Sierra's new Brown Saison is served in a goblet with a dirty white head that hit one finger at its peak. The head slowly fell to a respectable crown while leaving patchy, slippery lacing here and there. The body was a surprisingly dark muddy brown with some ruby tinges. A few carbonation bubbles can be seen through the glass but for the most part the body is hazy and muddy.
The nose is full of fruits both dark and citrus with solid malty sweetness. Orange zest mingles with dates, raisins, and figs while a dank, musty scent wafts through all the fruitiness. There's a solid dose of caramel maltiness and a touch of lightly toasted breadiness. Some peppery spiciness and hints of coriander come from the yeast used. While the nose is good I have a hard time seeing how it will work into a good saison.
The flavor follows all the guidelines the aroma laid down but unfortunately is somewhat of an undefined mess. Now mess may be too strong of a word but the flavors just don't come together very well. The flavor shows more yeast spiciness while juicy raisins and figs run around all over the place. The caramel and toasty qualities mix with mild chocolate that I'm not to fond of when introduced to the spiciness.
The body doesn't fit my conception of a saison either. It does have some dryness on the finish but has a coating sweetness before the late dryness comes along. The body is on the fuller side of medium.
I drank this down easy enough but I actually got bored about half way through the glass. This brown "saison" is a one and done for me.
I was a little disappointed with this new Sierra brew. It was enjoyable but got boring rather fast. My description may sound a little harsh and it wasn't totally that bad as you can see by my score but it's nothing I would search out again. As a matter of fact I'd pass this up for numerous other saisons and spicy Belgian-styled ales.
Price: $5.00 Served In: Goblet
Sampled on tap at 1702, July 2009
The beer arrives from the tap a clearish, dark amber – brown color. The head is about half a finger in height and is a full tan color. The aroma has notes of cardamom, clove and perhaps a touch of plum. As the beer sits in my glass it begins to open up a bit more with aromas of pear, apple, black pepper, ginger and some sweetness that comes from esters more than actual sugar.
The beer tastes dry and spicy with a sharp, spicy phenolic note in the finish. Turpene like clove notes in the finish are joined by an herbal, even menthol leaning, hop bitterness. This has a nice high level of carbonation, more than one would expect from a tap offering, but it works well with this beer as it provides a prickly texture and a peppery bite. Phenols add a perceived sweetness to this beer that tastes quite a bit like clove.
My second pour of this beer is noticeably more fruit oriented, the spiciness actually gets quite a bit cleaner and it isn’t as muddled as it was initially. There is a touch of toasted malt character to this beer and there is even a touch of tartness that starts to come out. The tartness nicely accentuates more of the fruit notes in this beer. This is actually quite a bit more characterful than I was expecting. The yeast choice was clearly spot-on and Sierra Nevada fermented this in such a way as to contribute a lot of flavor to this beer. I hope to be able to try this a couple more times.
Served In: Tulip
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