Saison Vautour | McKenzie Brew House

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Saison VautourSaison Vautour

Brewed by:
McKenzie Brew House
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian style farmhouse ale balances a bold, spicy yeast character with a dry hoppiness. A significant addition of malted rye adds further complexity without betraying the styles roots.

GABF gold medal winner 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Draft/growler reviews should go here -

Added by tempest on 10-22-2007

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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 102
Photo of MrVonzipper
2.77/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy orange color. Actually kind of looks like a dark orange juice. No head. Just white bubble that last seconds. Obviously no lacing from the lack of head.

Nose is nothing special at all. Sour with faint fruit like a blend of sour fruit juice along with a little bitter orange peel.

Flavor really isn't very special or good either. No nice distinguishing characteristics that stand out like I want in a good Saison. Just sour wild yeast up front then a watered down blend of fruit juice blend. Like sour orange juice, mango, and grapefruit juice. But hard to say cuz nothing stands out. Very muttled.

Mouthfeel is light bodied, pretty thin with no carbonation. Again like drinking fruit juice. Although this would be very tough to drink with high carb.

Overall I'm very disappointed by this one I had real high hopes. By reading others reviews previously I thought it was gonna have all the characteristics I like in a Saison but that was just not the case and in more ways than one it just fell flat.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.97/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to MrVonzipper for the bottleshare who won this in the WWF LIF

Look: Murky yellow orange in color which reminds me of watered down orange juice. 1/8 inch head and no retention

Smell: Notes of fresh fruits mixed with a bit of funkiness with a touch of sourness

Taste: This to me taste like watered down orange and pineapple juice that you buy at the store but you put just a bit too much water in it and it sucks and they on yeah it has a interesting grapefruit sourness on the backend

Mouthfeel: Pretty thin and mild carbonation and a bit tart

Overall: I just dont get this style at all the flavors are not enjoyable the mouthfeel sucks and why do I want to drink something that is sour. The flavor has a sour fruitiness that is just not good

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.48/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 31/372. Very interesting take on a great style. I will be honest, took me a while to get used to this one.

The appearance is a nice golden color with a light haze. Poured slow and gentle into my glass the beer produces a dense, white, fluffy head that stays for a good while. When I started to make my way through the beer the lacing was beautiful, just gripped the sides of my glass.

The smell was interesting and owned a bouquet of different floral notes. Strong hints of musty cellar coming from the Brett, with a lemon grass and spiced rye in the background. Not sure if it's the base beer or what it could be, but it has some really funky smells including wet cellar, must, lemon, orange rind.

I personally like my saisons dry with lots of floral notes. Sometimes a Brett laced version comes around and surprises me with how tasty it is. This just had an almost lemon-lactic sourness to it that I couldn't get into. Nice light biscuit malt flavor with a touch of spice. Flavors kind of going everywhere not melding very well, interesting palate teaser.

With the different sourness', musty Bretts, and spicy malts, this thing was a bit of a mouthfeel disaster. It wasn't offensive in any way but I was a bit confused by everything going on. I decided by the end that it was too much lemon sourness mixed with the dry and spicy flavors that I didn't care for.

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Photo of illidurit
3.76/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy goldenrod color with a crazy huge dense head that leaves massive lacing. Aroma is light banana pith and grains, with a hint of orange peel and a mild metallic note. Flavor is a nice banana/vanilla sweetness with an earthy character midpalate that includes mineral and grass notes. Finish is peppery with a light booziness. Bitterness is substantial.

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Photo of stakem
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken 12/11/10, shared at ClockworkOrange's tasting. Bottle #120/372

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a light hazy golden yellow color. A yellowish stained head appears and sticks with a webbing of lace around the glass and top of this brew. Somewhat poor retension, a swirl revives a quickly dissolving cap.

The aroma of this brew is very lemony, lactic and brett'd. The typical classic style saison scents of barnyard funk come through more as the beer warms. It has a light sulfur quality that leans towards a strange scent that is almost plastic-like.

The taste mimics the aroma with a full throttle taste of seemingly artificial lemon, lactic acidity, Brett, funk and a moderate oily bitterness from clingy hops. The aftertaste is somewhat plastic-like. A dry tannic aftertaste comes out once this brew gets warm.

