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Jim Koebel's picture

Alter Ego Saison

January, 2016
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Due to its artisanal origin, Saison is often mistakenly thought of as a freewheeling, anything-goes kind of beer. Granted, it is a hard style to pin down, but Saison does have some hard and fast rules: They should always be fruity, spicy, bitter and dry. This example opens with fruity aromas of lemon zest and citrus rind. A peppery aroma is followed closely by spicy phenols and a low, grainy, pils-malt character. It's a very pleasant start that gets better as it warms, when a moderate acidic character becomes present. It pours a classic cloudy orange-yellow color with a moderate white head. This beer is dry and moderately bitter throughout but does have a low, sweet malt flavor. The flavor is almost as fruity as the aroma, with an orange and lemon citrus taste that is lightly tart in the finish. Pepper and a generic, spicy, phenolic flavor are supportive but distinct. This Saison is highly carbonated and has some serious stamina – it stayed that way for forty-five minutes during this review. In addition to tartness, the finish is flavorful and carries an enjoyable sting from carbonation. Overall, this is a terrifically balanced example. This Saison follows the rules and nails them.