Zymaster Series No. 6: Saaremaa Island Ale | Anchor Brewing Company

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Zymaster Series No. 6: Saaremaa Island AleZymaster Series No. 6: Saaremaa Island Ale
74 Ratings
Zymaster Series No. 6: Saaremaa Island AleZymaster Series No. 6: Saaremaa Island Ale

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jme015 on 05-05-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 |  Reviews: 21
Reviews by goochpunch:
Photo of goochpunch
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out an orange-copper with thin head that eventually goes down to nothing. Smells of faint malt with a good deal of banana-y phenols. Malt base had caramel and toast flavors. Yeast is strong. Lots of banana and fruit/spice. Mouthfeel is moderate with a sticky edge. Carbonation isn't overbearing but it's a bit tingly. Overall this is decent, but nothing special.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz. Brown glass. Branded iconic red & gold pry-off pressure cap.

Acquired: At an Austin, TX bottle shop.

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: 2014. Batch 4LG.
ABV: 6.0%.
Style: Saaremaa Island Ale. Wild Indigenous Pale Ale.
Serving temp: Cold.
Serving vessel: Goblet.
Expectations: Above average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1/4 inch. White colour. Fair creaminess, fullness, and thickness. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

Retention: Poor. ~25 seconds.

BODY: Translucent transparent copper-orange of above average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a generally appealing pale ale. Not unique or special.

AROMA: Biscuit malt, graham cracker, indistinct fruit, marmalade, honey malt, pale malt, mild floral hop character, some caramalt, and surprising malt sweetness given this is meant to be a pale ale. Strangely, the emphasis is definitely on malts rather than hops, but it works. Hints of cedar wood and overripe orange. The cedar is fantastic, and incredibly evocative.

I can't decide if the hopping is English in character or just really dialed down, but I like it. I don't notice any yeasty oddities; I wouldn't know this was an obscure Estonian-style brew if I tried it blind, but there's definitely something different about it that I lack the faculty to put my finger on.

Aromatic intensity is average. The cedar and the honey stand out most.

TASTE: Honey malt and cedar, definitely. Pale malts, mild malty sweetness, and some floral hop character. A kiss of indistinct spice. Yeast-derived banana. Pear. Hints of breadiness. A kiss of orange. The third act is redolent briefly of apple juice. As it warms, some clove and allspice emerge, but the spice profile never comes off Christmasy.

Depth of flavour: Average.
Flavour duration: Average.
Flavour intensity: Average.
Flavour amplitude: Average.

Not a real complex or intricate brew, but it does have some modest subtlety. The cedar wood and honey malt really make it interesting, but it's not unique. An off-kilter brew with interesting elements and nice balance. It's cohesive but not gestalt. I do like it, but it's not easy to peg as a specific style. There's ample room for improvement, and it does have a strange raw sweetness for a pale ale of any variety, but it just works. I do like it, but it has ample room for improvement.

TEXTURE: Direly overcarbonated, tanking the drinkability. Smooth, wet, fairly refreshing, medium-bodied, clean, and somewhat crisp. Thickness, heft, and weight on the palate are average. Overall presence on the palate is decent. Has nice softness.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

This mouthfeel fails to elevate the beer and doesn't really accentuate any specific notes, but it complements the taste nicely.

OVERALL: Fans of cedar and honey malt sweetness will have a field day, but those drinkers in search of a well executed pale ale will be left scratching their heads. This is odd, but it has nothing to do with the purportedly unique Estonian islandic yeast. It's just a sweet pale ale with some really interesting elements. Not a world class brew, but certainly worth trying - especially at its reasonable price point. I always applaud experimentation, and in spite of its flaws, this works. I'd like to see this thrown out in 6 packs, but I'm not sure I'd want to buy it again. If anything, it tastes most like a honeyed Munich lager with the estery character of an ale and a hint of Belgian-esque yeast. I'm glad this is on the market, but it's far from world class. It's nice to see Anchor isn't too shackled to ostensible tradition.

High C+ (3.23)

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

With incredible focus, archeology, and dedication to the indigenous taste of Saaremaa Island, a beer that's bred from such specific culturing eventually culminates in a beer with a balanced British taste and a teasing strength to boot.

