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Autumnal | Stillwater Artisanal Ales

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85
very good
111 Reviews
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AutumnalAutumnal
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Maryland, United States
stillwater-artisanal.com

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
This deep amber hued ale takes it’s inspiration from Germany while still nodding to the Belgian farmhouse tradition. The base is comprised of German two-row, wheat, Cara-Munich, and roasted barley. Generously hopped with a blend of Perle, Spalt, and Hallertau Mittelfrüh and fermented with a rustic Belgian farmhouse ale yeast. These elements together provide a melange of earth and fruit aromas backed with hints of caramel with a dry clean finish.

Added by timtim on 10-12-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
111
Ratings:
267
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
16.53%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
21
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 267
Photo of allengarvin
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark ruby-red color with a small but consistent head.
S: Sweet, slightly musty malt aroma, hints of dark fruits. No hop scent I can detect.
T: More bitterness than I was expecting, offsetting the sweetness, though hop flavor is fairly low. Very fruity yeast character, and complex malt flavor. Bitterness carries over to the dry finish. I would probably have identified this as a dubbel in a blind tasting.
M: Full-bodied, soft, slightly low carbonation mouthfeel.
O: Decent Belgian dark, not really what I'm looking for in a Saison.

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Photo of bushbeer75
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz brown bottle - bottled on 8/3/15 [215: 2015]

Stillwater Artisanal Autumnal Ale poured a dark amber hue producing a 2-finger off-white foamy head that held well and formed chunks of lacing. The aroma is of dark fruit toasted bread and just a little sweetness. The taste begins with toasted bread, then dark fruit [dates and figs come to mind] and finishes with a hint of sweet caramel. Mouth feel is medium with a moderate carbonation.

Overall, not my favorite Saison/Farmhouse Ale - enjoyable nonetheless. Sure worth a try if you like the style.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice amber pours a murky brown color with a light off white head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring with light lacing. Nose of dark berries, dark sugars, light esters, and mild yeasty funk. Flavors exceed the nose with blackberries and medium dark brown sugar notes on the front and sides, dark breaded malts hit the middle with a light bittering hop note on the rear with a touch of cocoa. Decent mouth feel, low carbonation, and a dry finish.

Cheers

 501 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.19/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A real great looker of a brew. Deep chestnut red, looking like a real nice Marzen but with a classic Belgian middle column of carbonation rising through the center of the glass. Frothy and big bubble-bath foam on creation, with a solid easy four finger head, clingy and with moderate retention as it settles with soft foamy peaks and valleys. Great looking brew.

Real nice toasty malts of brown bread, with a mild sensing funk and brett. Chewy sourdough but with a darker grain bready quality that really shines. Slight herbal hop punch as well that comes out nicely, it's like a marzen saison or something, real neat.

Taste brings the goods. Malt bread basket filled with excellent brown bread flavors in the mid palate. Slight clove warmth finish on the phenol action but more brett makes it really linger. Lots of interesting bread angles, dry rye, pumpernickel, banana bread like ester with a good funky mix of farmhouse flavors. Drinks lightly for easy consumption with a supportive neutral mouthfeel that lets the flavors take turns. A mix of green earth and herb hop also pops nicely on the finish with a good farmhouse accent.

Reminds me of a real good solid bretted marzen, the best of both and works nicely. Fun and tasty brew.

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Photo of sphmiel
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Amber, head fades to a thin rim. Sweet malts in the nose. Nice effervescence, sweet malts followed by yeast and bitter hops. Not the typical saison, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: A nearly brilliant deep amber to light brown pour under a stiff 3” frothy and clingy cream colored foam collar. S: Dark malt, traces of maple, fruit, barnyard. T: Rich dark malt flavors, traces of maple but not overly sweet, no burnt or harsh roast flavors. F: Very effervescent producing a creamy mouthfeel and giving the fairly light body more substance. O: A great beer for early October with a big pot roast.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep, dark, mahogany color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved into a halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Not very aromatic at all, but I do get some notes of toasted malt, a touch of nuttiness, some brown sugar and a touch of barnyard-y hay, straw and wet blanket

Taste: Very nice flavors of toasted malt up front, imparting notes of biscuits or crackers, flowed by some dried stone fruit, such as resins, apricots, or dates, some brown sugar-like sweetness, a touch of Belgian yeast which imparted some earthy notes of leather and tobacco, finished with a touch of sour cherry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 7.2%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Wow! This is another great beer by Stillwater. I’m really, really impressed with this brewer!

