Big Drop: Harbour: Going Swimmingly – Hibiscus Saison (England; Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold and clear body. Medium sized white head. Some carbonation.

Nose: Strong herbal character. Hibiscus. Slight stem ginger. Sage.

Body: Hibiscus. Slight ginger. Peppery. Slightly watery. Slight wood shavings. Slight fluffy popcorn. Vanilla.

Finish: Watery. Ginger. Hibiscus. Chinese stir fry. Wood shavings.

Conclusion: This is really spicy and herbal. Like REALLY herbal. The base beer has a fluffy feel, but is generally kind of watery and weak – not capturing the saison character too well.

It lacks anything to back the herbal notes, and because of that they utterly dominate, to the detriment of the beer. The hibiscus is super evident – it is gently peppery behind that – the main counter note is a kind of dry wood shaving notes that doesn’t exactly suit it.

It feels like drinking a jar of water that has been poured through a spice rack. I can’t enjoy it. The spice doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t feel beer like. It definitely doesn’t feel saison like. Even within the spice it doesn’t do anything that brings them together in a harmonious whole.

So, a real failure in my opinion. A rare one from Big Drop. I think this needs a complete rebuild from ground up if they intend to do any more saisons.

Background: The second of Big Drop’s third anniversary collaboration beers. This one, as the name may indicate is a saison made with hibiscus. Looking at the ingredient list it is also made with pink peppercorns, coriander seed, and juniper. So, a lot going into this one. Hops wise they went with my old friend, sorachi ace so I am hoping this will be an exciting beer. Anyway, as always Big Drop’s beers are 0.5% and so made for doing notes on an easy drinking day. Always good. I recently finished watching the utter soul breaking anime series that is Puella Magi Madoka Magica, so had a bunch of music from that as a background to my drinking. Because I obviously wanted a reminder of my soul being torn in two. People who have not watched the show may be googling it now, and on seeing the images, may think I am joking. I am not. That show is great and utterly gut wrenchingly draining to watch. Oh, also the beers were bought from Independent Spirit BTW.