Saturday, July 17, 2010

382. 34: Saison

So I threatened that we might actually start drinking and commenting on homebrews this year, and I’m here to make good on that threat. This beer is part of my “epic” run of nine saisons brewed between Fall 2008 and Winter 2009. Mostly, I was just experimenting with different ingredients, and since saisons are described as something of a catch-all for randomness in Phil Markowski’s Farmhouse Ales, I figured I’d go to town. I saved a couple bottles of each saison to try as they aged, and pretty much across the board, they’ve only gotten better. I’ll be starting a new run of saisons shortly, but for now, let’s enjoy the fruits of posterity.

Pouring a mostly clear dirty gold with a creamy white head that leaves a fair amount of lacing, 34 has a fruity nose made up of pears, apples, and a light lemon citrus accompanied by small amounts of candy sweetness. There are no discernable spicy or hop aromas. Fruity sweetness opens the front of the beer, along with some bright, candy-like sweetness—pear and apple mixed with Belgian candy sugar; the middle quickly dries out, leaving some light phenolic spiciness on the back of the tongue. A slight amount of sweetness returns for the finish, lingering briefly and competing against the highly attenuated dryness of the beer; as with the front, the sweetness is a mix of faint fruit and candy. The carbonation is bright and tart on the palate, accentuating the dryness of the medium to light body and leaving a light mineral and/or sharp acidic feel on the palate. While the carbonation is lively, the mouthfeel of the beer itself is dry and soft. There is less spiciness than I expected in this beer, although the fruit flavors mix well with the soft candy sweetness in the body, and the light creaminess I hoped the flaked oats would impart has still not materialized. Oh well. The dryness is almost crackly on the palate, which also goes well with the fruitiness. I am pleased that this beer has smoothed and married across the profile with age—while very dry, it is still bright, refreshing, and effervescent, even after 20 months in the bottle.

34: Saison
1 lb. Rahr 2-row
8 oz. Fawcett Oat Malt
4 oz. Weyerman Carahell
4 oz. Flaked Oats

Mashed @ 130° F for 30 minutes, raised to 150° F for 45 minutes; batch sparged with 1 gallon of 165° F water for 10 minutes

Added fluid to brew kettle along with (70 minute boil):
4 lbs. Alexander Pale Malt
1 lb. Sparkling Amber DME
1 oz. Fuggle leaf 4.6% AA
½ oz. Glacier pellet 6.0% AA

w/15 minutes to go: ½ oz. Fuggle leaf 4.6% AA and 1 tsp. Irish moss
w/3 minutes to go: ½ oz. Glacier pellet 6.0% AA

Cooled wort, and pitched on pancake of Wyeast 3711 French Saison

Brewed: 12/17/2008 @ 64°
Secondary: 12/31/2008 @ 1.004
Bottled: 1/25/2009 with 1 ¼ cup Pilsen Light DME

OG: 1.038
FG: 1.002


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