Friday, 10 October 2014

Tasting Notes: Bitter Spelt Saison

Here's some tasting notes the third and final beer I brewed with The Yeast Bay's saison blend.  It's another attempt to brew a bitter saison in the mold of Brasserie de la Senne's Taras Boulba and the beers Yvan de Baets describes in his essay on Farmhouse Ales.  I was prompted to brew this one when, on opening an order from Label Peelers, I found that they'd included a free pound of year old Celeia hops in 1 oz. bags!  Large doses of low alpha hops are exactly what Yvan calls for in his description of these beers, so I decided to throw most of what they gave me into a single three gallon batch.

Appearance: Hazy yellow colour.  Thin lingering head with good lacing down the glass.

Smell: Floral and a little spicy, with some hints of pear and lemon in the background.  Doughy malt as well.

Taste: Dominated by a herbal and spicy hop character that is very reminiscent of Taras Boulba.  Similar malt profile as well, but also a slight tartness and more prominent yeast character.

Mouthfeel: Soft and slightly creamy mouthfeel from the spelt/wheat helps balance the bitterness to some extent.  Still dry, and of course a firm and lingering bitterness.  Its perhaps a little much by the end of the glass---not astringent, but it builds and becomes a bit minerally if you're not eating something along with the beer.

Drinkability & Notes: When I opened the first bottle of this beer I thought I'd ruined it with the dry-hop of Styrian Goldings.  It had an over the top pear/floral character that was quite off-putting.  But now that's faded slightly, I'm quite happy with how this one turned out---its probably my most successful attempt to brew something along the lines of Taras Boulba, though its certainly not a clone of that beer.  The bitterness means I could never enter this in a competition as a saison, but its the kind of beer I want to brew for myself.  Still needs more work, but getting closer to what I have in mind.


Measured O.G: 1.039
Measured F.G: 1.004

Mash: 149°F main mash
Cereal mash for spelt.


58.0% Pilsner
16.3% Flaked Wheat
14.8% Unmalted Spelt
10.9% 6-row 


Celeia             60               15  IBUs     (28g@2.69%)
Celeia             30               7.7 IBUs     (28g@2.69%)
Celeia             15               4.0 IBUs     (28g@2.69%)
Celeia             5                 2.5 IBUs     (28g@2.69%)
Celeia             0                 0.0 IBUs     (28g@2.69%)
Styrian G.       Dry Hop                        (20g)


Yeast Bay Saison Blend

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