Contemplation Ale | Brewery Vivant

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Contemplation AleContemplation Ale

Brewed by:
Brewery Vivant
Michigan, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by SupaCelt on 02-03-2011

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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 134
Photo of jbmarie
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Golden brown beer similar color to dark honey. Smelled of bubble gum and bananas... in a good way. As well as there was the smell of yeast. The after taste is strong and complex, with medium hops, and a unique sweetness from the honey. Expected the beer to be slightly sweeter, but enjoyed it none-the-less.

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Photo of Mae1118
3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is a golden brown beer that has a honey, and Belgian yeast smell. the tasted mostly of honey but also had a floral hint to it. overall, not bad. But I like how they are using honey from local sources.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unknown vintage; drank 7/5/15 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the can into a glass.

See-through dark orange appearance.

Eggnog head; decent lace.

Apple cider, honey & clove notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Apple cider, honey & clove flavors up front; dry champagne & faint booze heat on the finish. A hint too sweet & dry for me; still enjoyable.

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Photo of BigJim5021
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is not sweet, as stated DIRECTLY ON THE CAN. The honey was added during the boil and then the nice Belgian yeast ate it up and spat it out during fermentation. Go eat a spoonful of clover honey. THAT'S sweet. Amazing how few people actually seem to know what honey tastes like, because it's not something people would notice if it wasn't expressly stated as an ingredient.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a golden amber with a one-finger foamy white head. Soapy lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Aroma of honey and Belgian yeast.

T - Taste is honey and light floral hops. There is also a good amount of Belgian yeast and a lot of clove. The finish has a light amount of lemongrass.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Crisp mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - A very sweet beer with a strong floral flavor. Decent, but not something I would seek out.

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Photo of Stu_Grimson
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- poured into a tulip glass and had a medium head with some retention along the side of the glass and minimal on top of the beer, the color is golden with some haze.

S- I get a floral aroma with honey and some yeast smell

T- again I get the floral taste but a good amount of honey gives it a sweet taste, in the end I get a little bit of the alcohol but it isn't over powering

M- a medium body with tingling from the carbonation but nothing that is too much

O- a nice lighter beer that would be great in a summer day, I felt that it was a little to carbonated but it still was enjoyable

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Photo of maximum12
2.47/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to abanton for sending along this extra in a recent trade. 16 oz. can that I should have knocked back during my epic struggle with the paper wasp nest in the tree out front. Missed opportunity.

Pour. The resulting liquid is remarkably clear orange with slow time carbonation & almost no head, pour beer. Nose dopplegangs a hefe with honey: light sunshine, grassy, breezy, sweet honey. Smells like a sun dress looks.

Contemplation should have been a good Ronnie Milsap song. Instead, we have a honey-sweet beer with a touch of wheat, lemon, & orange, & little enough of any of those. As it warms, there is an off-putting taste that creeps in, too, like the whiff of a far-off slough. The beer is distractingly flat, especially for what ought to be (& was advertised in the nose) a summery, frizzy-haired beer. Not even fun to slug.

This falls flat on several levels; if it rose above mediocre on any of them I might be more forgiving, but this is a dull, flat, untasty beer that I'm going to have trouble downing half a can of. Borderline bad.

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Photo of tone77
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the legendary woodychandler for keeping me stocked with new and exciting beers. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a rich golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is mild, a bit of honey. Taste is also mild, a bit bland even. Some floral notes, a bit of honey, no bad, but light. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking and decent beer.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

One Pint can
Served in a tulip glass

A - This beer is amber with golden highlights. It has a chill haze. A lazy pour produced a mountain of off-white head.

S - The aroma consists of Belgian yeast and honey. It definitely had a sweet smell.

T - It has a sweet floral taste. I get a little of the spices associated with Belgian yeast on the finish. Sometimes I get a metallic aftertaste.

M - Moderate, smooth, and slick.

O - This is a sweet, floral beer. It is refreshing on a warm day. I wish there was more spiciness from the yeast.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours amber in color with a 1.5 finger foamy off white head.

Nose is great, honey is upfront but smells more floral then sweet, hops are subtle and blend nicely into the honey. Belgian yeast gives it this a nice clove spice scent.