This is a light bodied brew with a lower than expected level of carbonation. Somewhat watery at times in the feel. It is however, light refreshing and easy drinking for 7% abv. There is seemingly no indications of alcohol in flavor or warmth. I'm not sure about this particular experience/bottle, it is worth trying again though.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a cloudy pale yellow color. Some good white froth.

(S)- Pretty dry with some orange peel. Slight Brett-like funk.

(T)- Fairly dry with lots of orange peel. Slightly sweet with minimal funk.

(M)- A bright and lively carbonation level. Nice balance of sweet, dry, and funky.

(O)- A good Saison from the states. Not too sweet, but balanced well overall.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Nellie and thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy yellow color with a white head. The aroma is lemons and wheat. The flavor is yeast, lemons and wheat and is slightly tart. Very drinkable and refreshing. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle. Bottled with brett according to the brewer, unlike the draft version. Pours medium orange with a fluffy snow white head and decent legs, good retention. Really pretty looking beer. Served cold, nose is big saison yeast, distinctively McKenzie. Definitely a touch bretty, stays cohesive. Very nice flavor profile, starts with some mellow saison yeast and brett, opens into a light banana fruitiness, on to grass and mild hops. One of the more cohesive McKenzie beers for sure. These guys were kind of starting to annoy me a little bit with some flabby beers that just didn't evolve right, but this is quite a nice effort.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, #44/372, poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a slight hazy golden yellow, off-white head, some bubbles along the edge of the glass, some whisps here and there as the cap.

S - Belgian yeast funk, lots of floral notes, some sweetness.

T - Loads of funk, some oak, nice rose pedal notes/floral.

M - Light to medium, smooth, light carbonation, semi-dry finish.

D - A solid Saison, but after 4 in a row, Hill Farmstead Anna is the clear winner for me out of them all. I would def have again, and I will, because I have another bottle in the cellar. Recommend.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

we tried almost all the beers they had in here, and this was definitely one of the best, and certainly the best of the not hoppy stuff. its pale golden in color and very bright in the glass. there are really two types of saisons in my mind, the rustic funky old world types, and the more or less wheat beer fermented with a saison strain, much less nuanced and more of an american belgian type of thing. this is more the latter than the former, although its about as good as that type of saison can be, at least for me. really super clean, with a distinctive yeast strain thats fruity like orchard fruit and white grape, and with a decent little floral hop kick in the finish. i also dig the grain here, the wheat seems cleaner and more refined than many, and the rye malt addition is not lost at all. its also insanely w ell carbonated and crisp as it finishes in a way thats uncommon in the style. subtle peppery spice marries the rye and the yeast, and the hops keep it fresh and delicate. i could see this doing amazing things with a brett pitch and a chardonnay barrel, but its mighty tasty as it is, and a really solid offering from these guys, seemingly leagues better than some of their other beers. not sure why there is a separate listing for draft of this one, i have to assume they are the same beer no? really enjoyable brew here!

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Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An unlabelled bottle, distinguished only by a sticker. Thanks to Kramer for the share.

A: The saison is a darker amber color, still translucent but lighter than several other saisons from the night. A white head is generated but no lacing results.

S: The saison refuses to shy away from its bretty side, allowing a musty dirtiness to come through. Lemony citrus is the calling card for those funky beasts. Grainy breads joint the roll call of flavors, representing the malty base underneath the funk.

T: Lemons, citric and tart, come through thanks to the brett, a dirty mustiness coming through as a result. The brett dries the ale out, requiring multiple sips in a futile attempt to sooth my palate. The recurring bite is nice, reminding me of the complexity fo the saison. The wildness completely overruns tha multy base, dominating with its dirty flavors. Funkiness defines the finish; the dryness making me want another sip.

M: An appropriately complex saison, brett adding a mature depth to the ale. Sign me up for more, a delicious blend of funk and spicy saison.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sean for bringing this one.

A - A hazy golden color with a good sized off-white head. Some spots left on the side, but not much else, poor head retention.

S - Great smelling beer with appropriate saison-floral notes and a great brett aroma. Good amount of funk and sweetness present.

T - Apples give the sweetness in this. Belgian yeast, funk, oak, floral notes, and a lot of brett. A lot of kick for a saison, which I tend to find one of the milder (and generally more boring) styles.

M - Medium bodied with a dry finish.

D - Quite easy to get this one down, and I recommend trying it as it's a really good beer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unlabeled 750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Apparently barrel aged?

