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

Thanks to tai4ji2x for this 650 mL bomber.

A: The saison is clear, no haze no sediment no nothing getting in the way of its golden brilliance. The clarity really brings out the bubble stream at the center of the glass. A small head is lacing nicely around the mouth of the goblet.

S: The saison has a crisp, floral hop aroma that mixes with a fruity Belgian yeast strain. Grasses and citrus run rampant.

T: I like the idea of an American saison and this beer seems to be what I'd imagine. The Belgian side is driven by the yeast. The critters have left the ale dry but fruity. Citrus fruits, pineapple and orange, are very flavorful. The hops make this American, a floral blast that has grassy undertones. The end of the sip has a sambuca/licorice flourish.

M: I like how the ale meanders all over the place. The Belgian side isn't quite saison-level but I like how the fruits really come out. The hops take this to Belgian IPA territory.

D: I'm glad that I traded for two bottles. This seems like the kind of beer that you want to drink fresh so that the hops don't lose their appeal. Well drink up!

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Photo of goatxpower
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a bottle of this in a recent trade

A- golden and cloudy with a thin white head. Would have been better in a tulip

S- Belgian yeast, grass, dried fruit. Very floral.

T- Very "Belgian" off the bat. Spice,Ginger,and tropical fruit, with a bready tail. Noticeable hops, but not very pronounced (not like Dupont, anyway). A little sweeter then I like in a saison. Like Hennepin. But has a huge flavor that makes up for it. This is a great Belgian-style, but I don't know if I'd call it a saison.

M- Not really much to say, this is totally to style for a Belgian. Goes on thin, but the flavor lingers.

D- This is a very drinkable beer. I could drink three bombers of this and call it a session, easy. Were I able to get this on a regular basis, I'd buy it by the case.

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Photo of taez555
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewed from Notes. Tasted 12/30/08

This beer poured a clear dark tan/orange body with a small white head.

Nose is a strong spicy, rotting garbage, type saison smell. Yeasty with touches of fungus, but in that yummy saison sort of way.

Taste is medium bodied and rather big. Very minerally taste throughout. Huge saison funk with an amazingly matched hop taste and balance. The earthy, funky, saison taste pairs perfectly with the hops. Pine, orange, grapefruit, granite, rocks. Extremely bitter, but oh so well balanced for a saison.

Take De Ranke XX, mix it with some Saison Dupont and then finally add the perfect mixture of American hops and BAM... Jack D'or. Really an amazingly well balanced beer. Perfect combo of funk and flavor. Good stuff.

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Photo of vrazionale
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A - Beautiful color - cloudy golden body with a frothy head that quickly dissipates to a fine lace.

S - Quite a deep nose here. I couldn't possibly name everything I'm smelling, but here goes: yeast, peach, apple, coriander, pear, orange, mint, pepper, sweet bread, nuts, tropical fruit - the list goes on.

T - Not quite as full as the nose, but full-flavored and satisfying. Sweeter on the palate than the nose allows. A bit of bitterness to counteract the dynamic sugar flavors. Not as farmy as other saisons I've tasted.

M - Crisp, sweet, and refreshing. Great carbonation that gives the brew a little bit of a "pop." A little bit of a sticky aftertaste, though.

D - In terms of early-spring beers, it doesn't get much better than this. There are so many flavors here, so each sip is different and exciting. Great job Dann!

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

22oz bottle purchased from Julio's, Westboro, MA. Sticker on the rear states "First Batch! - Bottled in Nov 08". Pours crystal glowingly clear, lighter/golden amber. The head is near white, loose, then tiny bubble fim and leaving plenty of scattered ribs and bits of lace. Citrus/grapefruit hoppy nose. Pepper, floral hops, more grapefruit and sweet malts in the taste area. Finishes crisply dry and with more pepper and citric hops finishing the deal. Subtly complex and thoroughly enjoyable. Nice Massachusetts take on the ever enjoyable saison/farmhouse ale style. Well done and well worth trying.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here's a new one: Pretty Things Jack D'Or, a "Saison Americain" according to the label. 22 oz'er ('Bottled in November 2008 - First Batch!' sticker on the back), poured to a good ol' pint glass. Big thanks to BanditBrewingCo for the add-in.

