Tag Archives: Black

Stillwater A Saison Darkling

Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Baltimore, MD
A Saison Darkly

I don’t know that I’ve had a beer before technically classified as a “dark saison”, but Stillwater gets good reviews wherever it goes, and I’ll admit I love whatever this fad of adding roasted grains to beers is. The Cascadian dark (or BPAs or whatever you want to call it) is awesome, so I’m willing to give this a go, particularly as it’s supposedly actually brewed in Belgium. They make pretty good beer in Belgium, in case you hadn’t heard. Also, a new tag: Saison!

As expected, the head inflates in a hurry, climbing to an inch of smoky brown froth. The effervescence is steady, with the big globules pushing their way to the surface, keeping the head sturdy. The beer is virtually opaque, with only the bubbles on the interior surface of the glass making their presence known.

A Saison darklyThe color is black, save for a slightly cola-brown tinge around the edges. The general aroma is surprisingly light, lacking an overwhelmingly sweet or densely roasted smell that one might expect. Malt is the first thing to appear. It rises as warm bread crust, exposing baked apple, and a touch of butterscotch.

The mouthfeel is busting-at-the-seams full. The carbonation dances across the tongue, carrying with it that roastiness. It emits a smokiness that props up the rest of the flavors. Warm alcohol notes spread in the form of ripe stone fruits across the palate. Dark chocolate, cherry, and dried apricot emerge along with a barely perceptible crackle of yeast and hops, like damp wood burning.

A heap of sediment is still sitting on the bottom of the empty glass. This bottle could sit for a year or more and would probably turn out to be a pretty nice mix of smooth and sweet, but as it is, it’s a really lovely amalgamation of two a porter and a saison.

Sam Adams Black Lager

Boston Beer Co.
Boston, MA
Samuel Adams Black Lager

Part of Sam’s Brewmaster’s Collection of specialty beers, specifically “classic” styles according to the site, the Black Lager is an example of a German-style lager that combines lager (bottom-fermenting) yeast and roasted malts. Usually these have a lighter body than your typical roasted malt beer like porter or stout, but have a nice addition of toasted flavors. Anyway, I think that Sam is a good brewery and I like what they’ve been doing with their BC.

Sam Adams Black Lager

Sam Adams Black Lager

The color is a surprisingly opaque espresso black with faint chestnut brown accents around the edges. A khaki head caps the brew nicely, settling down in this stout little glass with a frothy oculus around the inside of the rim.

Taking a deep breath, there is an instantly recognizable roasted char aroma. It is pleasant and not acrid, sitting beneath dank and resinous pine odors as well as a bit of damp tobacco leaves and a little bit of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.

The mouthfeel is wonderfully complex, combining some fine effervescence with a smooth and slightly creamy texture that coaxes out the soft milk chocolate character of the malt. A brief murmur of peppery hops comes around right at the very end of the swallow just to make sure you know you are drinking a lager.

This is an eminently drinkable brew and a fine addition to the landscape of American beer. This would be awesome with a really nice char-grilled burger and some sweet potato fries.