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Nelson Crowle's picture

Saison Imperiale

April, 2016
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
5 / 6
39 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

A nice, big, mousse-like headstand of yellowish-beige bubbles sits atop an orange-tinted, slightly hazy, deep copper-colored liquid that looks very inviting. The aroma is complex with caramel and toasty characters and some earthy, lemony and wet hay elements, along with a spicy black pepper note. The first sip echoes all of the complexity of the aroma, and adds a light stone fruit note and a slight river-rock minerality, leaving behind a beautiful Belgian lace on the sides of the glass. The toast (maybe some Vienna or Munich malt) and Brettanomyces-like earthy notes come across very nicely in the flavor, and there is a pleasant and well-balanced funky character that plays a great counterpoint to the fruitiness from the yeast. This beer is very highly carbonated and extremely fizzy in the mouth. A medium body with a spicy, fruity and slightly funky and dry finish lingers. There is substantial alcohol, but it is very clean -- no fusels, just a pleasant warming feeling. This is a great Farmhouse Ale in pretty much every way -- the only thing I would do is reduce the carbonation slightly. However, the carbonation and clean/crisp finish are perfect for fatty food; I am going to have a second glass of this beer with some spicy French fries smothered in chopped chili peppers. A nice ribeye steak would also pair well with this beer.