From the breeder who brought us Citra and Mosaic... now comes Loral (HBC 291)! It's amazing and weird that we've gotten to the point where hop breeders are being hyped! With a family tree that includes Glacier and Nugget, I'm glad Loral isn't pushing the tropical, melon, and fruit-punch flavors so many new varieties exhibit. It is nice to have a bit more subtlety in beers where some herbal, spicy, and (f)loral, flavors enhance a characterful yeast.
I fluctuate between using new ingredients in simple and complex recipes. Is it better to evaluate a hop against a blank canvas, or blended with complementary flavors? I decided to put the sample of Loral (courtesy of Yakima Valley Hops) to work in a saison fermented with my house culture (started two years ago as a blend of two saison strains, a wild Saccharomyces, and Lambic-sourced Brettanomyces). A couple months ago I sent slurry to Jeff Mello at Bootleg Biology for isolation and propagation. I've got a couple test batches showing promise with a prospective blend, hoping for a release early 2017!
The base for is maltier than I usually aim for in a saison that isn't roasty. Munich and Golden Naked Oats contribute a richer base more appropriate for the fall hopefully without being too distracting from the hops and yeast.
Twenty minutes into the boil I cast-out half of the un-hopped wort for a gose with smoked sea salt, fermented with the Lactic-culture from Right Proper Brewing Co. (harvested from my quinoa-grapefruit beer). I'll tap that once the saison kicks, freeing my kegerator's lone sour tap.
Loral Funky Saison Tasting
Smell – Really bright fruit aroma (pear and generic citrus). There is a deeper herbal-hop and honey complexity rarely found in “new” American varieties - reminiscent of Sterling or Crystal, but more potent. Pleasant interplay between the mildly phenolic yeast, earthy Brett, and the bright hops.
Appearance – Golden body with a slight haze still after a month on tap. Nice long-lasting tight white head. Good looking saison!
Taste – Tame peppery yeast to start. Mid-palate is fresh orange-lemon, faint tartness. Pleasing balance of present bitterness and lively acidity. The golden naked oats and Munich add a toasty flavor in the finish as it warms that is walking the line on distracting given the dryness.
Mouthfeel – Carbonation is a little low, always a trick when you run three beers off of one regulator. The oats make it a little fuller than previous hoppy house saisons despite the low final gravity.
Drinkability & Notes – A more subdued (less bitter/aromatic) riff on the hoppy saisons I've fermented with this culture. Loral is a good choice for a modern saison. Fruity without dominating, and adding some traditionally European attributes. In the same family with Crystal (which I also enjoy in saison).
Changes for Next Time – To mellow the toastiness, I’d walk the GNO back under 5% (where I've had good results for saisons before) and the Munich to 20%. Plus a bit more carbonation. Otherwise really nice! I could see Loral working in a hoppy pale later, or even a dry hopped sour!
Batch Size: 6.0 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74%
Boil Time: 40 min
65.9 % - 7.5 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
27.5 % - 3.13 lbs Weyermann Munich I
6.6 % - .75 lbs Simpsons Golden Naked Oats
Saccharification - 30 min @ 152 F
2.00 oz Loral (Pellet, 9.2% AA) @ 20 min
2.00 oz Loral (Pellet, 9.2% AA) @ Whilrpool/Hop-Stand: 20 min
2.00 oz Loral (Pellet, 9.2% AA) @ Primary Dry Hop
0.50 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min
House Brett Saison Blend
Malt/water adjusted to make a single beer (i.e., saison recipe can be brewed as is). Half of wort was diverted pre-hopping for a gose.
Filtered DC tap water dosed with 2 g of gypsum and 1.5 g of calcium chloride pre-mash.
Chilled to 75F with plate chiller, pitched House Brett Saison stepped up to 1 L on a stir-plate 24 hours prior. Splashing aeration only.
10/23/16 Dry hopped in primary, loose.
11/12/16 Kegged, better late than never. No extra dry hops. Harvested a bottle of house culture. FG = 1.005.
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