Thursday, September 24, 2009

86. Harpoon Leviathan Saison Royale

“Can someone say over-carbonated? This looks like one of my beers.”

Our third beer from Harpoon Brewing (first and second)—Elli does love her some nautically-themed beer. Especially one that involves the ancient art of whaling.

Leviathan starts with a monster white head, and we do mean monster—the yellow straw color took a little time to develop out of the large pillowy head. There was a sweet fruity candy nose, with apple, banana, and pear aromas along with some clove and general spiciness to it. Leviathan has a tart, slightly sour, and metallic opening; the sweetness in the beginning was more of the candy variety. The middle has a pleasant spiciness; some slight yeastiness emerges at the end, as does some sharp sourness. There are also more of the metallic flavors from the start that linger in the dry finish. Leviathan has a phenolic, slightly tart mouthfeel; there is a decent amount of sharpness on the palate. The carbonation bite hits in the middle to end of the beer. Overall, a very dry beer, and not a very coherent beer—there is a bit too much going on to create a balanced beer. Aging might help improve the flavors by allowing them to better marry, but the already high carbonation levels also leave this one something of a ticking time bomb—the tradeoff between improved flavor and exploding glass is a mighty thin line to balance. The metallic flavor also makes this taste more like a Belgian golden ale than a saison. Elli’s comment halfway through this one was “I want my old Harpoon back.” I guess fancy ain’t always better...

From the bottle: “Brewed with a unique blend of spices, Leviathan Saison features lots of fruity esters and spicy acidity. The finish is dry with delicate Noble hops notes.”

From Harpoon’s website: “Belgian Saisons were traditionally brewed to slake the thirst of 19th century farmhands. Our Saison Royale uses authentic ingredients with a nod to that tradition while staying true to our own craft brewing roots. German Pilsner and North American Pale malts are paired with Vienna malt, making up the hearty malt bill for this brew. It is hopped with British East Kent Goldings and finished with Hallertauers from the Tettnang growing region in Germany, adding a spicy, clean hop finish.

We fermented the beer with a Saison yeast strain to provide the spicy, earthy character familiar to the style. To accompany this character, we added white pepper and Rosemary during the brewing, which adds depth and complexity to this celebratory brew. The result is a truly complex and rich Saison, with a noble hop character and a spicy finish. Fit for a king, better enjoyed with friends.”

ABV: 9%
IBU: 25
OG: 19° P


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