750ml caged and corked greenbottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a hazy golden amber colour, with a coarse-bubbled, but large and persistent head of off-white. Minimal lace as the head crackles down. Carbonation is speedy and voluminous. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is dominated at the start by organic saison notes, accentuated by a lightstruck green-bottle skunkiness which matches it nicely. Once this blows, off, we get to the mineral, smoky notes of the whiskey malt, which work surprisingly well with the more peppery notes from the yeast. There's a sweetness that persists though, likely from the yeast more than anything, giving dull, broad fruit notes like red apple and jackfruit.
Taste is a bit more of a challenge. Here, the peaty, mineral characters are much stronger, giving it a slight sulphur rock and smoulder character. There's a bitterness as well which is much more pronounced, almost turning slightly rubbery on the back. But the pleasant parts dance around the outside: a pleasant organic sharpness like green capsicum, and a weird overtone of caramel on the edges and the back of the palate.
Feel is quite bubbly. There's a slickness to the body but a gassy, almost fizzy quality to the rest which seems slightly overdone.
Overall, this is decent, and interesting, without necessarily being successful or even that coherent. But having a big messy beer is sometimes what you want, and when it pushes the envelope like this, I'm definitely in favour of giving it a go.
78 / 100
Bottle purchased from Whole Foods Soma in San Francisco.
Pours a dull yellow colour, extremely hazed with decent weight and fine carbonation to the body. Head is a solid meringue of white, with some lemon tinged colouring to it. Overall, it looks very solid.
Earthy, aromatic characters on the nose. A touch of sulphur, some mushroom, along with sharped characters of sawn wood and resin. It's very pleasant.
Light, earthy entry again: mushroom, soil, but clean and brusque. Smooth mid-palate, with a clean, velvety character through the centre and some estery notes from the yeast. Finish is extremely smooth and supple.
Feel is amazing. Soft, smooth and light. Delicate but structural. Lovely.
Overall, this is a really gorgeous beer. Smooth, lovely and amazingly drinkable. It's velvety, it's caressing, it's calming. Wonderful stuff.
330ml bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra.
Pours a very pleasant deep brown colour, with a very light weight body. Head forms in a huge, foamy crown of beige bubbles, leaving sudsy, thick uncooked-meringue lace. The weight is understandable but disappointing, otherwise it looks good.
Nose is oddly medicinal, with the sharp roasted characters mingling with what I can only assume is a Dupont saison or saison-like yeast, giving it a touch of funk and acidity. Hints of stewed cherries, chocolate, and a dusty musty undertone. Very interesting, and not unpleasant, once you get over the shock of it being far from a regular stout.
Taste is also very strange. It has a really clear, almost watery lightness to it, which is mirrored by a clear dusky roasted character, that doesn't dip or do anything really dynamic on the palate. It just stays as one long vector of char. There's a hint of that medicinal character throughout, which gives it a mild astringent fruit character, but the lack of body and sweetness almost turns it immediately bitter and a little unpleasant.
To be honest, I understand why this isn't that highly regarded. But it's a really interesting brew nonetheless. It has far more of that roast character than you ever see in a Belgian ale, but in most other respects it really falls into that style. As a result, it's a weird amalgam that doesn't really fit anywhere. That makes it challenging, but it also makes it quite fascinating.
70 / 100
Pours a cloudy, translucent pale gold with lots of protein-rich chunks at the base. Head is snowy-white, dense and even; retaining nicely. Seems to be a strong bead, although not very visible in the glass it's feeding the head nicely. Not a lot of lace, although what's left is nice.
Smells quite organic, with a vegetable earthiness pervading. Aromas poke out from the sides, including fresh apple and pineapple, lemon zest, some rubber and caramel. A little on the funky bitter side but otherwise smells pleasant and refreshing.
Taste is fairly funky and organic for the most part. A hit of steamed greens upfront with a touch of capsicaian that develops into a fresher, tangy citric flavour midway, touch of green apple and mild banana, while the slight rubbery bitterness reaches its apex here as well; a fairly strong flavour that provides a funky finish. Trails off very nicely though, longish finish that fades to a tangy citrus aftertaste that leaves one quite refreshed. Largely simple, almost underplayed palate, that dances with some funky flavours to create a nice overall rhythm.
Bit too much sizzle though, especially on the mid-palate. Almost creates a slight puckering effect which belies its otherwise smooth, refreshing flavours.
Good witbier, nice organic flavours underlying an otherwise mild, tangy palate.
Pours a nice earthy orange with a nice thick haze, and hugely generous beige head that sinks all webbed out in sparse bubbling. Specks of lace but not much. Nice haze, great head. Would like more lace but otherwise near perfect.
Nose is very hoppy, and quite European in the hop character. Quite pilsenery actually, with a slight floral edge and a hint of pineapple, but mostly grassy and herbal. Bit of malt coming through but minimal. Not bad but lacks something.
