Saxo | Brasserie Caracole

very good
232 Reviews

Brewed by:
Brasserie Caracole

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-21-2002

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Reviews: 232 | Ratings: 401
Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fresh tasting pale. 8% is a surprise. Very good yeast aroma and honey yeast in taste. Creamy lemon, bit grass, spicy vanilla, moderately aggressive carbonation concommitant with being well hopped. Mid sip mint, abundant good malts for balance. Goes down smooth.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours a slightly murky yellow with a foamy off-white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, fruits, spices, and some perfume-like aromas. Taste is much the same with a slightly soapy flavor on the finish. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is pretty tasty but smells better in my opinion.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

on tap at the new wurstkuche sausage place on broadway downtown. neat little program they have running there. this beer looks a lot better than it is though, although to be fair, she had to change the keg halfway through pouring my beer, so some of these criticisms may be a product of that. it has a two inch snow white bright head on it, thick and lasting, really lovely sitting on top of a clear golden straw colored brew. looks fantastic in branded glassware. it smells good too, belgian yeast leading the way as expected, and its fruity like pears and perfume. the malt base is entirely inconsequential and uninteresting, but it doesnt matter. some hops to the taste, but the yeast is the star, a muted, reserved star, but to me it still shines brightly, it tastes really good. one would never know its as strong as it is, it drinks effortlessly. my only real issue with it is the carbonation, which looks like its there, i can see the bubbles releasing from the edges of the glass and bursting at the surface, but i cant feel any of that. its stillish on my palate, not dead and lifeless, but tired or lazy, and its unflattering to an otherwise very springy living beverage. still, i like the way it tastes, i like that its more hoppy than most belgian beer, and i like drinking beer out of the brewers glassware. worth trying for sure, and a cool companion to greasy meat, which is a poor way to describe the tasty food at wurstkuche

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a hazy looking yellowish gold color. The smell of the beer was of grains and some bready Belgian yeast. The taste of the beer reminded me a little bit of a wheat beer more than a Pale Ale. The flavors were soft and finished with a little bit of a bitterness in the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel of the beer was drinkable and had a lot of sporatic carbonation. Overall this beer was decent I think, nothing too exciting but it was nice to try.

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Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is crystal clear yellow in color. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down and left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and the sides of the glass.
S: Aromas of fruity yeast and pale malts are present in the nose along with some hints of white wine.
T: The taste follows the smell and also has notes of Belgian and fruity yeasts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little thick on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Notes of dryness are perceptible.
O: This beer has a nice amount of dryness and complex flavors from the yeast.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There's very few beers that transport you straight to sourthern Belgium like Saxo! It's winy taste wraps around an artistic ale attitude with an exhibition of taste like very few ales can.

The beer decants with a dark honey-amber color that carries with it an inherent mild haze. strongly carbonated, the beer unleashes a creamy and sprite head of just off white hues that crowns the tulip with longstanding froth and random islands of lace.

Zesty, spicy, fruity aromas set the stage for a light malty-sweet aromas of hard candies and powdered sugar- all holding a lot of complex orange, apples, coriander and saffron notes.

The taste opens up to a sweet cotton candy blend honey, clove, and coriander before giving way to a slightly winey taste of Reiesling. Mead-like in its robust complexity; the somewhat buckwheat robust notes are savory, lightly toasty, and almost buttery. Oranges, apples, pears all seem slightly over ripened and are relieved by a spicy counterpart of bitter orange peel, white pepper and a pleasant cumin ending.

Saxo's body is quite amazing.- where the sweetness in flavor really coats the mouth, the beer has a low-lingering sugary effects on the palate- it kinda evaporates in the mouth above the effervescent carbonation and dry malt memory. Lightly peppery to the tongue and with a slight alcohol warmth, the classy ale is spicy and honey-like in aftertaste.

Saxo really celebrates the succulent sweetness of malt with candy sugar, but balances with yeasty spice with little influence from hops, spice additions, or unruly off flavors. This beer signifies what's best about Belgian beer!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, 7.5% ABV. Weird sax-wielding jester depicted on the label.

This beer pours a hazy, medium golden yellow colour, with a teeming fistful of puffy, thinly foamy, and congealed melted marshmallow off-white head, which leaves some sparse reaching finger lace around the glass in its rather lazy wake.

It smells of semi-sweet grainy pale malt, zingy fruit - lemon, apple, pear, and pineapple notes are strongest - with some coriander and white pepper spice, and soft, earthy yeast. The taste is again somewhat sweet, raw pastry-like malt, more strong, yet now muddled golden fruit, peppery yeast, mild earthy hops, and a soft alcohol warming.

