Saison on Tap at V-50

The Saison is a spicy golden ale with light hopping (low bitterness) of 5.4% ABV and 13.2 degrees Plato. This is a Great American Beer Festival competition entry in category 60 – French- and Belgian-Style Saison. It is a complex beer that goes especially well with seafood and cheese or as a mid-course palate cleanser. This beer was inspired by my conversations with Jean Louis Ditz of Brassere a Vapeur in Pipaix Belgium. Jean Louis was a featured speaker at the 2005 Spirit of Belgium conference in Arlington Virginia, where I moderated a panel on American craftbrewing of Belgian beer styles. I spoke with Jean Louis regarding his use of savory and sharp spices in his Saison de Pipaix, a delicious beer that intrigued me.

My version of a Saison combines sharp Thai Green Peppercorns, earthy and nutty Kala Jeera (black cumin) and citrusy Coriander for spicing, all available from Penzeys online or at their great Falls Church shop. I used the original Saison Dupont yeast for its spicy peppery character produced when used properly. This is a very contrary yeast that must be fermented much hotter than other yeasts in order to keep fermentation going – above 85 Fahrenheit vs. 65 Fahrenheit for most ales. It’s rather scary running the fermentation this hot – any other ale yeast would have yeast and partially fermented beer streaming out of the fermenter under pressure at this temperature. But, Saison Dupont ferments starts in a controlled fast and furious fashion and then putters along for the rest of the month before finishing. This beer, like Saison de Pipaix, is somewhat lower in alcohol than some of the classic versions. I think the 5.4% alcohol level makes this beer more enjoyable in our 16 oz. serving size.

More information on the Saison beer style is available at the Beer Judge Certification Program style guide.

Cheers, Bill


~ by billmadden on September 16, 2008.

2 Responses to “Saison on Tap at V-50”

  1. This sounds great! will we be tasting it at the October 29th beer dinner or will I need to come in before then and try it out?

  2. Chris, It will probably be gone by the time we get to the Beer Dinner at V-50 so come in before it goes. Do not worry, there will be plenty of other beers on draft by that time.

    Cheers, Bill

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