This year’s Brewmaster’s Release “W” series from Widmer Brothers Brewing—the W’12—is Dark Saison, a French farmhouse-style ale with a roasted nuttiness to it. But don’t let the “dark” part fool you: unlike that other unusual “dark” beer style rising in popularity, this isn’t anywhere near black or even that dark a brown, but rather a deep amber colored ale. And this one is of course one of the bottles I received from the Brewery.
The beer is 5.5% alcohol by volume, and Widmer says:
Inspired by the classic French Farmhouse ale, our interpretation of the Saison style gets its dark color and deep ruby hue from a hint of caramel and dark chocolate malts. While the beer is darker than many examples of the style, the citrus spice of Saaz hops provides a perfect balance of complex fruity esters with earthy and spicy notes. Dark Saison finishes slightly tart with a drying, clean, and pepper-like finish.
Jeff notes that this will likely be the first Saison that many Americans try, since it’s getting nationwide release—and I can’t think of any other widespread commercial Saisons with that much general reach either, can you?
Appearance: Amber-brown color (mahogany), clear, with a skiff of light tan foam.
Smell: Spicy and peppery, fairly fragrant—I notice the aroma from a distance—along with a nicely floral note. A nutty aroma?
Taste: Dry, white pepper with a touch of cracked black pepper, and a bit of roast to it, almost a nuttiness. A spicy, earthy bite to it, but it’s very clean, with perhaps a tiny bit of astringency.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and dry, with a thin(ish) feel to it on the tongue.
Overall: This is a nice, “mainstream” saison, I think. Nothing flashy but fairly easy drinking.