Alter Ego | Smartmouth Brewing Company

very good
22 Reviews
Alter EgoAlter Ego

Brewed by:
Smartmouth Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Beer-A-Lot on 11-03-2012

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 121
Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
4.04/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64 oz. growler shared with friends and enjoyed by me at home, brought back by my sister from Norfolk, VA, thanks Sarah Parah, growlered (if that's a word) on 12/17/12, just listed as 'Saison', I'm assuming it's this,

A: Pours a burnt orange, with a hint of haze, still has some considerable carbonation which I was happy about since this was lugged across the southern USA. Nice lace.

S: Quite yeasty with a fair amount of sugar initially. Nice bits of orange peel and pear.

T: Pear and apple esters with a lot of spice, especially on the back end. Nowhere near as sugary as the nose would suggest. Hints of orange blossoms, honey, and bready malt.

M: Medium-bodied, though it has lightness about it. Refreshing, crisp, the low alcohol is clear, this is quite a bit more drinkable than a lot of the saisons I've had. Definitely clean for the style.

O: This is a beer you can still taste on your tongue a half an hour after you finish drinking it. Nice to see a new brewery with a beer this good on their starting lineup. Well made, if I'm ever in Norfolk, I'm going to check these guys out.

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Photo of Xandrose
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Orangish and a bit hazy. Poured a two finger head. Left a nice ring around the glass.

S - Low amount of citrus hop aroma. Fairly sweet nose with a bit of honey.

T - Belgian yeast apparent. Slight malty sweetness on the front end, but more dry and spicy at the finish. A bit of pear coming through.

M - Light to medium.

O - Solid and drinkable beer overall.

Type: on-tap and then from growler 2 days later.

Note: As of 7/13/13 when I visited the brewery, this beer has an ABV of 6.2%, not 5.3%. They must have changed/improved their recipe since they opened in Nov. 2012. (Also, I showed up 10 minutes after they closed and they still gave me free samples as well as a private tour of the brewery. Nice!)

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Photo of JWU
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
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

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
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

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice hazy-orange color. Small head but decent lacing.
S - Mild, citrusy.
T - Light, easy-drinking beer with more going on than you may first realize. Very refreshing. Well-balanced and not overly carbonated.
M - A bit light, but gets better as you drink.
O - A nice beer. Well done for Smartmouth's first offerring.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was unexpected. The day after Christmas and I'm still receiving presents; this time it was a full glass of Virginian saison, courtesy of Halcyondays. Served growler style at Beachwood BBQ, on to the beer:

Looks a lighter orange color with solid head retention and good lace ringing around the tulip. The nose is somewhat sweet for a saison, offering apples and pears, with a modest rusticness. At first, the beer tastes fruity and rustic. Notes of apple, pear, lemon and vague rustic notes make a solid foundstion. As the beer warms, it seems to pick up some herbal and minty notes, adding to the excitement. It's a medium bodied brew with low carbonation, and is an easy drinker.

Easy to approach and not too funky, I dig it.

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Photo of WunderLlama
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
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

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.77/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

I had been saying for a while that once I finished with the Great Bottle Purge of the Summer of 2014, I was going to resume The CANQuest (TM) in earnest and I am doing just that! I've been away so long that it's good to be back.
From the CAN: "Born and raised in Norfolk, VA"; "It's who you are on the inside that counts."; "Brewed for thought."; "The unexamined beer is not worth brewing"; "Release your inner spirit with Alter Ego (TM), an effervescent and refreshing beer with fruity notes and a dry finish. Brewed in the Belgian style, this Saison is a shout-out to the Alter Ego in each of us. Not only does it pair well with shellfish & ripe soft cheeses, it also inspired a certain lawyer to quit his job and go start a brewery."; "For refined palates".
I heard a nice, loud Crack! and so it was time for an inverted Glug. The tawny head was as fizzy as soda pop and so I sat back to see what would settle out. The answer turned out to be "not much". It fizzed its way down to nothing but wisps! Color was a cloudy Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 -5). Nose had a very typical musty, sweet, mixed fruit smell along with a light pepperiness. Mouthfeel was medium. Taste was musty, like old newspapers in the attic, with a fruitiness and a slight pepper bite on the tongue. Finish was semi-dry, leaving a lingering cheesy taste in my mouth. My palate may not be refined enough to truly appreciate such a beer, but I really would have liked to have had some cheese and crackers with this one.

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Photo of sierratwohearted
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

12 oz can, canned 8/27/14. 6.2% ABV.
a - hazy straw-yellow, frothy head.
s - spicy, banana peel - subdued classic belgian yeast scent.
t - spices, fruit. banana peel, lemon. a little juice-like in the finish.
m - slightly creamy, light-med bodied.
o - comparable to a classic belgian saison...even a belgian wit for some reason. not very unique. clearly an imitation of the classic belgian taste. a good offering though, from a small, local brewery.

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Photo of golf_n_beerguy
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
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

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Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy orange with minimal head and lace on top of a spicy, citrusy with mild fruit ester aroma with touch of sweetness. Lighter bodied than other saisons, a tad too spicy for my liking, kind of draws away from some good orangey-citric and sweet fruit and malt flavors. Spices and some sharp carbonation lead to a dryer finish than usual and there's a touch of sour puckering as I get near to finishing this beer. Not fantastic but a good session saison.

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Photo of JayQue
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy golden color with a medium size delicately bubbly white head. Good retention and some lacing on the glass. The aroma is mild...some Belgian yeast and light fruit.

Taste is more prominent. Light fruit, some Belgian yeast, lemon zest and a bit of spicing.. Good flavor but lacking the Saison "funk" that I like.

Mouthfeel is light (not weak or watery) and nicely carbonated. Lighter than most Saisons

Overall, a good summertime ale. Not the best Saison out there since it lacks the musty/funky aspect.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz can, no date, served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy golden yellow. Thin white foam with lots of persistent fine lacing.

Smell: Musty, earthy, grains, chalky yeast.

Taste: Earthy herbal/leafy hop flavors dominate. Some wheat and bready malt underneath it all.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light carbonation, good thickness. A little bit sticky on the teeth.

Overall / drinkability: I've been spoiled by Saison Dupont, and with this I view it as having some of the flavors of a saison, but not capturing that light refreshing feeling. Still, tasty enough, just not a great beer. An above average one though.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of stakem
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Cloudy, light golden-aber hue, with a thin, quickly-fading, off-white head.

S: Fruity esters dominate, with faint vinegar notes. Sweet, yeasty bread also present.

T: Not much malt - it goes straight to tart, dry fruit, and even that is short lived. The dry, bitter finish arrives early and stays late, albeit with some yeasty and earthy notes as well.

M: Moist and nicely carbonated, transitioning to quite dry in the finish.

O: Less complex than I was expecting for the style, and even based on the smell. Drinkable, but I've had better saisons for sure.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.19/5  rDev -15.4%
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

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Alter Ego from Smartmouth Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 121 ratings.
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