Tasting Notes: Saison du Ward (Fresh Hop Saison)

Recipe and Brew Log

Brewed on: 2014/09/07
Bottled on: 2014/10/19
OG: 1.068
FG: 1.005
ABV: 8.2%
IBU: 22

Our fresh hop Saison turned out beautifully. Despite the low final gravity (1.005), it has a lot of body and some residual sweetness – likely a result of the combination of oats and rye  in the grist and glycerol produced by the Saison strains.

Appearance: lightly hazy gold with hints of orange. If you’ve read any of my other brew logs, you’ll realize that I like making beers that look like this.  Pours with a fine white head that lasts. Classic Saison in my books.

Aroma: A beautiful and intriguing mix of the two Saison yeast’s characters – the fruit and vinous character of DuPont and the peppery spice of French Saison. There are clear aromas of citrus and black pepper. There is a balance achieved between the fruit and spice that I haven’t been able to get before in Belgian/farmhouse ales. Under the big yeast character there are hints of bready, spicy rye and herbal hops. I am surprised there isn’t more hop aroma however, as we used a boatload of fresh hops at the end of the boil. That said, we took our time packaging this beer so it could have lost some hop aroma over time.

Taste: A surprising initial sweetness, roundness and fullness is balanced by a big hit of herbal/spicy hops and a crisp Pils malt finish, buffered by oat creaminess and a touch of bitterness. I haven’t had many Saisons with big hop flavour but low-ish bitterness, and I really like the effect it has here.  The relatively high ABV is masked – this isn’t really hot at all which was a concern initially. No complaints here.

Overall: I think we generally nailed it. I think to be truly considered a classic saison it should be lower ABV and drier, but as it stands it’s a great beer with character similar to well-known American examples (Boulevard Tank 7, Ommegang Hennepin) but quite different from continental saisons. I’m really excited to see how this ages. Friends: you’ll probably get a bottle of this for Christmas.

cropped-yeast-anton_van_leeuwenhoek.jpg
– Richard

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