Copper-honey in color, the beer's frothy rise greets the nose with floral aromas of honeysuckle and fragrant sassafras. As peppercorn, cedar and tea leaf tingle the nose, the light coat of caramel and marmalade sooth the early palate.

With the beer's blossom opening on the middle, a beautiful medley of orange, pound cake, faint honey and soft jam all meld beautifully before the taste trends dry, peppery, woodsy and with a pep of fruity tobacco.

Medium in body but striving for a clean and crisp exit, the beer leaves a thin layer of oil on the palate to create a sense of fullness but muting some of its flavor along the way. Its peppery hop bite saves the day with a stemmy bitterness, again reminiscent of perfumy cedar both in its tannic feel and its fragrant aftertaste.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/18/2014. Listed as 7.2% on the bottle. Pours crystal clear deep golden color with a 2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of pear, apple, white grape, apricot, banana, clove, pepper, honey, biscuit, herbal, wood, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of fruity/spicy yeast, earthy hops, and bready malt notes; with solid strength. Taste of big pear, apple, white grape, apricot, banana, clove, pepper, light caramel, honey, toasted biscuit, herbal, wood, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate earthy herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pear, apple, white grape, apricot, banana, clove, pepper, honey, toasted biscuit, wood, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness, balance, and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, earthy hops, and bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly sticky/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice and unique pale ale style. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, earthy hops, and bready malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the ABV. It feels like a cross between an English pale ale and a German Kristallweizen to me. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle into tulip.

A: Pours a clear light golden color with a couple fingers of off-white head that quickly faded into a faint collar.
S: Wow, the yeast makes this smell more like a hefeweizen than it does a pale ale. I get dominating notes of clove, earthy spice, and a bit of orange zest. Spicy and a bit bready overall.
T: Follows the nose with a very interesting floral, spicy, herbal and earthy flavor profile. This tastes like a wildflower meadow mixed with an herb garden and a citrus tree. This tastes like a hefeweizen without as much wheat quality, or as much chewiness. I get notes of clove, lavender, honey, coriander, pepper, juicy citrus, wintergreen, allspice, and banana. The finish is sweet and is reminiscent of apple juice, and the aftertaste is has the lingering flavors of a spice rack.
M: The mouthfeel is more viscous and heavier than I expected, with a fairly full body and ample carbonation. This beer is the opposite of dry, with a slick and greasy feel.
O: Really interested yeast strain they isolated. This definitely tastes like a hefeweizen, and if I closed my eyes there’s no way I’d tell you this was a pale ale. Definitely quaffable, but not something I’d drink all the time.

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Photo of Tiernan
2.52/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from tap into a tulip glass.
Look- Very light golden hue with a small amount of lacing.
Smell- Maybe it was a bad keg, but this beer smelled awful. Strong scent of soap and a residual stink I find hard to explain.
Taste- Light. Simple. Straw. I don't know what else to say here, this tastes like a light lager and I'm only wondering why I was served 8oz in a tulip glass for a price I would normally pay for a good pint.
Feel- Bubbly. Smooth. Light.

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Photo of DaftPatrick
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of pat61
4.41/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A tart, lemony nose. Pours golden with a slight chill haze under a 1” white foam cap that descends to a thick film. It enters with light fruit, a hint of grape, dry and tangy by mid-palate and finished with grain and a moderate hop bitterness on the finish with a trace of smoke. There are low levels of mineral or salt in the background that shows up more in the aftertaste. Light and refreshing.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 1 pint 6 fluid ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A- Massive fluffy white head, foamy and plateaued . Recedes slowly. Lace is abundant. Body is hugely carbonated, slightly hazy and golden. 4.5

S- Wow, this smells like a saison really. The aroma is very similar, with an apparent yeast-like estery smell and some grapefruit and orange citrus. It's very floral and overall very potent and aromatic. Very unique for a pale ale, but I like it. Faint malt otherwise. 4.25

T- Again, very interesting. I'm still getting a saison-like quality that is heavily floral and sweet citrusy. It's faintly reminiscent of orange juice or grapefruit juice, but with a spiking of peppery, lily-like yeast. The malts are caramel-like, bready and biscuity and work well with the yeast. 4.25

M- Certainly a juicy quality to this beer and it's heavy on the yeast, pepperiness and dryness that a saison would have, but it all works. It's relatively smooth with medium body and carbonation. The finish is a lingering floral, yeasty kind of flavor and feel. 4

First beer I've had like this, but I like. It's unique and I'm always a sucker for that, but it's also tasty.

