This beer was my first run of my mixed saison culture including a particularly wonderful bottle of Fantome, Logsdon Seizoen, Perennial Aria and St. Somewhere Saison Athene. After putting together these dregs and working them up in a starter I needed somewhere for them to go. I had the grain bill and hops for a clone of Funkwerks Tropic King I needed to use so it became the first attempt with this mixed saison culture. Anyway, here comes dat review.
Appearance: Pours penny copper with a tapioca off-white head that explodes upwards from the glass on first pour but descends into a weak, thin head. It's slightly hazy with an oily appearance on the surface.
Aroma: Overripe strawberry, lime and stale bread wrapped up in hay and wet newspaper thrown in a barn for a week. Subtle hints of black pepper, lemon, bread crust and a slightly meaty aroma like corned beef? Overall, very much an overripe fruit salad with some clear brett funk. The fantome strawberry ghost flavor is all over.
Flavor: Overripe mixed berries, lime juice, excessive black pepper, hay, cardamom, mace, musty basement, apricot, cherry, wheat bread crust, sweet malt, typical brett barnyard funk. A hint of floral hoppiness. The flavor is heavily overripe berry and acidic fruit that the grain is lost. It has an amorphous sweetness from the munich malt that feels almost overbearing with the sweet, overripe fruit flavors.
Mouthfeel: At once it feels on one hand sweet, heavy and slightly oily while on the other hand dry, slightly bitter with a black pepper spice like french fries with too much black pepper. It's spritzy which helps bigly keep the oiliness from feeling dense on the tongue. It's a strange mixture of textures. The mouthfeel is the weakest part of the beer. The oiliness is something I've experienced before with brett beers. It's probably my least favorite brett attribute. Fortunately, it normally goes away with time.
Overall: An interesting beer. It has wisps of Funkwerks' version but the heavy fruit tones take it somewhere very different. The pepper notes must be an issue with brett and rakau hops because the same thing existed in the older version I brewed with a different mixed culture. I like this beer a little more than the Funkwerks beer but it isn't my favorite. It's too sweet for my preferences. I hope the oily texture breaks down. This tasting is seven months out. A younger bottle had as much of an overripe fruit flavor but seemed jumbled. Maybe this mixed culture just needs a lot of time. Not necessarily a bad thing if I can even get near that Fantome magic.