Saturday, May 2, 2015

Anchor Saison

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1340) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 2, 2015
I have no problem with breweries being experimental with classic styles, just as long as the result is a tasty, drinkable beer. Anchor Saison is a very “California-ized” saison with Nelson Sauvin hops, lemongrass, lemonpeel and ginger. The flavors are a bit odd, which makes for an interesting palette – though not an especially delectable one. It’s also surprisingly boozy for the weight. This should be an excellent beer, but it’s only above average as of now.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 1/27/15 and cost $2.95 ($0.25 per ounce).

Appearance: Surprisingly dark orange hue with crystal clarity. No visible carbonation. Pours to a small, pinky-sized white foamy head which dissipates completely and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Citrusy lemon scent plus significant spicy notes. Alcohol is noticeable as well.

Taste: There’s a certain recognizable taste to a saison – due mostly the yeast – and that’s present here right away. Instead of light, citrusy and wheaty, this beer is closer to a bigger, bolder, more complex Belgian-style ale (not unlike a tripel, actually). Spicy to be sure as those spices create for a zesty, peppery mélange of flavors. Clove and peppercorn seem to be quite prominent even though this beer does not contain them (the ginger probably accounts for a lot of that). There’s a syrupy sweetness here; almost like orange juice concentrate. Not much in the way of bitterness or hop flavor – maybe just a bit of white wine on the finish. Vanilla is also featured – reminiscent of a barrel-aged brew (that’s from the alcohol I’m sure). Not being a fan of ginger this palette didn’t really do much for me, but I will say that I enjoyed it more than not.

Drinkability: Though big at 7.2% ABV, Anchor Saison is not exactly a beastly brew. I’ve had others of the style that were just as big (if not bigger), yet this feels a lot heavier than it actually is. Alcohol imparts a lot of warmth in the mouth and lingers in the throat. The carbonation is surprisingly low – this is a fairly thick and fairly flat beer. It should be more effervescent and lighter in the mouth (it does finish clean with little aftertaste – which is nice).

Score: 6/10

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