Friday, June 8, 2012

Review: Antiquated Ambush (Sour Saison)

What do you mean you brewed a sour in 4 weeks?  Yup.  Did my original Saison recipe from a few months ago with a few tweaks, and then, due to a boost in efficiency had an extra 3/4 gallons of wort.  Took it out of the main fermentation and hit it with my RR starter.  4 weeks later I had 5 gallons of Saison, and 3/4 gallons of sour Saison with a hint of Brett, and a nice tartness.  Blended the two and bottled.  Nice pellicle in the bottles.  After 7 weeks in the bottle at garage temps the bugs and Brett are doing a great job of boosting the carbonation levels closer to the typical Saison range (under carbed on purpose so I didn't get bottle bombs).  I'm very hopeful of how this beer is going to continue to develop over time.  Nice thing is that I used the yeast slurry from the soured version to do the same thing with my Witbier!

Pours a slightly hazy (souring bugs and Brett still active, pellicle at top of the bottle) burnished gold with a nice 1+ finger pure white head.  Lots of tiny bubbles.  Decent lacing.  Head fades slowly to a thick cap that persists to the last drop.

Smells of lemon, pepper, apricots, tropical fruit, hay, Brett funk, tart, light buytiric acid as well (not too off-putting, just a mild fecal scent).  Spicy and floral hops are present but not powerful.  

Tastes much like it smells, tart lemons, peppery spice, ginger, apricot, sulfur, fruity, floral, Brett funk is mild yet present.

Dry, crisp, spritzy, light, refreshing, bubbly, tart, very balanced finish between the dry, bitter, sour, sweet.  The finish is surprisingly perfect (surprising due to being a first time attempt at the recipe).

I'm very impressed with this beer.  The Saison yeast is quite restrained on this version compared to the original, more than likely due to overpitching (same issue on the Witbier), wish it was popping a little more.  Lots of stuff working together on this version.  The Brett and bugs are quite present for being this young and the low FG, they must have ripped apart the 3/4 gallon early.  The spice, fruit, tartness, look, Brett, dry tart finish, hops, all of it works together to make a very delightful drink.  Only two things that I wish would change are the mild buytiric acid (which over time will hopefully be esterfied by the Brett and bugs), and the weather.  Oregon is nothin but rainy and cold right now, and this beer just begs the clouds to kick and the sun to ramp us up to the 80s.

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