Clipping right along in the realm of being disobedient and uncivil, we get the notorious “dark saison 4th release” entry in the canon: Civil Disobedience 12. Every fourth bottle in this series is an iteration of a dark saison/wild ale and usually leads to polarizing reviews as the average bourbon county coveter two years fresh out of undergrad has no business fucking with black Saisons. Maybe no one does.
Let’s get a taste of that black tar in today’s review.
Hill Farmstead, Vermont (oh no way)
Black blended barrel aged saison aka that BBBaS, 8.1%abv, I made all this up. No one reads this.
Hold on to your uncircumsized cocks for the spoiler alert of the year: this saison is dark. It pours with perfect carb, bubbling upward with silky mocha frap crema, looking more like a bottle of Everett at first glance. It has minimal cling and sheets in a slick watery way, running that dark dress upwards indicating the acidic experience contained therein.
The nose is the collision of two odd worlds destroying themselves in a fruit meets chocolate singularity. The blackest of holes. You get a sort of tangerine and clementine with red wine oak at the outset but wait for the beat to drop, 160bpm waves of cocoa and nestle quik Rush in quickly behind with this discordant cacophony of conflicting olfactory zones. Some people love this type of shit: the Pipeworks Orange abduction, HF daybreak and to a lesser extent BCBS bramble fall in this mixed bag of dark malty hatred. I can’t get on board with it and my prejudices against these types of beers are well documented so take my impressions with a chocolate fondue slice of navel orange.
The taste carries more of a vinous character and pushes chocolate milk meets Bordeaux, creamy acidity itself feeling like an inherent contradiction throughout. Again, some people open up incognito tabs and grind that coffee bean to these types of beers and I don’t understand that deviant behavior. I don’t like tart of darkness and the vast majority of dark wilds or black saisons. If you like this space docking of malty chocolate foreskin rolling over acidic fruit, then by all means.
If you loved Edith, you will think this is dope as fuck. It is well attenuated and for a highly-attenuated audience. Oh shit peep that parallel structuring. While I loved Cd4, and was fairly jazzed about cd8, this falls closer to the realm of Jim/Jimmy in HF offerings I wouldn’t actively seek out.
Like all things, HF had the misfortune of inherently being compared to their own body of work so it feels like being the Pitchfork Media asshole who criticizes Mars Volta for doing something polarizing and experimental. It is unquestionably well made but feels like those spacey malty tracks that go on forever and it loses me.
What should you drink instead of this? If you are dead set on this style, you could go with Edith, the Nightmare on Brett series, Guillermo Prunus/etc, one of the oddball Sara dark saison offerings like farmhouse noire, or something in that same realm.
Like Phish, the people who love this ridiculous shit will love it so hard that no one else will need to deal with it. And that is fine, have your chocolate covered grapes and 9 minute guitar solos, leave me out of it.