Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tasting: Summer Saison

I got in two saisons before getting fed up with the heat this summer. Given a couple slight changes I thought it prudent to drink aside each other so the effect of those changes stick out.

Another out of stock yeast at the LHBS again forced an on the fly substitution. This time I had to use the notoriously slow to finish Wyeast 3724 (DuPont) in place of the well-behaved 3711 French Saison. For the second batch I made sure to buy a package of 3711 in advance AND make a from-the-bottle starter of Dupont yeast (which I've never had trouble with) for a mixed ferment. Now on with the comparison...

As the summer tempuratures rose, so did my impatience with this yeast and I bottled before terminal gravity was reach. I paid the price of a couple cracked bottles and excessive carbonation. The taste is good though. Grassy hops, pepper and late summer fruit (apples, plums and overripe peach) dominate the aroma. The taste has a nice rusticity from the dried out base malts (Belgian pale, US pale, and Vienna) and noble hops (excepting the Styrian Goldings) used for all additions. A nice refreshing summer beer.

For the summer's second batch of saison I changed the late additions to just Saaz (an ounce each at 15 minutes and knockout). The blend of Saaz, Hallertau, and S. Goldings produces a nice flavor but I wanted to see if I could get away with something simpler. This one attenuated to 1.001 in a reasonable amount of time, so no over-carbonation problem. I'm not sure this one is quite ready yet as it has a raw yeasty smell that I've found with bottles that have not undergone enough conditioning time. There is a nice saison there, but I will have to show some patience for it to shine.

Next tasting: Rhubarb Sour.

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