Belgian Independence Day Saison (2011)
Brewery Ommegang

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Belgian Saison
3.86 | pDev: 11.4%
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: What better way to celebrate the summer and Belgian Independence Day than with a Saison? Our Spiced Saison is a toast to the great brewers of Belgium and the proud history, which they represent. We have used a Wallonia Saison strain of yeast that produces fruity esters and classic earthy notes in the beer. Lemon peel, white pepper, coriander along with grains of paradise are used to give the Saison a delicate yet satisfactory spicing.
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 53 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a slightly hazy golden with a thin white head - but the latter may be an artifact with a pour. Yeasty aroma has a firm fruity note, mainly apple with a hint of berries. Flavor is mainly yeasty with fruity and malty hints and a touch of hops. Fruity taste is mainly apple with touches of banana and berry and even a whisper of lemon. Smooth, firm texture has a decent amount of fizz. Happy independence, Belgium! My fantasy is to visit that country and spend a month doing nothing but drinking their fantabulous beer.

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Photo of RollBounce
3.34/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap, Tap and Mallet
Great carbonation with some good lacing, pale rust color with slight hazing,nose is very spiced, with Christmas, nutmeg, bananas and a little wild yeast on the end, taste is more full then expected for the style, bannana are dominate, with cinamon and cloves, that just does not mellow.

Overall; a great tasting beer, but not at all a Saison to me. Much more like a "Kwak".

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a tulip, the beer is a slightly hazy, honey-gold color with a steady flow of carbonation and a dense, foamy, big bubbled, white head that coats the glass nicely as you go. Aromas of orange zest, clove, and pepper on a lightly sweet backbone. Flavors are spicy atop a smooth and sweet backbone of biscuit and toffee. Oregano, pepper, and clove leap onto the palate, and the carbonation gives an effervesence to the flavors. The aftertaste is light, and more of the citrus highlights and toffee sweetness, with only hints of the spicing. Light, bubbly finish leaves a clean, dry palate. Tasty.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.01/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

11 ounce goblet - $5.50 at Taco Mac in Canton, Georgia.

Appearance: Golden-hued body, clear, and with a slim, white head. Incredibly thin sheets of lace on the way down.

Smell: A scoop of sweet-scented candy sugar, pilsner maltiness with a hint of steeped grains, juiced orchard fruits, and a stink heady spices.

Taste: A sweet, glossy opening of pils malt -- grainy, tangy. Tart, thinly sliced Bosc pears and young apples. Very low citrus. The yeast is bringing about some spiciness, but also a big bump from the Grains of Paradise and pepper. Low bitterness, hop character. Drying, spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. A little languishing heft to the mouthfeel.

Overall: I would like a little more carbonation here, just a bit more effervescence. The mouthfeel isn't entirely lifeless, but it just sits, giving you a mouthful of the added spices, when I generally prefer the yeast to do that duty.

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Photo of BirdsandHops
2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy gold with two fingers of white head that fades into a thin cap with good lacing.

S: Belgian spices like coriander and clove at first followed by candy sugar with notes of floral lavender and orange zest.

T: Light spices at first followed by sweet breads and a yeasty finish. A bit bland.

M: Light body with medium carbonation, this beer is a little watery.

O: Not a bad beer, but bland and lacking complexity with too watery a body.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1.5 finger head, light lace, murky straw colored.

S: very floral with some spice and yeast notes.

T: initially a dull and creamy yeasty flavor which transitions to a floral finish. Mild spice and orange peel notes.

M: high carbonation and light to medium body.

Overall: interesting saison. More floral and less zest than others. More drinkable than you average saison.

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Photo of Cheesemoose
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on draft at Kickbacks.

Very nice foamy white head that cresses on the edge of the glass. Lacing is nice, though recedes towards the end. A glowing muted yellow with hints of orange throughout. Hazy, yet translucent. Intrigueing.

The white pepper dominates on what appears to be a very mellow nose. Pleasant, but a sharp twist. Wheat, soft oranges, a bit of candy sweetness all tied up with a peppery twang. A tad too much?

Easy entrance and a strong exit. That is the best way to describe the flavor profile. begins with a smooth, wheat dominated creaminess. The cream flavor really carries through to the finish, with a few notes of spice. The mid body is spiked by a spice finish that transcends into the finishing notes of the beer. A mellow resurgence of wheat, some orange zest notes and lemon oil.

Soft. Great way to decsribe the mouthfeel. Pleasant and a bit sticky. An easy transition into the saison family and I find the white pepper to be well played. Interwoven rather than overpowering.

Great beer from Ommegang. Not as pleasant or enjoyable as the regular Hennepin, but nice nonetheless.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Pub 71, Atlanta, GA, served in a pint glass:

The beer had a clear, golden body to it, with a very nice, creamy, slightly off-white head, which was retained very well and ultimately left a nice thin cap throughout the beer.

The aroma was nice. It gave off a nice, full yeast-ish aroma with citrus compliments, and some pepper.

The taste of the beer was just as good as the aroma, if not even a little better. Very nice full flavors and well balanced between all of the competing flavors.

