Jul 30, 2013

Anchor Brewing Zymaster Series No. 4 Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale

Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale, a 7.2% ABV saison, is the fourth release in Anchor Brewings Zymaster Series, but only the first from the limited releases that I’ve run across. For the most part this beer is of a traditional nature. It uses a cultured Belgian yeast strain and a small amount of Belgian wheat — most of the barley and wheat in the recipe are American born. But that is where the list of typical ingredients for a saison ends.

Wanting to a little something different, but still keeping true to the farmhouse ideology, Anchor brought in Yerba Santa, a local herb that grows wild near the fort for which this beer is named. Now, I’m not entirely sure what sort of influence this “holy herb” had on the final product, but the beer seemed to have the normal amount of spice/herbal notes that I have encountered in saisons past. Regardless, Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale ended up being a tasty experience that I will be sure to have again soon.


Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale pours a rich amber in color with a lasting, tawny cap of foam.


Herbal notes, hay, grass and a subtle funk all come together in a clean and inviting nose.


Bready malt, a light sweetness, grains and a soft funk arrive first as a late forming, moderate hop bitterness lingers gently in the slightly warming finish. Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale leans more heavily on the malt side of things than most saisons that I have encountered. It’s not overly malty and with a nice herbal influence the combination works here. The beer is almost full bodied with a soft carbonation.


Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale is unlike a majority of the saisons or farmhouse ales that I have (and probably will) run across in my drinking adventures. It’s much maltier and fuller than most, but carries a wonderfully subtle yeastiness and herbaceous quality to set it apart. I think I still prefer the lighter bodied and more crisply carbonated example of the the style, but this was an enjoyable experience nonetheless.

Rating: 3.75/5

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