Saison Du BUFF | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Saison Du BUFFSaison Du BUFF

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed in collaboration w/ Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Stone Brewing Company, and Victory Brewing Company, who each brewed a version at their own breweries.

Added by garuda on 08-24-2010

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Reviews: 270 | Ratings: 689
Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: single finger white head on a mildly hazy golden body. Lots of circumferential lacing.

S: more of a musty fruity smell likely related to the yeast. peppery with orange peel.

T: clove, corriander, yeast with a bitter note all upfront which tapers to a fruitier but peppery finish.

M: light to medium body with moderate to high carbonation. Semi dry in the finish.

Overall: I like those things that make this one different including the mustiness to both the aroma and taste as well as the peppery notes.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice perfectly clear looking gold color. The head was a little foamy looking and white. The lacing was a little on the sticky side leaving a touch of lacing on the glass. The smell is huge on this beer. Lots of herbal floral aromas in the brew. Very earthy and fresh smelling. The taste of the beer was crisp and floral too, loaded with a sharp bitter finish to it. The mouthfeel of the beer is very light and refreshing, sharp carbonation to it as well and finishes dry. Overall this beer is quite good, I would like to compare this with the other that were put out by Stone and DfH as well.

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Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear golden yellow in color. It has a finger high white head and no visible carbonation in the form of rising bubbles.
S: There are moderate aromas of herbs in the nose. Smells of heather, lavender, rosemary and sage seem perceptible.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and somewhat more potent; however the herbal flavors are well balanced with the underlying malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate; there is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is somewhat easier to drink compared to the Stone and Dogfish Head versions. Any traces of alcohol are well hidden.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bursting like a Christmas tree, the big, bold and herbally savory collaboration that is the brainchild of the brewers from Victory, Dogfish Head and Stone takes the Saison style out of Belgium and gives it an off-the-wall American twist.

Its hazy straw appearance billows with an off-white pillowy fresh froth that carries all host of botanical herbs- sage, rosemary, thyme and grassy flat-leaf parsley give the nose a bright and savory character. With the sweetness to follow, the taste is soft with dry crackers, faint honey and freshly toasted bread. All that's missing is the lamb chops.

One the beer strikes the middle palate, the sweetness drops out and the racy carbonation highlights the beer's more spicy attributes. Natural peppercorn, cumin and clove begin to counter the dried lemon, dried orange and apple esters while the spice additions swirl above the tongue. As the champagne-like effervescence pulls the ale from the tongue, a bitter, herbal and peppery finish exhumes.

Bright and brazen, those fresh herbs pop and gives the beer a very "holiday" kind of life. Usually meant to brighten savory and meaty entrees, here those herbs spice the beer- giving this already spicy farmhouse ale and exacerbated, complex and somewhat over-the-top character. Its medium-light body trends bitter with freshly shaven pine and citrus rinds as those hops outlast the sweetness and the herbs provide a rich afterglow.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a respectable head that leaves a fair bit of lacing

Smell: Very herbacious, with sage and rosemary with a bit of tart lemon

Taste: Opens with lemon, rosemary and sage flavors that accompany a bready malt backbone; grows increasingly lemony by mid-palate with all of the flavors melding nicely, into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Very nicely done - would love to taste this and the Dogfish side by side

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a cloudy dirty beige color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of rustic malt with lingering sweetness and some sage and light rosemary notes. Taste is a great balance mix between some sage and rosemary mix in with some rustic malt with bready notes with light floral undertones and some lingering sweetness. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I really enjoyed this beer and must admit that all three version were quite good.

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Photo of oline73
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a mildly hazy straw golden color with a half finger of fluffy white head that leaves a thin layer throughout the pour.

Smell: Sweet and herbal with some hints of fruit and malt in there as well.

Taste: The sweetness level on this one is a bit high for the style. It is very herbal, I'm picking up the sage. There are some fruity notes and the taste is quite crisp. The finish is a bit bitter with some alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with an above average amount of tingly carbonation. The finish is a little bit dry.

Overall: Not a bad effort at all. It's a bit sweet for my taste, but everything else seems to work quite well together. I'd have another but probably won't search out any more.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours very cloudy golden amber color with a 1 finger fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big lemon, pear, pepper, clove, sage, thyme, rosemary, floral, grass, and earthy yeast spiciness. Very nice aromas with good complexity and balance of the malt/spices. Taste of lemon, pear, pepper, clove, thyme, sage, parsley, floral, grass, cracker, earth, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of lemon, pear, clove, pepper, grass, earth, herbs, and yeast spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and balance of the herbal flavors, with nice malt balance; and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium body; with a lightly slick and very crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice herbal saison style. very nice balance and complexity of the flavors; and very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyed this one, very well done.

