Saison De Pipaix | Brasserie à Vapeur

165 Reviews
Saison De PipaixSaison De Pipaix

Brewed by:
Brasserie à Vapeur

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-16-2002

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Reviews: 165 | Ratings: 254
Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lot of Belgian producers use their heritage as a marketing ploy but Brasserie à Vapeur still actually operates the traditional way; they've preserved the same logo since 1785 and their flagship ale which sports it on its label, Saison De Pipaix, still looks like a product of that time. Unfiltered, the ale has a muddied tangerine complexion and healthy, natural carbonation.

The nose is exactly as funky as you'd expect from a farmhouse recipe that dates back to the 18th century and is still brewed using steam power ("Brasserie à Vapeur" translates to "Steam Powered Brewery"). Fermentation is said to take place in three stages, the last being quite warm and, this is just my guess here, very inviting to additional yeasts and critters...

Cider vinegar notes and musty, vanillin impressions of oak are delicate but really come through on the palate (despite that this is neither sour nor does it ever see the inside of a barrel). Apple skin tartness, leather and 'farmhouse floor' are prominent features, each complimentary and/or extensions of the ripe orchard fruit, dry straw and feed grain flavours.

How have we not talked about spices yet? Unlike other Belgian producers (*cough*, Fantôme, *cough* Trappist monks) these guys are happy to share their secret ingredients: pepper, ginger, curacao, sweet orange peels, coriander and roast chicory. You'd have to be an idiot savant to note any of those outright but the amalgam, however mild, is hugely gainful.

Long, long - a little over 200 years - before Brettanomyces were deemed "cool" and sour farmhouse ales became the flavour 'du jour' there was Saison De Pipaix. This iconic Belgian ale might not have the same status as Cantillon, Dupont or Fantôme but it has all the great elements of each - funk, farm and spice respectively - and belongs right next to them on the shelf.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.24/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bruised apples in the aroma. Ripe pear, wet wood, white pepper, very herbal. A touch of honey and crackery malts. Perfume like. A hint of funk. If you dig for it, you can find anise.

Pours hazy light orange with a frothy white head. Lots of bubbles. Great head retention and lacing.

Juicy apples, oranges, and pears. Tons of fruit upfront followed with earthy tea, finishing with balancing bitter hops. A touch of acidity, not fully sour. Very earthy and rustic. Solidly dry finish.

Juicy mouthfeel. Medium light body with heavy carbonation. Fruit and wood linger on the palate.

Very fruity but with balancing earthiness. Rustic and a little strange. Somewhere between DuPont and Fantome.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap. Pours clear, gold in color, with 1/2 inch head. Taste is strawberries, Belgian spice, funk, and light bitterness. Very complex sipper that was thoroughly enjoyable. I will look to find a bottle of this.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.23/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed in Roger Protz' CAMRA classic "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

If you are a fan of Michael Jackson (as I obviously am) or you cannot take the time to visit out-of-the-way Belgian breweries, then you should read his review in "Great Beers of Belgium." Given the brewery's limited distribution and following, MJ gave this brewery a long review (almost two pages and only one photo) that draws you into its multi-century history and the travails of the current family committed to keeping traditions alive. It is a great story of the way brewing used be, passion, bucking the trend, beer's medicinal value and its craft in making a meal great.
Largely a reduction of that "article", MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave it 3.5 stars of 4 and said Pipaix "has a very fresh, orangey character and contains six botanicals" (for spicing.)

While I note if a beer is among the "1001," I rarely quote the review. But this one is particularly good; describing how the current owner saved the brewery and "found heritage recipes, interpreting them with his own imaginative flair and redeploying long-forgotten spices... rejecting the contemporary hoppy saison model for a complex and exotic melange"

Bravo ! And enjoy.

1/21/17 (remember that historic day) I Had Pipaix again with Indian food (Garrett Oliver says saisons pair well with Indian herbs and spices.) I was skeptical, but "The Brewmasters Table" was right again !

4/15/17 (Another historic day in which hundreds of thousands of taxpayers turned out to ask why Trump wouldn't reveal his tax returns when that was the convention of Presidents.) Had Pipaix again with Mexican food (tamales) and that spicy is not as good as the Indian, perhaps because Mexican hot peppers go well with hoppy beers and Pipaix's blend of different spices downplay the hops (which is why I like it so much and just gave a slight bump to my re-rating.

