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 dsa7783
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single, twenty-two ounce bomber bottle purchased from Eulogy Bar and Tavern in Philadelphia... First-ever beer from this Massachussetts brewery... Excellent stuff and an amazing depiction of this European style from this rather elusive New England brewery...
Highly recommended...

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Photo of Traquairlover
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22-oz bottle poured into tulips. Thanks to thechrislife for this bottle.

A = Hazy amber, orange with a small yellowish white head that resolves quickly into a thin layer of foam on surface.

S = Some slight funkiness like gym socks, but at the same time there is a tart, citrus hops driven scent right under the surface. It smells like a farmhouse IPA or something.

T = Earthy notes, some bite of grapefruit, thick malty flavor of uncooked bread dough at midpalate. A very interesting beer but it doesn't seem to quite succeed at being a saison because it seems stuck between trying to be that and trying to be an American pale ale. It is pleasant enough, but I do not think they quite hit what they were aiming for, or maybe they hit it spot on and it is just not what I am looking for in a saison.

M = Nice medium body with good mouthcoating and a full frothy, creamy feel.

D = Goes down smoothly, but the taste just doesn't make me want to quaff this. Not a bad beer and I would certainly drink it again.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 6, June 2009; 22oz bottle into a Great Divide chalice. Props to Jwale73 for including this fantastic extra!

Jack D'or pours a hazy, orangish-gold body that supports a thick cap of custard foam. Great retention, thanks to a fairly lively carbonation level. Solid aroma--true to the style--with snappy, floral hops backed by crystal malts and a touch of fruit.

The flavor mirrors the aroma well, but kicks up the hops a notch with notes of floral greenery, light citrus zest, and fresh-cut grasses that leave a light, lingering bitterness. Superb balance of biscuity malts with a hint of honey. Mouthfeel is equally as impressive, with a medium-light body and a crisp, tight carbonation level that drinks smoothly. Highly drinkable and refreshing, I could easily handle an entire bomber of this stuff by myself, but was glad to share it with a friend. Impressive stuff...

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Photo of Philabeerphia
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle, batch no. 5 (May 09), poured 8/29 into two tulips for a tasting with my wife.
Foggy, iridescent orange/straw colored haze, capped perfectly with a dense ivory head that rests peacefully for a few minutes then slowly slips away. Walls of lively lace complete the package. Combine this wonderful visage with the stunning bottle that this beer is delivered forth from and undoubtedly I am looking at an exceptional beer, graded accordingly. Whiff whiff...The nose has hints of grapes, clay, earth, vinegar, A cool, clean vinegar... some sour melon. mellow

Funky, sea-salty and bright on the front of the mouth. Lemon, dry grains...This beer is bold, overpowering mild food pairings. This big taste is abutted by plenty of velvety carbonation to keep the beer honest and quick. Zest is apt to describe this. The citric quality grows into a metallic spine, then opens into something more complex... The beer is clean in the mouth, light to medium in body... It finishes with a slight caramel creaminesss that is overrun by plenty of bitter hoppiness and yeasty funk. The hop lingers in the jowls below my tongue, fitting. Zest is still apt, and I am pleased...One of the better farmhouse beers I've tried in some time. Be forewarned though: best to drink at a reasonable pace; we let the beer sit for too long (1hr or so at least), and it became hot, corny and a bit messy.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into pint glass

A: A cloudy golden orange with a nice fluffy head. Not much lacing, but a few wisps down the side of the glass.

S: A yeasty aroma with hop and fruit sweetness of oranges and other citrus.

T: Again a dry yeasty flavor with some hops and sweetness. A slight taste of alcohol is also present.

M: Finishes very dry but not much bitterness. Nice medium mouthfeel.

D: Nice drinkability as it is very refreshing and the flavor is very pleasant.

Notes: Not quite comparable to Belgian saisons, but a nice american version. A very good beer to try.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle (Batch 6/June 2009)

Pours a translucent, light golden/orange color with a bubbly white head that leaves sticky dots of lacing and a retentive film of tiny bubbles. Spicey (pepper) and yeasty nose, very earthy, slightly bitter. Very earthy, floral, spicy body, with a strong malt body, however that malt never really asserts and sweetness throughout. Medium body with very full, sharp carbonation. Subtle citrus flavors, more rind tartness than sweet. Very refreshing and drinkable, well balanced and subtle flavors, not my favorite saison, and a little too expensive for me to seek out again, but would recommend.

