Thursday 4 February 2010

7. Dark Saison

The Dark Saison is in FV. Saison is my favourite beer style. Until I first tried one I couldn’t believe that it was possible to make a beer crisp and fresh with an ABV of around 6%. Up until recently anything over 5% in the UK was thick and sticky. The best Saisons are more refreshing than cask session ales. The only clue that they are 6-7% is the burn of the ethanol and hit of fresh fruit from the esters. Saisons are typically golden in colour. There are a couple verging on amber but none are anywhere near dark. In beer, with darkness tends to come fullness and richness. Some weaker stouts use the astringency of roasted malts to dry up the finish but as a rule the darker the colour the fuller the flavour. To make a dark beer true to the crisp fresh Saison Character is therefore a challenge!

I am using all the weapons in the brewer’s armoury to ensure freshness in the Dark Saison. The following give a dry and refreshing beer,

Low mash temp
Wheat in grist
Glucose = ethanol
High yeast pitching rate
Highly attenuative yeast
Low beer pH
High bitterness
Roasted barley/wheat

Malt was pale ale, wheat and roasted barley. Hops; Willamette, Cascade and Brewer’s Gold. To this I added 10 degrees of fermenability in the form of glucose and am fermenting the wort with yeast recovered and propagated from a bottle of Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux left over from the Christmas tasting. We shall see how it goes.

The Chestnut Porter is chugging away in the FV. It has fermented down through 60 degrees of gravity over the last 6 days so should go into cooling tomorrow. Once the yeast has flocculated out it’s going into a cask with the roasted chestnuts and some priming glucose. The finished beer is destined to be served at the Bodmin Beer festival on 19th and 20th February. I am also going to bottle a small amount. It smells like a monster. We all of course know what a monster smells like.


Mark said...

Sounds very interesting indeed. How might one get one's hands on one of those bottles? :P


Stuart Howe said...

If it's any good Chunk I'll let you know. Please watch this space.

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