Alter Ego
Smartmouth Brewing Company

Alter EgoAlter Ego
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Farmhouse Ale - Saison
Ranked #1,504
Ranked #29,786
3.8 | pDev: 8.68%
Smartmouth Brewing Company
Virginia, United States
Very Good
Alter EgoAlter Ego
Notes: This brew is a shout-out to the alter ego in each of us, beckoning it out of dormancy. Porter Hardy, IV, brewery president, left his career as an attorney to heed the call of his weekend passion, making beer. Along with some friends who were just as consumed by beer, he established Smartmouth Brewing Company in 2012. Alter Ego, brewed in the farmhouse style of a Belgian Saison, is an effervescent and refreshing beer with fruity notes, a hint of pepper and a dry finish. Try pairing it with seafood, especially oysters or mussels, smoked sausages or cured meats. It complements aged gouda, chevre and ripe soft cheeses.
Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 148 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BiologyBob
BiologyBob from Texas

3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It looks like liquid gold, a bit hazy, and smells like soap and apricot. There was a nice white head, but it did not stick around. It has a nice balance of hops and farmhouse flavor. Medium bodied and very drinkable.

Jun 30, 2021
Photo of VABA
VABA from Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice hazy golden color with a generous head and lacing
Aroma had citrus, lemon and pepper hints
The taste follows the nose with a pleasant citrus, lemon and peppery flavor
A light bodied moderately carbonated very crisp beer
A good Saison

Jun 04, 2021
Photo of jfmorey
jfmorey from Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a can purchased at my local supermarket in Vienna, VA, about 200 miles from the brewery; poured into a tulip glass.
I've always liked saisons, particularly in the warmer months. Many brewers miss the point of this style, a drinkable, refreshing ale with the particular note of strangeness from the Belgian yeast. At 6.2%, the alcohol is a bit high, but otherwise Alter Ego hits the mark perfectly.

May 20, 2020
Photo of paging12
paging12 from Virginia

3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Can to tulip.

Just had the sirens lair saison from fair winds, down the road from Smartmouth. It was good, hoppy and strong for a saison.

This Alter Ego is what I think of when drinking saison. The aforementioned didn’t, like I said, a bit hoppy and strong. This is heavy on the mouth, dank dampness, musty, but tart with some citrus and Bhrett. Hazy, unfiltered, golden apricot.

Mar 08, 2020
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the can, it pours a hazy amber with a large vibrant head that sticks around and leaves lacing. In the nose, it is malt and a bit of spicy yeast, to me. In the mouth, it is a pleasant malty and a touch of something I can't describe.

Apr 17, 2019
Photo of Kinger22
Kinger22 from Virginia

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I love the color of this beer - it's a bright a bright maze yellow with a small head. The smell is heavy on fruit, but the smell is not. The taste is very smokey with a pepper hint as well. This is a pretty decent farmhouse with a lot going on.

Sep 09, 2018
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a lightly hazy pale golden straw yellow in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and faint bright yellow + apricot colored highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense sudsy foamy white head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of pale malts with minimal amounts of sweetness and slightly spicy saison yeast.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of pale malts with minimal amounts of sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of slightly spicy saison yeast that fade quickly giving way to an almost strawberry lemon fruity sweetness which linger in the finish.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Hints of dryness in the finish.

O: Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol. Enjoyable but a little more fruity than I generally prefer my saisons - I like them to be a little spicier and drier.

Aug 11, 2018
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy yellow in color. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of yeast are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and has initial flavors of peppery spices, but these quickly dissipate and are repacked by fruity flavors.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer smells like a typical saison but the taste is uniquely fruity.

Serving type: can

Aug 11, 2018
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm trying this at the brewery. The beer poured a clear orangish with white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent had hints of Belgian spice. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink just enough Belgian sugar to make it know it's a saison. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a solid beer.

Nov 09, 2017
Photo of SeanShank84
SeanShank84 from District of Columbia

4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm really particular about saisons, and this one's great. Alter Ego has just the right texture and subtly citrusy flavor that I expect from beers of this kind.

