A Saison Darkly | Stillwater Artisanal Ales

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A Saison DarklyA Saison Darkly
Very Good
348 Ratings
A Saison DarklyA Saison Darkly

Brewed by:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Maryland, United States

Style: Belgian Saison

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus in Deinze-Gottem, Belgium with Dr. Canarus. This black saison carries qualities similar to a stout with light roast and burnt sugar flavors, spiced with rose hips, hibiscus, and Schisandra berries.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 348 |  Reviews: 134
Reviews by EgadBananas:
Photo of EgadBananas
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Gehrig13 for this long time want.

Pours very dark, sort of a dark, dark brown, almost black. A dark tan head adorns, dissipating to a slight foamy ring. Definitely the most roasty dakr saison I've had. Slightly burnt, with noticeable spice notes, yeasty esters. The taste has some sweetness up front, a hint of fruitiness, roasted malts with some sweet toast, spices and yeast esters. The carbonation is a bit nippy. Light to medium body.

Overall, it's quite enjoyable. Dark saisons are a unique thing and no two are alike, but this is a nice and more roasty iteration.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Looks like a Belgian stout, what with an opaque chocolate color and a tightly bubbled foamy head; outlines the glass with a streak of lace

Smell: Roasted grain, filberts and unsweetened baker's chocolate

Taste: Opens with the roasted grain flavors and moves in a toffee and filbert direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the unsweetened chocolate adds depth but the finish was very dry

Mouthfeel: Medium body with gently, but frothy, carbonation

Overall: While I liked the beer I cannot help but think that something was missing, and that something was the interesting yeast character that I look for in a great saison

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brown (near black) in color and poured with a finger high off white head that quickly faded away and left a ringer of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of dark fruits and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some flavors of chocolate malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

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Photo of DoctorB2B
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of GregSVT
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a dark brown with a creamy light brown head that fades to a ring leaving some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is intriguing on this one. Starts with the belgian yeast aromas of apples, pears, and a touch of banana but there is a chocolately malt aroma in there as well.

T: The taste is also interesting. It tastes like a porter mixed with a saison. Lots of good chocolate and cocoa flavors mix with belgian yeast esters and fruity flavors. There are some dark fruits in there as well.

M: The feel is nice and creamy with a medium body.

O: While this isn't my favorite beer it's definitely something I am glad I got to try. It's right between a porter and a saison. I would probably drink it again...especially around the fall months when I'm looking for something dark but still a bit light.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The beer poured a dark black color with a big frothy covering of chocolate head. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind lots of lace.

S - The aroma is a complex mix of toasted grains, peppery spices, some earthy herbal notes, and a bit of sweet dark fruit.

T - Starts off with a healthy serving of roasted and even borderline burnt grains and malt with a bit of earthy and herbal spices coming in right behind. Through the middle, the sweet dark fruit flavors come through with some yeast and floral characters. The finish is a mix of yeast, roasted malts, and spices that linger nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels smooth and quite dry form the roasted flavors and spices.

D - Very drinkable. The roasted flavors are really interesting and work extremely well with the saison base. The spices also balance out the beer really well.

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Photo of csnyder83
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark saison, a bit monochord but pleasing.

Presentation: 33 cl brown capped bottle. Label with an intriguing illustration of a see through body upside down, like a classic anatomy illustration, surrounded by a dark background of berries and blue flowers. One liner noting that it is a dark ale brewed with spices, next to a side liner highlighting the import details. Notes best before 2012, and 8% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Near black pour with dark brown edges, generous foamy head, good retention, and minimal lacing.

S - Roasted malt with a nice fruity sense, light floral touch over the yeasty sense.

T - Roasted range with the same light fruity and floral flow, light tartness, soft plum and yeast, It feels pretty compact and-or I´m unable to extract many nuances. Even as such it is well rounded including spicy and earthy touches as well as a dash of boozy caramel and chocolate in the late finish.

M - Medium-light body with medium carbonation, fairly smooth feel.

D - Pleasing flow without the dash to take it to a memorable level.

Notes: A nice offer from Stillwater, not a fav from their production so far but well worth the try.

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Photo of wschmit
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Best before June 2012 on the bottle.

A: A careful pour still yielded a large, fine, fluffy tan head atop a nearly opaque body, a heavy crimson hue around the edges. Almost stout-like in appearance. Head lingers a good while.

S: A fairly muted nose--some alcohol, mild malt, and rising bread, with some clove notes. A little swirling yielded a distinct burnt sugar nose, quite pleasant, but all too fleeting.

T: Interesting--dominant impression is stout or porter, with rich roasted barley right off the bat and throughout the sip. The saison elements are there, namely a sort of wild/funky yeast presence embodied by some spiciness, but it seems lost in the excellent dark body. However, it's thoughtful and keeping my attention, and I quite like it--a good dark saison, but more on the dark side to me, a successful combination.

M: Good bubbly twinge that actually hides the booze I got on the nose. Nice, fulsome body makes for a relatively easy quaff at 8 percent ABV.

O: Overall, it's a good effort. As said earlier, it's more dark than saison, but a successful combination, and possibly a good way to get a stout lover into more enterprising yeast profiles. I'd plunk down the 5 or 6 I paid for this again, and start a night off with it.

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Photo of lillitnn92
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of JohnK17
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of oline73
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a little bit of light coming through at the edges. Initially, there are three fingers of tan head. The head dissipates, but a solid layer remains throughout.

