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Beer Review: Stillwater Artisanal, existent American Farmhouse Ale

May 5, 2011

Ding Points: 68.00

Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 60.00, Mouth: 90.00, Global: 70.00

Tasting Notes:

750 mL capped bottle with matt, black foil on the neck with a brooding sepia and black label with additional Nietzsche quotes. It’s all trying a bit too hard for my liking. Anyway….

I was excited to see the words ‘Farmhouse Ale’ on the label since I generally love a good Saison, but frankly I should have taken more careful note of the word ‘American’ in front of them. In this case this stands for (as it so often does), ‘fucking about with’. Why oh why do we need ‘black’ Saisons?

Pour gives a dark brown (approaching black) color to the body, but a very impressive light mocha head. The head is extremely well-retained and offers nice lace and a really excellent, creamy mouthfeel all the way down to the bottom of the bottle. The final pour of the bottle gives a huge amount of yeast from the bottle conditioning. The rich & creamy mouthfeel is by far the best element here.

The nose offers some acid based fruits and it seems quite sharp and clean.

The tastes give some more of the hard, green, slightly unripe elements of gooseberries, apples and other hardy, winter, crunchy fruits but it’s all spoiled by the finish where the darker roasts of the malts come in. WHY oh why do we need a competing, contradictory flavor to be introduced on top of the sharp, clean notes? Kitchen sink brewing at its worst. What a shame. If this were a traditional Saison I think I’d like it a lot, but with the caramel, bitter notes that invade the finish via the dark malts, and the lingering IPA like bitterness that hangs around like an unwanted guest, I find myself annoyed. Like the label, ultimately the beer rubs me the wrong way. Not great value for money either.

Other: 750 mL, ‘Black’ Saison, Hop City, $10.99, 7.40 % ABV


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