Jack D'Or | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

642 Reviews
Jack D'OrJack D'Or

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
“Jack D’Or” is a simple table beer, or “Saison Americain” as we’re referring to it. We are not trying to coin a beer style – we’re just having fun. The Jack D’Or (pronounced “Jack Door”), is at the very center of Pretty Things and nearly three years on we’re still pleased as punch that he joined us!

As you know, PRETTY THINGS doesn’t brew “styles” per se. Close, but we re-imagine everything and leave the style numbers in books on the shelves where they belong. What that means is that while other people might be able to put our beers into a category, we have a hard time with it! Our beers are first and foremost creative beasts, not “types” of beer. Jack D’Or is the kind of beer Martha and Dann like to drink before, after and during a great meal. Heck, we’ll drink this sort of beer any time.

On Dann & Martha’s honeymoon in France and Belgium they stashed quite a few cases of Wallonian beer into their trunk. Every night after setting up their tent they’d cook lardons and lentils on a camp stove and enjoy fresh “saison” under the stars.

Inspired by some of our favorites like Saison DuPont, but also DeRanke’s XX Bitter, De Dolle’s Arabier, and local IPAs like Smuttynose, the Jack D’Or starts off with North American Pils, Vienna, Wheat and Malted Oats (among others) and is hopped with a combination of four hops, finishing with Palisade and Nugget. The bitterness is the real backbone of the Jack D’Or. It’s a proper “plant-like” bitterness with all of its jagged edges, beginning deep in the soil, then to the stem of this beer and up into to the very tippity heights. Fermentation-wise we use a blend of four yeast strains to give Jack D’Or its refreshingly dry character. Finally, despite all of the spicy flavours in this beer it contains no actual spices – only malt, oats, rye, sugar, hops and yeast. One more time: there are no spices or citrus in Jack D’Or. Wheat lends acidity at Jack’s edges, then rye and our blended yeast character come into play for a bit of polyphony, displeasing the notion of “balance” and creating the fire in the belly of Jack D’Or!

The creature on the label is Jack D’Or himself, conceived and drawn by Dann. Far away in a small clearing in the woods of New England, ankle deep in the mash tun, he contemplates and conjures himself into a batch of beer. For those of you who are new to this, Jack is a grain of malted barley, but more than that: he is the unifying force behind all of the Pretty Things. Jack D’Or Must Die!

57 IBU

Added by Paquette on 12-01-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 642 | Ratings: 1,641
Photo of negroobserver
2.16/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Jack D'or - Bottled Oct 2009 - Batch Nine

C: Nice Golden Yellow/Orange color. Pours with a very large head.

S: Malts. Citrus. Spices.

T: Very sour. I suspect that this batch has gone terribly bad. The head is rising out of the bottle and I haven't even poured it yet.

M: Over carbonated. Good texture.

D: I hope this is not representative of the type of stuff that Pretty Things has to offer. I've had a number of their beers on tap and they've been nothing like this. Disappointing because I was expecting a lot more from PT than this, although this experience won't deter me from trying more of their beer.


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Photo of everythingiszen
2.25/5  rDev -43.9%

Smells and tastes more like a heffeweisen than a saison, sweet and too fruity for my tastes. Cloudy and orange like one too. More citrus than anything else, and I prefer more earthy and peppery notes in my saisons.

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Photo of mverity
2.37/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a wineglass like glass. Yellow in color with medium amount of white bubbly head. Head receded fairly quickly with very little lacing. Smell was odd. Lemon, white wine and some vinegar. I began to think 'infection'. Taste was like lemon juice and nail polish. I'd heard from several people that nail polish would be very apparent when you get it, and sure enough, it was. First infected beer that I didn't realize was infected before I opened it. I have seen bacteria floating on the top of a beer before and just didn't open it. This was unfortunate. This was an extra from a trade, so it's not like I spent money on it; but I'd heard good things about this beer and still am for the next time I stumble upon one.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.38/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A-? This beer is a yeast infection in your mouth. Bleh.

First off, super-uber bonus points for great bottle art. There appears to be a mustachio'ed onion in a tub of water...in a forest...with a "yes" pin. Right on. Freshness dating includes batch number (mine was batch #2).

Clear, orangey-yellow with a large white head and good retention. It's an opaque, creamsicle looking thing with the yeast in.

