Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Patersbier Tasting

While the humble English bitter will surely remain my favorite style of beer to brew and drink, I got to admit there is something about brewing a super simple, low gravity Belgian session beer that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. For unlike many American craft-Belgian beers, where the number of ingredients and/or wine barrels use to make it are the yardstick of its worth, brewing and drinking a stupidly simple patersbier is a veritable affront to all the beer snobs who tell us what Belgian beer is and what it should be. Patersbier, the anti-craft-Belgian beer. And it tastes really good too. All kidding aside, I wasn't very excited to brew a patersbier at first, but since I've had this beer on tap, that sentiment has changed. As with brewing bitters, I like taking a handful of simple ingredients and over the long course of brewing, tweaking, and re-brewing, make something great out of nothing. Also, Belgian yeasts are a whole new playground of flavors to work with. Expect to see me brew more beers like this...

Patersbier : Belgian Blonde

Appearance - Pours a mostly clear light amber color with a two finger head that slowly dissipates, leaving nice lacing. Clarity is better than I expected, but still somewhat hazy.

Aroma - Neutral malt and mild stone fruit esters with some floral hop character. Not nearly as much 'Belgian' character as I was expecting.

Taste - Clean pils maltiness and a subtle fruitiness that tastes of dried cherries, pears, and plums. The overall yeast character is largely restrained and paired with the clean malt, the beer has a definite lager-like quality. Hop flavor and bitterness are both very low and the cararye malt has added a slight caramel flavor that provides some needed malt complexity. Flavors are clean, crisp, and largely unassuming.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is medium-low and the beer goes down very easily.

Drinkability & Notes - As much as I like this beer for its subtle fruitiness and ease of drinking - it is one of the only Belgian beers I've put on tap that I've drunk multiple pints of at one sitting - I do feel this yeast would be better suited for higher gravity beers than a small one like this... especially if you want it to produce those big flavors and aromatics that Belgian yeasts are known for. In this beer, I wouldn't mind a stronger yeast character or more hops/malt flavor, although as the beer sits now I can't really complain. I already have plans to revisit a beer like this very soon, except with the Leuven Pale Ale yeast and higher hopping.

Additional Thoughts:

I was extremely surprised how quickly this yeast fermented. I pitched the yeast at 65F and within three days the beer went from 1.046 to 1.010, with the yeast flocculating out a day later. Given the number of people who have reported attenuation problems with this yeast, I assumed it would take me a few weeks to complete fermentation. That obviously wasn't the case. Moreover, as a result of the speed of fermentation, I wasn't able to get the ferment temp much higher than 66-68F. Also, unlike many of the other Belgian yeasts that produce a huge, long lasting krausen, this yeast hardly made one at all. This yeast also flocculated better than any Belgian strain I've used before, forming a tight yeast cake within a week after fermentation was complete.

Aside, I took a portion of the yeast cake from the patersbier, washed it, and pitched the slurry into a Belgian porter wort a few days later. Even with a higher gravity (1.060) and nearly 10% dark crystal malt, this yeast behaved the same as in the beer before. More on this later.

4.6% ABV, 20 IBU, WLP540 Abbey Ale IV. Recipe Here

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. I was on the fence about making this my first brew but I'm sure it will be now.


Leave a comment. No spam please.