Jul 23, 2017
Photo of Mfilchock
Mfilchock from Virginia

4.61/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

As near to the classic Saison from the US. With DuPont considered by many to be the best, this is very good. Others are north coast brewing Le Merle and Heavy Seas' Red Sky at Night when they brew it.

Jul 05, 2017
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smartmouth Brewing Co. "Alter Ego"
12 fl. oz. can, "CANNED ON 04/19/17" and sampled on 06/27/17
$1.99 @ Total Wine & More, Virginia Beach, VA

Notes via stream of consciousness: Very hazy... perhaps even cloudy, golden amber body beneath a massive head of rocky white that slowly settles. The aroma expresses sweet malt, clove, apple, and banana. The flavor adds in a hint of tartness, a light touch of spiciness, and more fruit (strawberry, lemon, orange). As it warms I'm finding more floral character in the nose, and I see now that the head has dropped to a thin but solid surface covering and is leaving spots of lacing behind. Moderately bitter, the slight tartness and light spiciness help to dry it in the finish. Medium-light in body and delicately crisp. Very nice overall ~ a little sweet, a little tart, very fruity, lightly phenolic and spicy, and moderately bitter. Easy to drink and enjoyable.

Jun 27, 2017
Photo of Dragginballs76
Dragginballs76 from South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours clear golden color with decent white head that quickly dissipates. No lacing.

Aroma - Very nice peppery spicy aroma, Belgian yeast, floral notes, a bit of malt as well.

Taste - Taste reminds me more of a Belgian ale that a saison. lots of lemon and orange, yeast, wheat and very nice spicy flavor.

Feel - Light bodied clean crisp, well carbonated.

Overall - A good beer, not what I am used to in a saison but clean crisp great flavors.

Mar 08, 2017
Photo of JerzDevl2000
JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Traded for this beer recently, never having this or anything from Smartmouth before. This was canned on 1/21 so obviously, this wasn't as fresh as I would have liked but it was still a decent beer with a heavier feel to it than the style and amount of alcohol would have led me to believe.

The pour to this was decent as the beer was a hazy apricot with a big head full of big bubbles. Not a lot of lacing was left behind as I worked my way through this and the aroma wasn't terribly strong either. Some pepper, yeast, spice, light citrus, and bread were in the nose and all of these were in the taste as well. Heavy, somewhat slick, and just a bit thick, this went down easily but it didn't have the typical flavor found in a Saison or Farmhouse Ale. The carbonation was light and the alcohol wasn't easily detectable, but the former may have been because of the age or this. Regardless, this wasn't terribly funky and the earthy feel of this wasn't that strong either.

When I finished this off, there was a slight warming effect that I could feel. It would have been great to have a fresher can of this as I feel that there was a lot of potential in this beer. The best aspect of it was the funky design of this as it held my attention for a while. As for the beer, it was relatively easygoing and one of the more accessible examples of this style that I've enjoyed.

Sep 11, 2016
Photo of stakem
stakem from Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a pint appears a hazy golden to copper with a white cap.

Aroma is a bit of citrus then yeasty phenolics like clove and pepper.

Taste has clove spice, black pepper, slight citrus dry wheat and a touch of carbonics.

Light in body and modestly carbonated. Overall not bad.

Aug 12, 2016
Photo of WunderLlama
WunderLlama from Massachusetts

3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Can poured into sam Adams glass

Clear golden yellow, active argonaut ion, thick, frothy two finger white foam cap

Aroma of grassy malts, sweet, yeast

Taste of saison yeast , malt

Light mouthfeel, slightly tart

Nice beer

Aug 04, 2016
Photo of maddogruss
maddogruss from New Jersey

3.19/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: pours hazy grass yellow body with small white head with ok R&L
S: sweet, malty smell with some dank notes
T: sweet, semi fruity notes with some some fruity, apricot aftertaste
M: medium bodied and fairly crisp
D: nice M&T combo; ok saison

May 25, 2016
Photo of avalon07
avalon07 from South Carolina

4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a can to a pint glass. Had an orange-gold color and a cloudy consistency. There was a two inch, creamy, long-lasting head. Below average lacing.

S: A nice aroma of fruit, spices, and some Belgian yeast.

