Dogfish Head / Stone / Victory – Saison du Buff

Perhaps you’ve figured it out already, but I am really focused on this next concoction I’ll be brewing.  Thus, I am drinking a lot of beers that will influence my thought process leading up to it.  I think I’m a little worried that I won’t want to drink a saison by the time mine is ready to drink, so I’ll have to break away from this trend after I finally brew mine.  I wouldn’t want to brew something I’m absolutely sick of.  Anyway, this is actually the second time I’ve had this brew.  The first time I got it was right at the start of this blog.  I never actually did a review of it, but I did buy it as a part of a selection of beers I was trying to develop my thoughts and feelings on.  Looking back on the first time I consumed it, I don’t think I actually remember what it tasted like at all.  There was really only one reason I purchased it, the three breweries involved in the collaboration.  How could I pass up on a beer involving three of the biggest craft breweries in North America today?  This time, however, I was drinking it with a purpose.

This particular bottle came out of Dogfish, but it is actually produced by all three breweries.  Dogfish’s website states that the name of the beer actually gives a hint to the origins as well.  Buff actually stands for brewers united for freedom of flavor.  It kind of seems like a really dorky club, but I would probably love to be a part of it.  Back in 2003 the three owners of these breweries got together to talk about creating a beer like this; however, it wasn’t until 2010 that it actually came to fruition.  They went out to Stone to work on the recipe, and they all took it back home with them where they produced it for each of their individual breweries.  Therefore, you can find this same beer with three different types of packaging.  This is the second time they have released it, and I must say, I found it at exactly the right time.

This beer is interesting because it seems to use every ingredient you will find in a standard spice cabinet.  This is a saison that has been spiced with parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sage.  Although I’ve had all of these ingredients, I don’t think I can individualize the flavors.  I use parsley and rosemary the most in my own kitchen, but I’m not sure how all three would combine.  Regardless, I’m quite happy these three breweries got together to brew this beer.

This one pours out a really pleasant golden yellowish color.  There is a ton of very fluffy white head that develops on top of the beer.  The head never really disappears throughout the whole consumption of the beer.  Even at the end you’re left with some ample head remnants.  While there is a ton of head, the lacing doesn’t really amount too much when you swirl the glass.  You get a little light lacing, but it isn’t much to speak of.  There is only a small amount of sticky residue left over on the side of the glass.  The beer is certainly a little hazy, but you see absolutely no carbonation in the glass at all.

The beer does have a very herbal aroma to it.  I suppose this is basically stating the obvious given the ingredient list.  I would say the parsley and maybe rosemary are the biggest contributors to the aroma, but those are the ones I’m most familiar with.  I may just be smelling what I know.  Anyway, there is definitely the big yeast aroma here.  It doesn’t smell too clove ridden.  I think I get a little more bread than spice.  There is definitely a bunch of citrus in here as well, and you get some very clear hops smell as well.

The taste is slightly different from the saisons I’ve been drinking as of late, but it is still really well-balanced and pleasant.  It starts with a lot of ample sweet malts.  The malts lead you into a really light citrus taste, which then transitions you into the big hit of yeast.  The yeast, once again, doesn’t feature that big clove flavor I’ve been having lately, but the clove is still there in the background of the flavor.  I think it’s probably good because it doesn’t compete with the herbal flavors that come in.  The herbs come in and bridge the game between yeast and hops.  The herb I pull out the most is the rosemary.  Following the herbs is a really ample amount of hops for the finish.  The hops aren’t too piney, which I appreciate for this style.  The ending is a pleasant mix of hops and herbs.

The beer starts out rather syrupy at the start of this tasting.  This makes it seem a little overly sweet at the start of the brew when the syrup combines with the sweet malts.  Thankfully the carbonation comes in quickly with the yeast as well.  The mouthfeel is really crisp on the end.  All of the flavors work really well together, which makes me really happy.  I wasn’t sure if one of the spices would be a little off, but they combine really well.

I have yet some more inspiration for my upcoming brew.  As I told you yesterday, I don’t really intend to get any of these particular flavors into my brew, but it is yet another fine example of a great beer to use as a good example.  I will definitely be looking for this one again, and you should too.  How can you pass up a collaboration between all of these breweries?

Teacher Grade: A

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1 Comment

  1. I just picked up Victory’s. All I have to do is get Stone’s and I’m going to try the three together.


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