Lemon yeast with a Sour Patch kids sugaryness. Mild herbal hop stank.

Gadzooks, this is dry. I can feel it sucking the moisture out of my body. It's like a yeast infection in a bottle. Egads.

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Photo of maximum12
2.38/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to the Cakanator for sending me this bomber is a very nice early summer trade. Buried this one in the yard for a while before getting out the spade this evening to unearth it.

Opaque yellow, dead-looking. Nose is dominated by lemon.

Taste is very lemony, with a strong backdraft of farmish funk at the end. Not in a terribly good way. The funk is DeathValleydry, making me pucker up rather unpleasantly. Some people seem to like horse blanket in their beer - I don't. The spices & lemon fight with the funk, but they don't have much chance. The funk strengthens as the beer warms. Um, not a recommendation. Drink it cold.

If this is a true rep of the style, it's amazing the saison didn't die centuries ago. I've had much better saisons, this one is OK, bordering on actively unpleasant.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
2.61/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottled Nov 2009, batch 10. Pours a hazy golden blonde with clear lacing. Small, white head. Aroma dominated by bubble gum, some sweet malt, mild hops and kumquat? Taste is dominated by vinegar like, sour and maybe unripe honeydew. Really not very pleasing. I recognize an American interpretation of a saison should have a bit of funk but I doubt this is the taste they were going for. Should this beer have fallen apart in 1.5 years? Even at only 6.4% abv, this should have held up. I just want to move on and get this taste out of my mouth. A friend shared this with me, it had a $1.49 sticker on it, maybe it was marked down because of its age?

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Photo of shoky01
2.73/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz poured into stemless red wine glass.

A: Tiny bit of white head. Good lacing and carbonation. Very yellow and cloudy. Got a lot of yeast in the bottom.

S: Fruity sourness.

T: Very light. Sour bitterness. Yeah sour. And hoppy.

MF: Chalky

OA: Don't dig it, not sure if its supposed to be this way or if drink a hot chocolate prior to this had an affect.

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Photo of Gperson
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%

on tap in North Adams. Probably unfair to rate a drinkable, mild beer so low; but I want some kind of funky character to my saison and this didn't get my attention: just went well with a burger.

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Photo of TWStandley
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%

Poured into a standard pint glass- probably not the best glass but all that I had on hand.

Appeared a hazy gold/yellow color with a light, bubbly, bright white head - about an inch tall.

Smell was quite interesting - definetely some "off" smells at first - which is to be expected - followed up with some nice farm/fruit smells - reminded me of walking into a barn during apple-season.

Taste was quite complex - definetely fruity up front, with some cinnamon/spicy undertones. Reminded me a bit of a witbier mixed with a tripel mixed with some funky flavors.

Mouthfeel was spot on. Pretty lively.

Overall this was a quality brew. Definetely was all over the place in terms of smell and taste - which is what I look for in a Saison. Definetely would like to try this on tap.

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Photo of bobhits
2.82/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange yellow color, a bit of haze but not what one expects from a belgian style beer focused on the yeast. A nice head formed but a minute later there's no lacing or head remaining. Held to the light the color goes nearly completely yellow with just enough density that I can't see through it. Again lighter in color than expected.

Not much going on here. A bit of spice and a slight sweet/fruit flavor from the yeast.

Pretty things claims there's no spice or sugar added. It isn't a sweet beer so no surprise there. The beer however has a nice spicy finish from the yeast and I have to give them credit for using 4 yeasts to creating this much complex flavor. Dry flavored beer with a bit of fruity hops and spices from yeast. I sadly can't really pull out any unique flavors, sure pears and herbs.

This is a surprisingly light bodied beer. The lower abv and no added sugar leaves a nice dry finish, but despite all this the beer's finish is long and lingering. Drinks like a high abv beer but still the dry body seems to work well for me.

I like the use of a blend of yeasts. I like that this isn't sweet. I like how there's a spice flavor without the use of spice. All that said this isn't just not my idea of a beer, but it frankly isn't all that good. I like the idea, but the end result is an interesting but not enjoyable beer. I think people who like this style of beer well be rather happy with it, but if this isn't a style you really seek out this is an easy beer to pass on.

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Photo of jman892
2.83/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a hazy, straw color, with a long lasting foamy white head. Good lacing

S - Smells of apple cider with citrus mixed in, and some spiciness, cloves.

