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Beer – #724 – Zeelandt – Barrel Aged Saison

2016-01-28 17.51.10Zeelandt have been a bit keen on this, and I’ve had the standard up and down version but this, in the wrapping paper and what I thought was cork and cage,  but ended up a swing top, and the limited edition numbered release, well I’m a sucker for that stuff. Bottle 95 of 440, and a beer I’ve really been looking forward to.

Aged for 12 months in seasoned French Oak barrels

This is a 500 ml bottle, Swing top bottle, fancy wrapper and limited number tag, beer of 6% ABV, so making it 2.37 standard drink units.

Brewed by Zeelandt Brewery in that style of a  Saison which happened in sunny sunny Napier, New Zealand

New Season Saison

New Season Saison

The making of this beer embodies the coming together of two Hawke’s Bay brothers – one a winemaker, the other a brewer. When the winemaker arrived at the brewery with an empty, seasoned French oak barrel, the brewer had a desire to fill it. He did so, and it remained that way for 12 months, developing unique flavours.

The barrel had previously been used for Petane Station single vineyard Hauhau Pinot Gris, which grows next to Zeelandt Brewer in Esk Valley. The beer is saison, a style perfect to quench the thirst after long days in the vineyard. The beer has now developed its own style, fermenting dry in the barrel and taking on oak characters

So, what could possibly go wrong?

Zeelandt Barrel Aged SaisonAroma is a familiar sour cider vinegar type note that you might expect.

Pour is a little flat, I kind of expected more fluff and head that it delivered, bt it looks lovely, even if slightly dull and not ‘bright’ Aroma is earthy underneath that sharp sour note.

Surprisingly fruity I thought, and that oaked wood dryness isn’t unpleasant but it is slightly persistent. It’s terribly highly carbonated, almost a flat feel, although it isn’t, it definitely had legs

There are not a log of flavours or things going on with this, it’s fairly low key in that respect, but it is light and refreshing on the tongue.

I’ve got to the bottom of the first half, and I’m going to muddy it up with the yeast and see if that adds to the experience.

I got a fuller head but it was transient and fleeting settling into a film. The beer for cloudier and the mouthfeel got a little fuller and more enjoyable.  An improvement over the standard version, in flavour and substance but not really a big improver in the overall experience and what it gives back, is what I thought.

A beer that talks a big game.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 6 of its things from the thing. I thought that this was where it sat when I had it on tap, and despite the ageing and the slightly better drinking I don’t think that this has kicked on like the brewer hoped,  Which is a bit sad because I wanted to really like this and have a bit of a dance around the lounge.

The double dip review

  • Am I enjoying it? Sadly I’m not.
  • Would I have another? I’ve tried both version and neither have made me think that I’d go again.
  • Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? Even the theatrics of a numbered label and wrapping paper were disappointing as a swing-top bottle appeared, and whilst it has a great story and a lot of time has gone in to presentation I think that the beer lacks delivery to match, I’d not be keen to have my leg pulled in polite or impolite company over this.

Music for this : ‘ Malcolm McLaren‘ and ” Waltz Dancing ‘ on Spotify  If you’ve never hard this it really is worth a few minutes of your time


Fruity esters dominate the aroma. Clarity is good with a large foamy head on top. The addition of several spices and herbs create a complex fruity or citrusy flavor. Light to medium bodied with very high carbonation. Alcohol level is medium to high.


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