Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Brewing fatigue / Saison check

I'm trying to steel myself to go downstairs and bottle the 'ol pilsner, but first I have to clean up my trappist mess from yesterday. Sheesh. So instead I'll report on my Saison which I think is now more or less fully mature. I mean, another month in the basement and it may even be a little better, but it's awesome now. It's a beautiful, deep, honeyed gold color, with a voluminous, pretty durable, snow white head. The nose is great because it's hard now to distinguish the different aromatic components, which felt separately constituted a few weeks ago. I get a pretty amalgamated melange of hop, yeast, and spice character. I get a sublime estery fruitiness, mingled with a little bitter orange peel undercurrent just peeping through, earth, spicy hops, some toasty spiciness that I think is the coriander or the grains of paradise. The palate is simply fabulous with a firm, but unharsh, hoppiness presiding over the finish, ushered in by bright, pertly acidic fruitiness. Some definite nuttines (Munich?) kicks into the finish too. I might be content to reproduce this recipe exactly at some point, though there are dozens of other appealing directions to take the Saison style. I could imagine doing one sans spicing with the famous Dupont yeast, which I would like to try--this one had Wyeast 1388. I could also imagine getting into the funkier herbs and more lambic-y tartness of Pipaix, or the totally unfettered creativity of Fantome. I also have a hankering to make an all-Fuggles Saison, going for a really earthy hop profile. I'm thrilled at how approachable Belgian styles are to brew. I may not feel that way once I try a lambic or a Flanders red, but, for now, they're easy. Cheers.


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