The carbonation is moderate, after that initial outburst, and persistent in its tight frothiness, the body a solid middleweight, quite smooth, and somewhat creamy, in a caramel pudding sort of way. It finishes bittersweet, the pale malt offset by some trailing warm spice and gritty hoppiness.

A pleasant, well-rounded strong Belgian ale, no edges here. Outgoing, and plays well with others, until, I suppose, that hidden alcohol strength becomes blindingly apparent, and engenders cravings for more heady, darker Belgian offerings.

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Photo of largadeer
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy blond with two fingers of head. Very nice retention.

Smell: Very estery; mango, banana and spices at the forefront with a hint of citrus.

Taste & mouthfeel: Closely mirrors the smell with a big spicy banana bread flavor. Undertones of orange peel, green apple and clove. Light-to-medium in body. Sweetness makes this more of a sipper, and I could see it becoming slightly cloying in large quantities.

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Photo of zeff80
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, pale, golden color with a bubbly, off-white, small head. It left a little lace.

S - It smelled yeasty, fruity and of sweet caramel.

T - It tasted spicy and fruity. It had a nice light caramel malt flavor with some yeasty undertones.

M - It was crisp, sharp and still smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty nice beer. Pricy but quite good.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/30/2014. Pours slightly hazy golden amber color with a 1-2 finger dense and fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, light pepper, cracker, biscuit, light honey, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and compelxity of fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and moderate bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, light pepper, cracker, biscuit, light honey, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Light herbal bitterness/yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, light pepper, cracker, biscuit, light honey, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and moderate bready malt flavors; with a nice malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from bitter/spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and lightly grainy/creamy/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Belgian strong pale ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and moderate bready malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One and a half fingers of fluffy, white head on a very hazy, golden-orange body. The head retention is excellent and when it finally settles down it leaves good lace.

S - Bready malt with some light biscuit notes. There are some sour, fruity notes of lemons and white grapes along with a bit of white pepper and coriander.

T - Sweet malt with lots of biscuit notes and a bit of toasted malt. Mild yeasty fruit in the middle with some notes of red apple, pears, pepper, and vanilla. The finish is spicy, with mild hop bitterness to balance the malt.

M - High carbonation, medium body, and a dry finish.

D - Very drinkable, the complexity of the malt and yeast profile make for an interesting beer that goes down easily due to its dryness.

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice straw color with some light orange hue with a big fluffy white head that settles leaving sheets of lace behind,big citrus aromas some lemon and very ripe pineapple.Nice mix of spice, coriander and clove with some ripe citrus with a little smoke that lingers late.Pretty darn drinkable for the alc 8%,a nice offering liked it better than the Troublette.

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Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light fizzy head, golden yellow blondy hazy looking.

Nose is sweet, honey, Belgian golden yeast and fruits, light straw, hint of floral hops.

Taste is light, little sweet, honey, light candi sugar, Belgian golden malts, yeast, and fruits, refreshing but light, drier finish with lingering Belgian golden malts.

Mouth is med to lighter bodied with decent carbonation.

Overall not bad, a little lighter than I expected, but very drinkable, especially for 8%.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 8/26/07 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains Belgian yeast, banana, light malts, some spice and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out a little malty and sweet with flavors of banana, Belgian yeast and spices. The hops presence is pretty decent for the style and provides a brief, mild and pleasantly bitter bite. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, light-to-medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, very clean finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent beer to stick with for a whole evening, especially if you’re in a Belgian kind of mood.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.85/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First had: on tap at City Tap House, Philly, PA

"Lemon, honey, and pear with a belgian yeast back…Wow" is what the beer menu promised. At $10 for a 10oz. pour, I requested a sample, and I'm glad I did, because this one did not deliver.

Slightly hazy golden-yellow pour with a thin ring of bubbles for a head. Muted aroma, toasted grains, light fruit esters. Taste was very bland and lifeless, very light, almost like a light lager, notes of mild yeast, pear and stone fruit, a hint of grass and tea-like hops. On the plus side, this beer sure went down easy, light-bodied, low carbonation, and a barely-noticeable 8%ABV. But the lack of any good flavor just made this a downer for me, and for the price, it just wasn't worth it at all.

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Photo of mactrail
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich and spicy blonde ale. Hazy light amber in the tulip glass. Attractive sudsy carbonation, and it's sprightly on the tongue. Fairly light body.

