Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Saint Arnold Icon Gold (Biere De Saison)

Brewery: Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Location: Houston, TX
Style: Biere de Garde
ABV: 9%

The Saint Arnold Icon Series consists of specialty beers that the Houston brewery releases every three months or so. Each beer is unique and different from the last. Icon Gold is the fourth beer to be released (there have been five total). It is brewed in the Biere de Garde style, meaning "beer for keeping," and is most akin to a Belgian Saison. At 9%, Icon Gold holds the title for highest percent of alcohol among its icon[ic] peers.

According to Saint Arnold, Icon Gold is labeled as a Biere de Saison because it "combines the richness of a winter ale with the spicy, earthy notes of the saison yest."

Appearance: Icon Gold's label is wonderful. The bottle showcases the patron saint of beer, Saint Arnold, with a classic black and gold color combination. The label is simple, sophisticated, and eye-catching. In the glass, Icon Gold pours a cherry-copper color. The beer retains absolutely no head.

Smell: Belgian spices and sugary malts. I pick up booze and fermenting grapes (otherwise known as wine) beneath the Belgian yeast aromas.

Taste: The flavor profile begins with a strong surge of Belgian spices that is followed by fruit and berry tartness. I wouldn't consider the flavors sour, but there is an "over-ripeness" to the berry notes. The finish is spicy, boozy, and sweet. There's no hiding the alcohol in this beer, but that's not a bad thing.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation yet crisp and clean. The beer appears flatter than it actually is, and I don't know that it needs any more carbonation than what it already has.

Overall: This is a flavorful beer. The Belgian spices blend well with the sweet malt and mild tartness. The alcohol shows up on the finish, leaving a subtle burn in the throat. Icon Gold is complex. There's depth of flavor and smell on every level.

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