The other night I had my first look at Baltimore’s Stillwater Artisanal Ales, and tonight I will check out another of their Saisons with Stillwater Existent, which has 7.4% Alcohol By Volume. On the label is the negative of a famous picture of Friedrich Niezsche.
Stillwater Existent is a nearly black bodied beer, glowing a brilliant deep ruby red when held up to a light. A small khaki colored head tops it off, with a bit of lacing clinging here and there on the glass.
The nose is focused on toasty malt, accented with chocolate, along with darker fruity esters.
The malt profile is nice and complex, with toasted, caramel and toffee notes, lots of darker fruits in the plum range, some earthy hop notes, a faint phenolic spice in the background, with a dry finish. Mouth is medium-full and fairly actively carbonated.
In my view, Stillwater Existent is closer to a Biere de Garde than a Saison, although I would probably call it a Belgian Strong Dark Ale if it were my beer (although I haven’t seen anything from the brewery with them calling it a Saison, just going by what Beer Advocate and Rate Beer are calling it), but nonetheless it is a very tasty beer with plenty of flavor. Wish I had more than one, although I will probably pick some more Existent up in the future.
Stillwater Existent : A-