Catalyst
Oxbow Brewing Company

CatalystCatalyst
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Style:
Belgian Saison
Ranked #166
ABV:
6.5%
Score:
92
Ranked #4,127
Avg:
4.27 | pDev: 5.62%
Reviews:
12
Ratings:
43
From:
Oxbow Brewing Company
 
Maine, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  2
Gots
  6
SCORE
92
Outstanding
CatalystCatalyst
Notes: A barrel-aged farmhouse brewed with our estate honey.
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 43 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of PEBKAC
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle pour @ Glorietta Baldy.

Stemmed wine glass, the glow of Star Trek pinball, a random mix of 70s funk from the speakers, it works.

Opaque, my favorite word from 2015. Obvious honey-colored brew. Wish-washy, faltering head.

Smell is herbal, wildflower, pre-ferment honey botanicals. Maybe a little back sweetened for the bottle? Doesn't matter, it's a plus. Big lime & a scratchy mineral note.

Taste is bold with lime, honey & tannins, like cold, medicinal tea. Scratchy, barely there malt. This is my flavor. Something like fermented orange juice, but cleaner, this adds a bigger citrus note. It all amounts to a solid twang that calls in for everyone to dive in.

Not quite thick, very well carbonated bottle pour. ABV is almost irrelevant.

Love this.

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Photo of brentk56
3.69/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy honey color with a one finger head that fades to a collar; splashy lacing

Smell: Acetic lemon aromatics, with barnyard funk, oak and a hint of honey

Taste: Acetic lemony sour flavors forward, with just a hint of honey underneath; oak and barnyard funk in the middle and a tart, puckery finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I thought the flavors here were harsh and angular - not to my taste

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Photo of npolachek
4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great dank farmhouse beer containing Maine sourced honey. Pours straw colored with white head. Very drinkable. Another fine beer from Oxbow brewery...

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.24/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

an awesome beer here, featuring this honey really well. there must be some batch variance on abv, which is not uncommon with ales so reliant on honey, our bottle said 8.5% abv i believe, quite a bit stronger than it is listed as being here. every single time i have a new beer from these guys, i am impressed, they do such a good job with everything, and it always seems to start with the fermentation profile, which here is funky and only a little tangy, not real acidic at all, and with a lot of wood as well, gives it a rounded richness and layers of interest even before the honey becomes part of the mix. a little darker in shade than i anticipated, very active in carbonation, and with an awesome nose of sweet floral honey, rich dense oak, and mature bretty funk. the honey really is awesome in the flavor, and most interestingly, its not by itself in here, there is a little more malt depth than i anticipated here, which the honey sort of latches on to, and the two of them take me for a ride. rustic and bready, baked and sweet, but also floral and citrusy, delicate in an unexpected way for its size and complexity of flavor, the honey stands out as unique, but i appreciate its partner in the malt here. neat tartness, not acidic enough to break down the significant body this has, and really fascinating beer all up, sturdy and woody, rich and honey forward, still wild and perplexing. they nailed this! great showcase of the honey too!

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Photo of LeRose
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a slightly hazy, light golden honey color with a huge foamy head. The head settled to a decent ring around the edge with a raft in the middle. Pleasing to the eye.

The smell was wheaty, a decent level of barnyard funk, lemony sweetness and a fairly floral honey.

The taste opens with a modest level of sourness that is immediately balanced by sweetness from the honey. Lemony notes ride on top of the taste, with a nice level of funkiness and a moderate hit of spice notes - a little peppery. As it warms up, these flavors just open up. The honey is not a distraction - it is nicely melded into the overall flavor and does not stand out. You can pick up a bit of sweetness and some floral notes which I assume come with the local wildflower honey used.

The feel was a little bit on the thin side. I'd say it is a little less than medium bodied, definitely not "heavy". Amply carbonated, slight acidic and drying on the finish.

Overall, a great tasting and easy drinking beer if a bit on the pricey side. It is not overly complicated, yet delivers a fulfilling flavor experience. Well done, recommended.

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Photo of Phineasco
4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Bright Clear yellow with medium white head. High spritzy carbonation.
Smell: Brett funk, hay, barnyard, peaches, and honey.
Taste: Brett funk, hay, barnyard, lemon, with a little honey to top it off.
Mouthfeel: Light easy drinking.
Overall: A good Saison from Oxbow,

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Photo of Damian
4.77/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank from a 1 pint .9 fl. oz (500ml) bottle purchased at Lois' Natural Marketplace, Portland, ME
Bottled on July, 2016
Served in a tulip

Gorgeous label with beautiful typeface, per usual. The beer itself poured a clear golden amber and was topped by an inch-tall crop of frothy, bright white foam that quickly dropped to a thick, lasting collar. Streaky lacing stuck along the glass.