Taste is very sour and quite phenolic, with a slight tangy citrus juice character on the mid followed by a longer rind kind of bitterness at the end. Quite acrid at times with lots of funk kind of character and some quite herbal phenols like Chinese medicine. Leaves a bit of a bitter hand which isn't tasty, but not overly offensive. Interesting is the best I can say about this.
Fairly nice mouthfeel, full body with some sedimenty texture, goes down pretty smooth and leaves a little dry. A good amount of slick.
Yeah, not too bad overall. Had a nice "flawed" character, with kinks that make it interesting, but not so much as to spoil the drinking experience.
74 / 100
Light cloudy amber golden colour, with a big and frothy head of off-white foam. Some floaties in the glass, little visible carbonation. Body looks quite thick. Overall, pretty nice looking.
Lots of floral notes on the nose, good dose of honey, and some meaty Belgian yeast. Some medicinal characters coming through as well, perhaps an alcohol aroma as well. Not bad, pretty robust.
Very smooth on the palate initially, with a rather unexpected hop character mingling with a piquant alcohol heat. Some sweet Belgian yeast character coming through as well, some cellar-like mustiness, with a very dry finish. Overall, a tasty drop.
A drinkable Belgian strong, with some characters to give it a lift, and make it a tad more confronting that I would have otherwise expected. Still, there's a lot to enjoy, and Dupont have another winner here for me.
71 / 100
Nice cloudy appearance, almost opaque, with a healthy off-white head that just sits defiantly. Pale orange-yellow in colour, can't see any carbonation and doesn't really leave lace from the head, although forms sheets of clingy foam further down the glass. Looks very pleasant.
Nose is pleasant, organic and spicy. Big overripe banana whiff and a vibrant peppery aroma as well. Hints of cumin, fennel and clove are evident in what is really a dominating spicy nose. Slightly tart fruit characters are relegated but present enough to lend some buoyancy to the proceedings.
Taste has a remarkably weizeny character at first, with a piquant clove blending with sweet banana flavours on the front. Mid-palate starts to turn sour, with an earthy funk character that seeps through with elements of white wine vinegar, green vegetables and a mild soil character. Finish is reasonably long, with some nice organic bitterness lingering towards the back, quite clean and leaves an enjoyable aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is foamy and slightly chewy, does feel thin at first but there's enough going on to lower the care factor about it. This is a crisp, enjoyable brew, slightly lacking on the complexity front but very smooth and drinkable as a result.
73 / 100
Nice thick-glassed green 750ml champagne bottle, caged and corked.
Lovely cloudy orange gold colour, with a big, boisterous and funky head of white foam, billowing up and almost over the rim of my tulip. Some sticky lacing. Looks wild, organic and wonderful. What more could I have hoped for in a saison?
Pleasant lightly funky and herbaceous notes on the nose, a little wood, leaf mulch, and Belgian yeast. Very nice notes, although they don't overwhelm. Very organic, with clear Belgian notes.
Clean and crisp on the palate, with a slight gritty bitterness at the back, that mellows to a sweeter Belgian ale funk. This final note is the most true to style note - this one is noticeably more bitter than any other saison I've had. It's quite full of a really straight and sharp noble hop bitterness. The back note grounds it a little more stylistically, but it's still a little off.
Mouthfeel is pleasantly crisp, adding to the refreshment of the beer, but again, like the taste, I prefer a bit more roundness in my saisons.
Still, I'm pleased this isn't just a straight clone of the standard Dupont Saison. It's a very refreshing and drinkable beer, and I wouldn't turn down another. I just have slightly different expectations for a saison.
85 / 100
Pours a cloudy orange with slight brown tinge, such a slight tinge that it's practically just orange. Very cloudy, slight carbonation. Head is very, very thick and off-white, sinking pretty well but leaving a good lacing ring behind. Looks great, fantastic even.
Nose is quite organic, with a lot of herbal characters, green grape skin, hint of honey, very finely balanced though. Phenomenally well balance, tart and sweet and bitter are all there, very natural, funky herbal smell. Smells like a garden in spring time. A real treat.
Taste is quite sweet, with the honey being far more prominent, and the tart characters are more bitter, with a dirty, almost oxidised character. Tastes rather like a soil and champagne mix, with hints of orange, apricot, custard almost, and distinct herbs, like basil and rosemary. Hang is there, a bit tart, but otherwise very nicely balanced.
Mouthfeel is full, thick and sticky - very nice, and there is not a hint of the 8% alc/vol. Very, very drinkable. A shit-fucked good beer in fact. I like this so much I love it.
Appearance is amazing. Golden colour with amazing, thick frothy head, sinks slowly but retains bloody well. Somehow has sediment suspended in it in little flakes, as though trapped in jelly. There is still a bit of carbonation, and tilting the glass agitates the particles slightly. But seriously, that's really incredible. One of the most amazing beers I've ever stared at.
