Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stone Saison du Buff (3/10)

Earlier this year, while visiting one of my favorite beer retailers (Kenny Road Market), the cashier suggested that I might want to check out Saison du Buff.

The beer is a collaboration of Dogfish Head, Victory, and Stone breweries. As such, you would expect it to be a bit different.

It pours a slightly cloudy yellow. The head is white, dissipates slowly, and leaves behind a spotty, thick lacing. The aroma is spicy, but not like a Belgian tripel so much as a can of Italian spices in your kitchen. It is brewed with the Simon and Garfunkel combination of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. The aroma also picks up the hoppiness for which Stone Brewing Company is so well known.

The flavor is, in a word, intense. The initial hit is typical Stone hoppiness, followed by a tidal wave of spice notes that, for my taste, are almost entirely unpleasant in a beer. My overall reaction is that it's unnecessarily bitter and mostly unpleasant. To me, it tastes like an IPA that spent too long in a restaurant spice cabinet and has picked up all the most unpleasant qualities of both. I am happy to have had the chance to TRY such a limited edition beer, but far more glad that I only purchased one.

Stone's Arrogant Bastard is a hoppy brew that I sometimes enjoy. Victory's V Twelve is great. Dogfish Head makes many beers that I enjoy (like Ta Henket, Chateau Jiahu, Festina Peche, Palo Santo Marron, and Punkin Ale. Working together, I expected this trio to produce something amazing. This strange, hoppy, oddly spiced brew isn't it.

Given their preference for hop-forward beers, I am a bit surprised to see Beer Advocate rate this 79-87 out of 100 or average to good. It is a beer that just doesn't work for me.

ABV: 7.7%
IBU: unknown... Best guess is in the 45 range
My Rating: 3/10

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