No Corporate Beer Reviews: Saison 13

Beer: Saison 13
Brewery: Unibroue (Chambly, Quebec)
Style: Farmhouse Ale – Saison
6.1% ABV / 19 IBU

Who knew Dave Mustaine was such a fan of saisons? He’s certainly a fan of the number 13, which is where Unibroue’s latest Megadeth tribute beer draws its name from (technically it should be “Saison Th1rt3en,” but that would be an eyesore). Perhaps that’s the influence of Unibroue’s Brewmaster Jerry Vietz. You are forgiven if you didn’t think there was anywhere else to go with Megadeth tribute beers after Unibroue’s original Belgian-style farmhouse ale ÀTout le Monde. It’s a very well-balanced and drinkable rendition of that style with perhaps only one question mark: It’s a little wussy compared to the band’s music.

Saison 13 bears more than a few similarities to ÀTout le Monde, right down to Megadeth mascot Vic Rattlehead’s prominent placement on the art, but I’d rank Saison 13 higher on at least three counts. First, the malt profile in Saison 13 is superior, creating more of a medium-bodied brew but also a noticeably sweeter one with strong caramel notes. The malt is a good canvas for the spices and provides good counterbalance to the spiciness and the light bitterness offered by the dry-hopping process. This is also reflected in the color of Saison 13, a very appealing deeper, red-ish amber.

Our tastes favor the stronger ABV of Saison 13 vis ñ vis ÀTout le Monde. There is a fairly dramatic difference between the 6.1% ABV of Saison 13 and the 4.5% ABV of ÀTout le Monde. Saison 13 is not a session beer. It’s also not a boozier clone of its predecessor, because the malt (back to that again) tips the scales in the direction of a pale ale. Of course, the style of the beer is in its name, and the saison-ness of Saison 13, particularly the effect of the peppercorn and coriander, can not be denied. A strong offering in extreme brewing’s most unlikely tribute series, So far, so good… What’s next?

For more info on Unibroue and Megadeth’s collabs, go here.