Jan 13 2010

Dry-Hopping the Brett-Saison with Amarillo Hops

Back in August of 2009, I took a fully fermented homebrewed saison batch of mine and split it into two 3-gallon carboys. On one I put a vial of Brett B, and on the other I pitched the dregs of an Avery Brabant. The initial post about the sour saison experiment is here.

I haven’t post anything about the tasting of these two batches simply because I haven’t bottled them yet.  (Despite the fact the Brabant version has won a silver medal in a BJCP competition. Ahhh, the joys of wine thieving….)  I will be bottling that soon, hopefully this week.

But the clear winner was the Brabant version.  It was more tart, sour and refreshing.  (More to come later) But this wasn’t a really fair race.  The Brett B version was purely a brettanomyces addition, and the dregs of the Brabant included brettanomyces, lactobacillus, pediococcus and whatever else was cultured up from the bottle.

So, never leaving well enough alone, I decided to play with the Brett B saison before bottling. I’m not a huge fan of the Americanization of Belgian and French beers, but I have had a few interesting ones of late.  I really liked the aroma hop kick of the Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA, and seemed like it would be fun to try dry-hopping my saison with American hops.

Without look it up, it was clear to me that the dry hop aroma from the FDRB was Amarillo hops. So took 1 oz of some Amarillo hops and dropped them into carboy, which holds about 2 gallons of sour saison at this point. The look of it is disturbing.

Through the neck of the carboy

Amarillo hops and the remaining bits of pellicle.

The mixture of green Amarillo pellet hops and the remaining bits of pellicle is glorious.  But, unfortunately, it was difficult to photograph. If you aren’t familiar with what these sour beers look like, I think it might be unsettling. Honestly, it looks like some sort of tomatillo salsa verde thing.

But I am loving the look of this, and the smell is already amazing.

I’ll leave the hops on the saison for about a week, then I’ll bottle them up.