Jack D'Or | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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Jack D'OrJack D'Or
1,640 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,640 |  Reviews: 641
Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Rattle 'N' Hum. Strong aromas, with white pepper and apple. Cloudy white head and white lace. Good bitterness edge to it. Unique saison, very American owing to the bitterness and attention to aromas, and bold spice. Appropriate carbonation, wonder what it would be like on cask.

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Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 22 bottled in February 2011.

Pours a clear and very pale yellow-orange with a 1 inch off-white head that fades to a small cap. Decent rings of lace on the drink down. Smells of Belgian yeast, spices, citrus hops, and maybe some wheat. Taste is exactly like the smell with the Belgian yeast coming out the most. The smell and taste remind me very much of a wit beer. Mouthfeel is very prickly and bubbly on the palate. Overall, a good beer but it's not really my cup of tea. I am glad I got to try it though and I was surprised to see it at a local shop.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

this didn't floor me like it should have. on tap at grace (the coolest restaurant ever) in downtown Portland. knew the hype, but I didn't know what to expect here. it pours a clearish, but still a little brackish pale straw color, with an inch of lasting white head. very alluring. the nose is not like a saison at all, maybe a little bretty, but im thinking this is more of a lager yeast, crisp and decidedly Czech in nature. it certainly is on the malt front, and the yeast profile matches. nothing farmhouse about this as far as the taste goes. balanced, complex, and delicious, but its like a well hopped lager. traditional. light on the mouth, good carbonation, clean finish. its not living up to the style at all, but the taste is darn good. an oddity to say the least, asks more than it answers, but a jovial beer to slam down in the summer time. first impression from pretty things is a good one overall.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Knapp85
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a sample of this on tap at the 2010 ACBF. I tried a bunch of Pretty Things that day including this one. The look of the beer is nice, strong hazy golden body with a decent white head on it. The aromas were hard to pick up for some reason that day on this beer. It was mostly a little funky with some wheat and some citrus in there perhaps. The taste was kind of light to me as well. I felt like I wasn't able to pull anything from this brew. There were some flavors that resembled the style well. I did pick up the farmhouse taste with some wheat and citrus in there with just a bit of tartiness. The mouthfeel was good I thought. I really sure buy and bottle and check this one out again.

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Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of metter98
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is golden yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that quickly dissipated, leaving lacy patterns of bubbles on the surface.
S: Aromas of lemons from the hops and pepper from the yeast are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is dominated by spicy flavors from the hops and has some hints of lemons. There is also a light amount of accompanying bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and very dry on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very drinkable; I would definitely try this again because the spiciness and dryness made the taste and mouthfeel very interesting.

Note: Batch 22, Bottled February 2011

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With their quirky adolescence and somewhat absurd namesake and marketing images, its easy to lower expectations about the quality of the product inside the bottle. To the dismay of most, the distaste ends with a discard of the bottle because the saison is phenomenal.

Bright straw in color, the beer puts forth a modest shield of haze that's presumably from suspended yeast. High carbonation erupts from the bottom of the glass and emulating champagne. The head that's built above is spritzy, loosely knit, and collapses onto itself as new bubbles regenerate it just as fast. Expected retention and lace keeps the beer's atmosphere decorated and appetizing.

Firm pilsner aromas lay the foundation for aroma with a dry bread scent with dough and grain. Spicier notes bounce from the malts with a mix of yeasty white pepper, cumin and curacao. A fruity/floral combo counteracts the spice with softer lemon, apple, orange, honey, and wildflower. The hops contribute both the bouquet and a dry hay note that also drives malt complexities.

Flavors bounce off the tongue with a dry malt, dry fruit, and evaporative spice balance that's effortless and whimsically charged. Light sweetness of grain and faint honey is rounded by the estery apple, lemon acidity notes, and herbal-botanical taste. The quick mid palate of lemongrass and herbs turn bitter and signals the dry finish to come. Fresh cracked peppercorn, cumin, and coriander balance the fruit and malt but seem to invite the slightest soap flavor in finish and aftertaste.

Expansive as the carbonation explodes off the tongue and engulfs the mouth with a dry, terse, and peppery quality that forces the finish much sooner than is expected. The beer's quick procession across the palate lands it with bone dry texture to finish where the majority of flavor is mostly appreciated in aftertaste rather than palate exploration.

Where the value of saison is measured by its classic complexities of dry malt, dry fruit, high spice, and high effervescence, Jack D'or delivers all these with pin point Belgian precision. Its truly unique to find well made saisons outside of the farmhouse. It's only the goofy name and artwork that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Picked this one up recently having seen the hype on the forums. It's in one of my top 3 styles, so I'm really excited. 6.5% ABV according to my bottle. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard blue branded pressure cap served into a Mitchells of Lancaster stem-tulip (glassware per label's instructions) in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high, but it takes a lot to impress me with a saison as I've had quite a few of the best ones. Bottled February 2013.

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

A: Pours a two finger head of beige colour. Nice light creaminess to the head. Good thickness. No bubble show. Retention seems rather good, I'd predict it'll last about 5 minutes. Nice light inconsistent lacing as the head recedes.

Body colour is a dull dark yellow; not much to look at admittedly. I blame the pilsner malts. Nontransparent. Murky. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible (at least on first pour).

Overall, it's looking decent for the style. The colour does hold it back, though. I've seen far better saisons, but the head is nice for what it is.

