W'12 Dark Saison | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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W'12 Dark SaisonW'12 Dark Saison

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Availability: Spring (2012)
Bitterness: 25 IBU
Alcohol by Volume: 5.5%

Original Gravity: 11.75 Plato
Malts: 2-Row Pale, White Wheat, Caramel 120L, Vienna, Dark Chocolate
Hops: Alchemy, Saaz

Added by leedorham on 12-31-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 268
Photo of hustlesworth
3.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- does not appear to be bottle conditioned. Pours a slightly hazy rosewood brown. Ecru head is airy but with a thin skin on top. Retention isn't too impressive and there's a few swirls of lace holding on.

S- mild notes of yeasty banana and clove with a hint of lemony herbal hops that becomes more pronounced and earthier as it warms. Bubblegum, melon, berry, soil, and pear also play a role. Much like a fruity dunkel weizen.

T- Sweet and fruity with mild hoppy bitterness. Rubbery band aid yeast flavor is on the low end, probably thanks to the darker malts. Bubblegum, banana, pear, cooling cucumber, red apple, and sweet orange make up the fruity side however the malt is thin and lacking. Low alcohol is appreciated, but doesn't help the flavor at all. Hops lend an earthy leafiness but make way for the yeast. Vienna malts are apparant but not so much for the wheat and chocolate. Fruity and spice flavors linger, but without malty substance. More grain would make this one a winner for me.

MF- thin and unsatisfying. Lack of malt is hurting the body as well as the flavor. Zippy carbonation mimics bottle conditioning but doesn't hit the spot. Relatively clean on the palate with mild powdery feel.

D- this is honestly a low abv easy drinkin thirst quenching saison that I actually could turn to after a grueling 4 hours of yard work. As for a belgianesque treat, it doesn't work so well, though it's a good example to familiarize an initiate to an Americanized version of the style.

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Photo of Bung
2.96/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. darker amber pour, light cream head, roughly a fingers worth.

Aroma, light yeast and toasted malt. Faint fruitiness? Not much going on really.

Taste is a little better. Some yeasty spice, clove. A kind of watered down malt, apple, pear.

Drinks easy. Carbonation is fine, lighter body. Pretty thin. An uber gateway Saison possibly, otherwise pretty meh.

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Photo of mothman
2.43/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a layer of beige head. Color is a caramel hued copper.

Aroma: Caramel and chocolate. Some saison flavors and belgian yeast. Bananas and cloves. Reminds me more of a dunkelweisse.

Taste: Oddly roasted malts. Chocolate and bananas. Cloves and spices. Yeast. Not very saison like. Malty with some fruits.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, this wasn't anything like a saison. It was more like a german dunkelweisse so I have no idea what happened with this beer. It is okay if you don't think of it as a saison.

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Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark amber color with a one-finger, off-white head of foam. It left some sudsy rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of dried dark fruits and some sweet maltiness. Slight yeasty aroma.

T - It had a spicy bite upon first sip with a strong yeast presence. Bready malt backbone mixed with dried plum and raisin.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a clean finish.

O - This is a pretty tasty beer, although I'm still not sure what to think of dark saisons. It seemed more like a Belgian Dark Ale.

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Photo of tdm168
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber with a thin layer of soft, white head that quickly fades away. The nose has is faint and is dominated by some Belgian yeast and light spices. The flavor is lightly malty with faint notes of caramel. The taste is dominated by yeasty, peppery, spicy notes. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, but a little heavily carbonated.

This is an easy dirnking, Belgian-style ale. The flavor isn't anything to write home about but it's interesting. I probably won't seek it out again, but it was worth a try once.

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Photo of bump8628
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark saison, I was thinking it would be on the brown spectrum, but it's more of an amber. Clove stands out the most. Behind that, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. Mild malt sweetness, mellow carbonation, barely burnt caramel, and bread crust. Lightly spicy hops. Pretty decent beer, but not really saison-like. There is an emerging earthy dirtiness as it warms up. Just call it a Belgian-style amber ale or something, I guess.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.1/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich orange-brown hue with only the tiniest touch of haze and a nice effervescence. Head poured a thick finger of frothy ivory foam and leaves a nice lace as it dissipates. I like it.