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Photo of javlin624
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of dertyd
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anchor Brewing Co. "Anchor Brewing Zymaster Series No.6 Saaremaa Island Ale"
22 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, coded "4LG"
$5.99 @ Roger Wilco, Pennsauken, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: So this beer has been in the cellar for 3 plus years? I didn't realize it was that old. How strong is it? 6% ABV, that's not too strong, let's hope it's still OK. It's poured a mainly clear deep golden body with a bit of an orange sheen beneath a short head of creamy off-white foam. The aroma expresses sweetish grainy malt and some lightly candyish and softly spicy notes. I don't think there are any hops present. The flavor follows the aroma but much fuller. It's malty and sweetish but there's also a light touch of acidity to it as well. The clove is clearer to be sure, and there is a touch of grassiness in the mildly bitter, semi-sweet finish. Ahh, there's some very light Ceylon mace as well. I don't find it oxidized as in "cardboard" and "paper" but I think it has emphasized the malt a little bit. There's a light caramel edge to it that I'm not sure was there in the first place. It's interesting, but kind of one-sided. That's not to say that I couldn't sit down and have a few of these if I was in Estonia, or specifically, Saaremaa Island. And wow, looking at a map now I had no idea that it was so close to St. Petersburg. When I eventually make it to Russia I'll have to stop in Estonia and Latvia first, maybe even Lithuania. Looking back there's no lacing left behind, and I did notice that the head had dropped fairly quickly. It's medium bodied and gently crisp then smooth with a moderate carbonation. Overall a very nice quaff with some interesting character and I wish I'd gotten to this sooner.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

Pours a finger of head on a clear straw colored body.
The aroma is fruits and spice: orange peel, lemon and coriander.
The taste is complex with varying tones of spice and mild bitterness, hardly any sweetness to it.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
It's a tasty brew.

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Photo of chrishiker1409
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of zonker17
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Al_M
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of Bunuelian
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ElJosharino
3/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of TrojanRB
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of jsh420
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of LakerLeith
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of HopsAreDaMan
2.29/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

22oz; Forsyth W&CP; bought 08-2015; bottled in 2014?; I bought this on sale, as it was a little old. Right away, I could see it was not a beer I would care for, as the aroma and the look seems similar like a typical, commercially made lager (although the aroma is nice and strong). I get some fruit in the flavor, and some malt, but again, it reminds me of a typical lager.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Big Anchor bottle picked up at Brewer's Haven Boise last week, I forget the price, but I suspect about $6... Poured tonight into my CC Teku... Slightly hazed golden... Nice white head with good lacing, but flimsy retention.

Strikes me immediately as "Belgian" and nothing resembling a standard APA... The yeasty notes come off as earthy with a little clovey phenol... Light hops are sorta forgotten.. Light toasty maltiness adds a layer of complexity.. Think of it as a light BPA and you have things figured out... Good carbonation and a light/medium body... Surprisingly drinkable. Interesting yeast experiment and happy I got a chance to try it


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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a medium golden amber with a thin white head that dissipates to faint patches. Aroma of light caramel malt, wheat, mild citrus and fruit juice, lightly spicy. Interesting flavor of mild caramel and light biscuit malt, Belgian yeast, clove, allspice. Finishes with biscuit malt, Belgian spices and slight grassy hops and a slight butteriness that is typical of Anchor ales. Light to mediumm bodied with excellent sharp carbonation, a relief after the lackluster head. I can see why the brewmaster brought this yeast and idea back, this is a quite nice hybrid of a pale ale and Belgian ale. The yeast, malt and spices are well balanced and this was very refreshing and tasty. A very pleasant surpise that I enjoyed a lot. Interesting and I would definitely buy this again.

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Zymaster Series No. 6: Saaremaa Island Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 74 ratings