Monday, 10 June 2013

Tasting Notes: John's Saison

A pint of Johns Saison
So it took a while, but the John's Saison is done! Its fruity, dry and refreshing, just as I remember john's original brew. The beer is great - quite the refreshing summer brew, and it has a decent kick to boot!

The beer started with a gravity of 1.054 and ended at the amazingly low 0.998! The beer is hopped with a range of 'new' hops, giving it a wonderful fruity/vinous flavour and aroma that is very unique & enjoyable.

Aroma: The aroma of this beer is unique - the Nelson Sauvin hops used in the dry hop are known for providing a wine-like aroma, and that comes through quite strongly in this beer; close your eyes and you may think that you're about to indulge in a glass of white! Underneath that is a hint of grapefruit, a common characteristic provided by Citra hops.

Appearance: Unlike what the above picture suggests, this beer is crystal-clear, and a dark straw/light copper in colour. The 'haze' above is condensation - we've got 96% humidity today, so no force on earth will keep it away. The beer pours with a thick, creamy head that persists for a long time, leaving belgian lace along the sides of the glass.

Flavour: Citrus flavours - provided by the hop-bursting with Citra & Armillo Gold hops - dominate this beer. Beneath the citrus flavour of the hops is a dry, but slightly malty, beer. The citrus flavours dominate early in the sip; later on a more typical hop bitterness emerges. Throughout is a modest sweetness - produced by the esters of the saison yeast used to produce the beer. Because this beer was fermented cooler than is normal for saison's, this characteristic is suppressed...meaning that I need a way to warm my beers. The high levels of dry-hopping have left a slight vegital flavour that is occasionally noticeable. Luckily, that flavour fades with every passing day.

Mouthfeel: As the low FG would imply, this is a thinner beer that is almost water-like in its mouthfeel. This is not a detractor, and indeed, is on-style. This is balanced by a sparkling effervescence that further lightens the mouthfeel. Even with the low finishing gravity, this beer doesn't cause any astringency or drying of the mouth.

Overall: While this recipe is a modern twist on the classical saison, it reflects the style well. It is a very enjoyable beer to drink, and goes well will BBQing or sitting in a hammock after mowing the lawn. The balance of hop, malt and yeast characteristics is skewed more to the hops than is normal for this style, but none-the-less, the beer is well balanced and a joy to drink. This beer easily is in the top 10% of those I've brewed.

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