Saison X
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Saison XSaison X
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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
Ranked #283
Ranked #5,738
4.08 | pDev: 7.35%
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States
Saison XSaison X
Notes: Saison brewed with candied ginger, lemon peel, orange peel, and a blend of pink, black, and green peppercorns. All naturally occurring wild yeast, aged in French, Austrian, and American oak.
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 119 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of LAp
LAp from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap. The stand-out beer of this trip to Jolly Pumpkin. They took a bold conglomeration of additives and managed to incorporate them such that each contributes a piece of nuance to the palate, with any single participant dominating the lot - a rare feat. The ginger particularly, which I feared would dominate the palate, was subtly present and appropriately nuanced. The peppercorn profile was on the radar screen, but not overwhelming. The base saison, with tart citrus notes, was well-executed, and formed a solid foundation on which to build the more complex superstructure of this beer. Worth trying.

Sep 03, 2016
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear straw yellow with a two finger white fizzy head. The head receds quickly leaving tons of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is lemon peel, green apple, oak, white pepper and funky Brett.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Lemon peel, green apple, white grape, oak tannins, white pepper and brettanomyces.

M - Light bodied with medium carbonation. Nice crisp mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - A very nice Saison. The flavors are bright and funky. Very solid.

May 27, 2016
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Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty bright golden color with a white head and plenty of lacing. Slightly hazed Belgian style lookimg ale.

Complex oaky aroma and funky lambicus bugs. Lindemans like gueze flavor, nice dryness and palatable, peppery funk. Opens up to a slightly grainy wheat malt body as it warms, but complexity is there. The multi barrel approach works nicely here.

Flavor has sour notes, wine flavor, white grape, citrus, lemon oil and a slight bitterness. Spice, tartness, oak, and a bit of wine. Citrus, a play on a Grand Marnier? Top shelf taste.

Light body that starts off punchy and/or sharp and drops off the a more open, wine like product but champagne like in its slight bubbly nature that never truly dies.

Overall a nice product, deep sour saison flavor, wild,funky, wild ale or saison I really enjoyed this. I'd think this to be ideal to cellar a bit longer, years, even.

Nov 19, 2015
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Billolick from New York

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bomber bottle. Bottled 9-17-14. Purchased at Whole Foods in Ann Arbor, Mi.

Pours hazed lighter tangerine, light and whispy head leaving nice ringed lacing.

Spiced up nose with lemon and ginger up front.

Tasty,tasty,tasty...more ginger ,tropical fruits and pepper come to mind well crafted and well worth a try if you find some at your local.

Jul 27, 2015
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hosehead83 from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2014 bottle-Hazy bright gold with a bright white cloud deck of foam
Aroma-Fresh ocean air, faint spices
Taste-Faint fruitiness, underlying briny tartness. Subtle flavors emerge with each sip. Candied ginger lends a wonderfully interesting nuance and flavor profile. A lighter -bodied feel that is very refreshing yet loaded with character. A great match for seafood or lighter summer fare.

May 18, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.34/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

jolly pumpkin ranks among my favorite breweries, and they continue to year after year because of beers like this. complex in both process and flavor, but approachable and entirely unique. this is a great beer, and makes me itchy for the other lettered series beers. you should see this thing in the globe glass, hazy straw colored with a hint of orange highlights and a wispy but structurally sound off white head that rises will above the rim but doesnt run. it smells at first to me like peaches, must be the brett drie or something, but i get a ton of peach in this. the ginger less so, at least on the nose, but the peppercorns are evident as well. lots of brett here, some tang to it, but a lot more saison type farmy funk than sourness. the flavor is incredible here, lots os funk starting off, and then the woods. im not good enough to tell which oak does what, but the combination is lovely. there is an acidity here, something like chardonnay, light fruit, bright acid, clean. a sturdy wheat malt seems to provide the base. a few things i love about this. first, the ginger is so subtle, it just plays its spicy side with the pepper spice, a cool accent combination for the wild yeasts. hard to be subtle in beer with ginger. second, the mouthfeel, its effervescent and super dry, with only the oak flavor remaining on the palate. its abv makes it an all day beer, and with this level of nuance, it would never get old. a real treat, not to be missed for the wild ale fans out there. for me, this is as good as anything i have had from the likes of allagash, crooked stave, almanac, or any of the other highly touted wild ale producers here in the states. its simply stunning.