Taste is great, first sip there's loads of floral and honey notes with a slight Belgian tang and a hint of sweetness. Second sip has more Belgian yeast and more spices along with a light fruit mild acidity. Nice complexity.

Mouthfeel is great, nice crisp fruity feel with a little stickiness and good carbonation.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: a deep orange color. Slight haze. Two fingers off white head that fades quickly to a lacing. Non-yeast concretions come out along with the pour. Probably hardened honey

Smell: clove, lemon, sweetness

Taste: starts of with a clove taste, that subtlety turns to a grassy lemon taste. Just a touch of floral hops at the end. Tasty but no where out of this world

Mouthfeel: quite dry. Medium to lower body. Well hidden alcohol although its not that strong

Overall: well crafted Belgian beer. Good change up from all the hoppiness that is more characteristic of summer

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Photo of woodychandler
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If you are ever in the Chicagoland and CAN get to one of their locations, Binney's Liquors remains a CANQuest (TM) source nonpareil! This was a recent score.

From the CAN: "Special Limited Release"; "Freshly Brewed in Michigan"; "Ale Brewed with Michigan Honey & Hops"; "WHY USE CANS? We set out to build a sustainable brewery and found through our research that cans are a better option than bottles. Cans are much lighter in weight, contain more recycled content, are able to be up-cycled, and use less energy to produce. The canning line also has a much smaller footprint than a bottling line. If this was not enough, cans provide better protection from flavor degenerating oxygen and hop flavor robbing sunlight. This is the best package we can provide to bring our beer to you, tasting the way the brewer intended it. Enjoy."; "This is what Belgian style beer is all about. Each sip brings on a new flavor and nuances that were not there a moment ago, Clover honey added during the boil contributes color and complexity but adds no sweetness to the beer as the sugars are consumed during fermentation. Look for whispers of apricot and nectarine on the palate, mixed in with the floral aroma of hops grown in northern Michigan. This is a beer worth pondering on each sip."; "COMPLIMENTARY FOODS Brie or goat's cheese, chicken salad with apricot & almond, or simply a fresh slice of sourdough bread."; "GLASSWARE We love to serve this beer out of a large, tulip shaped glass to emphasis [sic] the honey and hop aromas."

The Crack released a good bit of effervescent beer and I waited for things to settle before CANtinuing. My subsequent Glug produced two fingers of rocky, tawny head with decent retention. Color was a deep-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was slightly musty with a honey sweetness underlying. Mouthfeel was on the watery side with a light fruitiness on the tongue. They mentioned apricot and nectarine on the CAN and I got the soft fruitiness, but I am unsure that I would have/could have identified those particular flavors. Finish was semi-dry and the yeast gave it a musty dustiness. I shared it with the Queen Bee inside of her hive and that made it worthwhile. It was not a terribly impressive beer and had I CANsumed it by myself, I might have been really disappointed.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz can, pours a clear, clover honey color, thinner creamy, ivory head leaves little for lace. Aromas are clover honey, sweet, fresh, outdoorsy, fruity. Sweet and dry on the palate with grain, apricot, nectarine honey, nutty yeast, apple, earthy hop. Mouth-feel is creamy and smooth, while being medium bodied; finishes dry with a lingering earthiness. Overall, pretty refreshing, a bit overpriced for what it is.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at One-Eyed Betty's in Ferndale, Michigan as part of a paddle.

Appearance: The very definition of brown. No haze that I could tell, and just brown, brown, brown. A mini head was in my sample glass for a little while, but poofed away before too long. The lacing is somewhat patchy. Very good looking beer overall.

Smell: Yeah, that's a Biere de Garde. I've only had a couple, but this style has a distinctive smell to me... just a sort of funky/sour sort of apple smell. Musky. Really hard to describe, but it's really about what I tend to get from this style. I'd have to guess that the main attribution to this smell/taste is the yeast.