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Photo of jlindros
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the stone version of this on tap, just a sample so I didn't review, and it was OK, but nothing special. Hopefully this one is a little better.

A nice frothy head rises about a finger and fades slowly over brilliantly clear golden yellow wheat colored beer. A little too light perhaps.

The nose brings some interesting aromas, light wheat and malts, a slight saison and farmhouse dryness, light crisp aromas, light mild grassy hops, a little honey, and some spices. There is a very familiar spice in the nose that I can't pick out... rosemary! Tons of it. I think I get some coriander too. Plenty of rosemary, with other light spices, I think I even get a bit of heather.

The taste is spicy, lots of spices! Plenty of rosemary still, tons, with coriander, other spices, I still think heather, touch of cinnamon and pepper, and other spices. Some light wheat and malt flavors somewhere in there. A light bitterness, I think a touch of a mild grassy hops. Some light saison dry farmhouse characteristics, but not much. I think I get a touch of honey too. I light flower like taste too, perhaps the heather, or perhaps some chamomile. It finishes still pretty light, but lots of lingering spices and a little sticky honey feel, but still pretty dry on the finish.

THe mouth is lighter bodied with lower carbonation.

It has a mixed bag drinkability. It is a very light and crisp saison beer, mostly drinkable, but the spices run rampant and start to make it more of a mixed bag of drinkability.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted side by side with the other Saison du Buff beers, I found the Victory version to be the most flavorful and most balanced, but also the one with the least herbal character to it.

It poured a hazy, deep golden body beneath a short head of bright white foam that faded surprisingly quickly in comparison to the other two, and the lacing was limited as well (could have been a dirty glass). Noticeably, it also had the lowest carbonation level, which probably has something to do with it. On the upside, it was the clearest of the three, however, and I could at least see my fingers through the glass.

It offered the brightest and most welcoming aroma of all, delivering a splash of mineral and fruit (citrus, tangerine, apricot) over a sugary and vanilla drizzled Pilsener malt base. As it warmed the rosemary really began to pop, backed by thyme.

The taste really brought out the herbs, and they remained straight through the long lasting finish, but the fruit was there as well with with tangerine and apricot and the slightly tart note that goes along with it. The bitterness gently rose and then subsided, leaving the dryness of the herbs and the chalky yeast to balance it. Great finesse!

Of the three offerings, it had the most body, and the least carbonation, yet it still felt like it had a good mouthfeel. It was more Prima Pils than saison.

Regarding drinkability, I think it offers the most straightforward drinkability of the three, but perhaps not as much subtle complexity as the DFH and Stone versions (which is probably due to yeastiness). Personal choice, I'd choose the Victory version 3 out of 4 times over the others; and I could enjoy more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 7/8/2012 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US pint glass.

A: The beer is a light yellowish gold color, with a short dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains spices, Belgian yeast, some wheat, light caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong citrus sweetness that I did not pick up in the smell along with flavors of spices and bananas. Then some breadiness from wheat and Belgian yeast come in. The hops presence is strong for the style and the malt character is hearty but not too heavy creating a good balance.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style with an American flair to it, this is a very solid beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear pale golden yellow with some light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a quarter finger tall white head that quickly reduces to a thin ring at the edges of the glass and a small extremely thin film patch. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Lots of herby notes in the aroma of this beer - lavender, rosemary, and sage. Smells very inviting.

T: Some light underlying malts upfront with fairly intense herb flavors - lavender, rosemary, and sage. The beer has a very nice balance.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Dry in the finish.

O: Quite easy to drink, refreshing, and enjoyable. Perhaps not the best saison that I have had but it is a very easy drinking beer. I think this is better than the DFH and I'm still waiting to try the Stone version. Glad that I tried it.

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Photo of Rifugium
1.39/5  rDev -63.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

I had the DFH version of this in a bottle last year, so I thought it would be interesting to try Victory's version. I like Victory a lot, and I liked the DFH version of this beer. That said, I'll now say this: whew...this has gotta be one of the worst beers I've had since I entered the craft beer scene. I don't know if it was a bad keg or what, but something was clearly off here.

Served in a tulip glass, crystal clear golden color with a thin white head that dissipated almost entirely. Nose loaded with spices and stale funk, minor fruity esters. I kind of recoiled instantly, but I decided to go back for a taste anyway. Taste of bland malts and sundried tomatoes, overripe fruit, raw mint leaves, way, way too much rosemary on top of the other spices (I don't mind spices in beer, but the amount used here was literally sickening), phenols, grassy funk. I gagged half of this down before pushing it aside. Mouthfeel is chewy, medium body, very off-balanced, with a really stale, vegetal feel all over.

Rarely do I find a beer that I seriously cannot choke down, but this is one of those. I will definitely stay far away from this one in the future.

