Strange Roots Experimental Ales

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Belgian Saison
Ranked #336
Ranked #7,111
4.06 | pDev: 10.59%
Strange Roots Experimental Ales
Pennsylvania, United States
Notes: Like the GEESTELIJKE’s namesake clergyman, this funky Farmhouse Ale is supremely divine. Our signature Wild Angels strain of yeast lends its uniquely sophisticated barnyard sensibilities to this full-bodied brew.
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 86 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Beejay
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Listed as brewed by Draai Laag. And it has been aging for quite a bit.

A: A pale golden amber in color, light white head that dissipates almost immediately.

S: Slightly tart, with sour notes, as well an a pronounced fruitiness, stone fruit, and berry.

T: light berry and stone fruit, slightly tart with some vinegar, and a hint of funk. It's almost a touch watery in the finish.

M: Medium light in body, with very assertive carbonation, dry finish.

O: Overall an interesting beer, it is hiding the alcohol almost too well, at the detriment of flavor.

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Beejay from Virginia, Oct 31, 2019
Photo of jlindros
2.13/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to rudzud
Light fizzy head, no retention, slight hazy golden pale color

Nose is awful, some stale cereal, trash, yeast, bandaid, acetic acid, oxidation, weird fruits, I mean check every box in the off flavors list

Taste yeasty doughy stale cereal, oxidation cardboard, tart lemony acetic acid, green apple skin, terrible sharp acidity, flemmy, then somehow astringent and solventy alcohol

Mouth is med bod, fizzy carb, astringent and solventy

Overall, well it's not the worst beer I've ever had, but still blows me away that they could cram so many off flavors at the same time, that takes skill

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Feb 16, 2019
Photo of rudzud
2.16/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1.75

Received as an extra in a trade and shared with JLindros. 2017 bottle???

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice crystal clear golden hue with a thin white head that fades to leave really light wisps.

S - Aromas of plastic bandaid, trash, acid, stale grains. Really makes the butric acid creep up.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with loads of tart green apple peel, more of the plastic band aid. Finish is astringent as well.

M - Mouthfeel is brightly carbonated crisp yet almost slimy.

O - Overall this was a train wreck. Just about every off aroma/flavour you can have somehow rolled in to one. Terrible.

Serving Type: bottle

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rudzud from Massachusetts, Feb 16, 2019
Photo of EMV
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on-tap at Champs in State College. Poured into a goblet

L: Clear light golden pour with 2 fingers of thick fluffy white head. Great lacing.

S: Oak and musty funk. Fruity.

T/F: White wine character... tart without being sour... musty/funky... nice fruit flavor... green apple, pear, and lemongrass. Very light citrus... honey and spice. Complex and delicious. Light bodied and well carbonated.

O: A delicious and complex saison. Really enjoyed this and would get it again in a heartbeat. Can't believe this one clocks in at 9%. ABV was entirely hidden.

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EMV from Pennsylvania, Apr 20, 2018
Photo of Cylinsier
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4


Pours hazy honey golden, white ring for a head.

Smells of sweet apple and honey biscuit malts.

Flavor of apple, citrus, grassy malts, coriander and wildflower honey.

Medium body, tingly carbonation on the tongue.

Pretty nice Belgian style brew, one of DL's least sour rotators. Solid across the board and gets the job done.

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Cylinsier from Pennsylvania, Sep 17, 2017
Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down, leaving a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of sour funk are preset in the nose.
T: The taste starts off with some sourness but isn't nearly as funky as the smell. There are also notes of fruits such as grapes and apples.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and surprisingly a little tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found the tartness in this saison to be quite unique. It also hides its alcohol very well.

Serving type: bottle

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metter98 from New York, Jun 04, 2017
Photo of Sabtos
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A loud and fizzy white head disappears completely, leaving solely the sparkling gold-apricot body.

Bright and eye-openingly refreshing and tart aromas pop with apricot, oak, grapefruit, orange, and white grape wine barrels with a slight touch of perfumey funk.

Taste is quite bold and complex, starting tart and leaning sour but crisp almost like champagne, with woody oak that is somehow very sharp and light. A lightly spiced apple bread runs along the backbone with tart lemon-lime, apricot, peach, grapefruit and a little hint of white wine vinegar. Wild herbs develop as it warms with something perfumey yet bitter.

