Débutante
Stillwater Artisanal Ales

DébutanteDébutante
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Style:
Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Garde
ABV:
6.4%
Score:
87
Avg:
3.86 | pDev: 10.1%
Reviews:
117
Ratings:
342
From:
Stillwater Artisanal Ales
 
Maryland, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  14
Gots
  36
SCORE
87
Very Good
DébutanteDébutante
Notes: Collaboration with The Brewer's Art

It’s my pleasure to present a collaboration with The Brewer’s Art. A Baltimore institution that helped to pioneer the Belgian beer movement in the States. Brewed with a combination of Spelt & Rye, accented with a blend of Heather, Honeysuckle, and Hyssop. The result is a rustic farmhouse ale displaying earthy tones & floral characteristics while maintaining intricate balance.
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Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 342 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by jjdc:
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jjdc from District of Columbia

4/5  rDev +3.6%

Jan 31, 2014
More User Reviews:
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml metallic salmon foil capped bottle. Artsy Greco-Roman seeming imagery adorns the label, but is in all likelihood more retro southern culture on the skids in nature.

This beer pours a rather cloudy, medium burnt golden amber hue, with two fingers of tightly foamy, and by default, creamy off-white head, which renders a few swaths of Cat in the Hat abode lace around the glass as things quite literally slink away.

It smells of sassy soaked cereal grains - barley, rye, and some sort of adjacent hippie affair - honeyed apple mush, a zippy earthy floral character, subtly spicy cloves, yeasty banana, and a tardy wheat astringency. The taste is more yeasty, grainy multitudinous malts - the usual suspects, well aided and abetted by a further earthy, musty, back forty weirdness, where the crop just ain't quite normal, is it? Earthy, floral, and perfume counter citrus add to the mix, along with a mild dry nuttiness, a bit of white pepper and coriander spiciness, and soft earthy, leafy hops.

The bubbles are nice and frothy, at first, the body medium-light in weight, and generally smooth, aided or hindered, it's kind of hard to tell, by the tiny, tiny bubbles that seem to be damned near everywhere. It finishes off-dry, the grainy, generally familiar maltiness and apple fruitiness more or less carrying the day.

A tasty enough saison, 'amped' up by the side-stepping grain, and mostly hard to discern floral adjuncts. Another weird, and limited in its wonder Belgian-influenced ale from Stillwater. I grok what they're doing as a gypsy brewer, and avid promoter of (their) local culture, but that hardly blows my skirt up, up here, so between that and the um, beer, it's a big fwuh, and if not that - meh.

Oct 25, 2013
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Fatehunter from Oregon

3/5  rDev -22.3%

Pours a thin head on a hazy straw body.
The aroma has lots of honey and a nice floral smell.
The taste starts with a malty sweetness, moves to an even bigger honey sweetness, finishes with a mild lemon bitter note.
The texture is light and crisp.
It's on the sweet side for me but still tasty.

Nov 09, 2014
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StoutHunter from Michigan

3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Stillwater's Debutante a couple weeks ago for $3.09 at Holiday Market. I'm a fan of Biere De Garde's and this one caught my eye and I thought I would take a chance on it, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a tulip.

A- The label looks nice, I like the design and it's got that typical Stillwater style to it, it's a little eye catching. It poured a nice cloudy bright golden color that took on more of an apricot color when held to the light with just about two fingers worth of off white head that quickly died down to a thin ring that left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is pretty nice looking beer, but I wish it had some better head retention and lacing,

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the yeast being the first to show up and it imparts some nice funky farmhouse aromas with some musty and wet straw like aromas coming through and it's followed by nice a fruity aroma with a lemon like aroma sticking out the most with some berry like aromas showing up in the background. Towards the end comes a light grainy, sweet malt and spelt like aroma along with some floral and grassy hop aromas. This beer had a good aroma that's pretty inline with the style.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma, but just a little lighter and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the yeast still being the first to show up and they impart the same funky farmhouse like aspects that they did in the aroma and they seem to be just a little lighter. Up next comes that nice fruity aspect that I got in the aroma, but this time it's the berry like aspects that stick out the most and they are followed by a light floral and grassy hop flavor. On the finish comes this nice yogurt like flavor that goes good with the berry aspect and a slightly higher amount of light bitterness with just a slight bit of tartness and it had a nice berry yogurt and farmhouse yeast like aftertaste. This was a good and unique tasting Biere De Garde, I like it.

