Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Saison w/ Comet Brewday

Time for more saison, the beer that, if he were still alive today, Jesus would be hitting up like Mark McGwire takes out fastballs. Simile me some of that. And yes, I’m calling Jesus a drinker. Water to wine? Puh-lease. I don’t think so. More like water to sweet sweet saison magic. After all, saison saves, just like Jesus. Indubitably.

125. Saison w/Comet
6 lbs. MFB Pale
2 lbs. MFB Vienna
2 lbs. Breiss White Wheat

Mash @ 149° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons of RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 2 ¼ gallons @ 1.074
Batch sparge @ 166° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.026

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz Comet leaf 11.0% AA

w/15 to go: 1 oz. Comet leaf 11.0% AA & 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Comet leaf 11.0% AA
8 oz. table sugar
4 g. crushed coriander
2 g. crushed seed of paradise

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Comet leaf 11.0% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, & added East Coast Yeast ECY08 Saison Brasserie from 125. Saison w/ EKG

Brewed: 9/4/2012
Secondary: 9/22/2012 @ 1.002; dry hop w/ 1 oz. Comet leaf 11.0% AA
Bottled: 10/4/2012 w/ 4.0 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes (11/22/12): Saison with Comet pours a lightly hazy dull gold with a pillow-y white head; there are streams of small, tight bubbles streaming up the sides of the glass. The nose is spicy resin and citrus; I get orange marmalade and lemon zest along with a touch of grassy hay, plus a whole bunch of other subtle fruit hints—grapefruit, passion fruit, mango. There are also plenty of yeast esters that round the nose and make it delightful: I’m really not sure which aromas are from the hops and which are from the yeast. There is a reason I’ve drank pretty much all of this beer already. Flavors mirror the nose, although there is a slight cracker malt flavor in the front, along with a touch of candy sweetness from the Vienna. But other than that, the hop flavors match the nose, with spiciness in the front and citrus in the middle and finish. The beer is dry and cracker-y on the palate, both from the well attenuated body and the bright, spritzy carbonation. There is a touch of a mineral bite, but it blends in seamlessly with the hop bitterness: both are bright and cleansing. While this beer is something of a bastard in form—it combines a saison body with American craft beer levels of hopping—it hits right in my sweet spot. I think this beer is phenomenal—it is easily the best thing I’ve made in a long time. So not only does this mean that I love East Coast Yeast more than I did already, it means that Comet is the real deal as a hop, and is certainly worth exploring in more detail. And I would like to let the record show that I’m not alone in my assessment of this beer. I entered it in CMI’s Oktobersbest, and while it got justly hammered for being too hoppy for the style (16C), both judges gave me a 10 out of 10 for overall impression. I’ve never gotten a 10 for overall impression before. Ever. I ended up with a 34 out of 50 for an overall score, but both judges loved the beer despite its shortcomings as a saison.

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