Friday, July 11, 2014

Fulton Maitrise Imperial Farmhouse Ale

Fulton Garage Series 7: the maitrisse IFA.

clear, with a chill haze, golden colored, small white head.

aroma: slightly sweet, candy-ish. almost, soon revealing it's wild and funky side. citric zest, spice, and eccentric intensity. Most intriguing.

Taste: climbs aboard the palate with alacrity, fairly bright and sunny, with a wicked complexity oozing out. Did they toss in candy sugar or honey or some other agent to boost the booze? The sweetness of the malt stays on top of this one, with the saison yeast adding extra funkification.

This is an odd creature. I remain opposed to imperializing every style of beer under the sun, especially those that should remain low gravity. Saison is one of those styles, but I have to admit that I do enjoy bigger version, especially ones made in Belgium. Avec les Bon Veoux for one. There are others…is this as good as those?
No, it's not, it's clunky and clumsy, it's overly alcoholic, with little balance, it's choked with alcoholic phenols and under-attenuated malts. It's not elevated or sophisticated, it's just over-boozed and unbalanced.

the pint of Maitrise this review was based upon. Would I have liked it better in a tulip?
A reminder: The Bitter Nib is where I call them like I see them. I struggle to remain honest when reviewing local beers from people who I know personally and respect. And I respect them enough to be honest and tell the truth.
The Maitrise as it appears on the Fulton website, somewhere.

Hey, you can't win them all. I liked the Expat (yet to be reviewed here), I really enjoyed the Rondonneeur, this one, this IFA, well, it's so off the rails, it's almost an obscenity. I took a few ounces, and was happy, and started to recommend it. Then I had a good 12 ounces and wished that I hadn't. They need to try a little harder until they get it right, I think. Currently, it's mess. A booze bomb with none of the subtleties you really want from this style, Imperial or not.

From the brewery:
Maitrise (“May-treese”; translates from French as “expertise” or “mastery”) is a new world imperial farmhouse ale crafted as a tribute to the creativity, dedication, and ingenuity required by the profession of brewing. As a truly original blend of American & German wheat & barley malts, New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin hops, and French saison yeast, Maitrise defies classification and convention. It’s an unexpected 9.5% ABV and 80 IBU, brilliant with tropical fruit, yet balanced with a tart palate that finishes soft and dry.

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