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A few Zymurgy issues ago, Drew Beechum dove into the "seasonality" of saisons in his article designating at least one recipe for every time of the year. It only made sense that our beloved farmhouse ale wasn't just a springtime beer, since its French-derived name actually means "season" in English.
This experimental beer was a nod to non-traditional recipes, satisfying both the yearning for a bright, citrus flavor while also creating a punch of bitterness for those hop cravings. This recipe was featured in the May/June 2008 issue of Zymurgy.
Michael Tonsmiere, the Mad Fermentationist, and his friend, Alex Howe, set out to create a series of beers to celebrate dried fruit and cold weather.
The Dark Winter Saison IV, found in May/June 2014 Zymurgy with some of its flavors inspired by Russian River's Consecration, a dark ale aged in cabernet sauvignon barrels for 4 to 8 months with black currants and souring microbes. The Dark Winter Saison IV is similar, aged in currants and a wine-soaked oak stave that helps it become rich and vinous.
The beers smells of dank Brett funk, with raisin aromatics from the currants and some red wine as well. As it warms, you might notice vanilla from the oak. It's a dry beer, but not too much so. It should taste lightly tart, with minimal bitterness and a slight warming alcohol feel. Rich flavors and complexity in a drinkable package, this is the right saison for a winter evening.
Spring has sprung, and it's time to start planning brews for the warmer months ahead.
In Belgium, particularly the French-speaking regions, saison was a style typically brewed on farms in the wintertime and enjoyed through the following spring and summer. Brewing gave farmhands something to do in the winter as well as a tempting beverage to motivate them through the day.
Mike Heniff, author of the following recipe, has spent a great deal of time quaffing his way through Belgium and exploring the styles and variations all over the country. His saison recipe keeps things simple, allowing for the yeast character and some hop bitterness to shine through. The result is a light-bodied ale perfect for quenching warm weather thirst, while still packing a bit of a punch. À votre santé!
This recipe was featured in the article "Beer Ventures: Belgian Beer Paradise" by Michael Heniff in the January/February 2005 Zymurgy.Read More
This saison recipe comes from the AHA's Homebrewopedia, and was a featured recipe for our annual Big Brew celebration in 2009. It's dedicated to Dave Levonian, who was great brewer of Belgian-style beers. If you are a saison lover, you will definitely enjoy this one! Read More
David Janssen of Seattle, WA, member of the BrewVIC, won a gold medal in Category #16: Belgian and French Ale during the 2013 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Philadelphia, PA. Janssen’s Belgian and French Ale was chosen as the best among 560 final round entries in the category. Read More
Saison d'Hiver is presented as a winter-inspired saison in Drew Beechum's article "A Saison for Every Season," which apeared in the May/June 2008 Zymurgy magazine.
For more seasonal-themed saisons, AHA members can access the full article in the eZymurgy online archive. Not a member? Join today!
View the Homebrew Recipes archive for past recipes posted to HomebrewersAssociation.org, as well as the Homebrewopedia for a wide selection of recipes, including past National Homebrew Competition winners.Read More
Gordon Schuck of Steamboat Springs, CO won a gold medal in Category #16: Belgian and French Ale during the 2007 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Denver, CO. Schuck’s Belgian and French Ale was chosen as the best among 298 final round entries in the category. Read More