When it hits the palate there is a quickly developing fizzy froth, and it leaves with a semi-wet finish.

This is an infinitely complex and fine beer, I don't think I've ever had anything quite like it.

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Sabtos from Ohio, Apr 29, 2017
Photo of LAp
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap in a snifter. Geuze crossed with farmhouse - that is, gueze-like in sour profile, but fuller bodied like a saison (with just a touch of Belgian spice lurking beneath the surface). Subtle but complex.

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LAp from Ohio, Apr 24, 2017
Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks goes out to thebeers for this brew.

16.9 oz. Bottle

Pours a pretty nice cloudy yellowish color, pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy/foam white head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, yeasty, with some nice peach, kinda citrusy. The taste is malty, yeasty, very nice peach note, citrusy. apple, tart, some spicyness. Medium body, ABV hidden very well, nice little dry finish. Overall, this one really surprised me, very nice brew. Glad to get a chance to try it. Thanks Arthur! Recommended!

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Wasatch from Colorado, Apr 10, 2017
Photo of JBabz
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Interesting beer. Not bland at all, sour vinegar flavor with a bready aftertaste. Little funkiness. Smells like vinegar more than it tastes. Overall quite enjoyable, more sour than saison.

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JBabz from Pennsylvania, Apr 02, 2017
Photo of woodychandler
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It was difficult to contain my excitement when the FGBS initially began receiving distro from this Pittsburgh-area brewery, so I purchased what was then available & subsequently added to them. It was never my intent to create a Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, but its eradication allows me the opportunity to conduct horizontals as I go. I am finding the results to be VERRRRY interesting & not at all stupid, per Arte Johnson of "Laugh-In".

From the bottle: "Farmhouse Fermented Ale, Aged on Lees".

The name translates from the Dutch as "Cleric", so I assume that gives Bro. Woody of the Order of Disorder free rein. I say this because I generally/usually slowly decant my ales off of their lees. The site's "Styles" guide does not mention anything about appearance. The BJCP says that "Clarity is poor to good though haze is not unexpected in this type of unfiltered farmhouse beer." Sehr gut! I am going to do a half 'n' half, following the Pop! of the cap.

The inherent carbonation was evident from the outset as it offgassed the moment that I compromised the cap's seal. My first pour was a very gentle one, neither rousing the lees nor agitating the contents. I left about half of the bottle's contents in situ. An in-glass swirl raised just under two fingers of fizzy, foamy, bone-white head that quickly reduced to wisps. Color was a gorgeous Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) with NE-quality clarity, summoning forth The Gelt Gang of Mammon, Midas & Croesus, all vying for a taste. Nose was equal, in terms of its barnyard funk, to the earlier Cru, if not funkier in this case! Ha ha. I take amusement from beer when & if I can. There must be a horse in there somewhere! I can smell his sweat, his blanket, his dung, his shoes, his tail, his mane, his basic presence. Was this brewed in a paddock? I'd like $10 on the #5 horse in the next race going off at Los Alamitos, please. Mouthfeel, while medium, was quite effervescent. The taste, while funky & tart, was not as pronounced as on the nose. I also got some lemony flavor to go along with/cut the funk. I have to cop to not really being a fan of Saisons, but this was pretty enjoyable in its current form. Finish was dry, but not overly tart. I felt like I could drink this without needing water, which is my ongoing test with Tart & Sour beers.

