Saw-Whet Saison
Highland Brewing

Saw-Whet SaisonSaw-Whet Saison
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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
3.82 | pDev: 8.64%
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Saw-Whet SaisonSaw-Whet Saison
Notes: This farmhouse ale shows off a complex and a unique, spicy yeast with subtle citrus notes. Astutely hopped for balance and dimension, while finishing exceptionally dry. A perfect beer to transition from winter to spring.

The Saw-Whet Owl is the smallest bird of prey in the U.S. and can be found perched among the high-elevation conifers in the Appalachian Mountains.
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 59 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of hman43
hman43 from North Carolina

3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Look: It pours light golden with a large white head. It is cloudy.

Smell: It has high fruit aromas with a high amount of spiciness. There are hints of floral in the background.

Taste: There are moderate fruit flavors and spices. There are also flavors of orange, hints of pepper and hints of floral hops. It has a light body, with some sourness in the finish.

Feel: The finish is dry with a low-moderate bitterness and a high amount of carbonation.

Overall it is a fruit and spice ale with other balance complex elements.

Jun 25, 2016
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avalon07 from South Carolina

3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a golden yellow color and a cloudy consistency. There was a huge, fluffy, long-lasting head. Below average lacing.

S: A nice, yet underplayed aroma of yeast, citrus, and a little malt.

T: Tasted of citrus (lemon,orange), spicy yeast, light malt notes, pepper, a little hint of banana, and some hoppiness. A solid enough flavor in most respects, though it isn't quite as vibrant and forceful as some saisons. Nevertheless, it's a light, fruity and easy to drink.

F: A well carbonated beer with a somewhat dry finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

O: This is a pretty likable beer, in spite of its small flaws. Very drinkable.

May 30, 2016
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Brian_L-2056 from West Virginia

3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy orange color with a very frothy bright white head. Well carbonated as well. The smell has predominately spice notes. Initial taste is spicy as well but not much else throughout the palate. Not really detecting much citrus. Has good lacing and a slightly dry aftertaste. I like the spice flavor but wish it had a little more than that.

May 27, 2016
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

part of a flight at The Casual Pint, Knoxville, TN.

looks good and saison-y, slightly cloudy yellow with a small bright white head which persists.

Strong Belgium yeast smell, a little bit of citrus as well.

Taste matches the nose, a little bit of pepper at the end as well. Mouth is slightly below medium.

A good saison, best beer of the flight.

May 23, 2016
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Gavage from Nevada

3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: yellowish orange in color with a 2" head.

Smell: citrus and some spiciness comes through in the aroma.

Taste: lemon zest, cracked pepper, hint of banana, yeast, and a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp from start to finish.

Overall: if you are in the mood for a saison, this one will do it for you.

Apr 21, 2016
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dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a hazy medium golden yellow in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising along the edges of the glass and faint honey orange highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy off-white head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted cereal malts, lemon citrus, herbal/medicinal hops, and spicy saison yeast. Light aromas of Belgian yeast.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toasted cereal grain malts and biscuit malts with a light flavor of lemon citrus. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of spicy saison yeast and light to moderate flavors of Belgian yeast. There is a light flavor of herbal/medicinal hops which imparts a light amount of bitterness towards the finish which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Not the most complex flavor/aroma to this saison but definitely an easy to drink one with well hidden alcohol. Enjoyable.

Apr 20, 2016
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oberon from North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours into my Hennepin stemmed glass a clear medium golden with a fluffy white crown that leaves a few strands of lace behind as it settles.Yeasty and slightly medicinal in the nose,a decent amount of spice and toasted cereal.Quite a splash of lemon at the onset of the palate with phenol's giving a clove and slightly peppery note,a crisp drying finish.Not the most complex you will find of the style but it goes down nicely and is not heavy handed in the phenol department.

Apr 15, 2016
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daliandragon from Maryland

3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This pours aggressive with a huge snow white head and a ton of carbonation bubbles. The body is deep gold and the nose is yeast and apple skin and light malts with assorted fruitiness.

Heavy texture that is smooth and luxurious, even for the style. The taste is bread and biscuit malts with some dark fruit that overall produces a sour flavor I don't love. There are also some hops in the aftertaste but the whole thing together seems a bit off. It's certainly complex and interesting but not something I'd go for too regularly but definitely worth trying.

Apr 11, 2016
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MarkQ617 from Massachusetts

3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this on poured into a pint glass. Color was a slightly hazy golden yellow. Flavor had a little bit of fruit and wheat...not bad but not a ton of flavor, even for a farmhouse. Mouthfeel was pretty smooth, nothing special. Overall a decent saison.

Apr 10, 2016
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ChainGangGuy from Georgia

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a softly hazed, straw-hued body with a cap of thick, meringue-like foam.

Smell: Snappy, spicy and citrusy orange oil-leaning aromatics. Breads glazed with sweet syrup and studded with whole spices. A pinch of gum and sliver of mint leaf as it warms a bit.

Taste: Lightly doughy, lightly bready pils maltiness given a slender touch of honeyed sweetness. Minor wheat accent. Lemony, orangey fruitiness followed by a pinch of spice and a curious bite of peppermint. Earthy, oily dank citrusy hop quality. Moderate bitterness. Yeasty, grassy on the back half and into the phenolic, thinning finish.

