The Saison Files - Tasting the Saison Strains of the Yeast Bay

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Less Talk - More Yeast Writings

So you know I'm a Saison Nut, right? It's the style I'm known for more than anything else. It's the style I brew more than anything else. It's playful, expansive, complex and approachable. The style has allowed me lots of room to be creative. You've got my Year of Saisons, my "Your Farmhouse" Saisons, my hoppy Saisons, my Champagne Saisons, my Guacamole Saisons, my Chowdah Saison, etc, etc.

I've got my Saison Guide, which we've talked about a few times and it's even inspired one of our experiments (and soon some more as well). 

The hard part about the guide though is the yeast strain descriptions. I've slowly but surely been working my way through them but every time I turn around - more strains are added! This time out, I decided to capture my reactions to tasting three of The Yeast Bay's Saison strain and answer a few questions at the same time. Enjoy! (And don't forget to go listen back to Episode 5, when Denny and I interviewed Nick from the Yeast Bay.)

What do you guys think? Did you find the same results when you tried these strains? Is there a particular recipe you'd like to try with them?

The Thirty Second Strain Summary (Full Notes of All Strains in the Saison Guide)

  • Saison Blend - (Tested June 2016) - Initial nose of apple and cinnamon. Lightly sulfurous to close out. As the beer warms, becomes an apple bomb. Spicy forefront with a little bit of a corny aspect. Strong finish of herbal tea and cinnamon. Of the three tested this is the closest to "classic" with an overall balanced approach on the palate. Would benefit from fermenting a little cooler, I suspect.
  • Saison Blend II - (Tested June 2016) - Clean nose that jumps into a grapey/winey sensation that becomes blended with sandalwood. Hops pop out of this batch more that the others. Mouthfeel is luxurious but not as "gummy" as the French Saison strains like Wyeast 3711 French Saison. The finish is bright and straight up clove/cinnamon phenol.
  • Wallonian Farmhouse - (Tested June 2016) - Threw a lot of yeast on transfer. Had to work a little harder to get a clear pull. Initial hit on the nose is tropical fruit - hot spicy caramelized pineapple - think Upside Down cake. Palate is bone dry with a traditional "musty" earthiness that hangs through the mid palate until the spices hit in the finished with a bit of surprising tartness. (This is the only one of the three tested to actually really pop a tart character).