And now, a swirled, murky mess. Nose was MUCH more pronounced & funky than it had been on that initial pour. Now, it was as if the horse was right on top of me! I really only enjoy equines at a distance, usually from the uppermost grandstands with a ticket & beer in hand. On active duty in the Navy, I was an inveterate gambler, albeit for low stakes, I was quartered aboard ship & so for a chance to get away on the cheap, drink some beer & blow some moolah, I took up everything from jai alai frontons, dog tracks, casinos & ultimately, horse racing. I remember the first time that I heard of Charles Bukowski & I immediately started buying up his books of both prose & poetry. We were like-minded & I still take inspiration form him. Mouthfeel, while medium, had an abrasive quality, as though the lees were scrubbing bubbles. Ah, Bubbles. She was an exotic dancer in North Beach, San Francisco, 1987. I was 22 y/o & she was probably old enough to be my mother (not really, I had older parents, so Mom-Za was 55 y/o at the time), but she really took a shine to me. All was well & good until some bent-noses who fancied her decided that it was time to show me the door. Young, dumb & full of c*m - that was me. I knew how to fight, but when it was three or more on one (me), I curled into a fetal position, got knocked unconscious & only revived when the SFPD rousted me out of the rainy gutter. Luckily, I had my teeth & wallet, so I walked, but not easily. They were pros & I think that they may have used a sockful of oranges. My nose, although not broken, was bloody & so was my urine, for about a week. I never went back. Back to the beer. The taste was taking on a stench of Eau de Backed Up Sewer Pipe. This is why I am not enamored of Saisons - they're like a box of chocolates in that you never know what you are going to get. This was becoming akin to the Whizzo Quality Assortment, reminiscent of Crunchy Frog, Ram's Bladder Cup, Cockroach Cluster, Anthrax Ripple, and Spring Surprise. Mmm. Of course, I jest, but as with all humor/comedy, there remains a kernel of truth. Finish was VERY evocative of the farm & while I spent my childhood summers next to a working farm, I have no need or desire to revisit those memories.

Bottom line: Leave the lees in place!

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woodychandler from Pennsylvania, Mar 29, 2017
Photo of bobv
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Light to moderate pour yields a 3/4 inch white head over a hazy golden body with minimal lacing. Nose of funk, citrus, and apple. Taste follows nicely with a crisp, dry finish of lemony apple. Feel is adequate for a sour and a tad thin for a saison. Overall, very interesting and at this price point ($7.99), this should be on everyone's radar!

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bobv from Vermont, Feb 27, 2017
Photo of cjgiant
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy dark yellow. Head ends up frothy at the edges with sparse coverage of the surface.

Nise showed a decent sign of sweet-tart apple on the pour. There is a definite appl tartness as I analyze it. The beer is a little sweeter than I expect or desire in a saison. There is an apple blossom floral note along with a smell reminiscent of a saison, but it's pretty much in the shadows.

The taste is a little more tart, but very much an apple tart dessert overall. A little sour bite disappears fast and is replaced by a less sour, more tart apple. Quite prickly carbonation then tries to disguise (fairly successfully) a more traditional gay-like saison.

A bit of a tart take for a saison, but an enjoyable one. Wish the carbonation didn't hide where I think the saison would come out.

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cjgiant from District of Columbia, Feb 19, 2017
Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a creamy cloudy yellow-orange with a finger of fuzzy head that settles to a thin cap leaving trace sticky lacing. Citrus aroma, mostly lemonish... and earthy funk. Tart taste of lemon citrus. On the thin side, yet very refreshing especially for this ABV.

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WillieThreebiers from Connecticut, Jun 27, 2016
Photo of Ohiovania
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 4.25

This one came out of left field. Great tart complexity with a slight barnyardy-ness. Like a shocker sweet tart. My only complaint is that the mouthfeel is a little over carb'd.

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Photo of DIM
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Leaving the lees in the bottle produces a bright, clear, very pale golden body. I poured as gently as I could but I still filled my Duvel glass with 2/3 foam and 1/3 beer.

I smell slightly acidic, powdered fruit flavored candy and sour grains. Simple, gentle, and very enticing. The taste mirrors the smell for the most part, with the addition of a mild, lemon pepper finish. This comes across as simple and satisfying to me but there seems to be layers beyond my ability to describe. The body is incredibly light and airy, helping to mask the 9% abv. This is disappearing far too quickly!

I bought this 8-9 months ago and kind of forgot about it. I very much hope to see more of this someday; delicious and reasonably priced.

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DIM from Pennsylvania, Jan 27, 2016
Photo of Preluderl
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Plague release. Really tart, but that works for me. It borders crossing into the line of truly sour without crossing over. Really enjoy this one.

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Preluderl from Pennsylvania, Nov 19, 2015
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Tieman for sharing this one at the LA Beer Talk bottle share.

