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David Sapsis's picture

Judge's Review: 94 Rating - Barrel Aged Saison II by pFriem Family Brewers

December, 2018
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Barrel Aged Saison II by pFriem Family Brewers is being judged as BJCP category 33 A, Wood-aged beer, with the underlying style of Saison. Served in a soft-sided tall glass designed for DuPont, at 50oF.

The beer presents a light gold color, with good clarity, a fluffy fine white head with good retention, and a very, very lively conditioning -- a trademark character for Saison. 

The nose is inviting with fruit, spice, and hints of wood: a very light graininess/light malty note with a touch of sweetness, competing against some nice bright yeast esters (orange, pear) and  phenols (distinct spicy pepper), rounded out by a light oaky character, which, when combined with the phenol, fully dries out the nose. Very bright and "lively" -- just like the appearance.

The flavor starts with a lovely light bready/pils malt flavor that rounds into a mid-palate of modest bitterness and a fantastic fruit/spice dance. Fresh citrus of orange and orange peel, a dose of apple, pear, and grape-nectar character, and a really nicely expressed spicy-pepper note makes for a great balance of sweet going to fruity, then to spice and then lightly back to the faint honey-like  malt sweetness into the long finish. A tad of lingering oak and astringency is there, but it's very minor and works well in the finish. The really high conditioning harks to the very heart of the style, and is appreciated throughout the delivery of flavors and textures. All in all, the beer is dry overall, with both the firm phenolics (but not overdone, as is such a common malady) and a fairly reserved oak character, but a magical malt sweetness lingers as well, making for a delightful drink. This is a very fine Saison, with a stamp of barrel age, and it is truly delicious. I'm thinking it would make a nice complement to a rich beef stew spiced up with bay leaves and thyme.