Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer is the time for Saison

Saison is probably my favorite style of beer. It is an old style from Belgium and it is interesting (and fortunate) that it is a style that is becoming more popular here in America. What do I appreciate about Saison? It is the dryness, the esters and lively carbonation that get me excited about Saison, but any hint of terroir is a big bonus. The saisons I brew tend to lack terroir (I brew in a condo, not a farmhouse) but U work hard to achieve that dryness. I don't do a full mash, but a partial mash, but keeping the mash at a lower temperature makes the wort more fermentable. I've found that a full extract Saison won't get that dry,, so I always try and mash at least a couple pounds of Belgian Pils malt with some pilsner extract when brewing my Saison.
Sadly, I haven't brewed any Saison yet this year as my burner has been a little flaky. I'm working up the courage though as I have a new yeast to try -- Belle Saison dry yeast. Meanwhile, I sipping on my stash of Saison from previous years as well as earlier this year. This would include my Saison D'Automne, which was pretty much an Oktoberfest recipe I fermented with a Saison yeast. It turned out OK -- plenty dry despite using some more dextrinous malts -- but it has an odd aftertaste. It opens up after some time in the glass and is still quite drinkable, although it is a bit boozy. Not sure that I'll replicate the recipe.