Existent is a Belgian-style Saison by Stillwater Artisanal Ales that’s sweet with dark fruit and chocolate; balanced with brown bread and roast.

Existent is a Belgian-style Saison that’s brewed by Stillwater Artisanal Ales, and for the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a tulip glass from a 12 oz. bottle.

Packaging art for the Existent by Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Packaging art for the Existent by Stillwater Artisanal Ales

What You Need to Know

Stillwater is known for crafting brews that differ from the norm. And this Existent Saison definitely fits that description. So how was it? Let’s get to the review.

Appearance

The Saison pours an opaque mahogany hue and is topped by a finger-thick cap of fizzy tan froth that dissipates rapidly. The head’s reduction doesn’t leave behind any lace or residue.

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Aroma

Like its appearance, the aroma isn’t what you’d expect, either. There’s dark bready malt, a medley of dark fruits, and even dark chocolate. And then there’s roast character as well that’s almost smoky.

Flavor

The palate is led by a taste of brown bread that shifts to mild hoppy citrus that imparts a tart twang that lingers briefly beyond the finish. Underneath is semisweet dark chocolate blended with a bit of roast.

Label art for the Existent by Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Label art for the Existent by Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Mouthfeel

The feel is smooth and lightly coating. The carbonation is light and the body is a shade over medium. The finish is moderately dry and a touch acidic.

Overall

Color aside, the lack of any head retention or sticky lace is disappointing. The nose is strong, intriguing, and is quite possibly the best part of this brew. The palate is complex, layered, and quite interesting, and certainly isn’t what you’d expect. The mouthfeel’s light carbonation makes this brew seem heavier than it is and it doesn’t quite finish dryly enough.

Overall, expect the unexpected with Existent. Personally, this brew seemed more like a lighter Baltic Porter than a Saison. But if you want something different, give it a try. It’s flavor profile suggests enjoying during the winter months. Regardless, just don’t expect your typical Farmhouse Ale.

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