Smell: light malt with a bit of a clove and banana aroma combined with a light funkiness. Out there a little bit, but approachable.

Taste: murky funk with a hefeweizen-ey clove flavor and a tiny hint of the chocolate malt. A touch of sourness balances this beer very well in my opinion. Bitterness and hop character are both pretty minimal.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a big carbonation and big, if short-lasting, creaminess. Good.

Overall: I've had quite a bit of this stuff since it came out, and I've simply fallen for it. The intangibles of this beer satisfy my palate in a big way, and I find it immensely drinkable.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
2.98/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chilled 12 oz. bottle poured into a weizen pint glass. Bottling date 12.19.11.

Look- Clear medium amber with plenty of frothy off-white head. Settles quickly to a half inch of loose foam, leaving an intricate web of lacing.

Smell- Crusty bread, light molasses, cinnamon, and banana, along with mild Belgian-ish spicy yeast and bubbblegum. Subdued pineapple, perhaps. Pleasant but underwhelming.

Taste- Quite malty, little of the complex yeast-spawned fruit and spice I was expecting. I'm also guessing that the grains bill included a moderate amount of wheat and maybe some rye. Odd cocoa like flavor dominates the middle. Aftertaste is biscuity with a hint of orange blossom, which is the only touch of hops I get. Really, it's just about precisely what I would imagine an OK bock produced with Belgian ale yeast would taste like. Again, it's not bad, but it falls short when compared to most saisons, and it's not really very dark, either.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, nearly flat, and a little on the watery side. Clean feeling, quite drinkable. Very bock-like.

Overall- Saison-esque, well balanced, and drinkable, but I was really expecting a bit more despite the surprisingly low cost and lack of bottle conditioning. Doesn't really pass muster as a saison, which it is marketed as, and feels a bit off, palate-wise and historically. I probably wouldn't pick it up again.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a clear copper color with a creamy cap of tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

Nose shows off a fair amount of yeast esters with bubblegum and banana leading the charge. Toasty caramel comprise the malt aromas. Smells pretty good actually.

Taste does not quite follow through with the same class as the nose, but still not half bad. The toasty malt with a touch of honey blends pretty well with a mild yeast and a dry hop finish. Its more earthy than I like to see in a saison, and the yeast is too clean. While I was happy with half a sixer, I dont really think I would want to buy again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sort of caramel/brown in color with an off-white head. Heavy on the yeast aroma with a bit of pepper and some spicy noble hop aromas. A hint of chocolate (chocolate malt?) and some faint caramel. The flavor has a definite banana character and there is some pepper, yeast, and dark fruit to it, too. The malt is sweet, but the beer is also a touch watery. Overall a decent beer, but not great.

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Photo of sairvin
2.65/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

What do we expect in a saison? This is it in a light version. A good mass produced version of it. Lot's of clover, hints of caramel. Great starter beer for this category, especially for those just being introduced to it.

I gave mouth feel a low rating because it honestly escapes compared to most saisons. No lingering fruits or herbs. This is surprising, especially looking at the grain bill.

Overall, enjoyable, but Widmer does better.


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Photo of secondtooth
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A creative melding of a Belgian saison and a roasty-malted dark ale, this intriguing brew pours a rusty amber with a nice head and superb lace.

Nose is caramel and candied fruit. Promising!

Taste is fruity and yeasty, with a hint of roast at the finish. Very much in the saison tradition, but with a tasty and enjoyable twist. I really liked this one.

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Photo of beertunes
2.91/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in tulip. Poured a clean, clear light mahogany color with just a thin cap of light tan head that had very low retention and no lacing.

The aroma had mild grain and spice notes with only a bit of yeast coming through. I didn't really find any outstanding features in the nose. The flavors were the same, nothing technically wrong, just nothing really notable either. Kind of bland.

