Cooking with Beer: Chocolate Stout Cake

Friday, April 15, 2011

Saison Tasting

Without further ado, here's the tasting results of the Saison!

Look: cloudy, yellow body. Thin, bubbly head forms at the top but doesn't retain for more than a few minutes, ultimately just becoming a thin layer of foam and bubbles hugging the sides of the tulip. A little bit of patchy lace is left behind as well.

Smell: actually, quite promising. The fact that Wyeast sells the Saison DuPont yeast is fairly apparent in the nose, and the beer is filled with those familiar esters. Hints of fruitiness from the hops are there as well.

Taste: annnnnd here's the let down. The Munich malt comes out way too strongly here and it kind of drowns out the other flavors, sticking them in the background. There's the saison yeasty goodness back there along with some grapefruit and some tartness. Its also missing the paradise seed.

Feel: a little fuller than I would've liked and not quite as dry as I would've liked either. The carbonation is fairly decent though.

Drinkability: fairly easy drinking, could see this being a decent summer beer if not quite exactly a perfect saison.

Overall, its not quite what I wanted it to be. Saisons are tricky though, so at least I learned some things. For my next saison I'm going to:
  • Adjust the grain bill. I'll use a little less malt overall, cut out the Munich, halve the wheat and maybe cut down the sugar. So basically, all pilsner malt with a little wheat, maybe some sugar and maybe an oz or two of debittered black for color adjustment.
  • Adjust the hops. I think I'll go a more classic route and use something like Hallertau.
  • Phil Markowski, in Farmhouse Ales describes a few different mashing schedules, and I think I'm going to try the one from Saison DuPont.
  • For the yeast, I'm going to stick with the Saison DuPont yeast because I do like the characteristics this yeast has. However, I'm going to make a starter and after the fermentation has gone for a bit, I'm going to pitch another yeast strain to dry out the beer.
You live and you learn! Saisons are tricky and mine may not quite be on par with world class saisons, but I'm glad I attempted the challenge of brewing it. I'll try and age a few bottles for an extended period of time and see how they develop. Cheers!

Blog Posts About this Saison:
T'is the Saison to Bottle.
What's Brewing.
Saison Update.
Craft Beer (Arts &) Crafts... and a Saison Update.
Brewday: Saison (or how not to brew).

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