The beer had a medium body, with very good carbonation. The beer was creamy and overall, very easy to drink and a very good beer all the way around. I hope that they don't throw this recipe away.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Cask Republic into its proper tulip. Too bad they made the glass for it so dang small.

A: Clear gold body beneath an inch of eminently creamy off-white head. Great retention and lacing. Beautiful beer in every way.

S: Mmm. Fresh, vibrant yeastiness: apple and pear esters, faint white pepper, and even a hint of beautiful, cheesy funk. Dry finish with a touch of flint. Great balance of fruit, malt, spice, and minerality. Terrific.

T: Follows the nose: fruity up front, spicy, malty, and funky thereafter. Dry, floral finish. Delicious, but not quite as dynamic as the aroma.

M: Hugely lively, creamy, frothy body. Fun.

O: I was shocked to see this getting only a B so far, as I thought it was the best new beer that Ommegang has put out in a long time. I would have loved to have tried this side-by-side with Hennepin; I'm really not sure which would have been better.


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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed the last fill at consumers in Buffalo, NY

Watery, thin golden yellow with a fluffy white head. A thin, sticky lacing is left behind with each sip. Although the beer looks fairly watery there is still a slight haze.

This beer is a true yeast advocate that would intimidate any novice Belgian drinker or even new bread baker at Wegmans... Rich bouquet that's full of warm berries, ripe bananas, and citrus fruits. The aromas from the yeast are enhanced by a rich sweetness, but I sense a slight amount of oxidation (wet cardboard).
Overall this smells like a summery saison refreshment beverage! However, I need some more spice...a lot more.

The beer's taste is similar to its nose, producing a rich sweetness and fruitiness on my palate. However, a strong bitterness that was otherwise undetectable presents itself mainly as an aftertaste with this beer. I did not expect this strong initial bitterness. When the beer warms the bitterness seems to lessen.

Light bodied saison with modest alcohol, ample carbonation, and some strong yeast character. The carbonation allows this beer to have a continual bite. A slight honey sweetness is balanced by the yeast and hops. Unfortunately, the hops last way too long on my palate and leave a gross, unwanted bitterness instead of one that complements and invites me in for more.

A $20 growler fill? That's a pretty steep price tag for a beer that can easily be outdone. However, I like this beer and so does my girlfriend so it's going to be a good night either way. I'm far more interested in other Ommegang products and have had my complete fill of this beer.
I'm ready for some 3 philosophers, a far better way to spend $20 on an ommegang product.

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Photo of mltobin
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at The Cask Republic.
Appearance is a golden color with two fingers of a bright white head. The smell of this saison contains lemon, pepper and a very small amount of funk. It has a taste that is very easy going, not too sharp or sweet. Belgian yeast, faint spices and lemon are all in the profile. MF is medium, carbonation low-mid. While a good beer, not as good as some of the others put out by Ommegang.

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Photo of wo87810
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

OK appearance, but it is nothing out of the ordinary. Smell was very fragrant- yeast funk, earthiness.

Taste was down right good. A solid saison, but not as "funky" or flavorful as some. Mouthfeel was nothing to write home about.

Overall, was good but I will look for others before I have this one again.

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Photo of argock
4.55/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a clear goblet at Capital Ale House (Richmond, VA). Reviewed from notes.

A: Lustrous golden with frothy 1-finger white head with good retention and plenty of lacing. A little attention to glassware (i.e. tulip with etching), and this may have reached another notch scorewise here.

S: Delicious Belgian maltiness with plenty of funkiness and distinct white pepper and herbal, grassy note. A lot less sweet than Hennepin and for the better in my book.

T: This is my kind of saison -- malt instead of yeast-focused with a superb balance of subtle sweetness, herbal notes, and the white pepper which grows through the beverage without overwhelming the palate. The yeast character is there and lends the usual tart twist, but the pepper note and the layered sweetness, as opposed to Hennepin's candi sugar character, is a wonderful combination and far superior, even though I do like Hennepin. There is plenty of dryness in the Independence Saison, but it is moderate and enhances the drinkability enormously.

M: The dryness is right on and not overdone as in many saisons (see Stillwater) and the medium body is also a winner when coupled with sturdy carbonation.

O: This beer was an awesome surprise -- a fantastic saison that I hope Ommegang rolls out every year in July for Belgian Independence Day. Highly recommended if it's still around.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at High Dive.

A: Yellow gold with a slightly hazy appearance and an big pillowy white head.

S: Pronounced apple and pear esters with notes of hay and earth. An evident spiciness reminds me of white pepper.

T: Apple and pear with strong white pepper phenols. Lightly sweet, with notes of hay and a lower moderate bitterness. Dry peppery finish that seems to compete with the bitterness.

M: Upper light body with high carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and prickly.

Overall: A nice Saison. More bitterness than I'm accustomed to for the style, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Hazy straw yellow and gold. Thin white head. Spiderweb lacing.

Sweet and fruity aroma, slightly lemony, also with grass and slight hay scent.

Somewhat bready saison with some hay and lemon flavors. Mild bitterness, though there seems to be a touch of a sharp, somewhat metallic, flavor.

