Stillwater Artisanal Ales

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Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Washington, United States
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
4.03 | pDev: 10.92%
Jun 16, 2017
Feb 23, 2011
Notes: Brewed with good friend, Urbain Coutteau of De Struise Brouwers. Urbain describes this work as "Dark chess-nut coloured ale with a nice steady off-white head. Aroma is all about finesse, loads of blossoms and spring flowers. The mouth-feel is refined, playful and complex with Saison like peppery flavours. Soft nutty after taste with a bite."

Import Series Volume 3
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Ratings by woosterbill:
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Reviewed by woosterbill from Kentucky

3.57/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5
On-tap at Prime 16 into a Grimbergen chalice.

A: Muddy mahogany body under a thin, fine cap of tan foam. Average retention but nice sticky lace. Not especially compelling.

S: Sweet fruits and malts are dominant here, with raisins and chocolate standing out in front of some intensely herbal, spicy character. Plenty of alcohol, too. Interesting, but it falls short of being really enjoyable.

T: Weird. It tastes like someone poured something like Rochefort 8 over a bed of cinnamon-heavy potpourri. Very spicy, very floral, rather medicinal, and malty underneath it all. Clove, cinnamon, and bay leaf open things up, followed by wheat, carrot cake, prune, candied date and cocoa powder. Some dry bready malt finishes things out, followed by a huge wave of herbal, spicy alcohol on the aftertaste. The transition from core sweetness to the dryness of the finish is a bit distracting, as is the prevalence of strange spices, but overall I kind of like it. But only kind of.

M: Full-bodied, sticky, and heavily carbonated, it begins to feel a little overbearing but ultimately smoothes out nicely. I’m a fan.

O: What a strange brew. I love how it absolutely assaults me with flavor every which way, from the upfront spices to the back-end booze, and how it brazenly strikes its own path out from the safe core of a typical BSDA. If even a little bit of integration or refinement were here to lend structure to the sensory explosion then this would be a fantastic ale – as it is, it’s an exciting and challenging one. I’m glad I tried it once, but I won’t be ordering it again.

Apr 19, 2011
More User Ratings:
Rated: 3.48 by Ctbibleandbeerman from Connecticut

Jun 16, 2017
Photo of chinchill
Reviewed by chinchill from South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Cool cellared 12 oz bottle. Some sediment left in the bottle.
Pours hazy dark reddish-brown with a fine looking tan head that has moderate retention but leaves excellent lacing.
Rich flavor that's a bit boozy. Hints of dried plums, dates and fruit-bread.
Pleasing aroma with a hint of the 9% ABV,
Medium-full body with medium carbonation.
Mar 31, 2017
Photo of Slatetank
Reviewed by Slatetank from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
I purchased this bottle at Beer Store Malvern, enjoyed chilled in a goblet

The color is medium brown with light tan head and spotty lace sticks with a fine bead. The smell has a fruity scent with dark malt in aroma and light sweet nutty odor and mild yeast ester with a gentler herbal accent. The feel is smooth with sweet and dense body with medium carbonation and light nuttiness with slight accent of earthen dry qualities in the warming finish.

The taste is very good with nicely balance malt sweetness with a date and light nutty taste with herbal flavor and some vanilla with caramel and toffee mid palate. The herbal taste could be hops with mild yeast adding stone fruit qualities with a mild amount of alcohol as it finishes with a tea-like (black)floral and roasted yet astringent flavor. This is a good dark strong Belgian ale which is very drinkable considering it is 10%, it doesn't have any alcohol taste to speak of.
May 06, 2016
Rated: 3.75 by ConradKenney from Maryland

Feb 05, 2016
Rated: 4.26 by RPM3334 from South Carolina

Dec 17, 2015
Rated: 3.25 by GRG1313 from California

Nov 20, 2015
Rated: 4.35 by WastingFreetime from Wisconsin

Jun 15, 2015
Rated: 4.21 by NateF90 from Connecticut

May 16, 2015
Rated: 4.2 by ImFlyerThanYou from New Jersey

May 08, 2015
Rated: 3.83 by AlexFields from Tennessee

Feb 01, 2015
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Reviewed by luvtotri140 from New York

3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
Pours a dark amber color.
Alot going on ,strong floral notes with hints of fruit and a strong booze taste to wash it all down
interesting beer but not my thing .
Nov 26, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by olradetbalder from Sweden

Nov 21, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by KnowYourCraft from California

Oct 07, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by mscudder from Georgia

Sep 09, 2014
Rated: 4 by DrBier from Pennsylvania

Aug 07, 2014
Photo of logicalparadox
Reviewed by logicalparadox from New York

3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3
Pours a beautiful dark honey, malty color with a nice head and plenty of retention.

