Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Farmhouse Table Saison Tasting

Right now on tap in my kegerator there are two second runnings beers that couldn't be more disparate (other than their color, strength, and noble hopping...). This small Brett Saison was planned right along side the Calvados Tripel that came from the same mash. The Hoppy Lager force carbing next to it was a spur of the moment decision tossed together after collecting enough wort for the DC Homebrewers Anniversary Barleywine.

I intended this saison to be my interpretation of historic style: light, refreshing, mildly funky, a real summer farmhouse beer. So what better time to write up a review than a hot mid-July evening?

Farmhouse Table Saison in an old chair my grandfather fixed.Farmhouse Table Saison

Appearance – Pours with a voluminous billowy white head. The bubbles exhibits terrific retention leaving a ring of sticky lacing around the glass. The body is yellow and hazy (luckily poor clarity isn't off-putting in a saison to me).

Smell – Asprin-y Brett, peppery yeast, and overripe fruits. Complex, with the Brett slightly more assertive than I'd prefer, playing a primary rather than supporting role in the aroma.

Taste – The flavor is more classically saison than the aroma, dry-ish with a mild bitterness on the back of the tongue. The funk is subdued, complementing the spicy phenols provided by the Dupont strain. The fruit notes are tropical: mango and maybe a touch of pineapple.

Mouthfeel – Medium-light body with firm carbonation. Could be a touch lighter and crisper, the attenuation wasn't quite as high as I was aiming for.

Drinkability & Notes – Overall I'm happy with the way this beer turned out, especially for being second runnings. When I brew something like this again I won't do it as a second runnings beer unless I can mash at a lower temperature (high-140s F) to leave less fermentables for the Brett.

I'm considering adding some keg hops to what is left of the beer because I've caught the hop bug and won't have a chance to brew something to satisfy it for a few more weeks. Not sure exactly what variety I'll use, maybe an ounce of the Summer Saaz I picked up mail order from Australia a few weeks back.


Jim said...

Sounds like the third time is going to be the charm... Great to hear the brew is improving, there is nothing worse than beer the takes a step back.

ivan said...

I've tried a few second runnings beers over the last year. I haven't been happy with any of them. Do you have any tips you have found helpful in doing a second runnings beer? I've wound up dumping all of mine.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

What problems have they been having with them? What sort of starting gravities have you gotten? It may be that you aren't leaving enough gravity for the second beer, start with more malt and be ready to blend some of the strong wort into the small beer if it needs a boost. Also consider capping the mash with some extra crystal if you need more body/flavor.