Jun 5, 2014

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Debauched

I’ve had a few beers in my time that have utilized the juniper berry, but none that I’m aware that have used an entire juniper bush in the crafting of their product. Well, that’s what Stillwater Artisanal Ales has done with their Debauched, a 6.7% ABV farmhouse ale. As with many of this gyspsy brewer’s beers, this is anything but your standard example of the style.

In addition to the juniper shrub, the brew also incorporates some Brettanomyces and what is described as a “touch of smoke.” The result isn’t so much a saison or farmhouse ale as it is a mash up of a rauchbier and a gruit. It’s herbal and earthy beer with smokey traits and a soft bitterness — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this one.

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Debauched photo


This bottle of Debauched opened with a small geyser of foam before pouring a hazy, golden yellow in color with a resilient cap of dense, white foam.


An array of scents fills the nose with a barnyard funk, yeast, hay, moderate tartness that tingles the nose, pepper, distant campfire and a hint of bubble gum.


Debauched has an earthy, herbal character that reminds more of a gruit than a saison. A solid funky yeast character mingles with hay, grain, light bubble gum, a soft sweetness, a moderate tartness and smooth smoke. The brew fades slowly and gently to a soft bitterness in the lasting finish. It does come across as perfuming or perhaps too floral at times.


As usual, Stillwater takes a tried and true style and turns it on its head. Debauched may have been brewed as a farmhouse ale, but all that earthy juniper and smoke make it something all its own.

Rating: 3.75/5

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