 954 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Autumnal does indeed have autumnal brown and orange tones but it's frustratingly hesitant to part with them; highlights are just about snuffed out by an overall complexion that's both dim and concealing. Too bad, this ale could be quite pretty, but if my LED desk lamp fails to tease out any colour then what hope is there? I might as well have poured the sediment in.

Brewed with wheat, Cara-Munich malts, and roasted barley, a trio of German hops, then fermented with Belgian farmhouse yeast, this one is, from a stylistic perspective, all over the map. From the consumer standpoint it's equally confusing; though brewed with so much, it actually smells like very little. I'm actually finding this crudely grainy, yeasty aroma off-putting.

That Autumnal doesn't resemble one beer style specifically is no surprise; the fact that it has no specific style of its own, however, is disappointing. Whatever is read on paper is only marginally tasted on the palate; there is a spiciness and dried fruit element (yeast), trace herbal bitterness (hops), and the odd hint of creamy chocolate on the finish (malts), but nothing stands out.

Nothing, that is, except maybe the 7.2%. The absence of malt allows a rough, unsophisticated, grain distillate-like alcohol presence to free reign. What little nutty sweetness is offered is not forthcoming enough to handle this kind of yeast; brutish notes of stale prune, rank fruits, and spent grain run amok in the aftertaste and really spoil the overall experience.

Autumnal proves the old adage that 'a Jack of all trades is the King of none'. Or, perhaps, it's like an intricate movie that has so much going on that you have to watch it a few times to really follow and appreciate it. Maybe - but I doubt it. If anything, this beer is a reminder of something we all learned in high school: trying too hard to be cool will not make you cool.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance
Cloudy copper with reddish-mahogany highlights. Has 1/2 finger of tan head that dissipates quickly. Light carbonation with plenty of yeast sediment floating around.

Nose
Brown brad, brown sugar, hazelnut, and dark fruit.

Taste
Caramel, brown bread, and toasted grains. Notes of brown sugar and touches of hazelnut. Suggestions of dark fruit, concord grape, and black plum. Earthy hop presence with a squeeze of lemon. Light notes of hay, potpourri, and clove.

Mouthfeel
Medium-light bodied, crisp, clean, off-dry, and refreshing.

Overall
A malty Oktoberfest grain bill with Stillwater's Saison Ale yeast. Yes, please! Very tasty and hides the alcohol extremely well.

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Photo of Jmamay22
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a ruddy dark amber, closer to brown with an ecru head that dissipates to a thin collar. Sort of muddy puddle looking beer. The scent is somewhat nondescript. A general malty scent with some caramel. Hops are not distinct.

Taste is mostly malty with notes of caramel and a slight roasted flavor. Not as crisp and dry as I expect from a saison. Really, doesn't come off as a saison at all. The yeast isn't very expressive either. Lively mouthfeel and a bit thin. Relatively disappointed by this one. Rather boring, yet has no glaring flaws.

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Photo of ksimons
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%

pours a dark toffee/caramel color with a fingers worth of khaki head. Smells of dark bread, caramel, spices, and Belgian yeast. Bready malt and caramel backbone with spices and a light amount of cocoa and roast. Medium body, moderate carbonation. Overall a pretty decent amber saison, but not spectacular.

 309 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 8/26/13.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, toast, earth, and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice caramel and spice presence all around.

 561 characters

Photo of ONUMello
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle, bottled 8/26/13 into a pint glass
A: Muddy brown color, almost no head
S: Brown sugar, ginger, maple, figs, dark malt
T: The ginger/nutmeg spicy notes are very much in the foreground. Everything else from the nose is there but the balance is skewed
M: Medium-bodied, pleasant spice and carbonation
O: Tasty and worth a try though I doubt this will make the regular lineup

 398 characters

Photo of busternuggz
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle (it's in 4 packs now so awesome!) into a tulip glass. Bottled 8/26/13, still held up pretty well though.