M- Smooth, fairly crisp, slightly refreshing, a little dry on the finish, on the light side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. This beer had a pretty nice mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and good example of the style, it had most of the aspects that I look for in the style while still being fairly unique and I thought that made this beer memorable. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, fairly crisp, slightly refreshing, a little dry on finish, not filling and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I think two or three of these would be my limit, it's pretty easy drinking and I think it makes for a nice Fall time beer. What I like the most about this beer was the taste, aroma and drinkability, they were all good and worked well with this beer. What I liked the least about this beer was the head retention, but in the end it wasn't that big of a deal. I would buy this beer again when in the mood for the style and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the style. All in all I was happy with this beer, it was just a nice Biere De Garde and I enjoyed drinking it. It isn't my favorite of the style, but it was one of the better ones I'e had and it's one of the better beers I've had from Stillwater. Good job guys, this was a tasty beer that was a little unique, keep up the good work.

Nov 08, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i was very excited for this ancient grains type saison with all these botanicals in it, but it came across way too sweet for me, malty vanilla and not quite robust enough saison yeast define the nose and taste of this beer. clearish caramel color with a big bold white head, good looks. so much sweetness here i can't really get any of the botanicals or herbals i was looking most forward to. not sure what the spelt or rye contribute either, all i really get is residual sugar, light like honey, but still pervasive. feel is bogged down by it too, but its very well carbonated. some may enjoy the sweetness, i don't mean to make it sound like a pure sugar bomb because its a lit more interesting than that, the sugar just blocks the most interesting features of this beer for me.

Dec 22, 2013
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

As the taste of the European farmhouse extend from Belgium and into France, the character turns more lager-like, maltier and softer with the fruit and spice. While its Belgianesque balance remains intact, it takes a softer and more mellow turn.

Its stern malty pour suggest a bready weight with its swirling haze and milky straw hues. As its creamy head builds, it reveals the flowery character of honeysuckle, heather and mint. Its mellow flavors sooth the early palate with a doughy-sweet introduction.

Its rich cookie dough flavor and feel is given a creamy lift with and abundance of carbonation to keep the taste light and marshmallowy. But with certain grain spiciness, there's a husky earthiness that rides up against peppercorn and pecan skins but without becoming an overly spicy beer.

With a minty and pepper taste gaining steam, the ale's firm texture wavers enough to suggest a malty-dry finish. Any spicy, woodsy or grainy bite is buffered with residual bread texture while its floral bouquet continues to swirl above the palate, extending lightly into aftertaste.

Oct 07, 2014
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Débutante definitely looks suited to high society; not only does it have the colour and complexion of gold but also shares the same prickly bubbles and beaded collar as Champagne. Back-light reveals phenomenal highlights that intensify that "aristocratic" image.

Brewed with spelt, rye, heather, honeysuckle, and hyssop, you can forgive me for saying that I have no clue what to expect. The bouquet isn't yet prepared at this point to reveal much, but with an ingredients list like that I can't imagine it not having unique aromatics... unfortunately, apart from unearthing a subtle floral honey note, warming does little good.

Equally as disappointing as the near void bouquet is the lack of distinguishing flavour. The sweet taste of cereal grains and the musty yeastiness that's typical for a Bière de Garde is present, but none of our star ingredients make noteworthy impressions. Perhaps it leans a bit more floral, but overall this is still the yeast's show - and stinky, spicy phenols dominate as per usual.

