Friday, April 27, 2012

Saison II Tasting

Back in late December, I brewed up two batches of saison, one a petite version to be fermented without bugs and another stronger version to be fermented with a mixture of Saison and Ardennes yeast and bugged with various types of brett. However, I also wanted to save a portion of the beer as to compare it with the brett versions. This beer has been in the bottle for nearly four months and besides from sneaking a tasting a month in, I haven't given this beer much thought. When I first tried it, it was quite cloudy with a slight yeast bite and wholly uncarbonated. On a whim, I'd thought I try one for today. Also, if anyone knows the best way to 'feed' brett in the secondary, let me know. I was thinking of adding some maltodextrine or fruit to some of the beer, but was unsure of when is a good time to do so. 

Saison Deux : Belgian Saison                       

Appearance - Pours a light gold/honey color with a voluminous, fluffy head with good retention. The beer is lightly hazy.

Aroma - Lots of tropical fruit esters - mango, pineapple, and passion fruit - with a lightly peppery and spicy yeast character. Some malt character is evident, although no signs of the rye. The aroma is more perfumey than full-on ripe fruit.

Taste -  First impression is of tropical fruit and it is quickly followed by a spicy and peppery yeast character. The malt is neutral and well balanced by the fruity flavors. No real rye flavor to speak of and it is hard to differentiate the hops from the fruity esters. The beer finishes very dry and crisp with a medium bitterness at the end. Curiously, the beer has a mild almond/apple aftertaste.
                                                                                               
Mouthfeel - Carbonation is medium-high and appropriate for the style. While the beer finishes very dry, it does have a pleasant and smooth mouthfeel.  
     
Drinkability & Notes - I'm happy with this one. While it doesn't really have the same aggressive fruitiness that most people associate with saisons, as I did ferment it around 75-80F, it does taste nice and goes down easily. This beer was also fermented with a mix of the Saison II and Ardennes yeast (80-20) and I wonder if the some of the peppery-spiciness is from the Ardennes. While I am not a huge fan of saisons, I must say I really like the fruitiness that the Saison II (wlp566) yeast provides and I am tempted to brew a full batch and put it on tap for the summer. If I were to rebrew this beer, I'd probably ferment it warmer and add more rye. I don't think 6% rye is really going to do anything for the flavor.

O.G: 1.052, F.G: 1.002, 6.5% ABV, 30 IBU, WLP566 Saison II & Ardennes.

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