Monday, April 22, 2013

Fruit Saison Tasting

Back in early February, I attended a small beer tasting of popular commercial saisons and I left the event particularly impressed with Cigar City's Guava Grove. Wanting to brew something similar, I came up with a plan to brew a basic, lower gravity saison using White Labs Saison III yeast and then secondary the beer with some fresh guava puree for a week or two. Well, like most of my beer-y plans, things changed. I brewed and fermented the beer as planned, but when it came time to add the guava puree, I chickened out. The beer tasted quite nice (fruity, tart, slight clove/spicy phenols) and I was worried that the guava character would be too much for the beer. Instead, I ditched the guava and then on a whim decided to add the pulp of two passion fruits, figuring I'd still get some fruit flavor, but not enough to cover up the original character of the yeast. The resulting beer is pretty good tasting, but it probably would have been better without the fruit addition. It is certainly nothing like Guava Grove...

Fruit'ed Saison : Saison

Appearance - Pours a slightly hazy, pale straw color with a small white head that slowly settles leaving nice lacing. Carbonation is too low and the foam retention could be better.

Aroma - Big tropical fruit aroma - passionfruit, lychee, mango - with a slightly sweet, dried herb character. The passionfruit character is quite potent, although it is hard to tell if the other aromas are from the yeast or the fruit addition. Some earthy-funkiness (not brett) as the beer warms. Definitely unique.

Taste - Similar to aroma; tropical fruit and sweet herbs followed by some light clove and white wine fruitiness. The yeast character is fruity with some spice-like phenols. Bitterness is low and there isn't much discernible hop character. Some grainy pils malt. The beer finishes dry and tart.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is much too low for the style, yet the beer goes down dry and crisp.
  
Drinkability & Notes - Pretty good. While I'm not convinced the passionfruit was necessary, it did provide another layer of tropical fruit flavor and added some complexity to what would have been an interesting, but otherwise basic saison. In its current state, this beer shares many of the same characteristics as my hibiscus wheats, although the Saison III yeast definitely provides its own unique character. Compared to the other saison yeasts I've used, this one fermented extremely quickly and seems to produce more clove and tropical fruit flavors than the black pepper/citrus so found in the Dupont and Saison II strains. Certainly worth using this yeast again, although without the fruit.

6.0% ABV, 22 IBU, WLP585 Saison III. Recipe Here

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Will. I'm excited to brew a saison or two in the next couple of months, particularly once the temps start to rise (last year I brewed two, fermenting them up at around 85 degrees and they tasted outstanding -- smooth and delicious). Planning to go sans spices this time around. Btw, I don't think I have the courage to add fruit to a brew like you've done, though it does sound interesting. Hibiscus? Now, that sounds like a fun summer brew.

    Thanks!

    Dee

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