Thursday, 19 March 2015

Tasting Notes: Buckwheat Saison

Here's some tasting notes for the buckwheat saison I brewed a few months ago.  I transferred the fermented beer onto a small amount of year old lambic-style beer for a month or so, and also added about a cup of Trimbach Pinot Blanc.  As I mentioned before, this one was inspired by a beer I've never actually tried, the Hill Farmstead/Blaugies collaboration Le Sarrasin.  I was also curious to see if the brettanomcyes would produce any interesting flavours or aromas from the caprylic acid in the buckwheat. Its probably been in bottles for about a month now, but I'm hoping it will continue to develop, so consider these preliminary tasting notes with more to come later in the year.

Appearance: Hazy straw-yellow.  Head dissipates down to around a quarter inch that lingers for a while.

Smell: Intriguing mix of tropical fruits like mango and pineapple, but also sweet grass and flowers.  Very subtle musty funk beneath it, and maybe a slight whiff of plastic or soap  as well.

Taste: Lightly tart, honeyish, floral.  Yellow stone fruits, another fruity flavour I can't quite put my finger on (J said maybe strawberry or even rhubarb!), and an aftertaste that I can imagine calling 'waxy' or maybe `soapy'; not exactly unpleasant, but a little strange.  It becomes more pronounced as the beer warms---hopefully this is something that will fade with time rather than increase.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation.  I was aiming slightly higher but I actually like it where it is.  The beer is dry but not at all thin.  There's a slight lingering bitterness, even astringency, that will probably fade as it ages, but which I rather enjoy (I know people say it clashes, but coming up at the end like this I think it just prolongs the shifting flavours from the beer).

Drinkability & Notes:  I'm quite happy with how this one is developing, though I'm hoping it will continue to evolve over the next few months and I'm planning to hold off drinking the rest for a while yet.  Its already got a nice complexity, and while its certainly a little different from other beers I've brewed with 3726, its hard to tell if that's the wine, the hops, the lambic, the buckwheat, or a combination of all of these. I brewed another four gallons of a similar recipe, which is sitting in a carboy with one gallon from my Roeselare solera.  I'll probably give that a light dry-hop before bottling in the next month or so, then get another batch going.  As I said at the start of the year, I'd like to make a buckwheat saison part of my regular line up here.


  1. Great to read about your experience with buckwheat. I've been meaning to brew a saison with it and will hopefully do that soon!

  2. Just got in 4# of buckwheat to start experimenting with. I'm going to try a Pale Ale base with 2# of buckwheat and .5# of honey. Interested to see how it will effect the beer!


    1. Nice. I'm in the middle of writing another post about this beer and another buckwheat saison which I'm going to schedule for a few weeks from now. Its developing quite nicely in the bottle.