Smell: This one smells quite good. Initially I pick up some sweet roasty cocoa. There is also a bit of Belgian spice. I also pick up a dry aroma that resembles oak.

Taste: Like the smell, initially I'm picking up a roasty, chocolate sweetness. There area also some hints of dark fruit and brown sugar. In the background there are some spice/herbal hints, and a bit of alcohol. The sweet roast remans throughout, but doesn't mute the other flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and a bit slick on the tongue. The carbonation is on the high side. My only complaint is that I would like this to be a bit more on the dry side.

Drinkability: This is a very interesting good beer. I told my wife that I think we should try to pick up a few more bottles to see how this one does with more age. I think the flavors are very well balanced.

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Photo of Drknight
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of nh2032
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of djt06001
4.52/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours nearly black with a light brown head. Foam is soft and retentive.

S: Smells of dark malt and spice up front with a floral, almost wine-like finish, very inviting.

T: Begins with sharp roasted notes leading into a coffee and chocolate midpoint, and ends with a dry and crisp finish.

M: Much different than what I'm used to in a dark ale, very clean and with sharp carbonation. Loved it.

D: Definitely best aspect of this ale is its supreme drink-ability, almost all of the alcohol is hidden and the stronger notes don't accumulate on the palette. The crisp, dry finish is outstanding.

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Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of HattedClassic
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a vigorous khaki head and the beer itself is a darkish brown black. Lots of lacing.

The chocolate and the yeast smell very nice with what seems to be a hint of vanilla.

The chocolate is omnipresent but does not dominate the taste. I also get hints of orange and yeast, which seem to dominate the taste.


A good beer but I'm not too crazy about the style. It reminds of orange flavored chocolate.

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Photo of barczar
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear deep brown with garnet highlights and a frothy khaki head that dissipates to nothing.

Initial aroma is bubblegum, chocolate, and flowers. I get the rose hips, but hibiscus is a stretch. There's a bit of funk.

One of the drier saisons I can recall, likely accentuated by dark malt. More bubblegum, a little funk, floral notes, and a light tartness. Mint emerges late.

Body is moderate, with moderate carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

I like the sour notes and funk, but that dark malt doesn't jive well for me as it warms. One of few beers I'd advise drinking on the cold side. Very intriguing.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Typical annoying 4 finger off white head atop a dark brown-black liquid with yeast floating around. Little lacing.

S - Floral hops and spices, yeast, light roast.

T - Starts with dark candi sugar, roasted malts; middle is belgian yeast, spices, grass; finishes with light mixed berries and char.

M - High carbonation, medium-full body.

O - If this beer was brewed without the hyperactive yeast it would be so much better.

Batch #3, bb Oct. 2013

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Photo of stimulus
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a globe glass.

A: Pours a pitch black with a one finger tan head that sticks around for a bit.
S: Floral, spicy, and hoppy, but no detection of roasted malts.
T: The money maker. Dark fruits, chocolate, and spices blended together perfectly, bitter roasted finish.
M: Smooth as can be, great carbonation, and medium bodied.
D: This goes down well, probably too well now that I noticed the ABV on it.

This tastes exactly how a Black Saison should taste in theory, and hopefully more brewers brew beers like this one, so this can eventually be recognized as its own style. It certainly tastes nothing like a traditional saison since it is much smoother rather than spritzy and crisp, and it has a great touch of roasted malt brewed in.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark almost black mahogany. A finger of dark tan head rests upon this sultry looking brew. Recedes into a thin ring of bubbles. Decent looking brew.

S- starts of with a simple toasty character with a dark chocolate note. The middle is all floral aromas with a predominate rose character with a hint of herbal berry. Finishs with a spicy saison ester with a cake malt personality.

T- this beer reminds me of a swartzbier. Slight toasty chocolate flavors with a bready malt. Spicy saison esters mix in with a floral rose hip and hibiscus burst. A herbal berry like note dances in and out the palate. Finishs dry and fruity.

MF- effervescent slick mouthfeel with a frenetic carbonation and playfull lighter medium body.

D- ok drinkability. Overall this is a good beer with some interesting characteristics however it just lacks something to push it over the edge. Worth having and I'd have it again if offered to me.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thank you jahuneyc for this bottle!!! enjoyed in my stillwater wine glass.

a - poured a dark brown/purple with a generous yeasty head. foamy and frothy and creamy looking. head eventually shrank down to a lid on the surface.

s - spicey. some roast and toastiness...some chocolate/coffee flavors, but the spiciness makes things extremely unique. candied spiciness...like nothing i've ever smelt, but good.

t - starts off with roasted cocoa then again goes into some unknown territory of sweet and spicy all at the same time. finishes with some tingling. dark fruits are in there as well, but the potpouri of spices make it something different. kind of burnt, but not charred...and also very belgian from the yeast.

m - semi-creamy. nice carbonation. not all that full and the alc seems tucked away nicely in this brew aside from the tingle it leaves.

o - overall, this might be the most unique and different beer i've ever tried. it is quite good, but not very farmhouse. not very any style. in a class of it's own. brian makes some interesting and unique beers and this is no exception. seems like how i would imagine a belgian porter to be.

 1,146 characters

Photo of mrebeka
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%

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A Saison Darkly from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 348 ratings