August 4, 2013

Wildfire Mesquite Smoked Saison Tasting

I've been really stoked about trying this beer because I've been waiting to brew it for over a year. Surprisingly, it is my first saison brewed with 3711 and the first beer to use my brew belt-like system of heating up the fermenting beer. It's been in the bottle for a mere fourteen days so it's fresh and full of flavor. Let's get to it:

Appearance: Pours a light, reddish hue with fluffy white head. The head is full of large bubbles and slowly descends over time into a small but lasting head. The beer maintains an orange-ish color with some haze. I did not cold crash this beer and it was only in the fridge for a couple hours before pouring so it may be slightly more hazy than bottles that will spend days in the fridge before consumption.

Aroma: Lots of fruity smoke pours out of the beer with hints of citrus, mellon, peach, pepper and a hint of lemon. The Belma hops are adding a hint of mellon aroma and the yeast is adding a little fruit and pepper but the mesquite is definitely driving the aroma with its sweet, citrusy aroma. I named this beer Wildfire because we gets some bad wildfires here in Texas and after they burn through fields of mesquite trees, this is what the air smells like.

Flavor: The smoke dominates the flavor but it isn't a harsh smoky character. It plays nicely with the saison character. The Belma hops are well hidden under the fruit notes from the mesquite and saison yeast. As the beer approaches room temperature the yeast character becomes more prominent in the flavor and the smoke becomes a little more subtle. A strong orange flavor also makes a presence at warmer temperatures. The flavor could use a little rounding out with some noble hops to add a little herbal or grassy character. The massive fruit character makes this beer feel like it is sweet although it really isn't.

Mouthfeel: Oddly, this beer feels heavy on the tongue. Smoke tends to make beers feel particularly heavy and this one is no exception. Saison yeast also like to toss out glycerides, which help add body, so the combination of glycerides, smoke and the wheat in the beer is giving this 1.008 FG beer the feel of a beer closer to 1.020. The beer leaves a feeling of dense oiliness on the tongue.

Drinkability: I like this beer a lot and aside from the tweak to the hops I think it is a solid beer. I would probably also look at trimming back the wheat or adding some table sugar to thin the beer out a little just because it has some serious body to it for a saison. As much as I like smoke beers I would probably only drink one of these before moving on to something else to scrub some of the smoke off the tongue. The flavor is intriguing and enjoyable so I am pretty sad that I only netted seven bottles of this batch. Definitely deserves some tweaks and a rebrew.

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