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Photo of mactrail
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Quite lovely in the Mort Subite globe. Golden color with a light foamy cap. Quite spritzy in the mouth. Smells like boiled greens, but as you sip the nose is pleasantly flowery and herbal. Light body.

Fairly malty but quite sharp. Rather bitter. It has a taste like one of those cocktail mixing bitters. Tart, bitter, and herbal sums it up. The thyme seems to stand out, unfortunately. Resiny along with the big yeasty bitter flavor. Not especially drinkable, though it's interesting if you like to try bizarre flavors in your beer.

I am not on board with the stew of herbal flavors. In fact I don't believe that any single one of them would be a great addition to beer. Well, the Craftsman Triple White Sage was interesting, but that was still too much of a good thing. From the 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.39/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazed, dim-looking yellow body with a large, foaming, white head.

Smell: Curious mixture of various notes of herbs, weeds, leaves, etc. The aroma reminds me of a just-cut lawn when the yard is simply rife with wild onions and wild garlic. Instead of being inviting, it's a bit unappetizing, really. Let's press on!

Taste: Lightly toasty, lightly sweet maltiness for a fast second, then it becomes like angrily chewing through a meal of pungent, just-picked common garden weeds. Who ordered the poke salad topped with low-grade chimichurri? Upsettingly harsh, bitter herb flavor with a curious garlic taste, but not a good garlic taste, more like it was carelessly overcooked, leaving it bitter and nasty. I'm sitting here stunned, with the mood-setting Simon & Garfunkel song Scarborough Fair still playing on loop in the background. The idea for the beer is interesting, the final product is not. Sadly, a lesser work from three renowned breweries.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: This conversation is over.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely lemony gold with a powder puff-like crown of foam that is ivory in hue. The head (which resembles a wind-sculpted mesa as it melts) stays at its maximum thickness for several minutes due to a wealth of carbonation jumping off the bottom of the glass. A more than respectable amount of sudsy lace appears in the end.

The nose is as wonderful as in the other two versions. It's incredibly lemon zesty and the added herbs result in a superpowered saison-like quality that is pure pleasure to sniff. Good things await on the palate, there's no doubt about that.

Saison Du BUFF Victory-style is easily the equal of Saison Du BUFF Stone-style and Saison Du BUFF Dogfish Head-style. This is a rock-solid recipe that is a certified humdinger in the hands of talented craft brewers. Huge kudos to whoever came up with the idea and participated in the specifics.

Beautiful balance is what sets this farmhouse ale apart from many others. Some may find the herbaceousness over-the-top, but it really does complement the base beer very well. There's plenty of pale malt to provide a white bready and slightly sweet foundation for all of the glorious top notes. The lemon zestiness must be due to whatever hops were used.

Every one of the scores are the exact same for all three ales... including mouthfeel. This one is medium in heft, with a sparkling bubbliness that fits the flavor profile well. Looking for a perfect picnic beer? Here you go.

There was no doubt in my mind that Victory would do as well with Saison Du BUFF as DFH and Stone. All three are craft beer giants that deserve whatever accolades are thrown their way. Now, one of them (at least) needs to make this a year-round offering.

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Photo of billab914
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Surly Imperial pint glass. Poured a golden yellow in color with a moderate bubbly white head to it. The head settled to a thin dusting and left just a little lacing as I drank it.

The shows a lot of the spices. The sage, rosemary and thyme all are very evident in the nose. Some lemony and pine citrus come through as well. Very interesting aroma and pretty good too. The herbs are nicely done and pretty flavorful overall.

The taste shows a lot of the herbal qualities. It also has a very moderate lemon citrus to it as well. It finishes with more of a bitterness and with more of the spices present. The herbs add an interesting flavor overall.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is on the higher side. Drinkability is OK, the herbs were definitely interesting and made for a very unique beer but I'm not sure it's a flavor I'd want often in a beer. Cool beer that was definitely worth trying though.

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Photo of mdaschaf
2.39/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a DFH pint glass

A: Poured a clear golden color with a small head, a little retention, and decent lacing.

S: I get a faint aroma of some of the herbs used here, but an overwhelming aroma of bubblegum.

T: Again, there is a huge bubble gum taste that dominates. I get the herbs on the back end but just barely.

