Beer Club Weekly

Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Saisons are sturdy farmhouse ale that was traditionally brewed in the winter, to be consumed throughout the summer months. Not so long ago it was close to being an endangered style, but over recent years there's been a massive revival; especially in the US.

This is a very complex style; many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor. Look for earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Lots of spice and with a medium bitterness. They tend to be semi-dry with many only having touch of sweetness.


The origin of saison is Belgian farmhouse beers brewed in the autumn or winter for consumption during the summer for the farm workers, who were entitled to up to five litres each workday. Brewing outside the summer months was common for all brewers before the discovery of refrigeration, due to the likelihood of the beer spoiling while fermenting in the summer, which is the height of airborne bacteria activity. Farmers possibly also brewed during the cooler months to provide work for their permanent staff during the quieter period. After brewing, the ale was stored until the summer when the main consumers would be the seasonal workers


The type of malt determines the colour of the saison, and although most saisons are of a cloudy golden colour as result of the grist being mostly pale and/or pilsner malt, the use of darker malts results in some saisons being reddish-amber. Some recipes also use wheat. Spices such as orange zest, coriander, and ginger may be used. Some spice character may come through due to the production of esters during fermentation at warm temperatures


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