Contemplation Ale
Brewery Vivant

Contemplation AleContemplation Ale
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Garde
Ranked #113
Ranked #39,470
3.69 | pDev: 11.92%
Brewery Vivant
Michigan, United States
Contemplation AleContemplation Ale
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 155 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Wolvmar
Wolvmar from Michigan

3.47/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Working on day old memory...

Pour: on tap at BCC. Served in a pint glass. Golden color with slight amber tone. Some head but don’t recall any lacing or clouds.

Nose: very subtle sweetness from the malts or honey. Not real distinct.

Taste: somewhat bland at first but grew on my as it warmed. Bready malts with some depth. Subtle caramel, spice, honey tones.

Mouthfeel: moderate to low carbonation. Somewhat viscous but not heavy feeling. Very smooth and easy drinking.

Overall: good but not special. Maybe gets better the second time around? I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from trying this but it won’t bi in my regular rotation.

Jun 18, 2018
Photo of Roguer
Roguer from Connecticut

3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Billed as a golden ale, the body is more of a burnished brown, nearly opaque, and topped by a slight, pinkish head. Retention is buoyed by an incredible level of bubble activity.

Aroma is quite pleasant: caramel grains, honey, flowers, brown sugar, wine, bubblegum.

Sweet and grainy on the palate: brown sugar and caramel, prunes, and wheat bread, with strong banana, clove, and bubblegum building in the finish.

Medium-to-full bodied and smooth.

This is a pretty enjoyable and surprising brew. I wouldn't put it in my regular rotation, but it's pleasant enough, and a brew I'd definitely enjoy on tap at the local bar.

Mar 30, 2018
Photo of mtemerowski
mtemerowski from Michigan

3.07/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I was expecting something different.
Look: deep amber maybe somewhat golden brown. Crystal clear.
Smell: a yeasty aroma with some sort of spiciness.
Taste. Somewhat spicy but crisp and smooth. I was expecting something a little sweet but didn't get any sweetness. not a lot of carbonation either.

May 04, 2017
Photo of Blackop555
Blackop555 from Michigan

3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours light cloudy, coppery orange. Thick, short, off white head that fades after a bit to a lasting ring.

Smells yeast, spice, bready malt, light citrus and a hint of Honey.

Tastes bready malt, citrus, light grassy, light spice. Followed by light hint of Honey and grain. Finish is dry with light bitterness and yeasty linger. Medium body and creamy medium carbonation.

May 04, 2017
Photo of haoquanlin
haoquanlin from Michigan

3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pint on tap. Pours a clear yellow color with really no head to speak of. Aromas of Belgian yeast, some spice, light sweetness. Tastes similar. A touch sweet, though doesn’t have a honey taste. Easy drinker; makes me think of summer.

May 03, 2017
Photo of Zhenghao
Zhenghao from Michigan

3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

It has dull golden/brown color with a strong honey smell. It smells sweet and yeasty, but doesn't taste sweet. It's refreshing, bitter with a dry ending. It's not my favorite, but it's not too bad.

Apr 30, 2017
Photo of jbmarie
jbmarie from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +22%
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.

Apr 02, 2017
Photo of Mae1118
Mae1118 from Michigan

3/5  rDev -18.7%
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.

Mar 29, 2017
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.94/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Jan 19, 2017
Photo of BigJim5021
BigJim5021 from Indiana

3.87/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Apr 21, 2015
Photo of TreyIsWilson
TreyIsWilson from Michigan

3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Oct 25, 2014
Photo of Stu_Grimson
Stu_Grimson from Michigan

3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
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

Dec 17, 2013
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

2.47/5  rDev -33.1%
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.

Sep 20, 2013
Photo of tone77
tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Sep 08, 2013
Photo of buschbeer
buschbeer from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Aug 18, 2013
Photo of Fcolle2
Fcolle2 from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

Aug 17, 2013
Photo of SportsandJorts
SportsandJorts from Virginia

3.74/5  rDev +1.4%
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

Aug 10, 2013
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Aug 04, 2013
Photo of barnzy78
barnzy78 from Illinois

3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Jul 16, 2013
Photo of SerialTicker
SerialTicker from Michigan

3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Jul 13, 2013
Photo of MacQ32
MacQ32 from South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
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

Jul 13, 2013
Photo of joeseppy
joeseppy from Illinois

4.02/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Jul 08, 2013
Photo of vitrael
vitrael from Wisconsin

3.46/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Apr 23, 2013
Photo of superspak
superspak from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 ounce can into tulip glass, 2018 vintage canning. Pours crystal clear golden orange color with a 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings to the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big lemon, orange, pear, apricot, red apple, honey, peppercorn, clove, biscuit, white bread dough, light banana, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, honey, earthy hops, and bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big lemon, orange, pear, apricot, red apple, honey, peppercorn, clove, biscuit, white bread dough, light banana, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/grassy bitterness and peppery yeast spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of lemon, orange, pear, apricot, red apple, honey, peppercorn, clove, biscuit, white bread dough, light banana, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, honey, earthy hops, and bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from bitter/spiciness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy/sticky, and fairly crisp balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol for 7%. Overall this is a very nice Biere de Garde style. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, honey, earthy hops, and bready malt flavors; very smooth, crisp, and easy to drink with the mellowly bitter/spicy/drying finish. Great balance of French saison yeast, MI Honey/Hops, and bready Munich malts. A very enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

Oct 22, 2012
Photo of dpasotti
dpasotti from Indiana

3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Sep 13, 2012
Contemplation Ale from Brewery Vivant
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 155 ratings