M/D: Mouthfeel is good, with strong carbonation. Not really sure what happened here. I have had the 2 versions made at Stone and DFH and liked both of those. Just a confusing beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice and extremely hazy golden yellow color came through immediately. Lots of sediment in here now as well. Huge carbonation profile could be seen with lots of chains of bubbles cascading up to the top of the glass to reinforce the huge champagne like head that came over the top of it. Lots of side glass lacing and a copious foam that would not quit. Very nice aroma here, lots of light grain, hints of grass, light lemon and a touch of grape. Nice airy smell gave way to a very nice flavor. Very light, and perfect for this summer day. First way was a slightly tart fresh grass like flavor. Some hints of peaches, pears, and a touch of tartness as well. Very nice light cereal grain flavor in the middle which became a touch bready as it warmed. Long finish of dried out bitter earthy notes and a touch of light fruit. Slightly sour on the tongue after a few moments. Fantastic carbonation kept it feeling very light and refreshing and this bottle was no issue at all to finish off as the profile was light, low abv and a wonderful bit of carbonation.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I purchased this bottle at Barley Mow in West Reading enjoyed chilled in a willybecker.

The color is golden light with hazed appearance and thin white head after settling turns into a ring of beads. The smell has a very herbal yet yeast matches in intensity with semi-phenollic and slight malt aroma backing with mild mineral scent. The feel is light with slight spice texture and medium high carbonation with dry malt texture and yeast mix with herbs leading into a dry finish.

There is a grassy and light sage-like earthiness up front with yeast dominant taste mid palate and light pepper with slight resins and gentle phenolic taste adding to the malt quality with slihgt alcohol and herbal flavors lasting into the semi-dry finish. Overall pretty nice herbal flavor with solid base saison recipe a very decent amount of flavor from herbas and yeast is slightly phenolic but not quite medicinal. Very good.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 09/14/10 notes. Had on tap at FireWorks in Arlington, VA.

a - Pours a golden, very clear color with no carbonation and one inch of white head.

s - Smells of spices, piney and citrus hops, wheat, bready malts, and light fruit.

t - Tastes of spices, citrus, fruity malts, wheat. No funk.

m - Light to medium body and low carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

d - A pretty good saison that is heavy on spices and citrus hops. No real funk to it. About on par with the Stone version, would give another shot.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.04/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a snifter at The Firkin.

Part II of the BUFF triple play. It pours a generally clear pale straw topped by a half-finger of white foam. The nose comprises light pasta sauce (a red one), garlic, Belgian yeast, and a more-than-healthy smattering of window-box herbs, mostly those four Simon and Garfunkel entries. The taste holds notes of wheat, horse blanket, the aforementioned herbs, Belgian yeast, greens, and a light kiss of citrus hops. The body is on the lighter side, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, I find this thing to be a miss. The herbs just don't do it for me. Without them, I think this could have been a pretty solid saison, but that point's moot now.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Cloudy with a heavy dosing of sediment. Small, 1 finger head with poor retention and very little lacing.

S - Sweet resin, tarragon and pine.

T - Loads of piney hops. Rosemary and thyme are all over the profile. A fresh, crisp bitterness holds up the vanguard.

M - Slightly astringent from the herbal bitterness, but generally smooth with a nice level of carbonation.

D - The bitter herbs and piney resin takes your palate to town and slows you down quite a bit.

O - A great sipping beer that's enjoyable for what it is: a beer brewed to explore a new angle on an old flavor profile.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appears pale golden slightly hazed hue with a bright white head and forms fine even lacing down the sides of my glass. Aroma full of fresh herbals alot of rosemary/citrus/grassiness. Malt base shines through with pale biscuit malt tones and spicy yeast characters. Flavors hit maybe too aggressive with with botanical/herb additions. Full on stem/leafy rosemary bitterness masks many aspects of a nice saison that could be here somewhere...I thought the Stone version was rough and the DFH a bit more palatable, but this one is unbalanced on it's own. Use as a marinade with some chicken breast or serve it with a nice meal, on it's own this is a bit much. I can't picture this flavor working in a regular offering, interesting experiment, but I've done enough sampling of these herb/spiced brews with these 3 interpretations. Mouthfeel dry in the finish with overkill herbaceous qualities, medium bodied decent carbonation. Drinkability overall I think I've said enough about my sentiments on the repeat drinkability, serve in small portions with herbally infused meats.

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Photo of tdm168
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Southern Tier tulip

A - gold with a soft cap of white, loose head that has little retention

S - rosemary, thyme, faint yeast; like my Italian grandmother's kitchen

T - faint malt up front with a heavy, herbal, bitter hoppiness that follows. The rosemary, sage, and thyme are noticeable but not as pronounced amongst the hops. They're present mostly in the finish. The is only a slight hint of Belgian yeast.

M - medium bodied, a bit warm, crisp, well carbonated

This is a nice Saison. It has a nice hop character that I really enjoy. The spices are noticeable and balanced which is also great. The drinkability is pretty high, but after a full 12 oz my palate was looking for a change of pace. It's definitely worth a try. I would probably have this again.

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Saison Du BUFF from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.82 out of 5 based on 689 ratings.
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