Icon Series: Bière De Saison
Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Icon Series: Bière De SaisonIcon Series: Bière De Saison
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Garde
3.92 | pDev: 10.46%
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Icon Series: Bière De SaisonIcon Series: Bière De Saison
Notes: This beer has a complex spicy nose with notes of brown sugar and plums. The taste starts with big spicy malt and alcohol moving to fruity in the middle and then an earthy, spicy finish. High complexity reminiscent of something between a dubbel and a quadruppel. Here is what brewer Aaron Inkrott says about this beer:

The inspiration for this beer comes from the traditional French and Belgian farmhouse style ales; Bière de Noel and Saison. The malts used were focused on creating a complex malt backbone, with subtle floral characteristics from the Hersbrucker hops. The yeast is an aromatic Belgian Saison strain that produces complex esters balanced with earthy/spicy notes.
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 160 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Pegasus
Pegasus from Texas

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Hazy amber brown body is crowned by a massive, dense, and persistent tan head. Volumes of fine minute bubbles surge against the glass walls. The lacing is Belgian-like.

Aroma: Very sweet, with syrupy notes, pronounced phenols, moderate dark fruits, red grapes, and yeast.

Taste: Dark fruits, namely plums and pears, as well as red grapes dominate the taste from start to finish. There is a pronounced undercurrent of spicy alcohol as well, this is notable in the taste from start to finish, and offers a moderate warming presence. Later in the taste, there is a mild black licorice flavor. Finishes with a lingering dark fruit and spicy alcohol flavor.

Mouth feel: Smooth and soft, quite full, with delicate carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: A very nice winter beer, poured as another surge of rainy weather (11.0 inches in the last ten days) storms in.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce short brown glass bottle with a twist-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

May 25, 2015
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Texas

2.36/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with uninteresting label art and black branded twist-off pressure cap acquired at my local H-E-B grocery and served into an Avery stem-tulip in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are average. Reviewed as a saison because the name and label identify it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide white colour head which dissipates inside ten seconds, leaving me no time to note its characteristics. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

Body colour is a transparent translucent amber of average vibrance. LOADED with abundant floating yeast particles - more yeast than I've seen in a beer in a long time. Wow, she's got some floaties. Not a clean presentation, but it's certainly unfiltered and alive.

It doesn't look great for a saison, but I'm optimistic.

Sm: Candi syrup, malt extract, artificial cherry, amber malts, heavy sticky sugary sweetness, and mild grape.

No hop profile, yeast character, or alcohol is detectable.

This is an abysmal aroma for a saison. No peppery character, no milky notes, no spices, and frankly no complexity. I'm very surprised by the aroma, but maybe this beer will be good outside style conventions. The aroma is of mild strength overall.

T: Unfortunately, the taste pretty much matches the aroma. Out-of-place artificial fruit dominates - artificial cherry extract and unbecoming grape, mainly - with some heavy sticky sugary sweetness in there too. Amber malts. Candi sugar. Syrup.

Wow is this imbalanced. None of the artful complexity or subtlety of the best saisons is present here, and even outside style conventions it's quite mediocre. Lacks nuance and intricacy. I'm having trouble enjoying it.

Mf: It's a thick, syrupy, sticky mess. Well-carbonated. Smooth and wet. Has too much weight on the palate. Poor presence. Quite filling. The texture doesn't suit the style or the flavour profile.

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

Dr: The heavy thick feel of the beer makes it difficult to quaff. It's also executed pretty poorly for a saison. I'm not sure what Saint Arnold's brewers were thinking with this one, but I won't be purchasing it again and I'd caution friends from doing so. Whatever they were going for, this really falls flat and just doesn't taste good. A horrid attempt at a saison, if you even want to call it that.


Feb 15, 2014
Photo of Elprico
Elprico from Oklahoma

3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- 12 oz. bottle poured into a Teku. Cloudy and a little bit darker than expected in terms of appearance. Almost no head and light on the carbonation.

S- A definite yeast smell is the most apparent scent, but after that comes the malt tones and ripened fruit.

T- A surprisingly light tasting beer given the appearance. Initial taste is yeast, and slightly sour. Several tastes in reveals more of the ripened fruit that was apparent in the smell, along with slight citrus notes. It's great, but loses points in my book for being a little too light on the carbonation.

O- It's an outstanding, complex, and almost wine-like beer. I did not even realize the ABV was 9% until I checked at the end of this review, which came as a complete surprise to me. Another great addition from the Icon series, but probably not something I'd seek out constantly.

Jan 21, 2014
Photo of Hops4Pops
Hops4Pops from Texas

4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle
A: Aggressive pour into a tulip. Plenty of carbonation with a small and rapidly disappearing head off white in color. Minimal oily lacing. The color is a dark copper and somewhat cloudy. Looks very nice.

S: Great smell. Strong sweet malts. ABV is very detectable and is covering up some less subtle smells but not in a bad way. I am getting a hint of sweetness that is almost like bubble gum, again not in a bad way. Mustiness and earthy aromas.