Apr 12, 2015
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kojevergas from Louisiana

3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: 750ml. Brown glass. Branded black pry-off pressure cap. Decent label art.

Acquired: at Whichcraft in Austin, TX.

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: 2014.The first in the "Letters" series. Bottled 09/17/14. Batch 38E/387.
ABV: 6.0%.
Style: Saison (per the label).
Serving temp: Cold. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Goblet.
Expectations: Sky high (given the brewery).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. White colour. Very soft looking. Appropriately creamy and frothy.

Retention: Bad, actually. It retreats to a floater ring within a scant 30 seconds, leaving no lacing, and the ring only lasts maybe a minute more.

BODY: Vibrant hazy copper. Looks unfiltered yet clean, with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment. Appears well-carbonated.

It's a good looking saison overall, but the poor head retention does hold it back, and more of a yeasty presence would make it more lively.

AROMA: Lime peel jumps out. Tangy, with plenty of vague citrus. Crystal malts and neutral Belgian pale malts follow - along with mustier hints of a straw-like character. It's not full on barnyard, and there's no real brettanomyces funkiness, but a sour green apple note does stand out. I have to search for the oak, but I do find it therein the background. The white pepper would be nicer if it were more prominent.

Aromatic intensity: mild.

Not quite the spice profile of a Fantome or the funky profile of Saison Dupont. This strikes an interesting balance between the two archetypes, and the lime peel coupled with the Belgian grains is fantastic. An inviting aroma, to be sure, but more of an oak presence and more spicing would be ideal.

TASTE:Lime peel and green apple dominate the flavour profile, though as a whole it has such seamless subtlety it's hard to pick out individual notes. Trying, I find crystal malt and neutral Belgian grains/malts, apple skin, lime, white pepper, a hint of sea salt, some faint touches of cider (maybe as a result of a minor cane sugar addition?), and loads of peppercorn - especially on the finish. Hint sof crackery malts, grassiness, lemon zest, earthy Belgian yeast, and faint floral hop character.

Yes, the spice profile is a bit lacking. I don't find the ginger others have noted.

And the oak is quite reticent. It's in the background, lending insubstantial notes of barrel sugars, and I guess it lends the build some cohesion, but playing up the oak could only help this beer.

Depth of flavour: Average.
Flavour duration:Above average.
Flavour intensity: Average.
Flavour amplitude: Decent.

The subtleties and nuances at work here are nice, but this style demands even more. While intricate generally speaking, Saison X lacks the layering and complexity of the best offerings in the style, and its lack of farmhouse characteristics (straw, hay, brettanomyces funkiness) will disappoint fans of traditional offerings in the style. What does work is its mellow balance and easy drinkability. It is a tad too sweet for the style, though, which is better served by a more neutral starchy backbone rather than sweet malts.

TEXTURE: Smooth, spritzy, wet, refreshing, and medium bodied, with mild thickness and heft on the palate. This texture complements the taste nicely, but fails to elevate the beer as a whole. Dire overcarbonation certainly doesn't do it any favours.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Constructively, I'd prefer it more dry and coarse to coax out the nuances of the peppercorn(s).

OVERALL: It's not the mindblowing saison I hoped for given the brewery behind it, but the simple effectiveness of the lime coupled with the subtle peppercorn is enough to satisfy the discerning drinker. Not a brew I'd revisit at this price point, and not a brew that delivers on the the promise of its label's "Ale brewed with spices" claim, but it's certainly competent work from Jolly Pumpkin, and I find it grows on me as it comes to temperature. Well worth trying, but far from the best saison even in Jolly Pumpkin's own oeuvre.

Drinks well from a goblet. Would pair well with salad or fruit tart.