Think about this as a theory: soft feel and blended spices (like Pipaix) complements those similar foods (of which Indian curries certainly qualify) ... but peppery foods require more carbonation and hops to cleanse the palate and cool the hot.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Muddy amber-tan with a ring of off-white fizz that trails. 3.5
Chalk, flowers, and mango or kumquat skin - fresh with a hint of crystal. 4.25
Crackery grain, cinnamon apple sauce, some tannins, spice, lemon rind, and leafy hops. 4
Wood and pepper end and numbing linger.
Medium, chewy, but clean. 4

Dull look but intriguing smell. Fruit esters play big and there’s a rustic buzz about the whole thing. Layered but untamed, yet dry and easy. Ultimately too malty, but curious and interesting. 4

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.39/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

The bottle gushed like crazy for me when I opened it cold. Pinkish hue with tons of haze and carbonation. Spicy, fruity, raspberries, lemony, funky and tart. A nice funky farmhouse but not spectacular.

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Photo of WunderLlama
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Draft poured into chalice

Very foamy , needs to settle after a few tap pulls , good lacings

Faint aroma of apples

Hazy orange

Light mouthfeel , smooth

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Photo of chinchill
3.91/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 2002(!) bottling. Perhaps past its prime but certainly held up very well.
Rich complex aroma and flavor with figs, raisins and spices.
The flavors are nicely balanced and blended.

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Photo of Franck
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

A strange nose of coriander and chocolate mint. Very fruity and herbal.
In mouth, these flavors are dominant with a punch of citrus. Tartness is short and it's surprisingly well balanced.
Overall, it's a strange but tasty beer. Not bad but I don't think I'd drink it again

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.28/5  rDev +16%

Just arrived at Liquor Shed in Casper.

Okay, a big pop and super gush when I removed the cap. Beer everywhere.

It pours a rusty murky colour with a 1 finger head of foam. Nice lacing.

A strong spicy nose of coriander, clove, bubblegum. Yeast. A very perfumey nose overall.

Everything in the smell is in the taste as well as a strong bitter/tartness of lemon zest and apples, It finishes bitter and tart. Long aftertaste.

On the low end of medium bodied, the carbonation, well, it's healthy to say the least.

Other than the huge gush, this was very enjoyable.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.74/5  rDev +1.4%

Bottle shared by Bob last night. '03 vintage.

Pours a very dark orange, one of the darker saisons I've seen. There's a 2 inch head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells like apple cider, wheat, and library books. Sort of a dusty and musty smell.

This one tastes a little oxidized, but it blends in well with the dusty flavors, some moss, apple cider, wheat, citrus fruits. Nothing outstanding, but tasty enough.

This one is medium bodied, with a tart and vinegary mouthfeel. Pretty drinkable.

Interesting as an aged beer, but this one probably hit its peak about 5 years ago.

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Photo of rudzud
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Francois for sharing 1985 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice crystal clear golden hue with some nice half finger head.

S - Aromas of funk, tart, funk, cork, cheese.

T - Taste is really weird, old fruits, cork, almost spoiled milk. Very strange

M - Mouthfeel is very drinkable shocked.

O - Overall this beer was very interesting. Really glad to try it.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.5/5  rDev +22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(on tap at Tria Taproom - served in a teku glass - first rated on 02 Sep 2012)

A: light amber, cloudy as hell.... cottony, krausen-like foam that slowly receded, kept some wisps of sud around the outer edges... had this on tap once before, about a year and a half ago - the cloudy, unfiltered look is consistent, if a little foreboding

S: (unripe?) peaches and cream, rose petals - mostly yeast(y)-derived aromas - a little like liquid brewers yeast, bold but not forward... each scent is pretty damn powerful, having dimension - perhaps the glass is key here... unique

T: custardy, bosc pear-like fruit... hint of watermelon (flesh? rind?)... fair amount of doughy malt... touch of a black-peppery aftertaste... overall a bit different, more rustic than the Dupont benchmark

M: soft, quiet in carbonation... the unfiltered, unconditioned constitution lends some fluffy roundness... quietly drops off in the finish... no heat - dry, but not parching

O: had this twice now on tap and a sip of the '95 from a friend's glass (which was a different beast!) - this has to be one of the most interesting, unique, and flavorful saisons out there

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Photo of fourstringer
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderate hand. Cap is stamped 11/14.