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Photo of atowle
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Batch Six (June 2009).

Had this beer at Deep Ellum in Allston on the recommendation of my server. Poured a very nice dark, hazy gold. Malty with a subtle fruit aroma and balanced almost perfectly with just the right amount of bitterness, it was very smooth and drinkable. Finishes clean. A wonderful beer, in my opinion, and great label art for all you fellow bottle collectors out there.

I had the Jack D'or first, followed by both the Confounded Mister Sisyphus (an earthy, golden ale that's a little strong on the cherry flavors) and Baby Tree (a brown, malty, complex Quad with strong notes of Plum), both from Pretty Things as well. The Jack D'or was by far my favorite of the three, and I will definitely be looking for it when I next return to the New England area.

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Photo of wiseguy142
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice light orange with a stark white head just floating on top.

Aroma is light and slightly bready with a hint of exotic orange.

Taste is dry but loaded up with phenols, which I don't like. Really nice exotic fruit aftertaste sort of defines this beer for me. It's one of those fruits that no one really wants to name in a review like "passionfruit" or something girly, but that's what it tastes like. This brings some character to the wheat malt as well.

I think the phenols could give this beer some more character with age, but for now it just reminds me of sanitizing with bleach, which has been sort of a hard memory to erase after a couple years of bad homebrewing. Overall, a cool beer. Interested in looking it up again in BA mag and seeing what's in it.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Brass Rail Deli in Campbelltown, shared with tenderbranson69. I poured this chilled from the 22oz brown bottle into a tulip.

A - A dark golden similar to apple juice w/ gentle hazing and 3 fingers of off white foam w/ a fine bead. The clarity is good enough to catch some bubbles rising to the wispy cap.

S - Malty, mild fruit aroma w/ a light herbal hop nose that has subtle floral tinges

M - The saison is highly carbonated apropos to style w/ spicy hop texture and mild bitterness up front. The texture is slighty crisp for the style w/ subtle yeast notes which add to the spice in the feel and bring along a mild fruit element

T - Fresh flavor of malt w/ a dry cracker-like taste w/ mild sweetness and slightly herbal lemony hop taste. The hops have an almost aspirin-like dry edge that cooperates with the yeast to give mild medicinal notes. The herbal hop flavors overwhelm the flavor mostly as it warms, but a slight nut/spice effect from the yeast tags along. The hops indicate a more American style Saison to my tast buds

D - A very highly drinkable Saison, I was willing to wait to pop it and was pleased that it lived up to the first experience over a month ago. One of the best I have drank lately it fits the summer humidity with its drinkability -I will seek this out again most certainly.

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Photo of nanertak
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 22 oz to pint glass.

Appearance: Beautiful hazy gold with a hint of orange. LOT of head that settles down but leaves a thick lace.

Nose: Fruity (ripe orange zest, grapefruit), and floral. Some notes of a wild honey and baking spices. Smells delicious. High carbonation.

Taste: Beautiful. Light and delicious. Muted orange, honey, some kind of mild baking spice in the background. Incredibly light and refreshing. Slighly bitter.

Mouthfeel: A lot of body. Not overwhelming, but it's very round. Fizzy carbonation gives it a slight bitter citrus pop.

Drinkability: I could slowly sip these all day in the summer. Too much body to drink quickly, but what's the rush? What I see and taste in the glass makes me want to take a nap in a hammock outside on a sunny day.

Overall: Pretty great. Highly recommend. Very refreshing, very tasty muted fruit and honey tones, great for the summer. Wouldn't stand up to a lot of food, but something light like cheese and fruit would be delicious. Or just sip on it's own.

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Photo of almychristopher
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a hazy golden color with a smooth white head leaving tons of lace on the sides of the glass. the aroma is mighty tasty, with a bit of malt and a lot of yeastiness. the taste gives a nice citrusy sweetness up front and nice amount of the farmhouse yeastiness, the sweetness gives way to a tart dry finish. the medium body and good carbonation make this a good drinkable beer.