Appearance - Hazy orange. Nice white head. Eternal retention.

Smell - Bretty, oak. Yeasty and pale malt. Bright citrus.

Taste - Very bretty. Keeps a bright citrusy flavor going to stave off the earthiness. Yeasty and just a bit of funky. Earthiness comes back with some oak.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated. Maybe too much. Bretty as hell.

Overall - Excellent without being overly complex. Just a solid brett saison.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle generously shared by Thirstybird. Bottle 145 of 372. Pours a golden-orange with a semi-hazy clarity and no head, just a cluster of bubbles. Nose exhibits that classic farmhouse musty, skunky, funk characteristic of Belgian exports, but often missing in domestic offerings. There's also a citrus quality that permeates the nose. Taste expresses citrus, vinegary funk, peaches, apricots and a minty character. Mouthfeel is light-medium with some citrus astringency and a lively, crisp carbonation. Finish is semi-dry to dry. Perhaps one of the best domestic Saisons I've had to date. This beer truly epitomizes all of the qualities that the Belgians have mastered.

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Photo of gford217
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from Kiel.

Pours a hazy golden yellow with very little head to speak of and subsequently it leaves no lacing.

Aroma is fantastic with lemonzest, vinegar and some nice grassy notes. Plenty of other citrus notes are present - peaches and apricots - as well as some brett and oak.

Taste isn't quite up to the nose as the fruit is a little less prevalent and there is actually a noticeable floral character, and I mean flowers, not floral hops. The finish is dry and oaky with a hint of brett. Not much spices.

The mouthfeel is slick with low carbonation and maybe a little thin for the style. Very dry in the finish.

This is a really nice saison and extremely drinkable. One of the better McKenzie beers I've had.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz pour
McKenzie's tulip glass

A: Pours a light, hazy golden yellow color. Initially got a full finger of tight bubbled bright white head. Good carbonation. Served at the proper temp. Left some sticky lacing bits. Pretty beer.

S: Citrus. Pepper notes. Light farmhouse yeast smells. Bright and light.

T: Flavor follows the nose. Just a really solid Saison. Perfect for a spring evening. Nice peppery flavors up front from that yeast strain. Wheat. Some citrus flavors. Dry and refreshing finish.

M: Light to medium bodied.

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Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two HUGE shout outs on this beer. First, to BYO magazine for writing an article about this small brewpub making kick @$$ American Saisons, which initially peaked my interest, and then much more importantly, G311 for reminding me during our in-person swap this past weekend and for reserving me the final 3 bottles of the year.

Pours a gorgeous light yellow, almost golden color with a gorgeous white fluffy head. I let this get a little warms before I opened it to guarantee a nice pour.

The aromas begin with delicious smells of lemon zest, ripe pears, light vinous white grapes and lighter lemon juice. As you further examine you are greeted with the light grassiness and emerging Brett mustiness. Light pilsner graininess in the background.

The flavors perfectly follow the nose with initial tart lemons, clementines, melon, all backed by the slight pils graininess. As it warms more you get light earthiness and lesser amounts of musty funk. I cannot do the taste justice here. There are so many light fruits and slight tart, grass, herbal notes that continue to dance on my palate. As it warms you get a little more evident Belgian Saison spice and a nice crisp finish. The rye malt really adds a nice dynamic to this style which I originally did not think would work/balance because it can easily be overdone, but here it is a delight.

The mouthfeel is light in body with high carbonation. Drying hopping is evident here which helps to add a nice bitterness and allows this to finish both extremely crisp and clean while also being dry and sticky.

Overall I had no idea what a rye saison would taste like or if it would work but I am thoroughly impressed. This is definitely not one of my favorite styles by any means because it is often too clovey, spicy and doughy from the traditional old world estery Belgian yeasts. But this was different thanks to the dry-hopping and unusual rye malt additions. It is extremely drinkable and complex and I cannot recommend it enough.

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Photo of Biscuit033
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden-orange with a nice one finger head and great lacing.

S: Brerady/yeasty, orange, honey and a bit of coriander.

T: Biscuity, hoppy, earthy, and spicy with notes of coriander and white pepper.

M: Light to medium body with a crisp bitter and spicy finish.