A: Hazy, dark orange-yellow body. 1 finger off-white head with fair retention. Light lacing.

S: Lightly tart with a citric acid scent. Mild funk. Suggestions of fruit - cherry, wine grape - come across with a character that is unusual for a beer. Almost like the "ghost" of those fruits. Cool, but strange, and hard to describe. Lemon. Hint of bready malt, grass/hay.

T: Nicely tart with a very round, almost fruity, funk to it. A mild, slightly herbal, hop bitterness leads to a fairly dry finish. Citric acid and light malt lingers on the finish. Light herbal and floral aspects. There is a certain vinous quality. No alcohol to speak of.

M: Moderate carbonation with a light body. Both are relatively slight for the style, but convey the somewhat delicate flavors nicely.

O: Very interesting, genre-bending brew. More sour than I expected, but I really enjoyed it. Seems to integrate equal parts saison, flanders red and gueuze, with a somewhat lighter feel than average for any of the three. The fruit notes are very unique. Definitely worth trying out - especially if you like sours.


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Photo of dougbassett
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of the "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die" -- #40 of the ones I've reviewed here.

I've recently been on a "Belgian in big bottles" kick, buying them more or less blind. The only thing I knew about this one was "saison", which brings to my mind certain types of flavors I associate with the style. That's not this, this is a very eccentric take on Saisons.

Maybe best understood as a bitter fruit beer, if that makes any sense. If it didn't say "Saison" on the label I would not have pegged it as such. Pours a kind of orangish-brown which is evocative to look at, although I'd have appreciated more of a head. The nose is oddly citrus: lemons, orange, with a little anise and ginger in the background. The flavors are quite unusual, imagine unripe peaches, of all things, along with bitter orange and maybe a little of that spice sneaking in the back way at the finish. (Which I could've stood to have a little longer).

I gave this fairly high scores because it's really quite unusual, I've never had any Saison quite like this. That said, I don't know if I'd ever seek this out again -- it's unusual but I don't know if I'd actually describe it as pleasant to drink, exactly. It's more a beer you admire than one you groove behind, I think, and it's odd to find that cropping up here in a Saison, a style that I've always associated as being "the working class Belgian" (or as close to it as you can find in Belgium). That said, it's definitely worth a try -- maybe you'll be more enthusiastic about it than me.

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Photo of Roguer
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hazy orange and peach color, almost opaque. Thin fizzy white head.

Very subdued aroma: light spices, bread, and orange.

Intriguing flavors: sour stone fruit, yeast, a little biscuit. Not overly sweet. A little lemon and grass.

Light feel, a little sting, fairly dry yet with a residual coating.

One of the more interesting Saisons I've tried, especially for one that doesn't seem to rely on funk.

On tap at the Engine Room, Mystic, CT.

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Photo of FLima
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Amber color with a thick head with good retention and leaving laces.
Nice aroma of sweet tangerines, lime, sweetened yogurt and some tartness.
Sweet flavor of pineapple, apple puree, sour milk, yakult, berries, martini and some funkiness. Dry aftertaste.
Medium body with good carbonation
Very fruity, complex and interesting Saison.

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Photo of metter98
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy reddish orange in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down, leaving a small patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a collar around the edge.
S: Light aromas of apples and oranges are present in the nose along with notes of yeast and hints of spices; the smell becomes a bit warmer once the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of apples and oranges along with notes of spices and hints of yeast. Faint hints of sourness are also noticeable.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. No dryness is perceptible.
O: The flavors and mouthfeel of this saison are a little subdued compared to other beers in this style. This might make a good beer to pair with a light dish such as a salad.

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Photo of popery
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a warm, amber-hued shade of brown. It's completely opaque. There's a good amount of sediment on the bottom of the bottle, and I wouldn't be surprised to find some floaties. The head is ecru in color and somewhat fizzy. It's not an altogether effervescent head that fades away immediately, but the mound of bubbles isn't long for this world.

The aroma is lovely. There's a subtle combination of spices. I'm getting ginger, fennel, licorice, orange and maybe lime. There's a peppery note that could be hops or just other spice. Nothing really stands out above the rest of the mix or drowns out the other flavors in the beer. The malt is lightly toasty and is accented by wood and earth. There's peaches, apricots, pears and grapes rattling around. It seems to have a mild lactic note, just an undertone of yogurt, and some nice mineral character.