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Photo of WesWes
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a fine pale malt scent along with an earthy/fruity yeast aroma. It has a mild hop character that really compliments the esters. The taste is good. It has a very citrousy flavor that screams esters from the yeast. Also, the hops add a solid bitterness as well. It's quite earthy with tons of farmhouse funk. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with too much carbonation. This is a tastey beer with lots of unique character; a fine farmhouse ale.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks jleblanc! Batch 5, bottled in May of 2009. Poured into a tulip. The beer is hazy light orange with lots of small bubbles traveling up toward the gigantic frothy white head. Retention is great. This is a very nice looking beer.

The nose is floral, spicy, and phenolic, with some herbal notes. Some zesty lemon is present, as well as some orange and coriander. The spiciness is peppery. I get a moderate level of sweetness.

The taste is phenolic, with some tartness. Notes of lemon and orange pith accompany coriander, pepper, and an earthy spiciness. An enjoyable level of sweetness balances the spiciness and tartness. The finish is clean and dry. Bitterness is low and alcohol isn't noticeable.

The beer is light bodied with a high level of carbonation. The mouthfeel is light, crisp, dry, and creamy. An enjoyable and refreshing beer on this warm summer evening.

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Photo of dborginis
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

April 2009 bottle, batch 3.

Opened the bottle and a noticeable amount of pressure was released. Poured into a pint glass and got huge amount of head (2/3 glass). Bad pour or too much carbonation? I'm not sure I know. Allowed to settle, poured to the top again, and waited for the head to dissipate a little.

Golden color, but very clear. Sweet but minimalistic smell. Some alcohol.

Starts sweets, and clean. Some bready flavor comes in afterward. Finishes slightly bitter, with this bitter aftertaste. Maybe a little more bitter than I would like from a saison, but I guess the "American saison" description covers this. Drinkable, yes, but I'm not sure its my type for this style. I can recognize it is a good beer, just not my taste.

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Photo of steadydose
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up while on vacation in Boston.

Poured into a tulip pint from a 22oz. bomber. Produced a 4 finger offwhite fluffy head that collapsed into about a 2 finger head. Beer was pale golden, with a little amber color, almost looks orange when held up too my light. I'm digging the clarity and look of this beer. Beer shows a little bit of lacing upon consumption.

The aroma was sweet, I got hints of fruit and lemon. The classic belgian saison smell was on display. Would have liked some funkiness, but as the beer warms up, the lemon smell really comes through along with a boiling wort type scent as well, interesting.

The taste was good. Basically a very clean taste, good lingering bitterness on the finish, with a touch of spicyness. I can definetely taste some citrus, lemon zest.

Mouthfeel is good, ample carbonation, dry, a little fizzy at first, but ultimately refreshing and works for this beer.

This beer for me has all day drinkability, another fantastic summer beer. Just a refreshingly clean well hopped saison.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at capones for their saison event

A: Relatively clear yellow-orange body... moderate head with quite a bit of lacing as the head slowly receded.

S: Yeast, pepper, lemon citrus hops, some funk

T: Moderate malt body, hints of grain... lemon bitterness, pepper, funky, yeast... as noted in my bottle review, the american hops are definitely identifiable amongst the flavors

M: Refreshing, crisp bitter finish... reminiscent of a nice american pilsener which is not surprising given the ingredients

D: Perhaps a bit on the safe side as far as saisons go, yeah kind odd saying that with all the hops in it, but the funk/farmhouse flavors just aren't hitting home

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Photo of hopdog
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Capones.

Poured a medium and hazy golden/orange color with a smaller sized white head. Aromas of citrus, spices, floral, and some yeastiness. Tastes of pepperiness, lemon peels, orange creamsicles, and some breadiness.

Notes from and tasted on: 7/30/09.

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Photo of joepais
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Corry for sending this one along
A bottle from Batch five poured into a DFH snifter produced a wonderful couple of fingers of a off white big and frothy head. The body of the brew was a wonderful orange color.

There was some huge amount of hops coming of this brew by way of aroma I guess the lemon on the label should have given it away. It had a great lemon citrus aroma with some light funk.