Label is surreal: a spindly-armed, broadly-mustachioed lemon(???) wading in a vat full of water and hopcones, surrounded by a verdant forest and bevy of blossoms. Add to the strangeness a badge on the citrus-man that reads simply 'YES'. Intriguing, slightly creepy. But ultimately I succumb...

A: Pour is golden, deep and borderline copper-colored. Hanging fog of silt begins benignly, thickens substantially toward the bottom of the bottle. Head forms impressively, building to a solid 3-fingers of tightly-fizzy foam, a shade or two off-white. Drops off to a thin cap, clinging at the edges and trailing broken sheets of lace. Almost no carbonation.

S: Cakey bread (I caught a of sugar-frosted, cinnamon-sprinkled 'King Cake'), fleeting lemon and grape, very crackery doughiness. Hints of earthy blueberries and a little nostril twitch-inducing tartness.

T: Lots of spiced wheat and a mild yeast tartness. A pithy orange/lemon bittering turns to a 'medicinal' ending. Sugars rise and fall, a honeyed biscuit, a light candied orange, hints of clove and other spices.

M: Clean, finishing bone dry - pepper and mineral/chalk. Again, carbonation is subdued so the feel is a little on the silky/creamy side.

D: Won't make me forget the great saisons of Europe (nor a few of my favorite US versions - Ommegang, Boulevard, Sly Fox), but still is as refreshing and drinkable as can be. Like the spice, the mild tang, and the creeping sweetness. Would have this again - just feels right to drink here at the start of spring.

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Photo of BeTheBall
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at TPH last night, although it wasn't on the menu. Incredibly hazy from yeast with a lively full head. Immense lacing down the glass. Smell was of yeast and lots of hops, wonderful. Taste was classic Saison, dry and sharp with depp complex flavors from around the farm. Mouthfeel was also exceptional, completly surrounding the mouth and tongue. Drinkability is high, as this is sooo delicious.

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Photo of Hautacam
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy golden , with a good looking head that laces in the chalice.
Smell is earthy and slightly citusy.
Taste is a complex blend of earthy , grassy hops, with a bit of pepper and sweet, predominatly honey-like malt . It's fruity and yeasty and pretty damn good.
The mouthfeel is medium to almost heavy and the carbonation is lively.
A pretty interesting take on the saison style.

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Photo of number1bum
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful early spring day here in NEPA, so what better to celebrate than a nice saison.

Pours a slightly orange, light copper color with a slight chill haze and two fingers of off white head. Retention is decent, with a thin, not completely full lace and a splash of stick here and there.

Smell has some honey sweetness and floral aromas, as well some bitter orange. Also some black pepper and spicy, earthy yeast.

Taste also starts off with a bit of sweetness, which has some honey and cracker like qualities to it. Then it becomes quite earthy and a touch bitter, with some orange zest and earthy yeast. This is also pretty spicy, with a good amount of black pepper and a generally spicy yeast strain. Finishes quite dry with some spice and earthy flavor lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but the carbonation is a little too much; it gives it a soda sort of feel. Otherwise it's pretty smooth and dry in the finish.

This is a very solid saison, quite enjoyable. It's not the most complex one you'll ever find, but it's well crafted and quite tasty. Definitely worth picking up.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Damian for hooking me up with this one via trade.

A - Poured into New Belgium globe-style glasses, split with a friend. Hazy, orange-gold color. Formed a tight, white head, about two-fingers thick. Malty-sweet presence. Pretty lacing left behind.

S - Prominent yeast-driven aromas include spicy phenols. Interesting presence of citrusy hops, not expected typically in a Saison.

