White Birch Brewing

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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
Ranked #1,688
Ranked #35,143
3.73 | pDev: 21.72%
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States
Very Good
Notes: Our Saison is brewed once per year in the summer to take advantage of the higher temps. Our Saison yeast loves to ferment at higher temps. The resulting beer is a slightly hazy golden orange colored beer with a lightly funky aroma, wonderful spicy pepper notes and a crisp dry finish. Balanced, nuanced, great with fish, steak or rich cheeses. For us, this is a beer that works on many levels.
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 46 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of brokensail
brokensail from California

1.32/5  rDev -64.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Pours a cloudy golden color with a huge, soapy white head. Puke and old cheese. This is putrid, putrid shit. Wow...seriously? This is funkier than some of the blue cheeses I’ve had. The flavor is pretty cheesy too, but it’s also watery and also a little bit cidery. This is truly horrible.

Jul 17, 2012
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mmmbeer from Massachusetts

1.31/5  rDev -64.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

From a 22 oz. bottle, brewed in the summer of 2009 at higher temperatures. Batch 4; bottled 9/9/09 and sampled this past April. Bottle 90 of 105; 7.3%. This very active bottle pours hazed golden, highly carbonated, with visible particulates and three fingers of very frothy white head. A bit muddy, but not terrible. Smells of orange and spice (cinnamon?) at first, but then quickly progresses to vinous malts and rotten oranges, with something definitely "off" about it. Tastes of musty grains, rubber, cardboard, acetone/ethyl acetate, an acidic note, and an overall rancid/moldy character. The body is light and overly-carbonated, with an exceedingly short finish. Wow, just... wow - seriously bad. This beer is absolutely riddled with defects that have nothing to do with its age. It reeks of fermentation errors and contamination (not the "good" brett contamination mind you), and I can barely drink enough to give a full review. I would rather drink Bud Light, because at least it doesn't have any flaws. I haven't tried any other batches, and this could be a complete anomaly, but this bottle has turned me off of White Birch altogether.

Aug 15, 2011
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tlazaroff from Virginia

3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a slightly hazy golden 'apple juice'-like color. It's topped by a crisp white head with visible carbonation.

S: I defiantly get a sour funkiness in this beer. Like apricots mixed with a healthy dose of Brett.

T: This has a slight puckering effect on the palate. It is somewhat earthy, a tad grassy, bold - not afraid to show it's colors. It has a good mix of just about everything. This is quite nice.

M: light bodied with moderately-high carbonation.

D: Quite drinkable for the alcohol content which isn't too high. It's a nice beer.

Aug 02, 2011
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ppoitras from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Glen Beverage, Glen, NH. Bottled 8/5/10, Batch 1, one of 408 bottles.

Poured into a Harpoon chalice, formed a 2" off-white head over the very cloudy blondish amber brew. Thick head lasts and lasts, with heavy chunky lacing. Aroma is spicy, earthy, maybe a bit of smokiness.

Taste is sweet upfront, lemony in the middle, and closes crisply with the lemon lingering. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is easy. Nice brew to enjoy more or less anytime.

Dec 12, 2010
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JoeyBeerBelly from New York

3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this beer from Joppa. Thanks Ben!

22oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - murky straw color with a fluffy white head that stayed around a while before finally settling down.

S - earthy yeast and tart apple.

T - tart apple and pear upfront with some yeast in the middle finishing dry and tart.

F - medium bodied with a crisp feel.

D - it went down ok but the tartness keeps this to a glass or two.

Dec 11, 2010
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mlazzaro from Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

served in tulip glass.
white head. hazy yellow color, low head retention. pretty much looks like a farmhouse ale.
Smells of sourness, and saison yeast, with a touch of alcohol.
Easy drinking saison beer. Sourness like lemons, I assume from some brett. Booze is quite apparent because it is so thin bodied. More of a spicy saison character, rather than the bubblegum I sometimes notice. I split the 22oz comfortably with two friends. I thoughht both the beers from this brewing company were extremely similar. But pretty good.

Nov 29, 2010
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two finger white head that fades slowly, leaving some lace. Hazy light amber color, ton of yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Flowery, spicy nose. Flavor is flowery spice and tart citrus, high ABV is totally hidden, the label says 9.0% but it doesn't feel like it. $8.75 for a 22oz bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH. Bottled 8/5/2010.

