My interest in saisons was sparked by Yvan de Baets' chapter in Farmhouse Ales in which he describes historical saisons as beers that are "low in alcohol", "highly attenuated...and dry", and "either sour or very bitter (with bitterness obtained by the use of a massive amount of hops low in alpha acid)". I devoted a series of posts to that chapter (1, 2, 3), and have been trying to brew beers that fit this description for a while now. The tag for "saison" should bring them all up.
One project growing out of Yvan's essay is my experimentation with blending small portions of old and/or sour beer with young, hoppy saisons and other beers. I've had great results with this so far, and really enjoyed beers I've tried by other homebrewers made in the same manner.
- Historical background to bière de coupage.
- Survey of contemporary versions.
- Bière de coupage made with kettle sours.
- Bière de coupage made with aged sours.
- Bière de coupage made with boxed lambic.
- Original post on biere de coupage.
- Pale saison cut with a golden sour. Tasting notes here.
- Dark saisons cuts with older beer.
- Wit beer cut with berlinerweisse.
- Hoppy Saison cut with berlinerweisse.
- Buckwheat saisons cut with pale sour. Tasting notes and more details here. More on buckwheat and saisons.
- Second Extraction Fruit Saisons.
Many solera-style projects involve scales of production well beyond my means. I've been trying to emulate the same practices on a much smaller scale, brewing 5-6 gallon batches from which I plan to draw off 3 gallons every 9-12 months:These days people tend to associate brettanomyces with Belgian beer, but there was a time when the flavours and aromas associated we now know come from the activity of wild yeasts were associated with the long slow secondary fermentation characteristic of the best British beers. These are my attempts to brew British-style beers that undergo a secondary fermentation by brettanomyces, often inspired by historical recipes.
- Farmhouse Ale based on Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Biere. [Terminated after three pulls.]
- Roeselare Pale Sour (6 gallon). First pull.
- ECY Flanders Red (6 gallon).
- ECY Bug County Pale Sour (6 gallon).
- Yeast Bay Melange Pale Sour (6 gallon).
- Old Ale Solera (6 gallons)
- ECY Bug Farm Adjunct Sour (5 gallon).
BlendingThe soleras described above are intended primarily for blending. I plan on making a number of beers with them once or twice a year:
- Nineteenth century keeping porter. Tasting Notes: #1
- Sour red ale.
- Stock ale.
- Vatted old ale.
I first started home-brewing because, much as I enjoyed American craft beer, I missed Bitter and wasn't very impressed by most American interpretations of the style. Brewing beers of this type with my setup is a challenge, but its something I continue to work on. The tag "Bitter" should bring all the relevant posts up. Below are some links to process-related posts.
- Top-cropping yeast.
- Planning beers based on top-cropping a particular strain.
- Water treatment and carbonation.
- Table Beer I: hoppy saison. Tasting notes here.
- Table Beer II: wheat/rye only pale ale. Tasting notes here.
- Table Beer III: hoppy rye saison. Tasting notes here.