange beer with minimal head and lacing, nose of sour orange. And bitter orange peel is the overriding flavor here. Finishes more than a little bitter and metallic...the orange peel makes its presence felt a bit too much.

All that said, actually improves as it warms, and the 6.5 abv provides a nice little buzz without being too present. Still, probably a one and done for me, unless I was drinking it out of necessity.

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Photo of brystmar
3.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of blatantdream. A gluten free saison? Hmmmm.

Looks like apple juice: no head, no ring up top, nothing. C'mon guys, this is unacceptable. Yeast, slightly sweet/wheaty nose. Disappointing.

Taste is actually decent given the gluten-free constraint. Kinda musty, kinda sweet, not particularly good. Bitter, spinach-y aftertaste. Rounding up because of the constraint.

Not awful, not good. Wish John's wife could somehow overcome her gluten intolerance so they could get back to making good beer.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.52/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Eric for this one. 12oz. bottle into a Duvel artist tulip.

Pours a 1 finger foamy white head with moderate retention. Beer is semi-cloudy dull orange. Lacing is spotty and sparse with little cling. Slightly below average for the style.

Nose is coriander, citrus peel, some soapiness, mild sweetness, and a sprinkling of other spices. Decent.

Opens medicinal. Some spiciness upfront but big ethanol notes towards the middle with only a hint of citrus to smooth things out at the back. Spicy finish with a mild hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Not very good.

Light bodied with high carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth but goes down abrasive and boozy and slightly dry. Aftertaste is dry and lingering. Lacking the quenching, refreshing body I want from the style.

For a brewery that put out Heretic, Luscious, and Heady Topper, I'm sorely disappointed by this one. This is my first gluten-free beer and likely my last if this is what they taste like. A good effort, but this beer isn't a good representation of the brewery.

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Celia Saison from Ipswich Ale Brewery
3.25 out of 5 based on 245 ratings.
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