Aroma is complex and heavy. Sweet, with hints of the florals being overshadowed by dark fruits, maltiness, and molasses.

Taste is sweet, with dark notes of sugar plums, mollases, and some hints of the floral additions. A malty, sweet and strong brew. The alcohol is very noticeable. A big beer, to be sure.

mouthfeel is sticky and heavy. It's a big beer and not for the faint of heart.

Overall, not my favorite. An interesting brew with much complexity, but a big beer with a high alcohol presence that is not very well hidden. A bit overwhelming, especially on the sweetness. However, if you like this style, you will find a wide range of complex flavors and aromas on which to ponder
Aug 02, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by MacQ32 from South Carolina

Aug 02, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by paresis from Massachusetts

Jul 24, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by Gonzoillini from Illinois

Jun 11, 2014
Rated: 4 by starshockey9 from New Jersey

Mar 17, 2014
Rated: 4 by Griffith from Connecticut

Feb 26, 2014
Photo of mrfrancis
Reviewed by mrfrancis from Kentucky

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A: Pours a murky, dark amber with a thin off-white mousse that dissipates quickly.

S: Aromas of wheat bread, herbs, cider apple, must, spiced pear, roasted nuts, caramel, and raisin are present on the nose, though subtle hints of flowers emerge as the beer warms.

T: Notes of wheat bread, oak, cream, herbs, grass, cider apple, spiced pear, plums, raisins, dates, figs, honey and roasted nuts are underscored by very subtle notes of baking spices, violets, and roses. The finish is warming and syrupy with wheat bread, caramel, nut, honey, cream, herb, and raisin flavors giving way to slightly prickly alcohol.

M: Displaying a fairly full, soft body, this ale is silky, smooth, and somewhat creamy in the mouth. Carbonation is unobtrusive. Alcohol is fairly pronounced, but not really distracting. An easy sipper to be sure.

O: A very solid Belgian strong dark ale with just a little bit of funk to keep it interesting. This is much subtler and more restrained than I was expecting, but it is still a very respectable brew. Stillwater continues to impress me.
Feb 24, 2014
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Reviewed by brentk56 from North Carolina

3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Appearance: Pours a murky chestnut with an nice frothy ecru head; quite a few strands of lace remain behind

Smell: Caramel, molasses, Gin-soaked bananas, dates, figs, tobacco and spices

Taste: Layers of malt depth lead off, bringing caramel, molasses and brown sugar; above this base, the fruit flavors mingle, the bananas, dates and figs all mixed together in a Gin cocktail; the finish digs deeper, bringing tobacco and herbal tones that linger in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: While there is tremendous complexity to this brew, I really don't care for the finish; it doesn't taste familiar as a BSDA (and I respect that) but it is not a beer that I enjoyed drinking
Jan 29, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by kaelingirl from Massachusetts

Jan 16, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by iatethecloudsfor from Vermont

Dec 30, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by ncelauro from New York

Dec 18, 2013
Photo of brewandstew
Reviewed by brewandstew from Maryland

3/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75
We're serving this guest tap at the brew pub where I work.

Appearance is amber with rocky white head. Clarity is brilliant.

Aroma has slight spice notes, dominated with floral rose notes and green apple.

Flavor is floral and medicinal. I get green apple and acetaldehyde with hints of rose. To me the flavor is not pleasant.

Mouthfeel is crisp and appropriate for the style.

Overall impression of this beer is that the flavor is convoluted and not well executed. Other reviews describe a beer darker in color than the beer we have on tap under the same moniker. The floral/ herbal ingredients do not seem to mesh well in the final product. I am not sure if the beer is fresh, though I know it was very expensive. I was hoping for a better experience.
Dec 10, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
Reviewed by BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Enlivened by rose, violet and jasmine the bright and perfumy botanical character, this stronger darker Belgian ale relies on these herbs and spices to balance its sheer maltiness and intertwined fruit notes. Jaded? ...well, its anything but.