Mar 17, 2015
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StoutHunter from Michigan

4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's Saison X a few weeks ago at The Lager Mill. I'm always down to try a new Jolly Pumpkin beer and they have some serious skills when it comes to this style and I'm interested to see how it turns out. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 750ml bottle into a Jolly Pumpkin snifter.

A- The label looks good, it's got a nice design to it and it's eye catching. It poured a nice golden color that took on more of an orange hue when held to the light with a finger and half of off white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some spotty lacing behind. This is is a good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with a nice mixture of fruity aromas being the first to show with some nice citrus fruit like aroma sticking out the most with a little bit of tropical fruits showing up in the background. Up next comes that signature jolly pumpkin yeast which imparts some a medium funky yeast aroma that lead right into some sweet malts and wheat like aromas with just a slight peppercorn and candied ginger aroma coming through. This beer had a very nice aroma, the funky yeast worked well with the fruity aromas.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the fruits still being the first to show up and this time the citrus fruits show up just a little more than they did in the aroma with hardly any tropical fruit aspects coming through. Up next comes some of those sweet malts and they are followed by just a slight peppercorn flavor. On the finish there's pretty much no bitterness and just a slight bit of tartness with some candied ginger showing up a little and going into the aftertaste along with some citrus fruit and funky yeast. This is a really nice tasting beer, I thought all the different aspects worked well with each other.

M- Smooth, a little refreshing, crisp, medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a good mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a very nice beer and I thought it was a very nice example of Farmhouse Ale, the funky yeast wasn't too dominating and the fruity flavors along with the peppercorns and candied ginger made for a beer that always held my attention. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, a little refreshing, not acidic, crisp, not too filling and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, I don't think I would have a problem drinking a full bottle especially on a warm day. What I like the most about this beer was how all the different aspects worked really nicely together, nothing seemed out of place. What I liked the least about this beer was nothing, there isn't anything that I disliked or would change. I would for sure buy this beer and I might have to get another to put in the cellar. I would recommend this beer, especially if you like farmhouse ales and jolly pumpkin beers. All in all I was a little impressed with this beer, I know that JP has some skills when it comes to the style, but they really did a good job with this one and I feel like it stand apart from a lot of other ones. It's one of the better JP beers I've had and it's one of the better Farmhouse Ales I've had. Great jop guys, this was one seriously tasty beer, keep it up please.

Mar 02, 2015
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babaracas from Florida

4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy straw yellow, thin creamy white head, settles to a thin ring, tons of delicate lace strewn haphazardly down the glass. Smell: sugar cookie, candied ginger, lemony and floral, notes of yellow plum, dough, oak and a little bit of "horseblanket". Taste: fruity upfront: not-sweet orange, unripe nectarine and unripe mango; then: plum skin, candied ginger, tangy lemon, very mildly acidic; finishing mildly peppery with plenty of herbal and woody oak with a tiny pop of vanilla. Medium bodied with incredibly smooth carbonation, finishing dry. Layers of deliciousness...complex and refreshing. 6% on the label. 9/14 bottling.

Feb 27, 2015
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champ103 from Texas

4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful hazed and vibrant straw yellow color. A two finger white head forms with good retention and lace. Love the color here.
S: Musty, tart, floral aroma up front. Not a lot of depth, but really inviting. Grassy and herbal with a bit orange peel. Tart and acidic. Very nice.
T: A tart acidic bite up front. Basement like funk, which I always love. There is a hint of sweetness, but that quickly fades. Peppery spice, floral and lingering orange peel. Finishes dry, and really well balanced.
M/D: A light to medium body. This is beautifully crisp, and after the initial sweetness, is pretty dry. So easy to drink. All day with this, I wish the bottle would never end.

Jolly Pumpkin makes some of the best American style Saison's on the market. This is no exception. Well balanced with enough funk and acidic tartness to please. But still really well balanced. Love it, and need to get more.

Feb 11, 2015
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barczar from Kentucky

4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells like sweettarts, perfume, and must. Lots of floral character.