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

Overall: Decent enough.

Apr 09, 2016
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Stakebone from North Carolina

3.22/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours clear gold. Decent head. Aroma and flavor are mostly hops. Pretty well balanced hops for a pale ale takes away from saison flavors way in the background. Some saison flavors linger but mostly hops.

Apr 02, 2016
Photo of jasadewi
jasadewi from Tennessee

3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It was traditional golden brew. It had a flat but powerful malty and wheat aroma. It tasted like biscuits and french bread, with a smack of hoppiness. It was both bitter and wheaty. The mouthfeel was great and light. I could drink many of these beers and feel happy about my selection.

Apr 02, 2016
Photo of twage04
twage04 from North Carolina

4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, golden with medium carbonation. Has a hay-like spicy smell. Taste is a little fruity and spicy. A good saison, even if I'm struggling to find way to describe it compared to other's I've tried. It has a little sweet taste to it while being crisp.

Mar 25, 2016
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SFNC from North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden yellow with a mile high white head.
Smell; Classic Farmhouse Ale smell of citrus and Belgian yeast.
Taste; Sharp citrus on the front, slightly sweet, chalky yeast, some light funkiness.
Feel; Dry, good effervescence, a bit of burn in the aftertaste knocks it down a notch.
Overall; A nice surprise from Highland, I would not guess that Saisons would be one of their strong suits, but this one is pretty good.

Mar 17, 2016
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Apellonious from North Carolina

4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a golden orange, somewhat pale, with a bit a cloudiness to it. Half finger head the moves to a small amount of lace quickly.

S - Barnyard funk, lemon tartness, bubblegum yeast/clove and banana.

T - Follows the nose to a T. I am sensing some back end mint and grains as well.

M - Carbonation medium to medium high, mouthfeel sits full, with a dry grainy finish.

O - Another solid offering by Highland, good to see them branching out more into different styles the last few years.

Mar 07, 2016
Photo of ljdrinksbeer
ljdrinksbeer from North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - Thin head, little bubbles, straw gold, some lacing
S - citrus/ orange, pepper
T - A lot of orange, grapefruit, yeasty, spicy, earth, grass, lingering bitter
F - light, crisp, refreshing
O - nicely done saison, refreshing but not in substantial

Mar 06, 2016
Photo of Brewsed
Brewsed from North Carolina

3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Belgian tulip

Looks very clear with a fluffy head. Dark golden in color

Smells like an American saison (lots of phenolics) and fruity esters

Taste is very phenolic. Harsh tones of plastic and heavy yeast esters (Wyeast French saison yeast character). German wheat twang on the finish.

Feel is slightly bitter and crisp.

Overall I wouldn't recommend this beer to classic euro saison enthusiasts. Although it's not sweet, the yeast character is overpowering and I ended up pouring it out.

Mar 01, 2016
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Jason from Massachusetts

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

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Pours out a nearly clear golden amber hued brew, decent lacing. Smells of fresh grain and overripe plums. Crisp and smooth with a delicate medium sized body. Pretty forward with the hopping, bitterness is up there. Semi-dry with a biscuity graininess. Hint of Belgian-like yeastiness with some fruity alcohol. Not a bad stab at the style, I think it hits all of the bell's and whistles. A fun beer to try.

Feb 26, 2016
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TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: beautiful gold, with a thin tight white head
S: slightly fruity, Belgian Yeast
T: Belgian yeast, fruit
F: great mouthfeel, coats the entire mouth with a peppery finish
O: great example of the style

Feb 21, 2016
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.64/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In cooperation with the North Carolina wildlife contingency, a Belgian-style farmhouse ale is born in the brewery and commemorates the Saw-Whet owl. Fruity, spicy, dry and resting on a bed of pilsner malt, it's unsure if any of these Belgianesque flavors pair well with owl though.

Within its bright golden glow simmers a scent of white wine, fresh dough and a tingle of peppery spice to entice the nose. Up front, its taste is juicy with grainy-sweet pilsner malt fresh from the kiln.

Breeching the middle palate, the sweetness begins to fade and the mingling of fruit and spice begins. Candied citrus and pear reel in suggestions of apple and lemon- all ahead of a yeasty rebuttal that balances with white pepper, clove, vanilla, cumin and floral coriander. Light bitterness provides an earthy, peppery and grassy taste that's akin to lemongrass in the beer's waning taste.

Medium-light and malty-dry, the saison is persistent in a grain, bread and honey-like support that prevents the premiere champagne-like dryness of classic versions of the Belgian and French low country. Still, the beer's earth and spice tilt captures the essence of saison well while an aftertaste of honey and fruit suggests more of a Belgian-style pale ale.

Feb 11, 2016
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barczar from Kentucky

3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is softly citrus, with grassy, earthy notes and a good bit of lightly pepto funk.

Flavor is pepto dominant throughout, becoming earthy and citrusy mid palate and finishing fairly dry.

Feb 10, 2016
Saw-Whet Saison from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 59 ratings