Nice amber/brown color with a finely bubbled beige 1/2" head. Settles fairly quick but leaves a thin layer of head.

Interesting aromas of sweet ripe dates, anise, earth, and hay. I like it.

Dates, overripe banana, grass, and a little bit of pepper, slightly sweet. A bit of something like carob. Ends dry and earthy, slightly bitter with some grassy noble hop notes. Nicely balanced between caramel malt-y notes and earthy saison characteristics. Very drinkable, doesn't taste like 7.2% either.

Comes on medium bodied, ends light and clean. Moderate carbonation that works well with the flavors, but could use a little more. Probably lost a bit over 5 months.

As always from Stillwater, this is a beer with character. An interesting collision of a saison and German beer characteristics. Probably lost a little something being 5 months old, but still nice.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a dark caramel color with one finger of off-white head. Sticky lacing left behind.

Aroma of floral hops, tropical fruit, bubblegum, yeast, and some maltiness.

The taste matched the aroma. Floral hops, tropical fruit, yeast, and bubblegum with a light malt and banana finish.

Medium bodied and a bit sticky with a moderate carbonation.

A very interesting Saison from Stillwater. Darker in color and with a bit more malt but still retained the Saison personality. A must try.

 500 characters

Photo of mick303
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Mill Valley Beerworks. Poured a dark hued brown, with good lacing of head, smell was earthy and hearty autumn fruits, bit of a mild roastiness. Taste was smooth and had a bit of the saison earthy character mixed with the darker malts used, an interesting interpretation and fusion, picked up a little yeast character and altogether it was a pleasant saison with a long lingering finish but not as complex a character as would have liked. I would have it again though for the beer was pretty flavourful and interesting.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

some of the best beer ive had from Stillwater yet. this red saison is entirely unique, perfect for fall. it has a deep brick red color, rusty almost, with a jovial white head over an inch tall in my new globe. dense looking, it needs light to show red. the nose and flavor are both excellent as well. both exude strong and interesting Belgian yeast, and the malt profile works so well with it. semisweet, hopped well enough too. harvest vibes abound with this, its earthy and dank. the mix of red malt and saison yeast needs to become a little more popular, such a lovely combination. for how many saison types Stillwater makes, they are all so different from one another, a testament to their competence and creativity. fuller body on this, makes it a slow sipper, and it only improves with temperature. a patient brew, to be contemplated and discussed. one of the most intriguing fall seasonals this year.

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Photo of minterro
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bought from a liquor mart store in Denver, CO on Colorado ave.

Bottled on 08/26/13. Pour into a snifter. Paired with pizza.

A&S: Caramel tones with some mild yeasty funk. Unique but not as complex as I expected. Bright white head that doesn't hang around very long. Dark garnet-brown colored beer (much darker then I expected).

T&M: Very similar to the aroma (caramel and yeasty funk). The 'funk' consists of mostly spiciness. A touch of bubblegum as the bottom yeast is added. Only getting a little fruit in the finish. Pretty sharp carbonation bite, mediumish bodied.

Overall: nothing special, but still good and unique. Probably my least favorite I have tried from this company so far.

 693 characters

Photo of Libationguy
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy copper color with amber hues. Off-white 2-finger head with medium+ retention. Carbonation is aggressive.

Toasted malt, coriander, semi-dried black fruits, orange peel, vanilla and nugat.

Dates, coriander, citrus zest, mocha, marzipan, nugat and lightly caramelized malt.

Medium+ bodied with a clean feel to the palate. Slight bitterness in the finish is helping to keep everything clean. Beer is over carbonated though.

Interesting beer with a lot of this happening. Would like to see an easing in the beers carbonation though.

