The Saison Thread

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This needs to be a thread. Now it is. Please discuss all things saison, Brett, and mixed farmhouse fermentation.*

I love saisons. My last two kegs were Classique and Bam Biere. Now I have on a homebrew "Wallonian Pale Ale," which is hopped like an IPA but fermented with saison yeast, Brett, lacto, and who knows which others bugs. New Belgium probably stole the idea for Hop Tart from this beer.**

I have a full-size fridge that is full of saison. I attempt to never run out of Saison Dupont, Apex Predator, Orval***, and Classique. I always need at least some Jolly Pumpkin.

I'm glad that there are now plenty of breweries out there focusing on saisons and similar beers. There's been an explosion in the past few years. I love seeing more places focusing on beers that I love so much, but I hope it doesn't get to the point where we see tons of crappy saisons because everyone *HAS TO* make one.

* I'm going to use "saison" as shorthand. I really didn't want to call this thread "The Thread for Lovers of Belgian/French and Belgian/French-Tradition-Inspired Beers that Are Yeast Forward, Dry, Sometimes Tart, Sometimes Funky, Sometimes Hoppy, Sometimes Spiced, Sometimes Fruited, BUT NEVER SWEET."

** Probably not.

*** Highly-attenuated, Brett-finished, and dry-hopped? I don't know if I can pick three better hyphenated adjective sets. Whether you call it Trappist, Belgian Pale, Farmhouse-style, my answer is the same: Yes, please.
 
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Downunder I enjoy the work of La Sirene:

http://www.lasirene.com.au/our-beers/

Their house strain came from a farmhouse from Belgium that they won't give up the name of... (they have told me once it was a homebrewer but another time they said if they mentioned the town, it would give it away. I don't think anyone really cares though. It's probably Blaugies or something).

Their beers are always ridiculously carbonated but delicious. They are starting to roll out some barrel and wild ferment stuff (cultured from local plants etc, not spontaneous) which have been pretty good so far.

Everyone goes crazy for their worst beer "Praline" which was made for a high profile festival and won peoples choice. It's pretty gross and too sweet. They are making an imperial and a BA version, which dipshits will go crazy for will ignoring the Farmhouse Red, which is delicious.

Also Craftwork from NZ are interesting. Basically a homebrew set up with some barrels. Also doing some wild yeast and spontaneous fermentation experiments (koelschip built out of an old shower).

I've tried their Saison Poire, Anise and Spelt Grisette. The Grisette is really good.

http://www.craftworkbrewery.co.nz/

Outside of that, some breweries are putting out pretty standard saisons. There are some good "India" saisons around. Bridge Road/Nogne O India Saison is big seller in Australia but the Wolf of the Willows (newish brewery) India Saison shits all over it. That's a delicious beer.

Oh and 2 Metre Tall from Tasmania are doing all spontaneous fermentation on their farm, using locally farmed ingredients. Still in their early days there have been some incredibly promising beers... saisons, wild ales? Who even knows. Some have been closer to straight lambic. Nothing to go too crazy over yet but I'm very interested to see what they do in the future.
 
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I hope it doesn't get to the point where we see tons of crappy saisons because everyone *HAS TO* make one.
Call me negative nancy, but in my experience we're already well past that point. But the fact that I really only enjoy "funky" saisons anymore might be unfairly coloring my view of the more (or is it technically less?) traditional saisons I've tried in the last year or so.
 
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Melbourne, Australia
La Sirene Farmhouse Red, which is delicious.
This and their wild saison with 6+ months on it are incredible.
Also a fan of Saisonette, despite how ugly it looks.
Oh and 2 Metre Tall from Tasmania are doing all spontaneous fermentation on their farm, using locally farmed ingredients. Still in their early days there have been some incredibly promising beers... saisons, wild ales? Who even knows. Some have been closer to straight lambic. Nothing to go too crazy over yet but I'm very interested to see what they do in the future.
Given how good their wild cider's getting I'm also pretty keen to see how these guys go.

Also Exit's saisons have been pretty good with some age on them. Were way too clean out of the gate for my liking.
 
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What about biere de gardes? (bieres de garde?) Those can be malty and kinda sweet. Farmhouse ale or nah?
I would say yes on farmhouse tradition, but also that a Biere de Garde should be malty, but not sweet, in that they can utilize larger amounts of bready, toasty, and biscuity grains like Munich, Vienna, Aromatic, etc., but should not be using heavy amounts of caramel/crystal malts that leave the finished beer sweet.

Further, the original beers brewed in this style hundreds of years ago undoubtedly would have picked up some Brett and/or bacteria that would have developed the beer and dried it out over the cellaring period, even with cool storage temperatures.
 
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Houston, TX
Had Hibernal Dichotomous b2 last night on cask:



I usually enjoy cask variations more and this was no exception. The nose had loads of thyme, but the beets really came through as it warmed up. The bitterness has really been toned down on this cask version, something I didn't enjoy as much out of the keg/bottle. VS bottle: less dry/a little sweetness, but more balanced.
 
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I would say yes on farmhouse tradition, but also that a Biere de Garde should be malty, but not sweet, in that they can utilize larger amounts of bready, toasty, and biscuity grains like Munich, Vienna, Aromatic, etc., but should not be using heavy amounts of caramel/crystal malts that leave the finished beer sweet.

Further, the original beers brewed in this style hundreds of years ago undoubtedly would have picked up some Brett and/or bacteria that would have developed the beer and dried it out over the cellaring period, even with cool storage temperatures.
So...are they kosher for discussion?
 
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Mar 24, 2015
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Houston, TX
It just sits on the shelf? That beer is one of my favourites. I have to get bottles posted from France to England, so my gfs sister can mule them back for me.
Yeah, it's all over the place here. They couldn't sell it at the local grocery store so they discounted it all. My fiancée bought a bottle since it was marked down (usually $8 for what, a 12oz?) so I tried it that night. Went back to buy more a few days later but I guess they sold through it all at half off.
 

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