T: Interesting flavors. Sweet malts. Alcohol is very present. Medium-Low hoppy bitterness and warmth on the back end. Aftertaste is earthy and musty. True to definition of this style.

M: Very nice. Incredible considering its 9 percent that it is not hotter than it is. I bet this one would be very good after some aging.

O: Will be buying more of this and let it age for a year. Very good for the price point.

Nov 30, 2013
Photo of AtrumAnimus
AtrumAnimus from Texas

2.78/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

This one pours like a cloudy iced tea with an almost nonexistent head that , considering how short it is, is leaving acceptable lacing.

The nose is is malt with some hops and a sour under note.

the flavor is rather sour, I suspect I have a bad bottle, Cause the boys at St. Arnold's do a much better job than this. The beer is rather flat and reminds me more of a sour than a Saison. For that reason I rate it as a poor example.

The flavor is also very a strong in alcohol that is a bit overwhelming and off balanced.

the mouthfeel is adequate as well.

Overall I find this one a bit undrinkable and will pass on it in the future. If you want a good Saison - get the Saison Du Pont and walk past this one.

Nov 24, 2013
Photo of HardTarget
HardTarget from Texas

3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A little plain looking; limp brown liquid has no head, little to no sign of carbonation. back light shows a nice ruby glow, but not particularly exciting.

Smell: Esters are overripe peach and heady. A proper Belgian nose, but a bit one dimensional. The alcoholic vapor conceals any underlying sweetness or base grain.

Taste: Some mild dark fruit, plum, pear, a full dose of alcohol, almost vodka. There were a lot of sweet malts here, but they have been consumed and replaced with CO2 (now dissipated) and Alcohol. That said; that's kinda the point. There's a slight bubblegum note in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit flat, but there's a tiny prickle and the beer will foam when swished. Medium light body is hot and dry.

Overall: A reminder that the yeast that produced the alcohol remains in the glass. Dormant. Waiting. It will survive the passage through you and be excreted, waiting to find favorable conditions to grow again. You are but a vessel.
Brewers become symbiotic. They understand the needs of the other, and willfully exchange the short term sugary malt of today, for the stored, sanitized barrel of beer of any number of tomorrows.

This version is tasty. A bit hot, I am going to hold my other bottles for a while and hope things mellow out. Rich flavor, a little one dimensional. Glad to see St. Arnold trying new things. They tend to out do their standard line up every time.

Oct 27, 2013
Photo of Premo88
Premo88 from Texas

3.11/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip

L: no head, almost worrisome -- it looks flat. copper-amber, dark, mostly clear; definitely darker side of spectrum but you can see through it up to light

S: yeast, sour yeast -- has a bit of saison smell; sour wine, stronger malt in old ale arena; pumpkin, cantalope without sweetness. banana?

T: old ale ... it's malty dark with dry finish in a direction i'm not sure i've been, but old ale-like fits best; a bit like wine, soured ... scotch ale comes to mind

F: suprisingly not bad considering how flat it looks; it feels good enough, carbonation levels fine

O: big bonus points to Saint Arnold for trying this style, but it is not for me. it's got notes like about 4-5 different styles: old ale, saison, scotch ale, tripel ... very different, very weird, drinkable enough for my untutored palette to handle but after a 4-pack, i'm done with it.

the 9% ABV is 100% hidden ... even the wine-like taste notes NEVER feel alcoholic. kind of cool.

Oct 19, 2013
Photo of stephens101
stephens101 from Oklahoma

3.64/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A thin, tan head dies off quickly leaving nothing but a hazy, reddish-brown brew.

Aroma consists of ripe plums and cherries, cardamom, taffy and grain.

Tastes of sweet berries, more grain, faint phenols, a mix of light and dark fruits, and has a hint of sourness.

Medium bodied and dryish. Alcohol shines through.

Another winner from a consistent brewery that never seems to let me down.

Sep 19, 2013
Photo of bmwats
bmwats from Louisiana

3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Medium amber hue. Pours a slight, bubbly, white head. Disappears quickly.

S: Yeast, fermented raspberry, and diacetyl.

T: Tastes like it smells. Yeasty with hints of raspberry, apricot, lemon zest and grapefruit. With a bit of a buttery accentuate.

M: Light body. High alcohol is apparent, but really high alcohol is deceiving. Crisp, bitter finish.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Very slight head, and no lacing. Nose is yeasty and fruity. Yeast is prominent, but greatly accentuated with various fruit components. Overall, this is a good quaff.

Sep 14, 2013
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.58/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saint Arnold Icon Gold has a thin, cream-colored head, a clear, deep, brilliant, caramel appearance, a few ascending bubbles, and not much lacing left behind. The aroma is of rich, pungent, dense, caramelized candi sugar, medium-roasted barley malt, cilantro, and black pepper. Taste is of spicy, sweet, rich, caramel, brown bread crust, a slight bitterness, butter, banana filling, and sugar. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and Saint Arnold Icon Gold finishes sweet, semi-dry, rich, and somewhat cloying. This a great beer, and I highly recommend it!