T - Soft malts, slight breadiness in the aftertaste. Moderate-level of bitterness. Very slight lemony-sourness. Grassy, dry-hopped flavor along with some herbal character. Subtle tartness.

M - Carbonation is not quite high enough but there's a nice prickly acidity on the tongue. Medium bodied.

D - Overall an interesting take on the Saison-style. A highly drinkable blend of Belgian and American characters, this is an easy-to-consume brew.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle tried 13 Mar 2009. First batch bottled Nov 2008. Courtesy of jleblanc, thanks!

Poured in 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Large tight off white head. Lightly carbonated. Slightly cloudy golden amber color. Earthy aroma, mushrooms, green bananas, sweet and slightly mineraly. Starts dry and mineraly, some fruitiness. Earthy and slightly bitter, hint of lemon. Finish is quite dry. Medium body. Light alcohol.

Good but quite a bit leass yeasty than most saisons I"ve had.

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Photo of BDIMike
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an awesome looking beer that makes one salivate at the appearance. It has a dark golden color with a very nice unfiltered haze. Medium amount of carbonation creates a nice thick head with good retention.
Smell is the only lacking part of this beer. I can smell some sweet caramel malts and some dark raisin-like fruits.
Taste is very nice. Good sugary taste of a Belgian and some nice caramel malts, too. The plum fruits are greatly enhanced by a good strong hop bite at the end.
Mouthfeel is good on this beer as well. Medium thickness with a nice smooth finish.
Drinkability is very good for such a strong beer. One of the most well-balanced saisons I've ever had that also maintains a lot of good tastes in it. Go find this one and drink it on any occassion.

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

22oz brown bomber with a bottled on date sticker.

True golden hue, very clear as the sediment was left in the bottle for this review. Spicy and peppery, malt dust and neutral yeast with a hint of orange zest in the nose. Smooth with a bitty moderate body. Dry malt character takes hold of the palate for the duration with a smidgen of dextrin upfront. Dry yeasty tone meets dusty malt and a mild herbal hop flavor. Bitterness is low which is fine here. Kiss of citric peel but relatively clean and the very dry finish.

Very tasty, not in your face at all but subtlety complex all over which adds to its great drinkablity.

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Photo of gfreed
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Has a orange, cloudy look; plenty of yeast suspended in the glass (my favorite!) and pours with a light head that lasted for a surprisingly short period, given what I've seen in others in this style. Hoppy aroma of citrus and peaches, definitely some grapefruit. From the smell I expected more hops in the taste but was happy to note more malt than hops. Nonetheless it had a bitter tilt that added some spice. Bananas in the background, both in aroma and taste. Lightly carbonated; overall a bit thin in the body. Compared to other saisons like Hennepin and Saison Dupont, this is rather a lightweight. But all in all, rather refreshing and worth a second try.

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Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden yellow color with a slight haze. Thick white head that leaves chunky, but spotty, lace on the glass.

Fully malted barley aroma (no graininess); decent amount of hop providing some balance--piney and spicy.

Briefly starts as a malty beverage but this is completely overwhelmed by a very strong, raw hop flavor. This taste lasts through the swallow and long into the aftertaste. The only negative I feel is the body which is surprisingly thin given the aroma and flavor profile. The carbonation is spritzy which doesn't mitigate the mouthfeel.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass. Body was bronze, and a white head with minimal retention. Lacing was almost non existent. Aromas were primarily grassy, but there was also a vanilla bean spice accent - which was quite pleasant.

Flavors were grassy, a mild fresh hop, banana, and some subtle sweet cream. Mouthfeel was a bit chalky and drying, but at the same time creamy and appreciated.

Overall, the beer doesn't do a whole lot for me.

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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 Overlord
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Joe Ceez.

Pours a cloudy orange gold. Big billowy white foam head.