With ingredients like heather, honeysuckle, and hyssop I expected something much brighter and more colourful. A naive thought perhaps on my part - knowing full well that Bières de Gardes are characterized by a musty, moldy, farmhouse-like quality - but this really failed to deliver the kind of interesting and unique herbal and floral elements I had hoped for.

I've largely been a big fan of the Stillwater offerings I've tried, but Débutante really failed to impress. In hindsight, I would have been much happier with any of the other 4-packs on the shelf from this brewer. Oh well, they can't all be winners. Anyone who enjoys the style might as well try this but those only curious about the exotic ingredients, just save your money.

Jan 10, 2015
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gory4d from Texas

4/5  rDev +3.6%

Nov 14, 2011
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SysopChris from Tennessee

3.96/5  rDev +2.6%

Nov 15, 2014
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kaelingirl from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Oct 01, 2013
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ScottM123

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%

Sep 01, 2014
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deapokid from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Feb 06, 2013
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Pcsolutions

3/5  rDev -22.3%

Aug 16, 2014
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timtim from District of Columbia

4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

proper looking with a kind of an off-orange color and a white head. nose reminds me of wildflowers, lemon, herbs, lemony rye seed (if there was such a thing), rye, spelt, lemongrass and carries a buckwheaty/soba umaminess that i can't describe along with a faint fruitiness. great malty base that amplifies and harmonizes with the spice (which also seems to harmonize with the phenols, blurring the line that seperates spice from yeast at work) to create a new melody. such a familiar taste, yet like nothing i've tasted before. well done my friends. dry, spicy, balanced and pleasant. not a trace of booze. the spice never becomes overbearing, and there even is a touch of bitter in the end to zip it up. medium body with a soft feel. wonderful. a bit adventurous, but in a gentle way. another winner from our local heroes!

Jul 19, 2011
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AlvinLin from New York

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

May 31, 2015
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dsigmon from Florida

3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Mar 29, 2014
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Dwkasper from New York

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

Sep 08, 2014
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Halcyondays from California

3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours an almost murky pale orange with a medium white head, limited lace.

S: Pastry and white pepper mixed with orange peel.

T: Banana peel and orange peel with a lot of spice. Notes of cake batter almost seems semi-sweet. Fairly complex, a good flavour.

M: Medium-bodied, crisp carbonation, creamy, fairly smooth.

O: An enjoyable effort, though I didn't find it as drinkable as I thought it should be.

Aug 13, 2011
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kuishinbo_tantei from New York

3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Dec 16, 2014
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sk8man121 from Maine

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into Allagash chalice.

A: Pours a hazy, deep orange; looks like apricot nectar. 2-finger head dies into a nice 1/2 finger cap, leaving no lacing.

S: Some citrus, esters. Lots of herbal notes coming through. Smells nice and clean, if not just a tad skunky.

T: Banana & licorice esters dominate. Center is sweet and herbal. Just slightly on the funky side, with a semi-dry finish.

M: Mouthfeel shines on this one. Creamy as can be, with a nice medium body. Very nice.

O: Overall, it's not my favorite of the Stillwater saisons (that would go to Cellar Door by far), but it remains well above many other beers in its class. Very well put together, quite drinkable and just generally enjoyable. As said, however, I'd choose Cellar Door each and every time if given the option. Glad I tried this, though.

A well-made American saison.

Aug 27, 2011
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Squacher from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Jul 11, 2014
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BigJim5021 from Indiana

3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Jan 13, 2015
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ordybill from Georgia

3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a murky bright golden yellow color with a medium sized off-white head. The aroma is sweet fruit and yeast with some grain added. The taste is very close to the nose. Did not work for me.

Dec 18, 2016
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twelveinches from Washington

4/5  rDev +3.6%

Dec 15, 2011
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Flip_Smash from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Sep 20, 2014
Débutante from Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 342 ratings