Light to medium mouthfeel.

A good celebration saison, though I prefer Ommegang's Hennepin a touch more.

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Photo of plaid75
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On draft at The Good Life, Massapequa Park, NY.

Poured a hazy straw hue with a three finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a peppery hop, fresh ester and soft sweetness.

The taste was rindy and vegetable like with a course sweetness and spicy hop.

The mouthfeel was a bit heavy for the style with a prickly carbonation.

Overall a decent saison. Certainly not up to the Ommegang standard.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Monk's Cafe and Old Eagle Tavern. Served in a Duvel tulip and a regular glass.

Belgian Independence day looks a mix of strong yellow straw with some faded orange peeking through. Smell is a mix of faded earth scent grass and hay with some small lemon, grains of paradise and other spices. Floral hops in the mix as well in this very fresh saison. Taste is interesting, a beefed up saison with an American twist of more citrus flavor than Belgian counterparts. Tastes include orange, small lemon, grains of paradise, other spices, grassy notes in the middle with a semi dry finish. Feel is a nice medium, not too strong, approaching a Biere de Garde in terms of body weight but maintains the saison category, Not as crisp and dry as most saisons, style is blurred here but oh well I would love to polish off a growler of this on a lazy sunday afternoon. Cant wait for 2012. They should bottle this one for the season.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the old eagle.

A- comes to me with a small cap of bright white head that settles quickly and leaves just a small wisp on top. Hazy yellow orange in color.

S- lots of citrus and powdery yeasty goodness. Floral and slightly honeysuckle sweet.

T- opens up grassy and a mildly tart lemon zest hit. Malts are light and bring a simple powdered sugar and honey sweetness. Yeast brings in a bit of spice.

M- on the lighter side of body and brightly carbed with a semi dry finish.

O- this is a great saison with a awesome citrus profile. Very drinkable and super enjoyable.

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Photo of xerotime
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Armsby Abbey for their Belgian Independence Day celebration poured into a special B.I.D. tulip glass.

Cloudy golden body with a 1 finger white head that seemd to fade quickly. Smells and tastes like a typical farmhouse ale of sweet malts and a bit of spiciness. Nothing really overpowering just nicely balanced. Light body with high carbonation as to be expected for the style. Overall a good example of the style but I was hoping for something a little more interesting.

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Photo of garuda
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy golden body with a thin white head that has decent retention, but leaves little lacing.

S/T - Typical saison farmhouse funk with lemongrass, sweet candy-like malts, herbal/grassy hops and finishing with a bit of spice. The spice on the back end provides a nice balance without being too prominent.

M - Light body, high carbonation, feels light and fluffy across the palate, finishes dry with a slight bitterness turning to spiciness.

O - Good beer, nicely balanced, but perhaps I was expecting a little more from this one. I'd get it again if it came around.

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Photo of JebediahScooter
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on draft at Busy Bee for Belgian Independence Day.

Bright, golden straw colored with a thick, frothy head. Looks nice.

Yeast, earth, bready, spices, and some malts on the nose. Fairly typical and pleasant.

Starts nicely...refreshing and bready with some good funk and pepper. However, the tail end of the sip is dominated by overpowering esters, sweetness, and way too much banana for my liking. I like notes of banana, but this ended up tasting like like banana bread. Needs some more subtlety to allow the other flavors to come in to the mix.

A bit thinner and more watery than I like in a Saison.

Overall, it's a drinkable beer whose flavor profile was well off the mark for what I like in a Saison.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip, beer is yellow and hazy with a big white head of small and medium bubbles, with some carbonation and some lacing.

Aroma is sweet and fruity with lots of yeast and some esters.

Beer is medium to light in body, carbonated, fruity on the palate, peaches, apples, sweet, esters, overall nice, i liked it and would have it again.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured into a chalice this beer pours a murky stray yellow with a very small head.
S: the aroma is clasic saison without a huge kick. Grasy barnyard wiTh sweet floral tones.
T: the flavor is sweet with many typical belgium spice. Smooth yet dynamic.
Mf: mouthfeel is medium full. A little over carbonated.

O: overall, a good impression of a saison

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Photo of robwestcott
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

cold from the tap at finch's brasserie a semi-opaque straw gold to a 12oz ommegang goblet with a two finger super foamy white head with nice retention and spotty lace to the rim.

subtle aroma of yeast and citrus ?

fairly subtle profile. funky farmhouse, earthy, lemon rind / citrus in the wayback.

light bodied, big carbonation, creamy smooth, funky bitter bite.

overall - good enough saison, subtle enough.

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Photo of david18
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had a twelve ounce draft of this beer recently in a local bar to me in Manhattan. Overall it was a very good Saison, a style that I'm not crazy about.

Appearance was a light straw with a lot of haze and a good amount of carbonation that left some lacing as well.

Smell had a great combination of all elements: esthery yeast, bready malt and citrusy hops. Very inviting.

Flavor was not as good as the aroma. Overall a little thin but not bad none the less.

I liked this beer and will have it again. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who likes this style.

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Belgian Independence Day Saison (2011) from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 53 ratings