Oxbow Brewing Company

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Belgian Saison
Ranked #682
Ranked #16,998
4.07 | pDev: 7.13%
Oxbow Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Very Good
Notes: European hopped dark farmhouse brewed with oats and midnight wheat.
Reviews: 5 | Ratings: 14 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. Bottle (051520)
Opened and poured into a large Brasserie D' Achouffe tulip glass on 11/25/19

I have been very impressed by Oxbow this far. And a few of the ingredients are among my favorites: oats and black wheat. Farmouse is also one of my personal favorite style. So let's see...

Opaqueness. Blackness. Lack of "color". Unless you consider black a color. A towering high rise foam of burnt seafoam, pillowy and sticky.

Roasted nuts and chocolate wheat malt is all up in the nose. Undercurrent of sweet black fruits and earthy sour yeast smells pretty great. Bold and inticing.

A light and jazzy mouthfeel has deep roasted wheat and subtle bakers chocolate bursting out of the rather complex malted flavors. Bottle conditioned, lively yeast Belgian Style makes it feel full of life and fun. Sour earthy notes and green grasses are tasted from the big yeast complexity.
Smooth and soft going down as dry earth and charred wheat pops out in the finish with dry feels ending it.
I could use More earthy, sour yeast funk and perhaps a spicy hop thing to enhance the complexity, but overall it's a light feeling, dark tasting wheat beer with Belgian undertones.

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Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2oz (330ml) bottle - dated (03)06/18/19 - poured into a goblet at 46F.

Pours a deep, dark, woody cola brown colour, no translucency, and forms two fingers of loud, fizzy khaki head that quickpy sizzles put to nothing but a sparkling top. Lots of visible effervescence.

Nose: Very interesting, and directly on point with what one would expect from a "dark farmhouse ale". Roasted malts bringing aromas of cola, bakers chocolate, coffee, and molasses, as well as lots of nutmeg - Farmhouse ale grains, with a fair amount of rustic wheat - some Belgian-esque yeast notes - fruity - with just a hint of green banana and clove, which really sets the stage for the whole saison tone, with a unique roasted spin. Just the faintest hint of grass and floral notes, indicating that they didn't try to make this a hoppy beer, which is,much appreciated.

Palate: The beer greets the palate with its gentle roasty character - nutty and round - with notes of caramel, brown sugar, glazed pecan, chocolate, and a dusting of coffee. Immediately after the roast, you get this thin vein of rustic farmy wheat, along with the delicate Belgian yeast, delivering the woody, grainy, farmy saison character, flowing alongside the dry roast. This rustic farmhouse flavour outshines the roastiness during the midpoint, before the roast comes back in and takes the spotlight. The roast itself is very much akin to a dry Irish-style stout roast. Dry, petite, and delicate. The finish goes back and forth, emphasizing both elements of the beer, before eventually ending with a slightly roastier note, and finally, just a whisper of some resinous, piney and lemony hops.

Mouthfeel/Body: The beer is quite light in body. Not watery, as the amount of flavour prevents that, but ever-so-slightly thin, and quite crisp. In the middle, there is definitely a bit of roundness - almost softness - from the roasted malts, but it remains fully dry and crisp through and through. Effervescence is lively and brisk, furthering that crisp delivery.

Overall: It's a unique beer, there's no denying that. Dark farmhouse ales are not entirely common, so it's nice to see a renowned farmhouse ale brewery take a shot at one. In my opinion, they definitely succeeded. It's interesting. It's almost as if it's a blend of a classic saison and a dry Irish stout. That's how it translates on the palate - and while it may seem slightly divided, and not entirely cohesive, it is nevertheless enjoyable, and has very little if any glaring flaws. Certainly worth trying.

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Photo of ichorNet
4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

If you're like me, you've always loved and appreciated dark saisons. You may even have a small, humble homebrew venture with a friend by which you brewed an unnecessarily-strong tribute to dark saisons under the name NOLDS (which, of course, stands for No One Likes Dark Saisons) some years back. I mean, it'd be weird if you met this criteria, but it definitely tells you a little about where I'm coming from with this review. Dark saisons haven't been a thing for like 6-7 years now, so seeing Oxbow pop up with an affordable one was like a double-shocker to me. Oxbow stuff is typically extremely expensive, and this is a style I long for new examples of, to boot... 2019 is weird, man. Really weird.

Pours a deep brown with mahogany highlights... very much unfiltered and not-giving-a-damn, opacity-wise anyway. The head is a rich khaki color, and it builds up spectacularly with each small pour. My initial pour near-overflowed with suds, and I had to sip it away to keep it from getting all over my counter, so I'm going to assume this is well-carbonated. Good looking stuff.

The nose is nutty and slightly tobacco-forward with some earthen, leathery undertones that match the slight roasty malt impression I'm picking up. Sterling presentation of Noble-type European hops along with a definite farmhouse yeast note. I pick up a slight vegetal note with ashen grains and herbal/grassy undertones. Some yeast-driven funk here and there as well. I pick up some light apricot and plum when I really focus on getting past the dark grains, but those elements are essentially drowned by roast. This is, however, very much exactly what I expect and want.

Lots of dark fruit right upfront... mostly pit fruit (more of the aforementioned plum and apricot), with some dark grape notes. Transitions to a roasty malt in the mid-palate with some earthy tobacco and leather combined with coriander-like citrusy spice as it finishes full-bodied and satisfying. Rustic and slightly-funky, yet overall presenting as clean, Blacklight shines a radiant yet deeply-hued glow on a style long thought dead.

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Photo of brureview
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very dark chocolate brown color with a 4F head in a Mikasa Tulip.

Dark malt aroma.

The MF was a bit light, I was looking for slightly more viscosity.

Dark roasted malt dominates the taste.

Is this a Saison? It’s closer to a black ale or a hybrid. This beer is brewed well, but the style description may be incorrect. It doesn’t taste like any Saison I have tasted.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

From a tap at The Sovereign (Georgetown, DC), pours as opaque dark brown with a thin khaki head. Aroma is slightly malty. Taste is malt-forward with a distinct wheat flavor. Mouth feel was disappointing; with oat-like smoothness, but (really off-putting) wateriness.

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Blacklight from Oxbow Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 14 ratings