T - Spices are right up front and center on this, there is some lemon and funk also contributing. The spices are a bit overwhelming here, and a bit of banana creeps in.

M - Mild carbonation, very dry finish

O - Glad I tried this one, but probably wont pick this up again.

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Photo of bkrueger
2.86/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a Delirium Tremens tulip. Bottled July 2011.

The artwork on this bottle and the artisanal nature of this beer is apparent. You're not going to find this in the supermarket very often I'd imagine. I specifically picked this out as a new saison to try to see how it stacks up against the regular rotation.

Appearance - This pours a straw gold transparent color with a finger plus of white head that quickly dissipates to leave large bubbles clinging to the walls and edges of the glass. It is much cleaner than I was expecting, however all of the yeast is still at the bottom of the bottle.

Smell - Crisp green freshly cut grass, lemon and other citrus fruits, esters, floral notes with white spice and aromatics of dry crispness. Not a lot of funky action going on at all in the nose.

Taste - The first taste of golden crispness and flavor is reminiscent of a Duvel, but quickly changes to a very earthy and grassy taste as it starts to go down. An almost metallic taste hits with bitterness and bite in the back of the throat. Lots of carbonation. Lots of metal and mineral like tastes that don't mesh with the desired saison taste I was hoping for. Tart green under ripe apples also are present.

Mouthfeel - The feel is crisp, carbonated, light bodied, grassy, and very metallic. Can't say it is going down like I was hoping. As it warms it adds some more texture and the beer offers a little creaminess of flavors in the whole mouth, almost chalky.

Overall - With saisons and wild ales as my beverages of choice I was excited to try this, yet came away a little disappointed. I'll let the other bottle I picked up age a while and see if the metallic tastes were a fluke. It does get better after the first half is finished but doesn't excite the palate like I'm more accustomed to.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.88/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber courtesy of jsilva bottled September 2010, consumed July 2011. A fairly aggressive pour into a Duvel tulip coaxes a modest white head atop the hazy gold body. A skim of foam sticks around, but little lacing is left behind.

There seems to be a certain woodsy quality in the nose, joining (blunting?) muted presences of yeast and spices. A touch of funk. Tastes more lively, although the thickish body seems to bog things down a bit. The hop bitterness seems to cut through the body more effectively than the spices (cloves, allspice, white pepper) or tanginess (sweetened lemon, yeast, a vague sour presence). Modest funkiness develops as it warms. I’d love to see some more of the earthy and spicy notes coaxed out of this. Compared to upper-tier saisons, Jack D’Or is somewhat lacking in ‘oomph’, but pretty tasty and worth a try.

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
2.88/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch 20 - Nov. 2010

22 -> pint

A: light amber, film-width head that remains, constant bottle conditioned carbonation

S: light funk, low alcohol, almost a macro lager aroma, not much else to feel out

T: less/practically no funk, a spicy dry pale ale feel that's accentuated by the carbonation. I like it but would never think it a saison if not for the nose. I don't know if this is what they were going for or this batch is off or past its prime or what.

M: Light dryness, quickly fading big dry carbonation which leaves the pale ale type spice on the top of the throat

D: Wouldn't bother drinking this again, esp for $8 a bomber.

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Photo of BDLbrewster
2.93/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light hazy shade of dandelion tinted amber with a monstrous puffy, bright white head and massive visible carbonation.

The smell is not all that complex although it is pungent. The first thing I get right off the bat is banana bread. Some sweet yeasty notes and white pepper just about sums up the nose.

Damn, the flavors come through very subdued. Some indiscernible sweetness up front followed by the slightest most minimalistic bit of drying lemony funk. The finish is nice and peppery with a hop driven spice and a touch of bitterness.

The carbonation is obviously from bottle conditioning, light and airy, effervescent and almost overdone. Thin as expected and nothing noteworthy really.

Overall I am not overly thrilled with this one, and I had high hopes. A bit of an underachievement in my eyes but I can see how a lot of people unfamiliar with the style would enjoy this immensely. Good flavors, just not nearly enough of them.

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Photo of arnulfooxblood
2.97/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looks and smells fine, but the taste is just not what I was expecting from a saison. The main flavor that I got was quite vegetal. Maybe I'm missing the boat on this one, but I can't say I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Glowing amber, head goes to layer fast, slightly sticky lacing.

Sweet apple, cane sugar, lemon, pear, peach.