The nose was amazingly funky and complex. My initially thought was that this beer smelled nearly identical to a Gueuze. Loads of Bretty tartness, damp earth and barnyard character. Really wheaty and hay-like. Lemon and lemon rind notes were also apparent. There was a powdery yeasty quality that stood out initially but mellowed as the beer sat. Good dose of oaky barrel too.

The flavor was nearly identical to the nose. Crackery malts were detectable up front before the sourness kicked in. Loads of tart wheatiness and lemon-like acidity. Subtle dry, powdery yeasty notes came through in the center. Hint of funk. More lemon, lemon rind and acidity on the back end and in the finish. Dry, okay barrel notes lingered after the swallow.

Really crisp, lively, sprightly mouthfeel. The liquid contained a larger bubbled, fairly aggressive effervescence. Almost Champagne-like. Medium bodied for the style. As the beer sat, the carbonation subsided and the liquid turned creamy and soft on the palate.

Catalyst reminded me a lot more of authentic Belgian Gueuze than any type of saison I have ever come across, and that certainly is not a bad thing. My bottle seemed to do very well with a year-plus of age, but I would also like to try a fresh bottle someday and see if the honey plays a greater role.

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Photo of avalon07
4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a pale yellow color and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch of creamy / fizzy, fairly long-lasting head. Not a whole lot of lacing, though.

S: A big, enticing aroma of light fruit, yeast, a musty, funky quality, honey, malt, and spices.

T: Tasted of a bit of Belgian-style yeast, some light fruit elements (grapefruit and lemon in particular), a good amount of the advertised honey, light malt notes, the typical saison funk, and spices (a bit of pepper). An incredibly vibrant, light, sweet flavor. Aggressive, but never obnoxious.

F: A highly carbonated beer with a mostly dry finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

O: This is an excellent American version of a saison. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.44/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a very nice white flat foamy head that does not really dissipate. It seems to be a nice and perfect foamy surface from the beginning to the end of the beer. The beer itself has a very good look. It's a very nice medium yellow with a very light orange hue to it. The beer is a bit cloudy but isn't completely opaque. It's just perfect.

The smell and taste are really good but the smell is really fantastic. The smell has a nice orange and citrus hop note with a slight bread yeast note that easily gets missed. The taste is the same but is also a bit more tarty than the smell. The honey in both is just fantastic and overwhelming. It gives a delicious sweetness that edges out the more acidic and bitter notes. There is also a slight wood note that easily gets lost in all the other notes.

The feel is good. It's medium body with a dry feel and finish. The body also has a slight heft and the texture is a bit thick and the tiniest bit syrupy.

Overall, this is a pretty fantastic beer and well worth the price. It's well made with simple but very interesting notes.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy medium golden honey in color with moderate to heavy amounts of fine active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and moderate golden yellow + amber colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall fizzy foamy white head that quickly reduces to a medium to large sized patch of very thin film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Slightly stronger than moderate aromas of slightly sour wheat malts, earthy barnyard funkiness, tart lemon citrus, and light amounts of honey sweetness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of slightly sour wheat malts with a light amount of honey sweetness. Light to moderate flavors of slightly spicy saison yeast and a slightly stronger than moderate flavor of earthy barnyard funkiness. Moderate flavors of tart lemon citrus as well. Overall there is a light to moderate amount of tartness that lingers through the finish.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly heavier than moderate amounts of acidic prickliness and a hint of dryness in the finish. Slightly thin.

O: Really enjoyable and easy to drink with the expected funkiness from this brewery. Alcohol is well hidden and I could easily have another of these.

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Photo of bobv
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gentle pour yields a 1/2 inch white head (with the tiniest of bubbles), medium golden body, and some lacing. Head down to a ring after a few sips and lacing is almost gone. Nose of citrus (mostly grapefruit), oak, funk, and slight honey. Taste follows and the honey comes out more in the wonderful, dry finish. Feel is adequate, just a tad thin. Overall, this is a standout from these guys. Get it!

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Photo of JonnyJuicebox
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A: Perfectly smooth, pale strawlike golden yellow. Thin head. MInimal lacing. It looks like a paint swatch its so smooth looking.
S: SUPER bright, super tart. Like sour candy. hints of lemon, but not lemon rind. Maybe green melon?
T: Oh man. This is good. Real good. Sour, but tons of that earthy funk you get from Oxbow. Tastes like sunshine coating a muddy field of wheat. The honey doesn't pop out, but I don't think it's supposed to, nor do I think it needs to. Tangerines and orange jam as the beer warms up. Nice effervescence throughout.
F: As much as I'm in love with this beer, I need to admit it's a bit thin. Doesn't completely coat every taste bud like the truest heavyweights do. Really the only criticism I can find. Swishing the beer around in my mouth fixes that though.
O: How is this beer available? If this had a Hill farmstead logo it would have sold out in a few days. If you can find it, get it. This is one that will surely age wonderfully. This is better than Momoko and Cavern, which in my opinion WAS Oxbows best beer.

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Catalyst from Oxbow Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 43 ratings