Sep 12, 2013
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420 from Texas

3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a lightly hazed copper color with a modest cap of off-white head. Not a whole lot going on in the retention and lacing department.

Nose has some nice yeasty esters, clove galore with some light mace and honey. Malts are a little toasty, but take a backseat to the yeast.

Taste throws down some serious yeast and has a nice sweet compliment. It is not a traditional dry saison/BdG with farmhouse yeast....I actually would have guessed weizenbock if I had it blind. Mouthfeel is rich and dense. As a saison, it is not really all that satisfying. But it is a decent beer - maybe BSDA lite?? I did buy a 4-pack of it as it first came out, unfortunately it lasted a couple weeks in the fridge and I havnt been a eager beaver to go seek out some more.

Sep 12, 2013
Photo of Mikecap
Mikecap from Rhode Island

3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a medium amber with a very thin white head and little to no lacing or retention on the glass.

Smell: Pine, Belgian yeast and strong sweetness, very fruity, with lemon, pear and tart green apple coming to mind.

Taste: Pear is dominant, and this is nice and sweet, not too tart. I get a hint of cherry as well and some belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with low carbonation and some sourness, not much kick from the alcohol, goes down relatively easy.

Overall: An interesting beer from St. Arnold and definitely one I'd try again. Didn't look great in the glass but it tasted good.

Sep 06, 2013
Photo of RobeerCop
RobeerCop from Michigan

4.66/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, deep ruby. Beautiful. Surprisingly, very little head with this one.

S: Wow, fruity, peary, plumish, and in all honesty regal (if you can call that a scent). The scent is actually quite strong, but balanced with the above fruity sweetness and the darker complexion of the beer malts.

T: Fantastic. Pear and banana hit the sweet spot. There are hints of hops, so it is not all consumingly sweet; quite balanced. Malty, but not so much that you are consumed with yeasty flavor. Overall, strong but balanced.

M: Full bodied, clean, dry, mild carbonation. I am not a fan of extreme carbonation, so this is just fantastic. Alcohol is strong; makes a good beer by the fireplace.

Fantastic local Houston brew. Will be getting this again next Autumn.

Sep 03, 2013
Photo of jngrizzaffi
jngrizzaffi from Texas

3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber color. Transparent. Thick foamy head and persists halfway through drinking. Superb lacing on the sides of the glass. Has a very yeasty/malty smell with strong scent of ripened fruit. Sweet, malty taste. Can definitely discern the strong yeast backbone. Slightly sour with hints of citrus. Very slight bitterness. A good beer but not something I would seek out and drink. I tend to go after more hoppy beers. Worth a try, especially if you are a saison fan.

Aug 26, 2013
Photo of BryanCarey
BryanCarey from Texas

4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Copper colored with a slight haze, Icon Gold has an interesting nose that emits scents of caramel, banana, brown sugar, and yeast. The yeastiness is the scent that really catches your attention, and it is quite pronounced.

Moving to the taste, Icon Gold pleases the senses even further. You get flavors of banana and yeast, like before, but with additional flavors such as toasted malt, plum/prune, and biscuits. The beer finishes with a peppery note and it does have a somewhat alcoholic presence presiding over its medium to full body.

Icon Gold is the fourth installment in Saint Arnold’s Icon series. I found the others good, but this one beats them all in terms of overall taste, complexity, and quality. It is definitely a beer you want to try before supplies run out, so seek it out and grab a four pack or two while it is still available. It seems like the type of beer that would age well, so go ahead and stock up, if you get the chance. It’s the best Icon beer to date and hopefully a sign of even more greatness to come from Texas’ oldest craft brewery.

Aug 22, 2013
Photo of champ103
champ103 from Texas

4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Small update, Aaron if you read this, this needs to be a seasonal at least. I love it, and needs to be made again.

A: Pours a deep dark ruby brown color. A two finger white head forms with good retention, and light lace.
S: Damn, I love the aroma. Fruity yeasty esters up front. Light banana, and pears. Then a great intermingling of malt and more yeast. Toasted malt, peppery spice, earthy for sure. Love it.
T: Earthy yeast, peppery spice again that I like a lot. Then nice fruity esters, even some darker fruits than the nose. Still big banana, but also more like plums this time. Toasted malts and baked bread that add some more complexity. Excellent.
M/D: A medium body with crisp effervescent carbonation. Very clean and dry as well. The alcohol is fairly high, though very easy to sip on. Just a bit solvent like, but that just adds to the warming and enjoyable character.

The best of the Icon Series so far. Really unique, and while they use a Saison yeast, the malts scream Bière de Garde. A great cross between the two farmhouse styles, and even a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Well done Aaron, I will be getting much more of this.

Aug 16, 2013
Icon Series: Bière De Saison from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 160 ratings