Flavor is pretty tart, with a soft underlying confectioners sugar and horse blanket base. Farmhouse is not my fave, by far, but the sourness redeems, in this case.

Jan 31, 2015
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brine is beautiful! As the inaugural "letter" series kicks off, the classic "phenol-forward" character of "X" showcases Jolly Pumpkin's house character in all its earthen and spicy charm.

Bright straw, yet casting a cloudy haze, the beer's soapy swaths billow as its racing carbonation churns away from below. Seemingly like champagne, its sparkling nature casts aspirations of tangy citrus, sharp white wine, musty cork and a pungent bouquet of saddle leather and damp basement. With a quick bready-sweet taste and strong acidity washing over the tastebuds, its sourness is shocking to the senses.

Any would-be malt sweetness is shoved aside almost immediately, in order to celebrate its yeast and spice dominance. Lemon peel, orange peel and apple skins all give a fruity tang, but the brunt of acidity rushes in with white cider and white wine sourness. Crabapple, under-ripened berry and lime complement the sour and salty middle before a dry finish of burlap, sod, straw and peppercorn close the taste.

Medium-light but trending absolute with dryness, the finish is sour and minerally with sweat, brine and that unmistakable pep of pepper. But one last wave of flavor comes in aftertaste, delivering a waft of citrus peel and wheat.

Jan 29, 2015
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superspak from Michigan

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass; bottled in 9/2014, listed as 6% on the bottle. Pours slight hazy bright golden color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big tart lemon zest, orange peel, green apple, pineapple, citrus rind, pepper, ginger, herbal, floral, grass, cracker, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/tropical hops, fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and pale malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big tart lemon zest, orange peel, green apple, pineapple, citrus rind, pepper, ginger, herbal, floral, grass, cracker, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy yeast spice and tart fruitiness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon zest, orange peel, green apple, pineapple, citrus rind, pepper, ginger, cracker, bread, floral, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and robustness of citrus/tropical hops, fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and pale malt flavors; with a great malt/yeast/spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and slightly sticky/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent saison style. All around great balance, robustness, and complexity of citrus/tropical hops, fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and pale malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Jan 24, 2015
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michiganmatt from California

3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 4.25/5
Pours a very unique yellow color. Not yellow-gold. There aren't really any hints of orange. Just straight up yellow. If it wasn't for the carbonation, this could probably pass as piss. Anyway, the yellow color is nice, makes the beer look refreshing. Quite clear. About a finger of white head with dissipates down to a thin layer on the top of the beer. An average amount of carbonation can be seen rising up the beer.

Smell - 4.5/5
Standard JP sour funk, though it smells sourer than normal (which I like). For those not familiar with the standard JP sour funk, its a mixture of sour apples, sour cherries, and other general sour flavors. I can also detect hints of spices. Essentially this smells like JP Oro de Calabaza, except more sour, and less spice.

Taste - 3.75/5
Tart fruit, particularly apples and cherries and lemon, maybe some plum as well. A bit of spice. The taste is actually a bit watery in my opinion. The bottle mentions a "candied ginger in the finish", but I can't really detect that.

Mouthfeel - 3/5
Medium-light in body, feels a little watery to me. The taste is crisp and refreshing, but overall a little too thin. The carbonation level is decent. It could perhaps make up for the waterines of the taste by adding a little more carbonation.

Overall - 3.75/5
Overall this is a decent sour beer, but I'm not really sure this adds anything to JP's existing selection. Oro de Calabaza and Calabaza Blanca both taste similar and are a couple bucks cheaper.

Jan 12, 2015
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emerge077 from Illinois

4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ed for the growler!

Bright pale gold, thin layer of white foam dissipates quickly, with a small cluster of larger bubbles to the side.

Horsey Brett aroma, dry and funky with a little bit of a floral aspect also.
Taste is lightly tart from the bacteria, dry Bretty funk in the aftertaste. Light body, carbonation ebbs after awhile. Overall it's a nice Brett forward saison, paired well with cheese and lamb sausage. (Thanks Thomas!)

Nov 16, 2014
Saison X from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 119 ratings