Although there is something wonderful about the depth of complexity and drinkability in a low alcohol Saison like Duponts Avril, or even the sheer perfection of their classic Saison, their is something of majesty and whimsy about the Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux. At 9.5% ABV it is still way too drinkable, spicy, crackery, zesty, malty, and fruity, and super refreshing until the ABV hits you. A style I tend to shy away from except on special ocassions, I really want to have a beer that draws its inspiration from Avec Les Bons Vouex in the brewery. For the first iteration of this recipe I went with a base of Vienna cut with Pilsner, German Dark Wheat, and Flaked Oats, with a hefty dose of sugar to get it nice and dry and still have what the Belgians call digestibility (never heavy, easy drinking no matter how high the alcohol). I hopped it with Saaz, Tettnang, and Hallertau for a more authentic Saison character. The beer is not designed to be a clone which would have had only Pilsner malt and Saaz with Styrian Goldings.
In hinesight I really should have gone with a base of Pilsner Malt cut with Vienna instead of the other way around. The beer is very malt forward and toasty even with the 38 IBUs. It could really stand to finish a little bit dryer, a little more bitter, and a little crisper with toned down maltiness. The next iteration will up the Pilsner, lower the Vienna, bring down the OG a little, up the sugar a touch for fermentability, and bring up the IBUs a touch. Don't get me wrong, the beer is amazing, it just drinks more like an maltier Tripel than Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux. For fun (like I said above, I don't typically gravitate towards this style of Saison) I am aging half on French Oak chunks I had soaked in Pinot Noir to see what a Wine Barrel Aged version of this beer would be like.
STYLE: Farmhouse Ale
TYPE: All Grain
SIZE: 12 gallons
IBU: 38 (Modified Tinseth)
Efficeincy: 79% (mash)
Vienna, Pilsner, German Dark Wheat Malt, Flaked Oats, Chocolate Malt (for color), Sugar
Magnum, Saaz, Tettnang, Hallertau
Crisp, dry, bitter.
Blend for fruit and earth/spice
Half Dry Hopped and kegged fresh, half aged on Pinot Noir Soaked French Oak.