Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tasting : Zombie Printemps

While the separate 8 L or so of Saison that was racked to secondary still sits on 600 g of raspberries (along with some yeast dregs from a bottle of Fantome Saison), the plain portion has been bottled for about 5 weeks now. I've only had several bottles, but I think I like how the beer has turned out. Despite aiming for 3.5 volumes of CO2, I'd definitely go higher next time, as the carbonation didn't come out quite as high as I would have liked (Saisons are generally very carbonated, as in "bottle the beer in Duvel-type bottles" high).

From some individual descriptions of the Wyeast 3711 French Saison blend, I was expecting more fruitiness to come through in both the aroma and flavors of the beer; however, while it IS present, I feel that the spiciness/phenolics win here. The beer DID attenuate very well, however (FG 1.004), and the characteristic dry-finish was achieved nicely.

Next on the Saison brew-list is a clone of the very tasty Oxbow Freestyle #5, based on some very helpful notes from the head brewer/co-founder of Oxbow Brewing, Tim Adams. Hopefully that will be something I'll be able to tackle in the next month or two.

Appearance: Poured with a moderate-large, white fluffy head. Fades slowly, to 1/2-finger or so. Body is a golden color, and slightly hazy.

Aroma: Fruity and peppery, with some definite alcohol coming through. Some of the spiciness in the aroma could be coming from the Saaz hops. The alcohol fades to a background presence.

Taste: Fruity and spicy, again with the pepper being prominent. A bit of spicy hop flavor. Some phenolics in there; I don't think it's from wild yeast or chlorine-treated water. Very dry finish, with moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Moderate-high carbonation, medium-light bodied. Some alcohol warmth, but nothing harsh.

Overall: Not bad at all. Don’t know how much I hit/missed the mark here. I’d like the beer to be more on the fruity side... seems to me it’s leaning towards spicy. Still, it mostly looks the part, has some pleasant character in the aroma and flavors, and finishes dry and pretty well-carbonated.


  1. 3711 is definitely a spicy strain. I've never been able to get much in the way of fruity Belgian esters out of it, so this year I switched things up and went with WLP550. I was pretty happy with the results, it retained some of the spicy character, but was definitely more fruity.

    1. I've used the Wyeast 3522 (I believe the close equivalent to the WLP550) in a Stone Vertical Epic 090909 clone, and you're right, it definitely had some notable fruitiness in there (mind you, there was also orange peel in the beer!).

      I think when I brew the Freestyle #5 clone I'll give the Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison a try. Not supposed to be any fruitier, but I'd like to try as many Saison yeasts as possible; maybe then I can settle on my go-to strain.