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Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: A billowy gusher that pours a cola brown color capped by an impressive head that leaves plenty of lace (deduct .5 for the gushing)

Smell: Toasted brown bread, dried dark fruit, banana and a hint of vanilla

Taste: Toasted brown bread, dried dark fruit (figs and dates) and banana, up front, with a a bit of spice cake and vanilla in the middle; nicely blended through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Altbier meets Dubbel, I am having a hard time finding the Saison in all this; having said that, my bottle has been cellared for a year or two and has likely mellowed quite a bit; still, I like the result, even if it is quite different from what it tastes like in its youth

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle - $10.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Woodstock, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a rustic brown body, opaque, with a hefty layering of off-white suds.

Smell: Sugar-encusted, toasted dark bread, embodying a scent of caramel just as a blitz of tartish, ripe fruits, citrus, banana, and piquant phenolic spices (along with a drip of alcohol) pop in.

Taste: Moderately toasted bread crusts and fresh grains, with a sweetness of dark caramel and brown sugar. Has a herbaceous streak running through it from the hops, along with a little bitterness boosted by the suds. Soon, the wheat opens up, as does a little tempered roastiness. A portion of sawdust mingled with white peppercorns. Splash of fresh lemon juice. Hint of pear, prune, and bruised banana. Drying, zestful, tartish finish with some sweetness remaining.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-high carbonation.

Overall: A nice, respectable ale.

 913 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a tulip. There is a dark brown body with very little clarity. There is a nice one inch medium tan head. There is some mild sticky lacing.

The aroma has some mildly fruity spice with some subtle maltyness.

The taste has a rich nearly roasty malt flavor. The slightly spicy yeast is placed mostly at the finish. This is just a little too malty for my liking.

This is medium bodied with crisp carbonation. Not bad but I prefer many of Stillwater's other offerings.

 476 characters

Photo of Apostlebrews
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a dark amber in color. The carbonation is evident in the pour as it left about three-fingers worth of head. Lots of lacing on the glass. Fortunately, the head dissipates quickly.

Lots of spice, yeast, and sweet fruits on the nose. As the beer warmed, I could pick up some caramel in the aroma as well.

The taste is a Belgian bomb of sugar, spices, and dark fruits. Slightly sour. Grape, ginger, and figs are the dominant flavors up front before the Belgian funk shows up. This beer has a creamy caramel finish that took my by surprise. With all the carbonation that hits the tongue up front, I wasn't expecting such a creamy finish. The carbonation fades in the mouth and allows this beer to end with a smooth coating on the tongue.

At first, I wanted to write about how this is a decent beer, but sort of forgettable, and then I remembered what I learned about farmhouse ales. These are brewed to "get by" on the farm. They aren't meant to blow your socks off with a bag of tricks. They come from a time of simplicity and hard work. They're rustic. And when I think about that, I think Autumnal successfully embodies this style. It's not the best beer I've tasted, but it's satisfying. I think that's all it needs to be.

Check out more of my reviews at thebeerapostle.com

Cheers!

 1,298 characters

Photo of champ103
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Avenue Pub

A: Pours a dark orange/reddish hue. A two finger white head forms. Plenty of lace is left behind.
S: A big bready malty aroma up front. Sweet malts and a honey like sweetness. Then a musky yeast. That is it, nice but pretty simple.
T: Muddled sweet malts. A honey sweetness, and yeast. Some fruity esters as well. I like it, but not a lot of definition with the malts.
M/D: A medium body and crisp carbonation. Crisp and smooth at the same time. Easy and enjoyable to drink. I can sip on a few without a problem.

Enjoyable and I like it. Though seems like a muddled Bière de Garde. Still worth a try.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at the Barley Oak in Mandeville, LA. Poured into snifter, a ruby brown pecan color. No head but a thin lacing exists. Look is flat and ordinary. Smells of slight sweet caramel malts and some slight mild hop. Meh. Taste is really nice. Sweet caramel malts but slightly bitter and ever so slight funk/earth. It has a slightly dry finish and bitter on the tip of the tongue. Really nice unique maltier saison. I like this brew. Its mild but flavorfull at the same time.

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Autumnal from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
3.75 out of 5 based on 267 ratings.
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