Nov 22, 2010
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Thanks to rpstevens for handing this over to me as an extra during an in-person trade at KTG 2010.

Pours a slightly hazed yellow golden color with a white head. The nose brings a good amount of grain as well as some earth and a bit of citrus. A bit of wheat. The taste brings some dry wheat as well as citrus and earth. Faint notes of light dough. Some nice yeast characteristics that lead to a fairly dry mouthfeel. Good carbonation levels. Somewhat plain, but a good tasting saison in the end.

Oct 21, 2010
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errantnight from District of Columbia

3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1, 48 of 102

Thanks to rpstevens for this one.

Pours a pale straw with a thin, quick head with moderate to light lacing.

Aromas of musty grain and crackers with a hint of citrus.

Peppery and more must on the palate, sweetness is front and simple, pale malt in character. Easy herbal and spice notes just underneath some hints of toast and nuts. Finishes with a mineral bitterness.

Crisp and light in body, easy to drink. Musty notes are a bit overpowering, esters could do to run a bit more wild (as it reaches room temperature they start to play up a bit more in the nose and the beer gets substantially better).

Apr 28, 2010
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

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

Thanks to masterchiefMD for sharing this.

Bottle 6 of 84

A: Cloudy, hazy yellow with great head retention and decent lace.

S: Very floral, mild tartness, lemons.

T: Decent tasting. Nothing outstanding, nothing amiss, just an average saison. Floral aromas, slightly yeasty, a tad tart. This is an ok beer, but I rarely have an American beer brewed in the Belgian style that can compete with an authentic Belgian ale. This is yet another example.

M: Smooth and refreshing.

D: I'd be happy to have another, but these aren't easy to come by. I'm thankful for the opportunity to try it.

Apr 05, 2010
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GbVDave from Illinois

4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Saison Dupont tumbler. Extra special thanks to Vanillamike for this from our recent trade!

Bottled September 9, 2009
Batch Three
Bottle 4 of 108

A: Very strong hiss when the cap was popped. The bottle didn't gush, so on with the pour! Immediately the glass was filled, bottom to top, with thick and bubbly, bright white foam. It eventually calmed down and I was able to get some liquid in the glass. Perfectly hazy, light straw colored Saison. Two fingers of sticky, meringue-like foam perches itself on top and refuses to go away! Sadly, not much lace was left behind.

S: Subtle, toasty wheat with some mildly tangy citrus and green apple. Maybe a touch of coriander? I swear I picked up the scent of fresh cut key limes.

T: Same as above with the toasted grain taking on a slightly sweet edge, right before the tart and tangy citrus steps out front and hangs around through the finish. Mild funky twang right at the end of the finish. The second pour takes on a decidedly "yeasty" flavor.

M: Peppery for most of its' time on the tongue. Lots of dry roasted and slightly sweet malt, tangy citrus and orchard fruit, and some subdued hoppy spice.

D: Quite nice. I felt it could've used a bit more tart fruit, spices, and hops, but that's just me. I really liked this beer. White Birch is on a roll!

Mar 16, 2010
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aerozeppl from New York

4.18/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4. Bottled September 9th, 2009. ABV 7.3%. Bottle 65 of 105.

A: Super hazy golden color. Less than a finger of white head with quite a bit of lacing.

S: Overipe cheese. Little bit of cheese as well. Great funky nose. A touch of oak as well.

T: Starts off as super sharp cheddar. A little bit funky.Little bit tart. More funky than anything else. Really nice complexity.

M: Very light in body. Well carbonated.

D: Very well carbonated. Been holding on to this bottle for a while but it is damn good. I really enjoy their beers.

Mar 07, 2010
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illidurit from California

3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by someone at Woodshop 5.0. Pours a crazy light shade, sort of a milky white peach color. Opaque with a small white head. Spicy and fruity Belgian estery aroma, pear and pepper and maybe lime? Flavor starts with pale malts and yeast before a stone fruitiness comes into play. Not as robust as the aroma. Light body with slightly too-high carbonation.

Feb 23, 2010
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paco1029384756 from Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Drazzamatazz.

Pours a cloudy straw color with one finger of foamy white head.