T: Tasted of yeast, light malt, spices (cloves), citrus (lemon), the typical saison funk and a slight bubblegum tinge as well. The flavor with this beer really shines in the finish when the the citrus and other sweet elements come out. Generally very tasty.

F: A high amount of carbonation with a smooth, yet lively finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole this is a well made, easy to drink saison. Light, refreshing, and vibrant.

Dec 02, 2015
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours clear and golden with a massive head that befits the Belgian style; plenty of lacing

Smell: Spice cake and bubblegum, with white pepper and orange blossom tones

Taste: Lemon spice cake, up front, with bubblegum flavors building; pepper and orange blossom tones emerge in the middle; the finish verges on the sweet side

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Sweeter than expected and not necessarily to style, but I still enjoyed it

Sep 30, 2015
Photo of argock
argock from Virginia

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz can into a clear glass tulip. Canned on 10/11/16 on bottom.

A: Clear orange amber with frothy prodigious 3-finger head which dissipates quickly and leaves a respectable collar of lacing.

S: Black peppered apple and pear with pilsner cracker malt with light pleasant phenolics

T: More peppery and phenolic through the early and mid-palate but finishes with a nice pilsner malt and pear-apple sweetness. Low-medium bitterness, plenty of phenolic and fruity yeast character.

M: Light on the carbonation for the style but otherwise pretty bracingly dry on the finish with light-medium body.

O: A really nice, easy-to-drink, no frills saison.

Sep 20, 2015
Photo of golf_n_beerguy
golf_n_beerguy from Illinois

3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: golden yellow with a thin head and sparkling lassing

S: real funky yeast smell with a bumble gum smell to it

T: definitely taste funky yeast. Very decent. Nothing to write home about but a very good brew

M: mild to light carbonation. A little bubble gum after taste at the back of the throat

O: nothing to write home about but it's a solid good beer. If you have the chance I'd definitely try one

Sep 05, 2015
Photo of JWU
JWU from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz. can poured into a chalice

A- looks fantastic, a bright orange with gold tinting. A bright white head sticks around and laces well.

S- very sweet. lemon, clove, a hint of belgian sugar, and tons of belgian yeast.

T- Taste is far more delicate than the smell, but it wakes up a bit as it warms. Delicate spicing mixes with lemon, clove and the slightly funky belgian yeast

M- Quite carbonated and scrubs the palette well. Comes off a bit lighter than you would think though.

O- a regular production solid Saison. More? Yes, please.

Aug 07, 2015
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson from Virginia

3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a stemmed pilsner, the beer is a cloudy, opaque, honey-gold coloring with a tall, frothy, foamy, big bubbled, off-white head. Aromas of subtle citrus, cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of clove, a bready backbone, and caramel sweet. Flavors are tangy sweet forward, with a blend of citrus and berry sweetness, highlights of floral hops, pepper spice, a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, some subtle funky notes, and a kick of resinous hops. Pretty balanced, and damn flavorful. The body is smooth and full, with a crisp, dry undertone. The aftertaste is more of the herbal blends, with citrus sweetness shining through, as well. Smooth, slightly effervesced, slightly dry finish. Good beer.

Jul 27, 2015
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #80 (Sep 2013):

Quite the bold Saison we have here. Feigns to be bigger than it actually is, and works for the beer rather than against it. New complexities open up with each taste. A real treat to sip, and we had no problem polishing off the growler. Perhaps Smartmouth should dabble a bit more in the Belgian arena?

STYLE: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 6.2%

LOOK: Hazed golden orange, sufficient lacing

SMELL: Lemon zest, green peppercorn, pithy, taffy, bready, nutty yeast, hint of alcohol

TASTE: Crisp pop, smooth, medium bodied, grainy, mildly biscuity, peppery, alcoholic warmth, mild medicinal phenols, lemon peel, balancing bitterness, bread crust, yeast, ripe pears, semidry finish

Mar 26, 2015
Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
Doctor_Bogenbroom from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Smartmouth Brewing Company. Pours a hazy golden color with a nice white head. Has a nice, fruity taste and good body. An across the board above average Saison.

Mar 08, 2015
Alter Ego from Smartmouth Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 148 ratings