Pours a murky orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is slightly sour with grain, fruit, honey, earth, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly sour grain, fruit, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is super tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle.

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UCLABrewN84 from California, Aug 24, 2015
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having never heard of this brewery until 2 days ago, we had a few of its offerings and they were/are very good. This one, while clearly a saison, had tons of apricot and stone fruit character in nose and taste profile. Well worth a try.

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GRG1313 from California, Aug 24, 2015
Photo of ajm5108
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lots of fizz and carbonation out of the bottle, thick foamy head...aroma has lemongrass, and lighter yeast notes...taste has some tartness up front, a little acidic at the end, lots of yeast and say general earthy hay with light citrus. Definitely tart for a saison, but a fun beer that is easy to drink if you don't mind the tart

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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania, May 11, 2015
Photo of Jonada
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a teku

Appearance: Pours a golden yellow color with 2 fingers of a white, soapy head that settles to a thick ring. Body is lightly hazy with good visible carbonation.

Smell: Citrus, pear, green apple, hay, peppery yeast.

Taste: Big tartness, though not actually sour, with lots of bright fruit character. Apple, pear, white grape, funk, pepper, and a hint of pineapple.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium lively carbonation. Finishes semi dry. There's a light warming sensation in the throat, but otherwise the 9% is hidden very well.

Overall: Got this as an extra in a trade and had never heard of this brewery prior to opening this, so I had zero expectations going in. That being said, this was a very pleasant surprise. Nice tartness and lots of big flavors. Would definitely get this again.

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Jonada from New Jersey, Apr 28, 2015
Photo of Treyliff
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

on tap at Draai Laag

A- pours a hazy pale straw color with a small creamy white head that leaves some small lacing behind

S- earthy aroma with some dried hay, brett funk & light phenols

T- earthy and yeasty up front with flavors of lemongrass and hay, light brett funk adds just a hint of sour notes on the finish

M- medium body and carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a dry crisp finish

O- high drinkability and hides the ABV quite well

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Apr 11, 2015
Photo of BeerIsland
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hunger-n-Thirst today. A very nice beer; I was told made with many yeasts. Great aromas and well balanced flavors in a very unusual package.

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BeerIsland from Pennsylvania, Mar 31, 2015
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Draai Laag brew I have yet to tick? Who knew.

Great saison. Really showcases a nice level of the traditional characteristics you hope to see with a touch of Draai Laag flare. Great beer. Really enjoyed this one.

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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania, Mar 26, 2015
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draai Laag Brewing Co. "Geestelijke"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, no apparent freshness dating
$1.99 @ Wegmans, King of Prussia, PA

Carefully poured so as not to disturb the lees, Geestelijke's body is a hazy deep gold with an orange cast. Thousands of tiny bubbles race towards the surface, bolstering its thick, two finger head of rocky white foam. As might be expected, the head retention and lacing are excellent, continually holding a solid 1/8th to 1/4" cap and leaving solid walls of lace behind. The yeast-pour lends it a little bit more haze and it becomes almost cloudy - it's still a great looking glass of beer given the style.

In the nose it's sweet and sugary like fruity hard candy ("Bottlecaps" come to mind), and the yeast-pour brings out some tangerine. Yeast itself is present as well, and it's mineralish but not quite chalky.

The flavor is very much as the nose suggests but with a wider range of fruitiness (apple, pear, peach, dried cherry, some lime), an added touch of tartness, and some delicate grassy, herbal, and peppery-spicy character that really brings it round to a great fullness. It's simple and straightforward, yet remarkably complex; and it's superbly balanced and rounded. The alcohol never shows (9% abv); and it's effervescent and bristling yet somehow smooth across the palate at the same time.

Absolutely incredible! One of the best beers I've tasted in years!!! If you're a fan of Belgian-style beers this is one you've got to track down. If I was given this in a blind tasting there's absolutely no way that I would have even considered the possibility that it came out of the United States. Stunningly refreshing and satiating at the same time. Kudos to the brewers!

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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania, Mar 02, 2015
Geestelijke from Strange Roots Experimental Ales
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 86 ratings