Scent of lemongrass, wet oats, light spices, a bit of horse blanket, subdued sugars, and a hint of orange peel. A little strong for the style.

Taste of bready oats, dry earth, sugar, lemongrass and light spices. Finishes dry with more bready oats and tobacco. A bit too bready, but a good American representation of the style.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with a smooth, but strong bite of carbonation, very good.

Feb 21, 2010
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gotta start reviewing the White Birch beers. I've become a good friend of Bill, and have a ton of the beers at home, just haven't reviewed them yet.

A: Pours with an immense 2/3 head into my White Birch tall tulip glass. The fluffy head takes a while to crash back as tons of new bubbles refuel it in the super clear golden wheat yellow color.

N: Hmm, can you say Bavarian Belgian wheat? It hits with some light wheat aromas, Belgian malts, and some light sweet malts. It also has some light fruits and yeasty aromas. It even adds some banana, citrus, and bready malts. It doesn't have the same yeast aroma as the dubbel did, instead this is a very pleasant aroma.

T: Starts a little creamy, with more Belgian malts, wheat, and lightly sweet toasty aromas. It then goes into some citrus fruits, really like a sweet and not so sour lemon. Slight yeasty flavors, but again pleasant. A little more banana and spicy saison like flavors. Some bready malts seem to follow a bit.

M: Medium body surprisingly with tons of carbonation and a little spicy feel.

F: Pretty dry on the finish with more carbonation airing it out. A little rustic spicy earthy farmhouse like feel. The toasty bready malts also seem to stick around with the creamy banana and hints of yeast linger. A really nice saison, and I'm not just saying that because I love White Birch and friends with Bill. I wish I could get this more readily available.

Jan 30, 2010
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DIM from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a clear, pale golden color. It poured with a huge, fizzy white head that faded to moderate lace.

s: Yeasty aromas take center stage here. Lightly sweet grains, a trace of banana, and plenty of earthy, musty yeasty goodness.

t: Bill hit the sweet spot with his saison I'm happy to say. I'm being ironic when I say that, this is definitely on the Saharan side. Just what a saison should be. Dry, prickly yeastiness dominate but are backed nicely by some banana-y grains and a little sourdough bread.

m: Active, fizzy carbonation, just about dead on for the style.

d: My Dad is a big fan and so am I. Congrats to Bill on this great brew and his bold new endeavor! Thanks to joepais for the chance to try it.

Dec 18, 2009
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joe1510 from Illinois

3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber

Bottled 9/9/09
Bottle #58 of 108
Batch 3

This new saison was generously shared by the man, the myth, the legend, d0b, thanks Bitch! This saison ended up being a slow gusher. A soft pour produces an opaque golden body, with a couple chunkies floating about, and a perfectly white cap that rises out of the glass like meringue. The head stays put throughout the entire drink with tenacious staying power and chunky drink lines cling to the glass.

The nose is chock full of wheaty twang that verge on sour graininess. The middle shows some spiciness that reminds me of coriander and bitter orange peel. White pepper makes itself known although in small quantities while freshly malted barley make up a huge portion of the backbone. I'd appreciate the smell much more if there wasn't so much wheat in the grain bill. The wheaty twang actually verges on wet dog but never quite makes it there, thankfully.

A strong wheatiness presents itself in the flavor from front to back with that slightly tart twang. Mid palate brings along an unusual and welcomed tartness that brings to mind ripe, gritty pear and tart peach that tickles the sides of the tongue. The finish brings along a couple of the spices I noticed in the nose; bitter orange peel and coriander. The swallow leaves behind an aftertaste I'm not all that fond of that reminds me of sulfur. I have no idea where that's coming from but it's there. This saison was going good until that slight sulfur note hits on the back and throws it for a loop. As this beer warms the sulfur notes seem to dissipate, which is most welcomed.

They did a good job with the mouthfeel of this beer. While I was afraid the carbonation would be too high when the cap was popped it seems to work well with the light body. The carbonation has a slight prickliness that washes the tartness of the sides of the tongue and adds to a rather dry finish.

The flavor and nose are solid but nothing super interesting. Luckily the lively carbonation, body, and refreshing qualities keep this beer flowing. This would make for a good summer sipper; it's too bad I'm drinking it in what feels like winter.

