Nietzsche once said “If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” how exactly this relates to Stillwater Artisanal Ales Existent Farmhouse Ale, well I guess I’m about to find out, it’s on the label so there must be something “abyssy” [word: made up. me. you know the drill] about this brew. It couldn’t be that dark given the Saison style in comparison to a Russian Imperial Stout. If that is what the reference is then I’m preparing for some disappointment… otherwise, well let’s just see what we find then.
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Deep cloudy brown with cola highlights body with a firm half centimetre beige cappuccino froth head that slowly dissipates. It’s dark, the darkest Saison I’ve encountered, however it’s no abyss when it comes to a Stout of any stripe… looks good nonetheless. 8/10.
S: Complex and moody as the bottle would suggest with dry white wine grape, green apple, hint of smoke and sour cherry, touch of raisin as well… some good aroma notes to draw on right there. Not picking up any cocoa or cacao as some other reviewers have suggested, I’m wary as this brew has been cellaring for a little while. 7/10.
T: Interesting as this comes across quite Dubbel-like in the flavour with dark fruits (such as: plum, date, raisin) then hits with some brown sugar notes, a touch of toasty/breadiness from the yeast, and finishes dry and lightly bittered with medicinal herbs. It’s really quite a good drop. Aftertaste hints at something metallic which detracts from a perfect score. 8/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a touch of wateriness and a tight but light carbonation. Could use a bit more carbonation, the mouthfeel betrays the 7.4% ABV. 6/10.
D: This one was a bit of a surprise as it comes across on the label but it is really more of an American take on a Duppel… only negative: is this really worth coming back to at the price per bottle (which I recall was around the $8 mark over here in Australia) when there are so many good Belgian Dubbels that go for cheaper? (Grimbergen is one off the top of my head where it was perched erratically awaiting the rise to the correct drinking temperature before being poured into my glass – a common beer warming practice I assure you). 7/10.
Food match: Cheese platter, rich roasted meats – beef/lamb, with roasted vegetables and such.