The body was a bit on the thin side, but was smooth and even. Drinkability was pretty good (as I find most Saisons to be) and went down easily enough. Overall, an OK take on the style. Nothing wrong with this beer, but nothing memorable either. Probably worth trying if you see it, but definitely not worth an effort to find.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a small ¼” head of tan bubbles after a pretty aggressive pour. The head only stuck around for about 20-30 seconds before it wound up as a small ring where it meets the glass. There are quite a few bubbles quickly racing for the top, but they don’t stick very long once they get there. There is a little bit of lacing left on the glass after drinking.

Aroma: I initially got a pretty healthy done of banana esters like a HefeWeizen along with some sweet caramel esters and some mild toasty notes…so the initial aroma wasn’t bad for a Dunkel Weisse…oh wait, this is a “dark Saison”. As it sits, it gets a little more malty, but the Weisse character is definitely still there.

Taste: The flavor isn’t as much a Weisse beer as I expected from the aroma, but there are still components in there. The beer is mostly malty, with hops being reserved in the flavor, but adding some balance to the finish of the beer. The malt is still in charge of the finish, but there really isn’t that much malt there for the hops to compete with. The body is light with ample carbonation for being the beer that it is, but I would have expected much more mouth presence for it to be anything like a real Saison. As the beer warms up some, it seems like some of the Saison spice is starting to come out, but it really isn’t playing all that well with the rest of the beer.

Opinion: I was pretty disappointed in this one. I know that Dark Saison’s exist. I seem to recall even having one from Phantom brewery (I believe) and I don’t remember anything like this. This is more like a mis-guided attempt at a variation between a Dunkel Weisse and (I guess) a Saison. It has more of the light-body attributes of the Dunkel Weisse as well as the overall balance, but keeps enough yeast complexity that it muddles up how it would fit in that style as well. I will probably drink the rest of this six-pack eventually, but I certainly wouldn’t buy it again.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.32/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was expecting black, but this poured a clear brownish-orange with a trace of off-white head. Malty aroma of caramel, vanilla, and a touch of lemon.

Moderate carbonation and a smooth, light mouthfeel. Wheat and toffee up front followed by light lemon, grass, and a fairly dry finish with hints of pepper.

A little thin and overly sweet/malty, but not unpleasant.

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Photo of jkdrummer
3.82/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like a nice brown ale, not black - but a dark amber. Not much a Saison fan here to begin with, but this is a bit milder like a light chimay. The Belgium bubble gum and tartness are there but not over powering. Nice wheaty sweet maltiness. Goes down easy but not a clean finish, bubble gum, esters etc stick around with a strong kinda sour after taste.

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Photo of RedBiddy
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nothing to get my motor running. The color was reminiscent of henna. Very weak lacing and foam...disappeared rapidly. The smell was faint...I was hoping for something that would slap me across the face but didn't get a good whiff till the schnoz was wet. The taste was like many mass produced belgiums. Spicy - peppery black anise. The mouthfeel was disappointing. For me it was overly carbonated to the point of distraction. After the swallow I was left with a faint satisfaction of having ingested beer but wanting a bit more. All in all I would say so-so. Mediocre at best.

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Photo of IPAguy2009
2.49/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- dark amber color, clarity is medium.

S root beer raisiney smell. Slight vanilla in there. Smells kinda bland. Somewhat soapy like as well.

T- I don't know if I'm labeling this right but I'm getting bitter root beer with tobacco like notes as well. Little almost homebrew like taste at the end. Not digging it too much.

M- pretty thick with a touch of carbonation on the way down.

O- anything with the name widmer on it for me is pretty solid. Their drifter pale ale was my first favorite beer and was the beer that was responsible for showing me the beautiful world of beers, so I always got widmers back! They got a special place in my heart. But sadly, I have discovered my least favorite beer by them. Sorry widmer, but I don't recommend this one.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Similar to that of an amber or copper ale. Head was short lived, but a thin layer of bubbles remain.

S- Smell is great, Belgian yeast smell with dark fruits and a hint of lemon.

