Crispin The Saint

Review of Crispin’s The Saint.  I tried this a couple years ago, pre-blog.  I’ve previously tried most of Crispin’s line-up:  OriginalVenus Reigns15 Men, Browns Lane, Blackberry Pear,  Pacific Pear, Bohemian, Honeycrisp,  and Steeltown.

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Cider:  The Saint
Cidery:  Crispin
Cidery Location:  Colfax CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles
Style:  unfiltered American commercial cider
Ingredients:  fresh-pressed hard apple cider, filtered water, Organic maple syrup, apple juice concentrate (finishing sweetener), malic acid, contains sulfites
Yeast:  Belgian Trappist

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Availability:  Wide release

Cider Description:  The Saint Artisanal Reserve unfiltered hard cider is made with racked apple-wine and smoothed with pure maple syrup, which balances the bold flavors of sweet, ripe apples.  Best served cold for bold, crisp refreshment. Give a full bottoms-up tilt and swirl to disperse unfiltered apple-wine sediment evenly.

Cidery Description:  Crispin ciders are naturally fermented using the raw, unpasteurized juice of fresh-pressed American apples and pears. Through classic cold-fermentation and specially selected wine yeasts, we always stay true to the fruit with authentic flavors and unique aromatic notes that are only present in fresh-pressed cider.

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  Albertsons
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  My husband brought this home for me randomly.  He hadn’t remembered I had already tried it a couple years ago.

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First Impression:  Hazy unfiltered apple juice hue.  Smells of apple juice and honey.  Nearly still.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate to high acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of apple juice, baked apples, honey, maple, and hints of pie spices.  Quick finish length.  High apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  Not bad.  Its a bit too sweet and low complexity for my liking though.

Most Similar to:  Other sweet unfiltered ciders such as Downeast Original Blend and JK’s Scrumpy Orchard Gate Gold.  Of the three, my favorite is the Downeast, as its slightly less sweet, more cider-like than juice-like, and tastes more “real”.

Closing Notes:  This is a popular cider in Crispin’s Artisanal Reserve line, available year round.

Have you tried Crispin The Saint?  What did you think?

Crispin 15 Men (Rum Barrel Aged)

Review of Crispin’s newest barrel aged limited release, 15 Men.  It is a dark rum barrel aged Colfax apple cider with wildflower honey and dark candi syrup.  The name 15 Men alludes to the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Crispin’s previous barrel aged limited release cider before this was Venus Reigns (my review here).  They have had a barrel aging program for 6 years.

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Cider:  15 Men
Cidery:  Crispin
Cidery Location:  Colfax, CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  22oz bottle

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Availability:  limited availability, but wide release, since early October 2015

Cider Description:  Buccaneers & buried treasure. Mutiny & murder. For the love of adventure and a barrel of rum. Drink and the devil had done for the rest. An epic saga of Colfax classic apple wine matured in dark rum casks, then laced with wildflower honey and dark candi syrup.  15 Men rolls strong like a deep ocean swell with notes of burnt caramel and oak, gentle hints of ripe fall fruits, vanilla and exotic floral fruit carried on the trade winds.  Before pouring, give a solid bottoms-up tilt and swirl to disperse sediment evenly and experience the complex aroma and bouquet.  Best enjoyed at cellar temperature, 50/55F.  With or without 1 or 2 ice cubes.

Cidery Description:  Classically refined, but not styled as a traditional “sweet beer” beer alternative, Crispin ciders are crisp and clean, not sweet and sticky and never sacrifice superior quality refreshment satisfaction for overbearing complexity.  Always true to the fruit, Crispin Hard Ciders are naturally fermented using fresh-pressed apple or pear juice, not from concentrate, from a premium blend of fruit from the west coast. Additionally, Crispin Ciders do not contain added malt, grape wine, or spirit alcohol. Crispin Ciders are all Gluten Free.

Price:  $9.99
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this release online, then started the search for it.  Total Wine has a convenient online inventory, so I knew before I went in that it was in stock.

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First Impression:  No carbonation upon pouring.  Hazy honey orange amber.  Smells of ripe apples, honey, tropical fruit, light floral, caramel, and brown sugar.