Nose is disappointing. Quite hoppy and funky, with almost a POR character on it and a distinct corn kind of aroma, sweet and quite naff, with a sweet honey character backing up. Bit of lemonade maybe? Soft and fluffy nose, can't say I like it very much.
Taste is far more potent and saisony than the nose, starts quite sweet and honey-esque, but then gets this amazing toasty bitterness crescendo. Flavour is quite intense in its increment, has a very burnt flavour to it, and still a kind of corn character, but in a robust, funky and interesting way. Hints of blood orange, umami and a slight buttery character combine to make an interesting, although intense and bitter flavour. Can't drink that by the gallonful, mouthfeel is a bit thick, not bad actually.
But overall, yeah I'm really not sure what to make of it. Pushes me away with one hand, draws me in with the other.
81 / 100
Very cloudy orange yellow, with a huge and boisterous head of white bubbles. Lacing is thick and solid - it's hard to tell where the head finishes and the lacing begins. Minimal carbonation, but an excellent looking beer - really full and happy and exciting.
Lots of wonderful funk on the nose - hints of barnyard, wet leather, curucao, Belgian yeast and soaked grains. Very Belgian in character to my mind, plenty of that funky yeast, and it's pungent and rank as hell. Woohoo!
Taste is surprisingly smooth, with a thick, meaty character running throughout, and a light dry sweetness on the back. I can't believe how smooth this is, given the probable alcohol content and the rich aroma. The taste is just clean and pleasant, with a light phenolic character and a light tomato yeast note. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth.
This is amazingly smooth and clean, and very refreshing, considering it has a pretty high alcohol content. I just love the flavours - plenty of funk, plenty of smoothness and plenty of deliciousness. Perhaps the smoothest Belgian beer I've ever tasted. Just wonderful.
79 / 100
Huge, very wild yeast induced head of white foam sits above a clear golden body, just full of static floaties, that sit like an optical illusion in the glass. Lacing is very funky an dextreme. The floaties are the most memorable part of the beer, and I have to say I approve heartily. This is a unique and beautiful brew.
Lots of funk on the nose - big notes of barnyard, wet straw, sweet citrus, phenolic spirits, grass and sharp hops. The funk is particularly noticeable on this one, lots of what would otherwise be considered "off" notes. Just completely wild and funky. Just what a Saison's about.
Very smooth entry on the palate, all the funk sits around the edges, suggesting all the rustic notes. But the palate in general is smooth, with a fresh phenolic alcohol heat sharpening the sensations. It's like a heavier, more grown up version of their regular Saison. Lots of boozy notes, which tend to accentuate all the classic rustic notes. I approve.
Slightly less drinkable than their original Saison, but more sophisticated and more complex. I prefer the amazing refreshment that a good funky saison gives you, but this is still an excellent beer. I'm phenomenally pleased that it's possible to find this in Australia.
48 / 100
Pale, mostly golden in appearance. Creamy head, very good retention. EDIT: Make that, VERY good retention. The head sticks around long after the beer underneath it has been drunk. Cloudy appearance with a few floaties. No real lacing but head clings for dear life to glass. Not that it needs to, that head could withstand anything. I'd say that's about the most impressive head I've ever seen.
Nose is very metallic and hoppy. There is a strong iron or steel character with a slight grainy character lingering ever-so-slightly at the back. It's quite nice but there isn't all that much more to it.
Quite weizeny on the palate with that wheaty, banana character. Surprising really since there is nothing of the sort in it. Surprisingly bitter on the finish, a lot of hops coming through following that light, wheaty flavour. This leaves me, to be honest, with a really quite sinking, heavy feeling because it feels over-hopped without enough rich barley malt to balance, and the mouthfeel is a bit clunky. Taste is pleasant enough but it's quite heavy-going. I wouldn't call this a sessioning beer. I quite respect this, but I don't like it all that much, unfortunately.
79 / 100
Tapered 375ml green bottle, caged and cork. Cork comes out with a satisfying "thunk", leaving a little wisp of released carbon dioxide.
Cloudy pale straw body, with a deliciously foaming head of rocky white bubbles. Small amounts of tiny bead swelling up the sides of the glass. Looks very tasty.
Wonderful organic skunkiness on the nose - earthy mulch, straw, and a floral note of fresh crushed lemon myrtle. Underlying this is the classic Belgian yeast character, giving a sweet sweaty, tomato kind of smell. Just a wonderful nose, and so different to many other styles of beer. Very pleasant indeed.
Nice entry, slightly sour, with a gritty yeast backbone. Mellows later to a bittersweet floral note, with even a hint of pepper or spice. Finishes very dry, and what with the sour character lingering around the back of your mouth leaves it amazingly refreshing. Mouthfeel is great, a wonderful sparkling effervescence which just plays perfectly with the sour characters on the palate.
What a wonderful drop of beer, surely one of the most drinkable and refreshing brews I've ever tasted. A truly delectable and extremely tasty beer. Wonderful.