Jaded's tawny reddish brown hue gives it a certain port-wine character. But its unadulterated haze points more toward beer than of fortified wine. Especially when coupled with a dainty, dense and stainish yellow head, the ale effects are obvious. Its spotty lace is a testament to both the beer's Belgian-esque roots that promote foam production but also to its high alcohol content that inhibits retention and lace just a little.

Its high aromatic value doesn't steer toward those herb additions but instead projects the sweetness within: toffee, maple, brown sugar, and confectioner's candy shops wrap around its estery character of cherries, red grapes, figs, dates, red apples and apricots. Eventually, and after the beer warms significantly do its floral-fruity additions rise from the mix to make any meaningful impact. Lightly toasted in its grain character, its "crusted" aromas allow a full-out fruit cake aroma to resonate heading into the initial sip.

To taste, malt drives this beer- its sweet and bready armatures are built with molasses, brown sugar and molasses. Off of which hangs the fruity and spicy balance. Tilting heavily toward the fruit, those dried and pitted fruits of aromas give the malt sweetness a boost. Counterpart to the fruit and sweet tastes, a spicy peppercorn, cinnamon, clove and allspice note to springs to life and emboldens the flowery taste that's hidden within. As the taste develops, its spiced rum taste supplants its sweet upstart and signals a long, savory and "spring-fresh" taste that's kinda Pez-like.

Its palate sensations are quite nice but peculiar. Full-bodied through the majority of its taste, its zesty carbonation pulls from its residual sweetness for a slightly numbing and prickly spite. As the sugars slowly dissolve, its finish is spicy, malty-dry and with a soft slickness from those botanical oils.

The only thing that this Jaded has in common with rose, jasmine and violets is that they have oriental roots. But this ale is all about Belgium as it paired well with Roth Gran Queso Original cheese and hot capicola charcuterie.
Nov 26, 2013
Rated: 4 by random846 from California

Nov 15, 2013
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
Reviewed by coreyfmcdonald from Georgia

3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
33cl bottle into a HF wine glass

A: Pours a dark brown color with amber highlights. A finger of creamy khaki foam forms with great retention and lacing.

S: Sweet prunes mixed with sherry/oxidation notes. Belgian yeasty esters help balance the sweetness. The dark dried fruit sweetness is pretty intense in that it's concentrated, not necessarily too sweet.

T: My first thought on the flavor is oxidation. I get a bit of cardboard mixed with sherry notes. Dark, overripe fruits are still there, though not quite as intense as the aroma. I also get some burnt sugars. Esters are there, but are hiding behind the fruit.

M: Medium thickness and creamy carbonation.

O: A nice BSDA. Intense dark fruit with nice subtle esters.
Nov 15, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by jorgerod99 from California

Nov 08, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by impending from California

Oct 30, 2013
Rated: 2.5 by mendvicdog from Maryland

Oct 21, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by mportnoy from Pennsylvania

Oct 18, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by Proclarush from Maryland

Oct 16, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by stephenjmoore from Maryland

Oct 14, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by Xandrose from Maryland

Oct 12, 2013
Photo of bpasquini
Reviewed by bpasquini from California

4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
A: Pours a murky reddish amber with almost no head, leaves a little lacing after taking a drink

S: To me theres not a whole lot going on here, smells like most other belgian strong ales, but has a little extra floral aroma to it, the smell is very light to, almost hard to smell, but what you get from it smells pretty good

T: First taste is a nice strong yeast flavor, which then transfers to a sweet honey floral flavor followed with a little bit of an alcohol presence, but the alcohol is very light and compliments the beer, this is surprisingly full of flavor compared to how weak the scent was given off of the beer

M: Light for a strong belgian, very crisp as well which is nice, slightly oily as well which makes it smooth

O: It's pretty good, I didn't know what to think about it at first but the more I drink it the more I like it, definitely pick this one up if you like belgian style beers
Sep 22, 2013
Photo of Immortale25
Reviewed by Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a murky light brown color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that doesn't retain long before soon becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass. Non-resilient lacing leaves a thin ring behind.

S- Pretty standard Belgian yeast aroma that's sweet and has good notes of Belgian Candi sugar. Kinda boozy though.

T- Packs a flavorful punch of spice, yeast and alcohol that's married well. The sweetness reigns throughout and there's notes of honey and lavender that are quite pleasant. Not as boozy in the taste as the aroma.

M- Pretty slick, almost syrupy. Medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- A nice tasting BSDA that benefits well from the mixture of spices.
Sep 08, 2013
Jaded from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 145 ratings