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Existent | Stillwater Artisanal Ales

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ExistentExistent
BA SCORE
3.78/5
Very Good
648 Ratings
ExistentExistent
BEER INFO

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Existent represents the philosophy behind Stillwater Artisanal. We strive to define ourselves through our passion and sincerity while accepting that not all aspects of life are readily explainable. To manifest this ideology we present an ale of intrigue. Deep & dark though deceptively dry, braced by a firm yet smooth bitterness and accented with an earthy hop and mild roast aroma. This is an ale for you to define...
’and if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’ –Nietzsche

Added by Thorpe429 on 11-13-2010

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#17,793
Reviews:
177
Ratings:
648
pDev:
11.64%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
25
Gots:
70
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 648 |  Reviews: 177
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A complex saison that's overtaken by a shwartbier with chocolate and mildly seems like an imperial stout. Lots of roast, good drinking though not exceptionally tasty. Dark bittersweet chocolate milk colour with a bit of white head. Thanks Michael Pollack.

 255 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Large off white head on a very deep amber dark body with nice lacing. Darker than any other farmhouse ale I have had.

S: mild fruity aroma with a slight mint and evergreen note.

T: Flavor is not so much like a traditional farmhouse. Up front you get the mild fruity and belgian yeast flavor you would expect with roasted malt, coffee, smokey notes in the finish.

M: full body and moderate carbonation. dry finish.

Overall: Very unique and interesting for the style. I rather have a traditional saison however this one is certainly memorable.

 549 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, slight cocoa, dark fruit, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with a medium amount of spice and roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice set of aromas and flavors.

 528 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

sort of a saison porter/stout hybrid here, big thick dark malt flavors and textures, with that drying and farmy saison yeast we know from other stillwater brews. its big for sure, and the yeast gets lost just a little bit amongst the heavy hitting and full bodied grain in this one. syrupy look, but sill well carbonated. the nose is as much chocolate malt as it is french saison yeast, with some bitter notes in there and even a little oak, although I'm not sure this ever saw a barrel. heavy roasty notes on the front end that hint at burning cigar and bakers chocolate. the yeast isn't quite enough to dry this all the way up in the finish, so its a little more sweet and heavy than it needs to be, but i like the way the yeast mixes with these flavors. a tannic almost wine character resounds through the finish as well. i like this most because its unique, bigger than other dark saisons. some brett might make this next level, i just would like a little more dryness to the overall experience. tough to drink more than one or two of these, but i certainly appreciate this one from stillwater.

 1,098 characters

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this twice, the first time I bought a bottle for myself and opened it I found this brew to be quite hoppy. The color was black and just really nice looking overall. The smell was similar to a Belgian IPA with some roasted aromas in there too. The taste had some big citrus notes mixed with the dark malts too. The mouthfeel was light for a darker style brew, overall I enjoyed it both times I've had it. The second time after a few months had gone by I was given some and I noticed that the hoppy flavors and aromas were not nearly as strong. This had turned into a much more earthy brew with the aging it had. Pretty interesting how much a little time made on this one.

 679 characters

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brownish red in color (opaque when viewed from afar) and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The first pour resulted in light brown colored head than beer; subsequent pours resulted in increasingly proportions of beer compared to foam, the latter of which consistently left a head covering the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of earthy yeast and dark malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has additional flavors of roasted malts and some hints of dark fruits.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: I found this beer to be rather interesting for the style but overcarbonated. It almost seems like it should fit into a "Black Saison" category, just like there is one for a Black IPA (American Black Ale).

 846 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I generally make distinctions between how Belgian brewers make authentic and high quality tasting ales and how American brewers try to emulate them. Where I usually think American versions fall short, I may have to re-evaluate that reason if beers like Existent becomes the new benchmark.

With a russet and tawny rubyish brown hue, the yeasty haze casts a mystic glow of eerie effect. The nearly opaque beer immediately releases a billowing sand-stained head which retains stubbornly and laces impressivley with random character on the glass.

Strong aromatics of toast, starch, burnt embers, and scorched molassas begin to frame the malty matrix. Not to be outdone, a balance of spice ensues- led by the scent of freshly cracked peppercorn, coriander, and grilled fruit, fennel, the beer's aroma is strong but never plays favorites. It has to be said that a light phenolic note of burnt plastic persists far in the background.

