Monday, April 7, 2014

#37 - Alsatian Identity Saison

Due to some late shipping and multiple reworkings of plans during my 3 Trappist series of brews, I found myself in possession of 10 pounds of milled Belgian pilsner which needed to be used ASAP.  Having a wide range of hops on hand and a few yeast strains left the door fairly wide open but in the end I decided to go for one of my favorite styles with a classic saison. I chose to primarily use hops grown in Alsace, especially the new Aramis variety, with a malt bill that uses the Belgian pils, some leftovers in Golden Naked Oats and Special B (barely over an ounce) and a pound of flaked rye I picked up on a whim. Unlike many of my Saisons I decided to keep to European continental hops: Alsatian Aramis and Strisselspalt from Alsace, France and Opal from nearby Germany. I am hoping this will give a very classic hop profile and I did not add any spices (though part of the batch may receive a tincture dosing or secondary with Brett depending on how it progresses). For the yeast, I used the blend from my American Saison which started with just Wyeast Belgian Saison but was helped along with the French Saison strain.  It will be interesting to see how this house saison blend plays out, but both strains give consistently great brews and I don't see any reason this one should be any different.

Bottled with 2 oz. of sugar.  Got distracted dealing with a number of issues and completely forgot to split off any of the batch with spices/Brettanomyces.  Surprisingly subtle flavor at bottling, hopefully carbonation makes it pop a little more.

Accidentally opened one of these last night.  While the carbonation isn't there yet I think its safe to call it a thorough disappointment.  The beer seems under attenuated leading to a strange syrupy sweetness that's only not cloying due to a moderate bitterness.  There also doesn't seem to be any characters of the saison yeast, leaving this one a bland, vaguely sweet mess. I forgot to add the white pepper to this one as well which may have helped balance the sweet and fruity notes.  Hopefully some carbonation will give it a little more life but I don't have high hopes and might give up on my yeast blend.

Time has certainly brought the carbonation on this one to a very nice high level.  The beer is alright but a bit too banana and ginger flavored. The off flavors likely come fom under pitching and not thoroughly washing my yeast from my ginger saison. I don't think the saison yeast blend itself is a failure but the execution was flawed. Will post a more complete tasting when possible.

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