Opinion:  Between semi-dry and semi-sweet.  Still (no carbonation).  In the taste, I again pick up the ripe apples, a lot of honey, some fruitiness & floral, and the caramel and brown sugar notes.  Additionally, some mild wood barrel notes, a bit of citrus, and mild spiced rum in the finish.  I thought the rum presented more in the lingering heat than the actual flavor.  I’m surprised by how much honey flavor there is!  Mild tartness and bitterness.  Medium acidity.  No significant tannins or astringency.  Medium bodied.  Average finish length.  The barrel and spirit influence stays mild.  This was better between fridge and room temperature, where it became very smooth and the honey flavor mellowed out a bit.

Most Similar to:  Rum barrel aged cider always reminds me of Sea Cider Prohibition / Rumrunner (my review here).  Honey reminds me of ciders such as Finnriver Honey Meadow (my review here).  However, this cider wasn’t anything like either of those.  The honey seemed to be competing with the rum & barrel aspects.  So, there aren’t really any similar ciders I’ve tried.

Closing Notes:   Overall this was a good but not great cider in my opinion.  The amount of honey flavor seemed to be too much, and I would have liked more rum & barrel influence.  A bit of carbonation wouldn’t have hurt either.  Overall it was unique.  However, $10 seems a bit steep for what it is, as at the end of the day, Crispin is a commercial cidery.

Have you tried Crispin 15 Men?  What did you think?

Crispin Original

Review of Crispin’s Original cider variety.  I’ve had this cider a few times, but this is the first time since I started blogging.  Actually, I’ve tried most of their varieties, from Blackberry Pear to Browns Lane to Venus Reigns.  Crispin is probably my second favorite commercial cidery behind Woodchuck.

Cider:  Original
Cidery:  Crispin (part of MillerCoors)
Cidery Location:  Colfax CA
ABV:  5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz clear glass bottles (or four pack of 16oz cans)

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Availability:  wide release, year round

Cider Description:  Crisp, refreshing natural hard apple cider.  Crisp over ice. A classically styled, but untraditional hard apple cider. Fruit forward, with a fresh, crunchy appley nose and a deliciously refreshing, crisp mouth feel.

Price:  $5.00 / bottle at a bar (usually runs $7 a four pack)
Where Drank:  The Point in Prescott AZ.  This was their only cider offering at the time.  Apparently they usually had some sort of Schilling Cider on tap, but were out.  I was excited to see Schilling (made in my area) all the way in AZ, so it was disappointing they were out.  The Point was a very unique basement bar/lounge in Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott to say the least (it was dark and smelled lol, but overall was trying to be a higher end classy speakeasy).  We were there for the whiskey selection for my husband and a friend.  I was happy just to find cider that wasn’t Angry Orchard.  Actually, that night I went 2/2, finding Woodchuck Amber (bottled) at Prescott Brewing Company.  The following night I was 0/3 on cider, but 2/3 on mead.  All in all those are above average odds on finding a beverage to my liking!

First Impression:  Shiny straw yellow.  Almost no carbonation.  Sweet kinda fake crisp apple scent.

Opinion:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  No bitterness.  Low acidity and tartness.  Tropical & pear notes.  A bit juice-like.  Medium bodied.  Quick finish.  Overall this is an enjoyable easy drinking cider which is less sweet than most commercial ciders (150 calories and 10 grams of sugar per 12oz).  I liked the level of flavor, but that seems to come with the territory of being a bit sweeter (this is nowhere near dry).  Its definitely “crisp & refreshing” as the bottle said, and it was quickly gone.

Most Similar to:  Probably Crispin Pacific Pear, as I picked up some pear notes in this cider and it is a similar level of sweetness.  Or maybe Stella Cidre or Spire Mountain Apple.  I haven’t found too many ciders with this level of sweetness…most craft ciders are drier, and most commercial ciders are sweeter.

Closing Notes:   This is a solid commercial cider selection.  I especially like it isn’t overly sweet (and for folks who like an even drier cider, they make a Brut variety).  However, the use of water, apple juice concentrate, and “natural apple essence” (whatever that is) disappoints me.  Their description of the cider is pretty sad too…  Appley?  Serve over ice?  No thank you.  Overall though I don’t hesitate to order this cider when it is available, and I think its a much better choice than Angry Orchard Crisp Apple.  If this was a craft cider, I’d probably keep some in the house.

Have you tried Crispin Original?  What did you think?