Taste/feel: Much like the smell. There's not much bitterness at all, but there's a lot of that tart, sour flavor. This doesn't have nearly as much of that as you'd expect in a described "SOUR" beer, but it has a nice character to it. Aftertaste is apple-istic (yes, I made that up) with malt. Not the best of the few BdG's I've had, but it's still a tasty beer, for sure.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a very thin golden yellow with about s finger of near white head, OK retention and lacing.

S - honey and sweet malts. slight clove/hefe yeast aromas.

T - Light floral hops and honey. Mostly sweet honey. Slightly grassy and lemony. Some clove as well.

M - lighter bodied and well carbonated. Very drinkable yet slightly sticky

O - not bad bug I'm not getting much besides honey and sweet malts and a hint of floral citrusy hops. A little simple/tame

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Photo of joeseppy
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ironically enough it has a golden honey clarity and generous head. Fluffy head actually lasts awhile.

Yeast and clover aromas in a floral sensation. Tinge of sour and spice; touch of sweet malt.

Taste is fresh bread and mild sweetness from the malt and honey with some lactic sourness. Spicy finish on the palate. And just enough hops to make it so. Pretty close to a saison.

Medium body and some stickiness. Daytime quencher. Wonderful taste lingers through the nose. Carbonation is lower.

What a great summer fare. Serve ice cold by the lake, pool or backyard. A beer that almost anyone would appreciate.

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Photo of vitrael
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear and bright orange, rocky white head, moderate lacing. Poured into tulip glass.

S: Good honey aroma right up, looking quite a bit more out of it however. None of the expected fruitiness.

T: Great raw honey type profile to this beer. Fairly sweet, moderately hopped with a bunch more honey in the finish. Did I mention honey?

M: Medium-light with high carbonation appropriate to style.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce can into tulip glass, no canning date. Pours fairly crystal clear golden orange color with a nice 2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of honey, pear, apple, pepper, biscuit, banana, clove, herbal, floral, earth, and light yeast spiciness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good complexity and balance. Taste of pear, honey, apple, bread, banana, pepper, clove, earth, herbal, floral, and light yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of light fruits, honey, bread, herbal, earth, pepper, and light yeast spiciness on the finish for a bit. Nice balance of flavors with good complexity; zero cloying flavors after the finish. Malt sweetness overshadows the spicy yeast esters, but is not overly much at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost zero warming noticed on the finish. Overall this is a very nice Belgian style ale. Well balanced with nice complexity; very smooth to drink. Very enjoyable offering, well done.

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Photo of dpasotti
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Orange-tinted copper color with small cap. Solid lacing. Nice clean aroma of doughy malt, melon, flowers, herbal hops, Belgian yeast bubblegum note, and a tad of funk underneath. Fresh and complex while remaining light.

There's a distinct orange/tangerine character that pops in the mouth, but otherwise pretty much the same as the smell. Actually, it's not as good. The honey definitely comes through.

The carbontion is quite low, especially for a Belgian style. This puts the body into the upper midrange, even though it is not a sweet beer by any means. I had 5 or 6 [creative but average] beers at Vivant's ridiculously awesome brewery, and this one takes the cake. I think higher CO2 and more yeasty Belgian phenolics would take this to another level.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a can of Brewery Vivant's Contemplation Ale a couple days ago for $3.29 at The Lager Mill. I was pretty impressed with Brewery Vivant's last special release, Zaison, so I'm hoping for good things with this one, so lets see how it goes. No visible canning date, Late summer 2012 Vintage. Poured from a silver 16oz can into a Belgian tulip.

A- This beer is in their normal special release can with a sticker that has a honeycomb on it and says that it's brewed with Local Michigan honey and Michigan hops, it look's ok but the only thing that really grabs my attention is the information. It poured a slightly copper amber color that took on much more of copper and ruby color when held to the light with three fingers worth of sticky white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left hardly any lacing. The appearance was nice, the color and head were nice, but the lacing was a little disappointing..

S- The aroma starts off with a sweet and tart aroma, the tartness seems to come from the Belgian yeast, it's followed by a slight funky aroma, I have experienced this in a few Brewery Vivant beers. I pick up some nice spices and a slight banana aroma and after that I get some clean bready malts followed by a little more sweetness that has a slight honey like aroma to it. The aroma is nice and not overly tart or funky,, but it's nothing that makes my mouth water.

