are one of the few styles where you can throw in any assortment of
spices without distracting from the traditional style too much. Though
there definitely is a line at which it becomes more of a
spice/herb/vegetable brew than a true saison. That’s how I’d approach
Stone Saison as it’s certainly got a lot of noticeably zesty/spicy
qualities to it, so much so that the base brew may actually be upstaged
by them. However, it’s still a plenty flavorful and interesting palette,
so no harm no foul.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 5/20/15.
Appearance: Mostly clear maize/copper hue. Not much carbonation visible.
Pours to a rather small, white, foamy head which almost completely
evaporates and leaves no real lacing.
Smell: Citrusy with a strong scent of orangepeel (it’s actually lemon
zest as it’s not made with orangepeel). Clean, bright, floral. Not much
yeast esters, though.
Taste: There’s a certain flavor component found among all to-spec
saisons, and it’s noticeable here right away. A lightly malty and
slightly musty white wheat and pale malt component that create for the
classic farmhouse/horseblanket character. That is, until the spices take
over and there are many of them: lemon zest, grains of paradise, lemon
thyme, lavender and a trace sensation of habanero pepper on the finish.
These ingredients make for a spicy, peppery, almost minty sensation (I
coulda swore there was cardamom in here, too). The habanero doesn’t
impart any flavor; it just leaves a gentle warming sensation in the
throat after each swig. I’m actually surprised the hop are so
restrained, as this is not an especially bitter brew nor one with
distinctive hop character (just a general West Coast-style citrus
taste). It’s one of the few saisons that’s not bone dry yet not
chardonnay-like juicy. Any fan of the style would do well to give this a
Drinkability: Considering all those spices that are in this beer, you’d
think Stone Saison might be a challenge to drink. Thankfully, it’s
fairly easy. The mouthfeel is not quite as crisp as most of the style,
though it’s not completely flat, either. The residual habanero warmth is
easily tolerable, though I could see plenty of lightweights finding it
annoying. At 6% ABV it’s got plenty of body and flavor for its weight.