Pleasant warm and buttery flavor. Aroma of cinnamon? this has the nicest spicy flavor. It's sort of the ideal user-friendly sort of Belgian flavor-- not too sweet with a slight tartness. Mellow malt with some of the estery spice flavors. Somewhat fruity but less intense that lots of Belgian-style beers. A nice touch of the funk with a little yeasty bitterness. Overall a very drinkable strongish beer.

On tap at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

.3L - $6.00 at the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, Georgia. Served up in the garish-looking, long-stemmed Saxo glass.

Appearance: Lightly hazed, dark copper body with a full fingers worth of meringue-like, whitish foam. Fair amount of spiderweb lacing on the way down.

Smell: Foundation of lightly sweet-scented maltiness on which to set the orchard fruit notes of pears and Red Delicious apples. Also, a good snap of spices, smelling of everything from clove to pepper.

Taste: Sweet, sugary cookie-ish pale maltiness slides in before the rich blend of spiciness imparting tastes of cracked cloves, white pepper, cardamon, and even a bit of cinnamon. Fruity, faintly tart tastes of apples and pears along with some soft floral tones. Light bitterness, though most of the balancing work seems to be performed by the crackling nature of the spicy phenolics. Drying, warming finish with a lingering spiciness and (still lightly) tart fruitiness in the aftertaste,

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-high carbonation. Lightly sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A good Belgian brew - you get some upfront sweet maltiness, a complex spice character, and a nice display of fruitiness. A little bit of everything.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright lemony amber filled with a blizzard of yeast and multiple, furious streams of uprushing carbonation. The barely off-white head has maxed out at three fingers, thanks to my gentle pour, but is too soft to leave much lace. The 'perfect storm' of fine yeast and the color contrast between beer and head easily garner this one a high score.

The nose is a lovely mixture of sweet orchard fruit dusted with ground clove and faintly funky Belgian yeast. A great combination of power and delicacy. So far, so very good.

Still going strong on the palate, although the flavor could be more layered, more complex to suit me. Even though fruit and spice are still well accounted for, it appears as if yeast has pulled even in terms of flavor contribution. Which fruits? Pears, peaches, perhaps even pineapples. While the candi sugar load is lower than it is in many BSPAs, Saxo is still on the sweet side.

Either the yeast is contributing too much to the flavor profile or the other elements are too tentative. I think it's the latter. In any case, the balance isn't quite as I'd like it. This is still excellent beer however. I know that this is a perennial complaint, but I have a hard time getting past the high degree of carbonation in Belgian beer. It certainly makes for a lively mouthfeel, but I like a bit more decorum in my beer. No hint of the 8% ABV on the palate.

I'm not sure that Saxo is the equal of Brasserie Caracole Ambree, but it's still an enjoyable brew and is a more than respectable example of the style. BSPAs will never be everyday beers for me, but this one was quite good while it lasted.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes

A: Pours a straw/golden color, slightly hazy with lots of carbonation bubbles being released to the top. Nice fizzy head that had decent retention, but not much lacing.

S: A good bit of banana and some citrus - apricots and orange peel, some grass, and cloves. The belgian yeast also shines through a bit. A little bit of grain as well.

T: Light fruity yeast. some apricot, banana, and a little pear? Hard to tell though. Some grainy malt and light spices - pepper and cloves.

M: Light to medium bodied with lively carbonation. Pretty easy drinking.

O: Not bad, aroma/flavor were good, but seemed a little weak. Based on other reviews I would give it another try.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.06/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I purchased this one a couple months back and I just got around to trying it last night. I had heard some good things from a few friends regarding it, so I decided to give it a try with dinner. A 750ml bottle served at 45 degrees and poured into an over sized wine glass.

Appearance - The pour was rather nice. A very hazy golden yellow appeared before me. Lots of carbonation streaking up toward the surface throughout the session, giving it a very nice champagne like look. A big three inch high head of white fizzy foam came up immediately and then settled down to about one finger high pretty quickly. It seemed to deposit some side glass lace initially, but towards the end of the bottle almost completely faded with nothing left at all.

Smell - The aroma was rather light if I am being honest. I was expecting this to be much bigger then it was, but instead it just had the lightest of aromas. Some nice yeast though, with the essence of apples and pears coming through, a touch of apricot in the back. Some light grassy like hops floating around as well. Not bad, just too light. Definitely some grain in here to. I have seen better, though it was still decent.