This is my second beer from White Birch, the other being the Belgian Pale Ale, and oddly enough they both have very similar traits. Both seem to use handfuls of wheat and the spiciness of both is very similar. The saison seems to finish drier, which is something I appreciate. I'd give this another whirl if it was available around these parts. Thanks for sharing, Dave!

Nov 18, 2009
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corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber received as an extra in a recent trade with rpstevens. Thanks again man.

Pours a cloudy, pale golden-yellowish ripe banana color with golden yellow hues when held to a light source and visible carbonation bubbling up the glass. Frothy, bubbly three finger white head that quickly fades into a lasting ring that leaves sporadic spots of lacing.

Slightly funky earthy aroma with lots of bready yeast notes, citrus, ripe banana, peppery spice, lemon zest and crisp light fruit. The nose on this beer is really complex with a delicate blend of earthy, sweet and spicy scents.

Soft carbonation of front with a slightly spicy, bready/yeasty medium body. Slightly tart with a bit of earthy funk to it and some nice peppery lemon zest spice up front. Hints of light fruit, mostly apple and pear with a good bit of ripe banana, bread and crisp spicy peppery finish. Slight alcohol presence. Pretty odd tasting with a lot of weird flavor with sour/earthy funk notes bouncing off of the bready fruity character.

Nov 12, 2009
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TexIndy from Texas

4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got as an extra in a trade with johnnnniee - many thanks! Batch Two Bottle 39 of 84 bottled on 9/1/09 - love that they have all that info clearly visible on the front label. Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip. Was a hazy golden yellow color. Plenty of carb streams. It had a large fluffy white head that settled into a collar and some central wisps. Slow sliding non-sticking lace.

The aroma was excellent. Spicy and fruity as expected in a saison plus a good hint of some funk which was unexpected. I love wild ales so the funk was a pleasant touch. The taste followed the aroma with the spice taking center state. The fruit didn't show up as much but the earthy, funky taste came thru. Great taste and a slightly different take on the style. Mouthfeel was light and crisp with a spicy, dry finish.

Overall, an excellent saison that I highly recommend. Great taste that goes down smooth. The ABV never comes into play. Rotation: not avail here - got in a trade.

Nov 06, 2009
Photo of akorsak
akorsak from Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 650 mL bottle from Batch 3, #72 of 108. Thanks to jmu500 for it in a recent trade.

A: Would you believe me if I said that this one looks exactly like the Belgian Pale Ale I just had? Luckily this one is supposed to look this way. The saison is hazy, a golden straw color with a finger of snow white head.

S: The nose is pleasantly herbal (I was originaly going with floral but realized that was inappropriate). Coriander is the primary herb and is paired with a noticeable pale malt bill.

T: The saison delivers a pleasant opening salvo of pale fruits, courtesy of the yeast. Lingering behind the start is a combination of mild sourness (extremely mild) and anise. Despite being amply carbonated, the bubbles don't register on the palate, allowing coriander and pale malts to linger. A floral sweetness replaces the herbal body near the end of each sip, a nice touch that sees the sip away.

M: The saison starts out nicely and quickly picks up from there. The mild funk, combined with flowers and herbs, sits very nicely.

D: The alcohol is never really an issue. The saison throws a whole flavor spectrum at you, a very enjoyable two hours spent with this bottle.

Nov 02, 2009
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another solid beer from White Birch. This beer was a hazy gold color with a medium-sized white head. It had quite a floral aroma, almost perfumy, and some sweet fruit. Fruity taste, a little peppery toward the end. A crisp, dry beer that was quite enjoyable. I hope the brewer will start sending stuff to Maine.

Oct 29, 2009
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joepais from Maine

3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 52 batch 2 spit among friends Poured into tulips. It produced a finger worth of white head that left quickly. The body was a pale hazy golden yellow.

There was something funky going on with the aroma. Almost offensive when the head was dissipating but it calmed down once it set a while. I saw the words Feta I think it was the closest to the sent

Now the flavor was great. Crisp in the mouth with a dry finish I got a ton of grass and citrus with a light pepper finish.

It was easy to drink with enough flavors to want to drink more I would buy this again

Oct 26, 2009
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kingcrowing from Vermont

3.52/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured in a stemless snifter.

Pours a cloudy light wheaty color with a tinge of head. Nose is like peanut butter and corn, very interesting.