T- Same as smell, but with a tobacco smoke taste in the finish, with a savory lemon after taste.

M- The mouthfeel is good. It doesn't have a huge carbonation feel, but it has just the right amount for an easy drinking brew.

O- I like this. It is easy drinking, and for the people who might be looking to branch out in their styles Widmer is doing something right with this brew. It isn't too in your face like some Saisons can be, but can be enjoyed by a larger range of people.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a goblet. Thin head layer on top of a copper, transparent body.

Complex smell: raisins, apples and wet malt.

Sweet tasting, harsh bitterness midway to balance the sweetness. Dried fruit, plum.

Thinner body and moderate carbonation.

A good take on a Dark Saison.

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Photo of jbakajust1
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into Deschutes Tulip

A - Pours a rudy reddish brown, clear, w/ 1" head that quick fades to a thin ring and leaves decent lacing.

S - Smells of fruits, clove, pepper, citrus, peach, light dark fruit aroma, toasted biscuits, big on the fruits.

T - Taste mirrors the smell. Fruity, citrus, peach, tropical, toasted biscuits, raisins, cloves, white pepper, light sweetness, slight metalic note in the end.

M - light, kind of watery, semi dry finish, slight bitterness, lacking in carbonation for a Saison.

O - When I popped the top there was no... well... pop! I knew that would be an issue from the start, not enough carbonation. I was very impressed with the aroma and taste, much of the attributes I have in the Saison I just brewed w/ WY 3726 Farmhouse, lots of big fruits and some spiciness. If this had classic high Belgian carb, a dryer finish, and the metalic taste was gone, it would be awesome. I will still have more while it is around, just wish they would have gotten the carbonation right.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
3.02/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- Pours the color of birch beer with a one finger tan head into my DFH glass. Head fades away quickly and leaves a nice bit of lacing all around. Lots of red, yellow and orange highlights.

S- A little bit of banana and bubble gum, lemon-pepper, and a bit of wet hay funkiness. Some nice sweet honey and caramel in the backround.

T- Lemon, banana, earthy dirt and hay. A little black pepper, sweet malts and yeast. Nothing really special here.

M- Kind of watery and bland. Lacks carbonation and any kind of distinction between flavors.

O- More of a Wit meets Oktoberfest... I dunno? Other than a bit of lemon-pepper notes, it doesn't act or feel much like a Saison. I probably won't be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of ChopperSmith
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Clear deep brown with a reddish tint, a one finger tan foam head that faded quick and left light lacing.

Smell: Slight sweet malt and yeast fruit aromas. Very subtle.

Taste: Like it smells, sweet malts with a yeast profile that offers dark fruits like plums and raisins. Also a little hops to balance. None of the flavors seem prominent enough and are all a little watered down.

Mouth feel: Light to medium body with average carbonation.

Overall: If they bumped up the alcohol and yeasts, this would be similar to a decent Belgian Dark Ale...as it is, it comes across as a light version of that. Not bad, just a little lacking and too light on everything for my tastes.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby red has a bright white head that doesn't seem to go away. The aroma is funky good. There is a bit of banana to go with the earthy aroma. Some very light hops in there. The carbonation seems to hit at the front then the taste really comes forward. That saison, earthy & slightly malty taste really is well done and there is just a bit of citrus hop toward the end. It has a nice dry finish and doesn't leave you guessing about the style. To me this is just another well done brewmasters release from Widmer. It is no KGB but really enjoyed it.

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Photo of ccrida
4.12/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale caramel color with an off-white head leaving nice lace.

Smell is estery, spice and tropical fruit, some caramel fruit as well. Nice brightness, yet classic mineral pithe.

Taste is similar, esters more clove-like, a little yeasty flavor as well as some biscuit malt. Snappy herbal finish.

Mouthfeel is dry, medium light bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good. The name implies this is some kind of hybrid saison, but the caramel is well with in the classic style range. Reminds me of saison silly (which I admit I haven't had in years).

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W'12 Dark Saison from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.41 out of 5 based on 268 ratings.
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