Sm: Crystal malt, pilsner malt. Notable floral hop character; rather aggressive for a saison actually. Clove and banana - no doubt yeast-derived. White pepper when I strain to find it; I'm glad it's present as it's something I love in a good saison. Not getting any milky notes. Biscuity spicy yeasty character. No alcohol is detectable. Muted lemon citrus esters. Brett yeast offers little funk, if any - but I do like the biscuity character it lends here. A clean and appealing aroma, overall. Subtle - but middlingly so for the style. Somewhat zesty. Aroma is of above average to mild strength. Very approachable.

No noticeable flaws. Excited to try it, but I'm not blown away so far.

T/Mf: It's got more of a lemon ester twang than anticipated based on the aroma. More brett-derived funkiness as well - especially present in the second act. Pilsner malt keeps the body light alongside biscuit malts. Biscuity yeasty notes are present throughout, but I'm not getting much in the way of spicy yeast character. Floral hopping comes on too strong for the style, even injecting a hint of bitterness on the climax - which is unwelcome. The white pepper is far too restrained; I hardly get any at all. What a shame.

It does feel artificially dry; I think we can safely blame (credit?) the champagne yeast. I will say I'm surprised the ABV is as low as it is given the involvement of champagne yeast. No alcohol is noticeable.

Smooth, wet, light. Not at all oily, harsh, or rough. There is some slight coarseness which intensifies on the climax and helps bring out the depth of flavour a biteen more. Good carbonation. Somewhat scratchy. Decent presence on the palate.

Clove. Graininess is prominent. Vague hints of fleeting banana from the yeast.

Not at all tart. I wouldn't call it fruity, but it does have some dried fruity notes as identified above. Some subtle buried green apple.

Dandelion. It isn't horribly floral or flowery, but there's a touch.

I'd like it a bit more crisp, which would suit the style better as well.

Overall, it's somewhat subtle. Decent complexity for the style. Pretty nice overall balance. I just wish it were so much more than it is. There's little here to impress compared to most of the better Belgian examples of the style I've had. I'm reviewing it for its own merits, but comparatively it should be said that it's lagging way behind. It's slightly too bitter - I think from the zealous over-hopping.

Dr: Certainly drinkable - though I've had saisons at 9% or higher that made it hard to put my glass down. This doesn't quite fit that bill, but I do like it in a general sense. I hoped for much more, but this is a good entry in the style for newcomers. I'd probably order it on-draught at a pub, but I'd pass if I saw it on the shelf again. Maybe one of the better beers I've had from Pretty Things, but if my memory serves me right that isn't saying all that much. I was ready to gush over how good this was, but I was disappointed ultimately. Pretty good stuff, but not great.

Low B-

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Photo of oline73
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden with three fingers of fluffy white head, some of which remains throughout.

Smell: Lots of banana and cloves as well as some Belgian spice. Mildly sweet.

Taste: Initially, I taste the bananas, cloves, and the spice from the yeast. There is a very mild sweetness and a hint of some citrus fruit. After that I get a bit of hop bitterness and finally some alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation. Mildly dry at the very end.

Drinkability: I like this one a lot. It would be a very good warm weather beer and I will probably search it out again some time. I would have rated the taste higher with a little less alcohol and bitterness at the end, but that's just nitpicking, quite good.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, golden orange color with a two-finger, bubbly, egg-shell white head of foam. It had nice retention and left thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled yeasty and funky with a hint of caramel and herbs.

T - It had a nice spicy character with a nice grain flavor. There were sweet caramel flavors with a touch of citrus fruits.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a very dry finish.

D - This is a very, very tasty saison. I'd say it's the best brew I've had from Pretty Things.

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Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear brilliant amber color with an appropriately massive Belgian head that leaves the expected gobs of lace

Smell: Perfumy and spicy yeasty phenols with grassy hop elements

Taste: Bready, up front, with a biscuity, wheat influenced malt character; by mid-palate, the spicy phenols start to kick in, offering both stone fruit, white pepper and fennel; just before the swallow, the pithy hops make their presence known, as well; in the finish, all of these flavors blend nicely, leaving a bit of residual licorice sweetness on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation; creamy, too

Drinkability: An outstanding beer - love the American hop element as a twist on the Saison style, not to mention the wheat and oat elements

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

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled in 8/2015. Pours lightly hazy golden yellow color with a 2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big lemon, grapefruit, orange peel, pear, apple, white grape, clove, pepper, pine, light banana/bubblegum, wheat, cracker, light honey, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, citrus/floral hops, and light-moderate pale malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big lemon, grapefruit, orange peel, pear, apple, white grape, clove, pepper, pine, light banana/bubblegum, wheat, cracker, light honey, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Good amount of yeast spiciness and pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, grapefruit, orange peel, pear, apple, clove, pepper, pine, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, citrus/floral hops, and light-moderate pale malt flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Good amount of dryness from bitterness/yeast spice as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and moderately sticky/resinous mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome hoppy saison style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, citrus/floral hops, and moderate pale malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a bright light copper color ale with a rather large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of Belgian malt with light fruity notes. Taste is quite enjoyable with nice notes of Belgian-style malt with some light fruity ester and some residual sugar. Body is full with a somewhat oily texture and good carbonation. Not as floral or spicy as envisioned but very interesting nonetheless.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

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Jack D'Or from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 1,640 ratings