D: This went down quick considering the amount of flavoe. This is a very well done beer.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First off huge thanks to Alex (Axic10)
Pop, fizz, and I fear this may be too bretty...Lovely pillow of head which leaves nice sheets of lacing. Opaque hazy yellow with an orange tint. However it does have fairly poor retention. As the beer breaths the brett quality subsides and a well balanced farmhouse aroma is presented. Some hay and brett, some citrus, spice and grass; a nice marriage of the aromas. The grass, spice and citrus is more pronounced in the flavor then the brett. Although there is some horse blanket and leather lurking around. Could be a bit more snappy and crisp. A very clean and dry finish, one of the best saison mouthfeels. A great saison, period.

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Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Grant – thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a white head leaving solid lacing.

Smells of light malts with earthy hops, bright citrus hops, and light funk. Also present are hints of lemon rind and tropical fruit hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not as complex. Light malts up front are joined by moderate amounts of light citrus flavors. Solid amounts of funk round things out. The ending is crisp. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall this was a solid beer and the funk from the brett was integrated well. A nice beer that’s well worth a shot.

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Photo of orangesol
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was just telling Deuane I really wanted to try this one and the very next day Kramer brings an unlabeled bottle to Ffej of July IX!

A - Pours slightly hazy golden yellow with a nice bright white one finger tall white head leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S - Tons of barnyard brett throughout this one to go along with hints of lemon peel, wheat, a touch of spice from the rye, and a tiny bit of earthy hop bitterness. Very nice nose.

T - Starts off with a big dose of funky brett that lingers throughout consumption. Once the brett dies down a bit you can detect hints of lemon, spicy rye, chewy wheat, and a touch of earthy hop bitterness at the very end. Finish is pretty chewy, lingering for a short period of time. Not as good as the nose but still very nice none the less.

M - Light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Chewy, funky, feel with plenty of it lingering through the finish.

O - Damn, this is one good saison. I had never even heard of this one until last week and when I looked it up I instantly knew I had to track down a bottle for myself and then Kramer just happens to bring one to the party and boy am I glad he did. Excellent stuff for sure.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Andrew! Shared last night with Jeffthecheff.

Gold waxed bottle, had two tulips ready but wasn't prepared when the bottle started foaming over just instants after applying pressure to the cap. Lost about an ounce or so, no big deal. Pours with tons of foam, surprisingly clear on initial pour, golden straw color. Clouded up a bit in subsequent pours. Huge white head, good rocky retention, not a ton of lace.

Aroma is nice, not what I expected at all, but it's great. Nice balance of spiciness in the form of pepper and yeast character, combining with a brighter twang of lemon. There's no real hearty funk going on, but it does have a certain wildness to it. Definitely some complexity here in the form of straw-like grittiness on top of the crackery malts. The taste is much of the same but is so surprisingly fruity. There's a really interesting berry note and cherry ? Yes, cherry in the finish. Really interesting, unique saison that I would more than welcome trying again in the future.

Edit: Just wanted to add that Courtney thought it smelled like "hot mustard on kielbasa but just the skin".

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Photo of drabmuh
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Mike. Bottle 39/372

BRETT BOMB! and it feels so nice.

Beer is yellow with low carbonation but forms a soft white head of small bubbles, minimal lacing, slightly hazy.

Whoa...Brett c anyone? Funky lactic nose. What a saison.

Beer is strong with the funk, weak on the lead off but the mid and late palates are interesting. There is a series of different funk flavors from the brett in this one all leading up to the finish, mildly dry, light bitterness. It was fun to drink for sure.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

15 oz pour into a unibroue glass at capones in norristown, pa.

A- two big fingers of white foam atop a golden orange brew. Nice spotty lace on the way down.

S- very fruity with mangos, pineapple and some citrus. slightly sweet malts and some grassy hops.

T- tart and funky very nice. Lots grassy herbal hops and grapefruit rind. Spices and rye like malts. I get some wood but I'm not sure if this ever saw any.

M- medium body and about the same in carb. Mild pucker and nice and dry.

D- I really like this stuff. A very big and bold saison and it works super well with some mussels.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks jyoungsbcp for this treat

Pours a light yellowed orange. Fairly clear. White frothy head. Smells funky and light. Phenomenal nose. Tastes a bit sweet. Very funky with a lot going on on the tongue. Smooth and rich. Very nice mouthfeel. Easily one of the best saisons I've ever had.

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Saison Vautour from McKenzie Brew House
4.24 out of 5 based on 102 ratings.
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