Taste is very good, somewhat sweet but still very sharp. Quite mild for a saison though. Smooth and easy drinking, although it's got a bit of that cream corn taste to it. A Tasty brew!

Oct 18, 2009
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch #2 Bottle #24
Loved this one, seriously loved this one. Thrilled to be able to sample another of White Birch's offerings I wasted no time at all with getting this one chilled down and served last night so I could enjoy it after the soccer game. Served at a comfy 55 degrees and poured into a 24oz wheat glass, this one was consumed on 10/13/2009.
The pour was perfect and I have no qualms at all with saying that. Simply stunning. Hazy golden in color with light amber highlights and just wonderfully cloudy. Light bouncing off and through it in the most wonderful way. A perfect head forms on the top, three and a half inches of pure white foam at first but it settles down after a few minutes and leaves a good bit of foam streaking down the sides of the glass. This is exactly what it is supposed to look like and I start to drool just thinking about it.
I am actually outside in the garage working on a few things as I enjoy this one now, so it's a nice crisp fall night, 52 or so degrees out and the clouds are rolling in for what is sure to be a rainy day tomorrow. I look over at this glass and reach in to try and catch a whiff of what could be inside. Very light aroma, I pick up some very light tart tones, maybe like a small touch of lemon, along with light grain and a very floral, herbal smell. Hints of what I construe as a lavender or heather like smell, fresh meadows come to mind. Seems this maybe just what I am looking for this evening, so I lean in and take a sip, fighting my way through the foam that is still capping the top to find the most mellow, smooth, and refreshing Saison I have had in quite a long time. Fresh herbal and floral notes, touches of light grass all greet the palate immediately giving it a wonderfully bright start, and keep it light, nothing overdone here at all. But then I start to pick up this nice light biscuit or buttery flavor mid palate, so well balanced here. The whole time this light almost lavender like flavor is bouncing around my palate with hints of light banana and almost clove. Again though something needs to be said about how light and refreshing this is. Such a welcome change from the overly hopped, super spiced, and high ABV versions of the style that seem to be flooding the market.

The smooth, refreshing nature of this is much more akin to what the style is supposed to be. After a long day working outside it was a way to unwind, relax, and reflect on your day. No need for super spicy concoctions, or a beverage loaded down with hints of pepper and hops. Something, reminiscent of the field you just walked out of, that can cool you off on a hot summer day but let your mind look forward to those crisp fall nights that lay just around the corner. This is what a Saison should be and this is exactly what we have here. Masterfully done and an instant classic.

Oct 14, 2009
Photo of IBUnit63
IBUnit63 from Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If we're counting...Batch 4, 14/108. Nice pop and pffft of the oxygen-encapsulating cap. A little wavy funk off the top. Into a Duvel tulip...

It has a cloudiness to it as well as a full-finger-and-then-some pure white, meringue-blue head. Lacing is decent, as is retention.

A little iffiness on the nose at first; it's almost a note of feta cheese with a spent charcoal tone that obscure the solid yeast and light grain electricity. It's a bit on the weird side at first, but the good side is that there's definitely a bit of expected funkiness. The components of a traditional Saison are there; although the feta/charcoal dust is a bit off-putting in the beginning, I expect that it won't be an issue anywhere else. (edit) It takes a while...almost an hour...but now we're dealing with a little bit of solid Saison funkiness. NOW we're cooking with gas...

As expected, this deal is back on the game. Nice, dry and tight yeast and raw grain electricity. A bit of nice hop pine. Underlying barnyard notes work better on the taste buds than on the nose. It's dry, well-carbonated and rustic...a bit of unevenness adds to the character of the style. Well-carbonated and a bit spritely.

Once the scent dissipates it's a lighter Saison in body but a heavier one as far as palate notes go. Finish is carbonated and funky; there may be something different brewing here that keeps it a little left of clean.

This one starts clearing up after a while to serve up a solid Saison. Definitely more funky than the average bear; partly it seems by intention; a little bit seems to provide a smidge of weirdness. I'm missing the intended spice and fruitiness on the front end, yet the yeastiness indicates that it may be what we expect. A little spice on the nose and palate indicate more promise as it warms and warms. Definitely a rustic Saison that can be appreciated.

Oct 07, 2009
Saison from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 46 ratings