Whaa choo talkin’ bout saiSon?
Ever since my SaiSon of a Bitch (SOB) batch failed to score well (got a 29/50) at NHC first rounds, I’ve been coming back to that beer trying to find/taste exactly what I got dinged for. Here’s basically the collective feedback from the two judges who tried my SOB:
- Aroma: pepper notes properly placed followed by phenols that seem out of place
- Appearance: haze, head retention and color all came across well
- Flavor: a bit too tart, too much apparent hop bitterness and “earthiness” (likely from the hops)
- Mouthfeel: slight astringency, “pithy” notes, alcohol apparent
- Summary: not bad to drink, lacks full attenuation which may be fixed by raising fermentation temp.
I know now that saison yeast really do like higher temps than what my house could offer this batch in mid-February (right around 70*). Heck, BrewingTV even did an episode on how to heat up saison fermentation recently. I will not hesitate to push it to around 80* next time, and will have to reserve brewing these for the summer, as was traditionally done.
I recently put my SOB head to head with Lift Bridge’s Farm Girl (FG) saison just to see how I thought my beer stacked up against a commercial example. Here are my personal tasting notes:
- Orange peel/lemon/lemon grass flavor throughout
- Subtle malt profile
- Little to no hop flavor apparent
- Very little head retention, unsure of whether this is appropriate to style
- Flavors don’t mingle much, very siloed
- Finishes cleaner than SOB. If I were to compare this to a wine, I’d say Chardonnay.
- Maltier than FG
- Has some orange peel/lemon flavor at the end
- Better head retention than FG
- Many different complex flavors going on in this beer
- Noticed one weird, brief flavor at the end which is probably the “pithy” or “phenolic” reference the judges were making