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Rick Franckhauser's picture

Judge's Review: 89 Rating - Barrel Aged Saison III by pFriem Family Brewers

November, 2019
Judges Rating: 
19 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Barrel Aged Saison III by pFriem Family Brewers was evaluated a Wood-Aged Beer, BJCP Category 33A.

Barnyard funkiness at rather high levels, along with some hay and white pepper are first out of the gate. Oak character from the barrel conditioning is apparent at moderate levels in the aroma. There is a citrus aspect that reminds me of pickled lemons, joined by some vinous white grape elements, perhaps aged in a wine barrel? The beer pours a golden apricot color with significant haze and is topped by a creamy white head with great retention. The flavor profile provides some elevated levels of toasted oak and more white pepper spiciness. The phenolics are enhanced by some spicy hops. The funky notes bring a savory perception, somewhat like white balsamic vinegar minus the acetic acid. The spiced pickled lemon notes are accentuated by the moderately high levels of tartness as well as bitterness. The beer finishes dry as any good Saison should. The bitterness and a touch of wood linger deep into the aftertaste.  Medium light body with moderately high levels of carbonation but not effervescent. There is some prickling to the tongue but not astringent. A touch of alcohol warmth is noted when its all said and done.

Overall a fascinating beer that gives you lots to think about. As a Saison I would expect some additional carbonation. However, in this case I think the bitter and sour levels may have come across as harsh had they been elevated by effervescent levels of carbonation. The spiced lemon notes were a highlight for me, very tasty. The Brett character took first billing in the beer and was unexpected. Unfortunately, Brett was not provided as an element of the beer to be judged. Had the Brett been noted I would have judged it as an American Wild ale and scored it much higher. Personally, I love Brett and think this is a great beer. However, as a Wood-Aged Saison, the Brett could be interpreted as an infection from the barrel. As a Barrel-Aged beer the barrel character needs to me more apparent than what I found here. An enjoyable and interesting beer just know it is a Brett Saison, aged in oak.