Pilot: Buzz (Scotland: Saison: 11.4% ABV)

Visual: Pale hazy lemon juice colour. Lots of small bubbled carbonation and a small, white, bubbled head.

Nose: Dry mead. White wine. Dry honey. Pear drops. Grapes.

Body: Honey. Custard. Grapes. Peppery. Earthy notes. Pear cider. Light menthol.

Finish: Lightly earthy. Oats. Light honey. Grapes. Champagne. Wheat. Peppery. Muesli. Light peppermint. Raisins.

Conclusion: Ok, going in I wasn’t sure what this would show from its influences. Would it show the mead? The saison? Wine like character as this was described as an aim on the bottle? Turns out the decided to go with all of the above.

First impressions are very mead like, though rapidly become even more like the pure base honey than most meads, feeling and tasting of every element that makes up a thick, rich honey. This is backed by a custard sweetness to the body that makes for a smoother element than the thick honey. However here the base saison style seems miles away – lost below this sweet and heavy creation that you have here.

The wine like notes come next; A while wine dry aroma seeping into juicy grape notes in the main body before leading out with a slightly funky champagne style finish. The juicy, yet still matched by dryness acts as a much needed rounding to take the edge off the very honey sweet style that came up front.

The saison element is the last to show and the lightest. The oat and muesli cereal notes come out to add some wight, then there’s some light peppery and earthy notes that act more as a grounding than as a main character. Late on you get some darker fruit, raisin like notes which I have no idea where they came from, but again they add something to the otherwise very sweet beer. So, while I am enjoying this I must say don’t buy this if it is the saison side of things that attract you to it. There is a lot to recommend it but it, but not that side of things.

It feels mainly like mead meets white wine, sparkling like champagne. Also, this is definitely one to share – I made the mistake of soloing this and, delicious though it is, it kicked the shit out of me.

So, this is complex enough to be worthwhile, if not pushing the boundaries of how much range a beer can have. It instead wears its special ingredients on its sleeve, but adds enough that it doesn’t feel like it is using it as a crutch. So, a very good, very sweet mead/wine/beer thing. It isn’t one to have too often, it is too overpowering for that, but if you are a mead fan then this has enough mead style to be your thing, while enough beer to make it stand out. Definitely a worthwhile experiment.

Background: Another one from Independent Spirit, this is an imperial saison that is described as ”one of a series of experimental sharing beers designed to be treated like sparkling wines.” This particular one is made with woodland honey, which , as a mead fan caught my eye. I was silly enough to drink the entire bottle myself. It was very potent. Very, very potent. I’m not doing that again. Continued my attempt to put on albums I’d not heard for a while while drinking – Faithless: Sunday 8PM, though I will admit I prefer the very different single version of “God is a DJ” to the album version. Both are good though.

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