The flavor followed the nose very well almost like drinking a lemon aid in some ways. It was light and refreshing in my mouth.

A really interesting take on a Saison I finished the bomber extremely easy and would have been ready for more. I was quite impressed with this brew I hope the others from the brewer stack up as nice

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Photo of mikey711
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a bottle last night while watching my BMC friends and laughing to myself.
A golden amber with plenty of carbonation and some cloudiness. It smelled of funk and candied sugar. Lots of earthiness and lemon tart followed by some caramel notes. A bit of acidity and dryness in the finish. I easily finished the bomber and had room to spare

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Photo of deapokid
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at The Foodery today:

Poured a hazy orange/deep yellow with a thin head and absolutely no retention. Beer opens on the bubbly side and appears to be quite carbonated, but eventually settles down. It looks really refreshing (due to its orange tint) and not unlike "orange drink" (if you guys remember this from when we were kids).

Aroma boasts notes of citrus fruit with a mild alcohol backbone. I'm catching some hops as well, which is definitely a pleasant surprise and reminiscent of Nugget Nectar.

Taste is maltier than I expected. It has the dryness on the back end of a traditional saison, but boasts more of a hop character than usual. This may be where the "americain" comes into this Belgian farmhouse ale.

A tart lemon taste is present as well, which adds a nice counterpoint to the hops and provides a balance of the flavors. Hints of pepper and mild coriander are also involved, showing off the depth and character of this beer, which seems to have new flavors popping out with each sip.

As for the mouth, the hops scratch the back of the tongue and a certain dryness coats most of the taste buds. As the beer settles, more of the tarty fruit notes come out, which add a certain tingle to back of the throat. A muskiness also adds some interesting elements to the mouthfeel. All in all, It's great to roll this ale around the tongue.

Personally, I would say that the addition of hops has made this beer more drinkable than certain traditional saisons. Although I can definitely put back a few Hennepins, the acidity often causes me to limit my consumption. This enterprising addition has not only made this beer standout, but much easier to consume and enjoy.

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Photo of ken2cart1
4.83/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into an oversized wine glass, re-suspended yeast as recommended by Dann (the brewer and creator of Pretty Things beer)

A- huge frothy off-white, inch-high head. Beer is an orangey, cloudy, peach color. Absolutely beautiful, never saw such an orange color in a beer.

S- Belgian yeast, some funky bacteria yeast in there too. Peppery, spicy smell.

T- much like it smells but very peppery, mostly in the finish. I do not have much experience with Saisons but it is much more peppery than any saison I have had. WOW, this is a complex beer. It starts with a fruity, spicy, yeasty, little clove taste and a solid sweet pale and caramel malt backbone. Ends with some cloves and a prevalent lingering pepper taste.

M- very smooth and creamy throughout and ends with a nice puckering crisp feel

D- wow this beer is unbelievable, cant stop sipping this, this is a real surprise. From the handful of saisons I have tried, I have not been a big fan of this style but this beer has converted me. Mark my words: PRETTY THINGS BEERS ARE GOING TO BE SOME OF THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER BEERS VERY SOON.

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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 drgonzo3705
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

First Batch bottled November 2008

A: Light golden orange color with a nice fluffy white head and a bit of sticky lacing.

S: A bit of musty hay/wheat smell. Perfumy and floral. Nicely put together nose.

T: Just like the nose. Perfume and hay notes with a touch of bitterness from the malts.

M: Nice light body witha touch of dryness.

D: Very good. Not offending at all and pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of mirish72
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hadn't even heard about this beer until I saw the lines at the ACBF. I tracked some down and was really impressed. The artwork definitely catches your eye and at least lets you now you're going to try something new.

Pours a hazy orange, that you cannot see through. Amazing coloring, with slight lacing. You can taste the lemon and bananna clove flavors. The beer drinks likes it looks, complex, smooth and delicious. I'm not too familiar with the style, but it compared favorably to few other saison's I have tried like Ommegang.

Looking forward to trying their other offerings. I also love the fact that Dan used to brew beer at the North East Brewing Company, which was my home away from my Allston apartment from 1996-1999 or so.

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