Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Magic Hat Séance Saison

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (975) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 25, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. It appears to have been bottled on 8/2/13. It came in a mix pack that cost $14.97 ($1.25 per bottle, or $0.10 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark brown hue, opaque. Forms a large, tan, frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.

Smell: Prominent smokiness with significant coffee notes. Has classic saison yeast esters as well.

Taste: I haven’t been a big fan of Magic Hat in recent years. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I gave one of their beers a formal review. I picked up their fall seasonal mix pack while at the supermarket, just on a whim. I was definitely looking forward to seeing their take on a saison (though I didn’t have high hopes for it). And while I think this beer is probably better classified as a brown ale, I have to admit that it’s surprisingly good. This is definitely an unusual, but interesting take on the saison style.

Much like a brown ale, it begins with sweet malty notes. Hints of toffee, caramel and chocolate are noticeable right away, though I wouldn’t consider it a particularly sweet brew. The beer is brewed with flaked oats and white wheat, giving it a fairly light body. "Cherry Wood Smoke" is also listed as one of the ingredients and it definitely shows. It’s a perfect amount of smoke character as it imparts bitterness and spiciness, but is still tame enough so as not to upstage the base palette. There’s sweet iced coffee and milk chocolate flavors on the finish, with the classic saison spiciness in the aftertaste. I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed this.

Drinkability: When I saw that the beer was only 4.4% ABV, I assumed I was going to be in for a light-colored, light-bodied liquid refresher. Once I actually tasted it, I was (and still am) amazed that so much flavor was able to be produced from such a relatively light body. The mouthfeel isn’t thin, it’s quite standard with the right amount of carbonation and a rather smooth texture. While it’s not refreshing, it’s remarkably easy to drink, but strong enough to pair with a meal, and considering the light weight it’s quite sessionable. 
Grade: 8/10