Flavors however do not. As the taste of dry heavy toast, cocoa powder, smoky mole, light vegemite , and spent coffee grounds provide a robust and creamy taste that starts early and extends well into the finish. But the middle palate of coriander, fennel, currant, red grapes, and curacao ride just above the starchy taste of spaghetti before landing at the dry threshold of dry toast and peppercorn that return in finish.

Medium-dry in texture, the high effervescence pushes the beer off the mouth and creates a sense of dryness from the very start. But as the carbonation subsides, its the interesting dialogue that continues with creamy maltiness and peppery spice. - all works toward an off-dry finish of acrid toast and dry spice to close the beer with minimal aftertaste.

Immediate comparisons come to mind with Goose Island's Pepe Nero. Existent pushes further into that balance of flavor with greater fruit, spice, and malt complexities while offering similar drinkability. Score one for Stillwater!

 1,938 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, day 7 of the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar. Once again, nothing about what this beer really is, just a lot of hippie psycho-babble in the marketing description.

This beer pours a clear, dark cola amber hue, with three fingers of aggressively puffy, and fizzily foamy beige head, which leaves some hanging clothesline lace around the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, fleshy dark fruit, overripe banana, earthy yeast, a bit of mixed holiday spices, and a soft leafy hoppiness. The taste is more lightly toasted caramel malt, dry toffee, astringent butter, earthy yeast, somewhat sharp black stonefruit, wet crackers, understated savoury spice, and a hint of warming alcohol.

The carbonation is soft, and weakly frothy, the body a sturdy medium weight, a tad clammy, yet mostly smooth, but for a slight metallic swath cutting through, origins hard to discern. It finishes more or less on the sweet side, the caramel, dark fruit, and subsurface booze contending with surprisingly little yeast or hop bitterness.

Kind of like a cross between a plainly malty brown ale, and a softly yeasty and fruity farmhouse ale. Not a marriage that I was dying to see happen, and the results become a lot more skewed towards the former as the glass empties, so I'm left with the feeling of 'what's the point?'

 1,342 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A spectacular pour, with a densely packed tan head laying atop the coffee colored liquid; plenty of stickage and lace

Smell: The beer has the black bread aroma of a schwarzbier along with the citrusy hop character of an IPA

Taste: Black bread with an underlying smokey character, up front; joined by the the pithy citrus from the hops by mid-palate; in the back, well after the swallow, there is some yeasty complexity that could be described as adding a sour hint to the mix of flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderately high carbonation

Drinkability: There is a lot going on in this beer, though I would like to see a bit more of a Belgian character in the yeast profile and the mouthfeel; still, this is really worth seeking out

 751 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of oline73
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap in a pint glass at Max's

Appearance - Pours almost black with some light coming through at the edges. Smooth tan one finger head goes away almost immediately, there is some lacing.

Smell - This one is quite roasty with hints of hops and a little bit of spice from the yeast.

Taste - Burnt roast definitely dominates here. There is an herbal hoppy flavor in the background. I don't detect much that would tell me this if a farmhouse.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with a delicate smooth carbonation.

Drinkability - This one tastes like a hoppy stout to me. That being said I liked it, but I don't think I'll be looking for any more.

 646 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep dark color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and fruity ester with light funky notes is pretty unique and very interesting. Taste is also dominated by light roasted malt with some light funky ester and some what of a fruity and dry raisins finish. Body was quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very different and complex – almost like a mix between some element of a foreign stout and a farmhouse ale.

 516 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown color with a two-finger, light brown head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of dried dark fruits and candy sugar.

T - It tasted of rich maltiness, chocolate and cherries. A touch of spiciness, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a really tasty saison. Not surprising that Stillwater has done a great job here.

 417 characters

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/5/2013. Pours lightly cloudy nearly opaque dark brown color with a 3 finger dense and rocky khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a large amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, roasted malt, pear, apple, toast, peppercorn, clove, herbal, floral, grass, dark bread, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, caramel, toast, pear, apple, peppercorn, clove, herbal, floral, grass, dark bread, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy yeast spice on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, roast, caramel, toast, pear, apple, peppercorn, clove, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/roasted malt flavors; with a nice crisp malt/yeast flavor balance with zero cloying after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, moderately prickly, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent dark saison. All around great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/roasted malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,555 characters

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Existent from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 648 ratings
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