Earthy, floral taste. Spice. I'd like a bit more fruit in this.

Bitter and dry well carb'd crisp mouthfeel. No finish.

I like saisons but this one was mediocre.

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Photo of n2185
3.04/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a tulip.

A: A hazy golden yellow with only about half a finger of white head even with a rough pour, which quickly dissipates into a small ring on the edges of the glass. Very little to no lacing.

S: Coriander and orange rind up front followed by a sweet Belgian spice and yeast aroma.

T: Similar to the smell, there's coriander and orange rind up front followed by a Belgian yeast and spice flavor. Unfortunately, there's a very metallic flavor in the aftertaste with some residual bitterness.

M: Light body with medium carbonation. Nothing really sticks out either way.

D: The light body along with the yeast and spice characteristics make it similar to a witbier, and as such it goes down pretty easily. Unfortunately the lingering metallic flavor keeps me from wanting to go back for more.

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Photo of Botulizard
3.09/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A: Pale yellow with a 2 inch head and lots of lacing. Lives up to its brewery's name. It's indeed a pretty thing.

S: Lots of wheat with some floral notes.

T: Wheat, with lots of bitterness and a sort of hop finish.

M: Thin, light carbonation.

O: Very bitter- I didn't love it. Didn't find it really remarkable, except visually. It's a very good looking beer. Probably wouldn't order again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.1/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Joe for sending this one to me in the 666 BIF.

A: The pour is a hazy light golden yellow color with a big white head.

S: A dominant lemon aroma in the nose. A bit of spice and yeast, along with some mild bread aromas. But then some more lemons.

T: The lemons are again up front and really takes over. Just a mild funk, malt, and yeast note because the lemon flavor invades every aspect of the sips you take.

M: The body is light to medium with a high carbonation.

D: This could be a good beer, but the lemon character needs to be dialed back.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.12/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled Dec 2010. Drank Feb 2011.

A - Pearly white head. Super frothy with a nice lace. Body is a pale yellow straw.

S - Earthy. Carnations, rose stems, hay, yeast. Hint of ginger.

T - Spicey hops up front: thyme, tarragon. Touch of dry hay. Pepper. Middle and end of the profile carry a strong, lemon pith bitterness. Unforunately, for me at least, I felt that end note really overwhelmed the rest of the flavors.

M - Bitter pine throughout the finish. Ends semi-dry.

D - The bitterness ramps up pretty hard on your palate. A shame too, I really enjoyed the rest of the profile.

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Photo of Zorro
3.14/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Obtained in trade with Damian.

Clear golden to light amber colored beer with a nice off-white colored head.

Smell is sweet and a little spicy but not much hops or flowers.

The taste starts out sweet and a little spicy with a mildly bitter aftertaste. Not a lot of subtle flavors here this is a basic Saison and not much more.

Mouthfeel is OK.

This is a boring beer, really wish the rest of the bottle was Hennepin or something like that.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.14/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Out of a 22 oz bottle...

The appearance is golden nectar yellow. The film of head remains on top. Super cloudy body. Actually looks really really impressive.

The smell is a fizzy champagne-like aroma. Touch of chlorine. Belgian funk spice. Not bad but...

The taste is heavy citrus and a major funk. Ze bitter Germanic hops. More of that chlorine flavor, but sorta fits with the funk I suppose. Still...

The feel is bubbly like champagne. Lots of fizz. Appropriate for style, but a little sharp. It's not stellar, because it's so sharp and so fizzy, but it's drinkable for a saison. Citrus, chlorine and a Belgian funk spice.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.15/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of daysinthewake. Served in a Mikasa tulip. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a clear golden color with a nice white head that falls quickly without leaving much lacing behind. The nose carries a bit of fruit and light grain. Faint spice. The flavor is grainy and too dry. Excessive bitterness for the flavor, as there's not much there to back it up. Mildly tannic and thin. Good carbonation. Decent, but not something I'd go back to. Too much bitterness without any real saison flavor to balance it out.

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Photo of alaimoa
3.16/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

I am a bit surprised at the really high rankings for this one. As Farmhouses go, it's not nearly in my top bracket. Medium carbonation and golden color but very little in the nose or taste without much depth. Crisp and a bit on the too dry side for me. Maybe some citrus hints but was lacking overall character.

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Jack D'Or from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,641 ratings.
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