Stillwater Artisanal Ales Folklore
This bottle of Stillwater’s Folklore came by way of an impromptu trade with the in-laws. I brought down a bottle of The Bruery’s Saison de Lente for Easter dinner and left the beer you see above. There hasn’t been a product from this Maryland gypsy brewer that I haven’t liked. And while I did enjoy this one, it was the first from Stillwater that felt confused and sort of lacking of direction.
Is Folklore just a really full Belgian Strong Dark Ale or is a slightly lighter-bodied Belgian Stout? My tastebuds couldn’t decided. Hell it could have even been a large black saison. At any rate the myriad of flavors that this beer is comprised seem to compete with one another in a fashion that only causes the beer to lose its way a bit.
Well, Folklore certainly pours dark. A large, but quickly dropping light brown head sat briefly atop the nearly opaque black brew.
And this is where the confusion starts. There’s a good deal of roasted malt, bitter black coffee and a slight smokiness to accompany earthy hops and a touch of yeast. There are also hints of a subtle funk which gives the impression of a saison.
And now more style bafflement. Folklore tastes like a solid, yeasty Belgian-inspired stout though the mouthfeel is a bit too sharp for that. So it’s a saison, then, right? Anyway… roast malt, a touch of lingering smoke and a drying finish with a latent bitter dark coffee presence makes for a beer that is flavorful, yet again, just doesn’t quite mesh. At 8.4% ABV the beer does leave a light warming sensation in the chest.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this beer to tell you the truth. It has some interesting, earthy flavors that I did enjoy, but the combination of all of them don’t quite balance out right. It feels as though it wants to be a couple of different styles instead of focus on a single one as well as it should. I could be wrong.