Smells like yeasty breadiness and lemon. Taste adds in some citrus flavoring, more than a little bit of spiciness, and an interesting orange rind aftertaste.

Saisons aren't really my thing, but this is very nice. Excellent smooth mouthfeel.

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Photo of dmamiano
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into two pint glasses.
Orange in color with a haze permeating the beer.
Small head. Little lacing on the edges.
Sweet malts dominating the nose, yeasty with hints of spice..maybe citrus? Bready , toasty notes as well.
Belgianesque in the taste. Sweet malts with little to no hop in the mix. Finishes with a slight tartnesss that that is felt on the back of the tongue.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber split between two glasses. A nice golden orange color with just a thin white head. Spots of lacing here or there but nothing to write home about.

Aroma is mildly citrus, with some light ginger spice coming through. Some lightly kilned malts coming through as well. Not any noticeable hops though they may be contributing to the spicy notes.

Flavor is lemony, some ginger spice and sweet malt backs this up somewhat. But the lemon flavor stays through the finish, becomes almost puckering and then starts to fade. Really quite refreshing and fresh tasting.

Light bodied, nicely carbonated and very drinkable. Glad to have the chance to try this one thanks to BA dmamiano.

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Photo of currysage1
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First Batch.

Pours a clear and effervescent medium yellow, topped with a two finger white head that coats the sides of the chalice instead of lacing.

Smell is banana/vegetable, plant esters, some light vanilla extract, general yeast bread smells.

Taste is of the chlorophyl, and ripe banana, hop presense not bite towards the end, some corn. Not as complex as I would have hoped.

Feel is solid for the style, carbonation keeps it refreshing even while flavorful.

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Photo of leif86
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in November 2008 (First batch). Poured into my Westmalle Trappist glass.

A: The body is a hazy, yellow-orange with with a near white head. The head is quick to depart and what is left clumps nicely around the center of the glass. Minimal lacing.

S: That fruity belgian yeast aroma coupled with earthy grain.

T: Bananas up front followed by a strong flavor from the yeast. Some spice towards the end but I'm unable to discern exactly what it is.

M: Fizzy. A little more carbonation that what I would prefer.

D: I'm not huge until most Belgian stuff but I really dig this. Goes down easy and is very pleasing. Yes sir, I'll have another.

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Photo of Jayli
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle indicates 1st batch!
The beer poured a slightly hazy pale gold color, about a one finger frothy, pillowy head to it. Good head retention, nice sticky lacing throughout. Nose is fruity - slight banana notes and some citrus and spices. Taste is sweet at first, the citrus flavoring filters in and finishes with a nice hoppiness. Nicely blended beer. Mouthfeel is relatively a lighter medium body, very crisp and smooth.
After having this one, I was wishing that I had picked up more!

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Photo of Nipitato
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Purchased a bottle at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA. Says first batch on the bottle - let's see how this tastes.

A: Dirty white/ivory head pours thick and moussy then drops to a thin topping. A classic Saison like pale orange hue. Opaque.

S: Nice lemon zest aroma that sits well with the sweet malt notes (sweetness has some vanilla character). Some nice spiciness - a little pepper.

T: A very good soft pilsner malt flavor. Definite earthiness - almost dusty. A nice flourish of bitterness finishes. Some pepper. Citrusy character is also noticeable throughout. This is a damn good tasting beer.

MF: Medium body. Lightly carbonated. A dry finish, which adds to drinkability.

D, notes: This is a great bow for the Pretty Things project. Highly, highly drinkable/sessionable. Earthy character really comes out and I think it really defines this beer.

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Photo of joshsbeerblog
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pretty things beer and ale project, huh? that is pretty cool. it sounds like this guy has an agreement with paper city brewery in holyoke, mass and this is his first beer. and for his first beer he went with a saison... impressive.

pours a hazy, golden orange with some really cool snowflake lacing. herbal citrus hops and lemons dominate aroma, while more spices emerge in flavor. a elite session beer.

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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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