Insel: Swimmer’s Saison (Germany: Low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear caramel brown touched body. Lots of small bubbled carbonation in the body and a thin off white head.

Nose: Fruity esters. Slight sulphur. Sugared lemons. Orange skin. Brown bread. Sage.

Body: Iced tea. Wet charring. Touch of brown sugar. Orange skin. Touch of chalk. Lime touch. Hard fruit sweets. Sugared water. Wet teabags.

Finish: Orange skin. Brown sugar. Dirty water. Wet teabags. Herbal. Sage.

Conclusion: Saisons have been fairly varied in style in my experience. Some have been these lovely fresh and hoppy bitter things, Some have been earthy, spicy and rustic, some have been oddly textured in an almost steam beer way, some have been slightly sour. Absolutely none have been anything like this low abv take.

On the nose it is fairly interesting – it is fairly fruity in a citrus way, with a touch of sage savoury spice, which is a reasonable call to the more herbal saisons. Behind that is a fairly neutral bready backing, but it still has enough interesting there that I had hope.

The body is, by comparison, a bit watery. It feels like sugared water meets brown sugar and then has had a teabag dunked a few times into the the resulting mix, but not enough to add any real layered flavour.

The fruity, interesting notes are still there, but the base behind it feels like empty wet air. While the breadiness of the aroma wasn’t exciting it was solid and gave a strong base from the other notes to work from, while here the more interesting notes get lost in the beer’s watery depths.

This coasts through the beer into the finish, where a pleasant orange character sits over a dirty sugar water emptiness once more. It isn’t that the beer is vile, but fairly empty for the most part, so the better notes end up falling flat and the beer as a whole feels muddied and unfocussed.

It is an unusual low abv beer, but still shows the teabag and iced tea notes clearly that are the bane of the low alcohol style and doesn’t push anything heavy enough to offset them.

While I appreciate a different style choice for a low abv beer, this doesn’t do much with it at all.

Background: This was the second Insel beer I bought from light drinks, and I think, the last beer I have from that batch to do notes on. This is well reputed, but after being disappointed with their similarly well received wet hopped pilsner I was more nervous coming to this one. Was surprised to see a low alcohol Saison, not a common pick for low abv beer, but I’m always happy to see experimentation. I will admit, while it adds nothing to the beer, the paper wrapped bottles do make this look fairly fancy. Went back to Ritualz – CDR for music while drinking. Been a while since I put that on and it is lovely evocative dark electronic tunes so thought it was time to give another spin as fine background music for drinking.