Honey Saison | Almanac Beer Co.

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Honey SaisonHoney Saison

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RblWthACoz on 08-26-2012

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Ratings: 171 |  Reviews: 29
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look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Clear straw gold body capped by a finger of froth.

Smell: Strangely, the first thing that comes to mind is smoked meat. There's a strong fresh herb presence, honey, floral notes, some spiciness that I wouldn't necessarily identify as ginger if it wasn't printed on the label. The odd meatiness dissipates after a while, and floral honey comes to the forefront. There's a bit of zesty lemon, too.

Taste & mouthfeel: On the palate it becomes clear that the strange meaty note I was picking up on the nose is coming from the addition of French oak. It contributes a spicy, tannic, savory quality that feels out of place in a beer like this. There's a big herbal note, too, with some zesty citrus fruit and ginger behind. The body is light, bordering on thin. Hidden somewhere beneath all the adjuncts, there's a very light bready malt foundation. Honey and ginger come through more near the finish, and they pair nicely. The beer ends on a fairly bitter note, but it doesn't dry the palate as much as I want a saison to.

Overall: Decent but heavy handed with the adjuncts. As far as I'm concerned, most of the top saisons out there are fairly simple recipes that let the yeast contribute most of the flavor. With this beer it feels like the yeast and malt are taking a back seat to everything else.

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Photo of magictacosinus
2.77/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

My first beer by Almanac, which I've heard some good things about. A saison, no less! With honey, ginger, and French oak, although I doubt it was aged in actual barrels given the low cost of a four pack of these. Poured into a teku glass from a 12oz bottle. No freshness date.

I actually went ahead and poured the dregs into this in the hopes of accentuating the flavors, and as a result, this is a pretty cloudy pour. Not with sediment or anything, but merely a hazy, yeasty liquid that looks like other American saisons I've had. Bubbles grace the sides of the glass in lines rising above, and about 1.5 fingers worth of head top the whole thing in a sea foamy way. No lacing. Not the best head retention, even with the bottle conditioning included. Looks kind of muddy from afar. Rustic, but not in the charming sense.

Right at the front of the nose, I get a wide mix of flavors, and luckily all that are advertised on the bottle. Beyond the crisp cider, apricot, and lemon infused phenols, there's a light tinge of honey, a good amount of dried ginger peel, and actually more of the oak than I expected. Definitely contains sweetness from the alcohol and sugars, and the oak itself provides only a subtle amount of sourness. The ginger and honey meld well together in a very subtle but slightly refreshing way. A bit of earthiness comes and goes from the grains, which are very predominant in a acrid way that throws things off a bit. There's also sadly a bit of a solvent-like aroma at the finish. How is this possible? Not great, but I do give them credit for adding the ingredients in quite well.

The initial flavor follows the same story as the aroma, but the finish is definitely not something to write home about. The initial flavors of cracked toasted barley, peaches, huge apples, and honey (that seems to almost melt in your mouth) come in droves, but is quickly replaced by the anemic grainy sensations that are acrid and far too tannic for the style. There's luckily no acetone sensation, but what annoys me particularly is the spritz-y carbonation at the finish. It only dulls the grainy notes further, and does nothing to elevate the initial fruity phenols. Slightly thinned, and barely contains any astringency or funkiness that I enjoy in the style. Feels surprisingly non-yeasty, even though I poured in the dregs. The dryness also makes this challenging to drink as it lacks any juiciness and extra carbonation to make up for it. By the end, the dregs that settled started to slime up the bottom of the glass in a fearful way, to the point where I dumped it out. Disjointed, even for a saison.

I realize saisons are impossible to categorize as one uniting flavor or style, but as far as they go, this is not the best example, nor of a farmhouse ale of any kind. This could work for the warmer months of the year, but it isn't crisp or refreshing enough to hold interest all the way. I like that the ingredients they added came through, but I didn't really enjoy this all that much otherwise. Here's hoping I have a better experience with their fruit infused beers.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.83/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewed with ginger root, Saaz hops, Mount Hood hops, Bay Area honey from Marshall farms, wheat, French oak, and two-row barley. I imagine they used oak chips? 4.8% ABV confirmed. I like the label; stylish burnt orange etching on brown glass. 12 fl oz bottle with branded pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired as part of a four pack.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

I've had a fair amount of Fantome, Hennepin, and Avec Les Bon Voeux, so I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what a good beer in the style is. This style's been really growing on me lately.

A: Pours a 1.5-2 finger beige colour head of fair cream, decent thickness, and average (~2 minute) retention - though the ABV is fairly low. Body colour is a clear lemon yellow of limited vibrance. Translucent. Littered with carbonation bubbles - seemingly too many. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It isn't much to look at, to be honest. It's also quite bright for the style; I'm asserting that's the honey.

Sm: Biscuity yeast, light honey (not at all fresh or nectary like I'd expect), light oak, pale malts, floral hop character, and yes, a bit of ginger. The ginger is well balanced, but I want a lot more from the honey. I don't get a barrel character of the oak wood; I think it's safe to say they used chips. Lemon zest. Muddled orange rind. No alcohol is detectable. An average strength aroma. In a quality saison, I expect complex spice and peppery qualities in the aroma but they're absent here.

T: Floral hop character is pleasant but lends it too much bitterness, which clashes with the stale lemon zest and bland murky orange rind. It tastes a bit dirty, not at all fresh or refreshing. Honey? I have trouble finding it. No peppery character at all. I do get ginger, but it intrudes on the balance and feels forced and out of place. There's little cohesion here; it doesn't work holistically. Messy. Some light biscuity yeast notes. Crystal malt. Oak is as underwhelming as can be; they ought to have just saved the ingredient cost and not even bothered. Pale malts form the body, joined by weak thin barley. There's not much positive to say about this.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Thin and weak. Too wet, but I'd stop short of calling it watery. A bit scratchy and chewy. Not seamless and uniting like a good saison would be. Slightly overcarbonated. Not executed to style. It doesn't suit the flavour profile all that well either.

Dr: I'd heard good things about this brewery and was excited to try their beers, but now I'm wondering if I made a mistake buying this and two other Almanac offerings. This is a subpar saison; standard bland fare for an American brewed example of the style. Low ABV is concealed, but that's insubstantial. It's drinkable, but I don't see this turning any heads anytime soon.


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2.88/5  rDev -17.2%

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3/5  rDev -13.8%

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3/5  rDev -13.8%

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3/5  rDev -13.8%

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Honey Saison from Almanac Beer Co.
3.48 out of 5 based on 171 ratings.
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