Monday, July 16, 2007

This Season, last season

The word "Saison" in French means season.

Each year, for the last four or five years or so, I've brewed a Saison-style beer in the spring that gets more esters and gets drier as the fermentation goes along. There are some Belgian yeasts that do pretty well in my hot (read: 83 degrees F.) summer kitchen. Yeasts such as White Labs 565 and Wyeast 3724 seems to tolerate some high temperatures in the 80s; sure the beer tasty "estery" but its tastes pretty good in my opinion. I like estery, dry homebrew in the summer.

So, this year's signature Saison-style beer is not quite as dry as I had hoped. Of course, I will give it time, but right now (after six weeks in the bottle) it's not that dry. Well, as a remedy for my thirst for a dry, estery ale, I popped the top on my stash of last year's Saison Morency, and it is nice and dry. The only criticism I can find in the 2006 version is the over-use of Caravienne malt, which adds a distinct caramel character (especially when two pounds is used in a five-gallon batch). I added spices to the 2006 batch, which I didn't add this year. No spices in this year's batch. I put Chamomile in the 2006 vintage and there's just a touch of bubblegum in the aroma; that sort of Juicyfruit gum smell that, at least to me, means Chamomile.

Now, since I brewed this year's batch of Saison Morency without spices, I've also brewed another Saison-style beer this summer WITH spices, sort of a cross between a Belgian Saison and a Wit. This second batch of Saison was brewed with black pepper and the zest of a couple limes. This beer is still sitting in the secondary in my 83-degree Fahrenheit kitchen. (Banana esters anyone?) I'm planning on bottling this newer spiced Saison-style beer later this week, as it's been sitting in the secondary (carboy) for almost a month.