The beer's taste is quite similar. It starts with some sweet stone fruit and earth. Then, the spices kick in. Again, it's hard to pick out any one dominating flavor, but ginger and orange start things off with anise and pepper stronger in the finish. Moderately lactic tart. Moderate toasty malt sweetness. There's some funk, but it probably needs more time to develop fully. This bottle just came into a local store, so I assume it's relatively fresh for this beer. At any rate, besides the aforementioned spice, the finish also has more of that mineral character and a woody note that dries things out. A touch of bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel starts out a bit effervescent but the carbonation drops pretty quickly, and the beer ends up pretty creamy. Full compared to some saisons. The finish is fairly dry, though. That said, this is a beer that I could enjoy flat.

This is a fantastic beer. It has some of the best spicing that I've come across in beer. It's very much on the Fantome side of the saison world, and I can't imagine finding another beer that tastes terribly similar. I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops.

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Photo of Russbier
4.52/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Easy drinking but still complex and interesting; dry & clean. The spices are suble, unlike many Belgians, and they are balanced well with the beer style. Now drinking a "Brewed in 2003" and would like to try one cellared for a few years longer. It's an exceptional beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Memphis Taproom. Served in a tulip glass.

Saison De Pipaix came to me with dark amber color looking darker than your average saison. A beautiful tan colored inch of healthy foam up top sticks around and leaves some notches on the way down. An odd saison, farmhouse scents with some hay, berry and a slightly acidic nature. I get grapes. Some floral appeal, with pepper and orange coming out with warming. This is a delicate beer, it goes over well, slightly tangy, easy to drink. Taste is floral fruity and earthy. Slight tang with orange, pepper and some berry. The body on this is a step below medium with a spritzy carb going for it. I could of easily drank another glass of it.

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Photo of corby112
3.51/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very cloudy, dark golden orange color with a two finger, frothy white head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Musty farmhouse aroma with some earthy funk, grassy hops, pale malt and light fruit. Strong Saison yeast presence along with piney hops, grass and straw followed by caramel malt, toffee, biscuit and fruit juice.

On the light end of medium bodied with soft carbonation and a prominent funky farmhouse yeast flavor that lingers over earthy hops, light fruit and malt backbone into a slightly sweet finish. Very earthy and funky with dry brett, Saison yeast and grassy hop notes followed by hints of toffee, bread and biscuit. Light fruit sweetness in the finish with some grape, apple and pear. Well balanced and easy to drink but nothing out of the ordinary.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed last night at the kitchen upstairs in boulder. think i paid something like 22 bucks for a bomber of this, cap and cork rig. the pour is golden orange color, sunny, with some haze, and a big bubble white head rising high in the snifter. the flavor is quite delicate, spices from the yeast capture my attention first, some fruity notes trickle in one by one, apple, dried apricot, white grape. its not a fruity beer but these little teases are quite fun. the malt profile is coppery, crackery light, with just a touch of sweetness. peppery finish, with more hops than most belgian saisons. i was really impressed with this, as it went excellently with our raw oysters and mussels and crab legs and clams. perfect compliment. feel was massively carbonated, with a ligher body, clean finish, and modest alcohol. overall an excellent saison, and one i will look forward to drinking again.

edit: on tap, this has no equal at all. simply world class, one of the best i have had. if you ever see this on a tap list, its a must try for any saison lover. end all be all sort of beer.

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Photo of Durge
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this one at redlight Redlight in Orlando. It's a classic cloudy golden amber color with a solid white fuzz on top and plentiful lacing. The aroma is similarly classic sour apple cinnamon clove and cereal grain. Nice. The flavor is a bit disappointing in that there is very little sweetness, the sour lemon is not super tart but it grows on you with subtle apple yeast. Rice and wheat and a touch of clove and roast beef au jus. Oh yeah. A fairly light body and foamy feel. Not highly memorable, but fine aroma and solid flavor. Worth a try.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 9/2/2012 at Julian’s in Providence, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains spices, fruit, caramelized malts and some Belgian yeast.

T: The taste starts out sweet with a strong spice flavor. Then some flavors of fruit and caramel come in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and the hops presence is mild but complementary creating a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly bready.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry but slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, decent representation of style, it’s a solid Saison but there are other in the style that I would choose first.

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Saison De Pipaix from Brasserie à Vapeur
3.69 out of 5 based on 254 ratings.
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