T- The taste is similar to the aroma, but it's much more cleaner and not as rustic and rough around the edges. It starts off with lots of sweet creamy honey and bready malts that go together nicely. All that sweetness is balanced out by a light herbal, spicy, and floral hops flavor imparts very little bitterness if any with just a slight bit of tartness. and it had a nice honey and bready malt aftertaste. This was a good tasting beer, the honey was the showcase of the beer, but there was some nice malts and hops to back it up so the honey didn't take over which can happen.

M- Pretty smooth, slightly chewy, creamy, medium dry, medium bodied, with a lighter amount of medium carbonation. I liked the mouthfeel of this beer, the slightly lower carbonation worked out nicely.

Overall I thought this was a good beer, I wouldn't really call it a Biere de Garde, but I would say that it is a good example of a Honey Ale, the honey stuck out the most and the malts and hops backed it up nicely and provided good balance. This beer had ok drinkability, it was pretty smooth and the flavor held my attention, but I think one would be enough for me. What I liked most about this beer was the taste, I liked how great the nice honey flavors contrasted with the malts and hops, it had great balance and the mouthfeel was also noteworthy. What I liked least about this beer was the aroma, it wasn't bad and I didn't mind the tart and funky yeast but it just didn't come together as well as it could have. I might buy one more can of this years release, but it's a little expensive, so there's a good chance I wont be having it till next time they release it, I do recommend giving it a try, especially if you are a fan of Honey Ales. All in All this was a good and solid beer, it wasn't everything that I expected it to be but it all ended up coming together nicely, good job Brewery Vivant, I'm on board for the next special release, it's one kick ass series.

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Photo of zachary80
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz Brewer's Reserve can. Ale brewed with Michigan honey & locally grown hops.

Large white head fades moderately quickly to a rim. Golden-orange body.

Slightly funky and minerally, a little flowery.

Flavor is most reminiscent of a BSPA, somewhat fruity esters, medium bitterness.

Body is medium-full, light alcohol heat.

I like this beer but it is not something I would seek out. Don't think I would have identified the honey in it as a major component.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ the brewpub

A - Medium orange with a small film of white white head.

S - Sweet honey and bready malts.

T - Sweet honey and bready malts with a decent bitterness with some floral notes. Dry finish.

M - Light to medium body. Light carbonation.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap poured into a tulip glass.

A- Golden body with brownish hues sports medium-light carbonation. Short off-white head lingers throughout, leaving a decent sticky spots on the glass.

S- Quite complex. Lots of pepper and spicy notes. An underlying sweetness that gave off hints of sugary qualities. Deep down, there are stone fruit notes that up the sweeter aromas.

T- Like the aroma suggests, this is a pretty complex beer. The malts lend a sugary sweetness. It's all balanced out by herbal hops and a peppery quality that brings this beer toward balance.

M- It's really, pleasantly dry. There's a light, alcohol bite on the tongue. Lighter on carbonation.

D- The complexities are quite interesting. I had a couple of glasses during my visit, and I wouldn't mind having more. I don't know that this beer really fits the Biere de Garde category, though I don't quite know where I'd put it. The beer it most reminded me of was Trois Pistoles by Unibroue with strong, peppery qualities. While not as potent, maybe it's more of a Belgian dark ale?

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Described as a Belgian ale made with honey: This brew falls from the tap with a lovely honey colour and a soapy head. Lace dots proliferate with drinking.

The nose has some spice and juicy fruit character. Floral hop aromas mingle with some mild banana and twinges of apricot. The Vivant yeast makes its mark in the nose profile. Pleasant.

The taste is mildly sweet. The banana comes through in the flavour. The contemplation begins here as the different fruit characteristics come through during the tasting process.

The mouthfeel is light and the drinkability is easy. Honey used during brewing adds some noticeable effects in the body and consistency of the ale. This is a tasty brew that is fit for sessioning. The style may be considered as something different, but currently the reviewer is unsure as to which categorization fits best.

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Contemplation Ale from Brewery Vivant
3.7 out of 5 based on 134 ratings.
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