Taste - The flavor followed through on the aroma almost exactly. Not being really bad in anyway, just way too light for my tastes. There was a nice presence of fruity yeast, but you almost had to look for it, which was unfortunate. Hints of pears and apricot again, maybe some light apple. Nice bit of grainy like flavors and a touch of grass in the finish. A decent profile for sure, just way too light for me. No hint of the alcohol, which was good, but it was just rather bland.

Mouthfeel - The feel was pretty decent though, with some good carbonation for most of the session. Nice light airy feel to it, though by the end of the session, a lot of the carbonation had faded and it started to thicken up again.

Drinkability - As far as being sessionable due to the alcohol content, it was excellent, as I did not even think it had much at all. Though to be honest, the flavor was just not enough for me. As it warmed it started to become too sweet and grainy, and rather bland. I just was not feeling this one towards the end of the session.

Overall, I have had much better in the past. It was just not my thing what so ever. Not a good representation of the style, and just way too bland of a Belgian. There are much better ones out there, this is pretty much just average.

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Photo of Jason
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz slender brown bottle with a snail-humanoid holding a saxophone. “Best before end 2003” on the side of the label.

Appearance: Chill hazed pale orange yellow sunshine colour, nice head retention that keeps a dainty white lace.

Smell: Sweet and juicy aroma of sweet lemon juice that is almost lemonade-like, faint floral nose from either hops or fruitiness of the yeast. Light yeast and husky grain in the nose also.

Taste: A bit of coarseness in the crisp mouth feel from the grain and moderately high level of carbonation, light to medium body. Hop bitterness is up there, no holding back for the size of the body and is brings a whole level of new flavours from lightly pungent to citric floral. Graininess is hard on the taste buds but refreshing is a way also. Earthiness creeps up from the yeast with a side of woodiness, esters are a bit flamboyant. The estery alcohol brings a noticeable fruitiness of faint mango and pear. As for the alcohol its there and makes a warming mark on the palate. On the dry side but a trace amount of residual sweetness rolls on the tongue from start to finish.

Notes: Richly complex drawing on the grain flavours, hop character and by products of the yeast to push the envelope in brings full and bold flavours. Not as clean as other strong pales and more on the raw side.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Brewnbbq, thanks for the opportunity Jeff!
Pours a crystal clear deep golden color with a huge bubbly white head that has moderate retention. aromas of light sugary malt with bits of honey. Tart berry and pomme fruits come through nicely as well as some yeasty earthy esters. The flavor holds what the aroma promised, but adds a touch of warming alcohol. Medium body, sparkly carbonation. Nice brew, thanks for sharing!

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly clouded straw gold with minimal head. Nose is strong with a lemon citrus tone and yeast. Some alcohol present. Flavor is tart and tangy with a leafy lemon like flavor. Seems to be a touch of mint on there as well. Feel is nice and even with a smooth level of carbonation. Oh so drinkable. The flavor profile is so smooth and easily drinkable. A damn good BSPA, though lacking the complexity that other heavy hitters carry.

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Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Belgian bomber bottle, caged and corked, purchased at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. Pours slighly cloudy, lighter apricot amber. Typical and not too excitng head, and moderate lacing left behind. Nose of soft fruits, spice/hint of Belgiany yeasty. Easy drinking and quite pleasant BSPA, the 8% quite well hidden. Fruity and refreshing, this beer served as the steaming liquid for some clams and then went great with the clams and a plate of pasta. The finish has notes of pepper, spiced apricots, phenolic yeasties and more then ample Belgian tastyness. A thoroughly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Besides beautiful beer, Belgium can be proud of bringing into being another exceptional invention, the saxophone, courtesy of Adolphe Sax. So, I lift this glass and raise it to Bird, Lester, Coleman, Coltrane, Sonny, Ornette, "the Jug", and the other giants of the golden horn.
Straw gold color, half opaque, immense head, incredible effervescence...gorgeous.
Nose is mostly spice and a little sidecar of fruit, pleasurable enough for repeated sniffs...airy, angelic...lovely.
Taste? I'd say "yum", but I've run that into the ground lately...big, juicy citric flavor matched with tingly spice (cardomom, coriander, ?) Ripe fruit, develops beyond citrus into peach,. apricot....delicious.
Mouthfeel is warm, full, if finally fading, and always replete with flavor, a ciric kick, and zesty effervescence. Never tastes like 8% abv, until the want another, and another, but it'll make you feel it tomorrow!
All in all, a very satisfying golden to luxuriate in while drinking in the complex and glorious beauty in a Ben Webster solo.

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Saxo from Brasserie Caracole
3.91 out of 5 based on 401 ratings.
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