Thursday, December 9, 2010

Funky Date Dark Saison Tasting

Appearances can be deceiving, it looks like an Irish stout, but it has a big fruit character and almost no roast.After posting the recipe for the dark saison we brewed a few weeks ago it seemed like it was about time I posted a first tasting of the dark saison Noah, Alex, and I brewed last fall.  It had a complex grain bill, red wine deglazed dates, and a touch of black cardamom.  It was fermented with 3711 (French Saison), along with dregs from several sours we drank during the brew. 

Dark Fruit Saison II

Appearance – A hard pour produces a two-finger-dense-tan (Guinnesque) head. Decent retention paired with some lacing, but it's not nitro foam. The beer itself is a few shades darker than Guinness, deep leathery brown, but clear when held to a light.

Smell – Big dark spicy nose with just a touch of tobacco (it's amazing what 3 grams of black cardamom can do in 15 gallons). Not much sour/funk in the nose, but there is some beautiful dried/red fruit . There is a light ethanol nostril burn, but at a year old I still consider a 10% sour a toddler.

Taste – I'd call this beer tart bordering on sour. The roast is long and on the light side of coffee/chocolate. There is a red wine character that is really nice (can't wait to see how the 3 gallons on Cabernet Sauvignon grapes turns out).

Mouthfeel – Medium-light body, perfect for a big Belgian. Moderate carbonation, about right for the body and complex flavors.

Drinkability & Notes – The flavors are great, but it certainly needs another year or two to mellow/meld and round some edges, but it is getting there. 

4 comments:

John-Patrick said...

As you noted, this looks like it's going to continue to develop into a truly stellar beer. Ten fold for the portion on Cab Sauv grapes.

cristian G. said...

about two weeks a go a brewed a dark saison whit 3711, inspired by your posts and a cake of 3711 ready to be used. I added some dry figs pure and some brett.B. i was wondering if a should attempt to sour some portion of it. also, I bought some dark cardamon but i chicken out after trying it, to much tabacco flavor for me. any way wanted to thank you for the great blog, tons of great information.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Thanks guys.

That black cardamom is crazy, sort of like turpentine soaked tobacco. I think it might even be a bit heavy where it is at 1 gram in 5 gallons.

I think a beer like this can handle some tartness, and with 3711 there won't be enough residual sugars/dexrins to get a real sourness anyway.

Ryan said...

Oh I love black cardamom, that and some mace make an amazing sweet potato pie, top it off with some homemade whip cream and a small glass of a beer like this and Id be in heaven

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