The brew day for our fourth annual Funky Dark Saison is right around the corner and I'll be blending and bottling the third batch this weekend, so there was no time like the present to taste the second batch aged on Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. At two years old it is a wonderful marriage of sour beer and wine: hearty, complex, and still balanced.
Funky Dark Saison #2 on Cabernet Sauvignon
Appearance – A thin off-white head sits on top of a nearly opaque dark brown body. During the pour I can see deep purple tones, but the beer is too dark for them to be visible in such a wide glass. The edges look clear (not surprising after two years). Despite the poor head retention the ring that persists is trailed by lacing.
Smell – Huge aroma that I can smell as soon as I start pouring. Toasted and chocolate malt, jammy fruit, spice, and clean alcohol. It is hard to tell if the spice is from the yeast, grapes, oak, or black cardamom (probably something from all four).
Taste – Starts like a bold red wine, the sourness hits the middle of the tongue fading as the malt picks up in the finish. I love a beer that progresses through each sip, changing as it travels over the tongue. The lactic acid is smooth and not overpowering, but there is no question that this is a sour beer. The peppery spice of the yeast comes through more than in the aroma. ~11% ABV adds warmth, but the sourness hides the booze surprisingly well.
Mouthfeel – Doesn't come off as thin or hot, but the featherweight body and moderate-high carbonation let you know it is Belgian. The tannins extracted during the long time spent sitting on the grape skins helps to add firmness.
Drinkability & Notes – I think this batch is terrific, I'd put it up against Russian River Consecration any day. The grapes temper the black cardamom, and their sugars helped spur additional souring. I'm trying to hang onto as many bottles as I can, this one should be even better in a year or two.