One of my favourite Saison’s is Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace. It is a remarkably dry, highly effervescent and quenching beer with an interesting, but not distracting dimension added by the lone hop variety, Sorachi Ace. Naturally, I wanted to brew it myself… so I did. It’s all gone now so I guess it went alright! I made sure to take some tasting notes before it was all gone.
This is the last beer I brewed before owning a fermentation chamber. As much as I wanted to brew this beer with the Saison Dupont yeast strain, it’s notoriously temperamental, and I just didn’t want to risk it with my equipment at the time. I settled for the beastly French Saison (Wyeast 3711), which is known to ferment beer bone dry in most all conditions. 3711 is more neutral in comparison to the Saison Dupont strain, but I hoped by allowing the yeast to naturally ramp in temperature to over 80F that I would end up with some yeast character. In the end I had some clove flavour, not much else.
As mentioned, 3711 is a beast. This yeast vigorously fermented the 1.060 SG wort to a very dry 1.002 SG beer in about a week, probably less. The house smelled amazing during the brief fermentation as Sorachi Ace hops filled the air… If nobody makes a Sorachi Ace candle, they should!
I would’ve also liked to have dry hopped this beer, but that’s difficult with my current fermentation set up. I settled for a hop burst; a substantial hop addition near end of boil, in my case 6 oz for an 11 gallon batch. Unfortunately much of the hop aroma was driven off during fermentation.
That being said, even without the more interesting Saison dupont yeast, and even without dry hopping the beer turned out well. I’ve never had super fresh Sorachi Ace (the beer from Brooklyn Brewery, not the hop), so the reduced hop aroma wasn’t a huge upset. The beer fermented very quickly, but benefited from some additional conditioning time. It really hit its stride by the time I was drinking the last quarter of it. Initially in the aroma there was an unpleasant phenolic character (or something), but it went away with a bit of time. I could never really identify the exact cause of this, it may have been related to yeast stress.
Tasting notes: Pale gold with fluffy white head. Effervescent and quenching. Neutral, slightly sweet aroma. Pear, clove, and lemon rind character. Subtle herbal-ness, a touch of tartness. A VERY deceiving 7.6% ABV.
I really wish I could’ve done a side-by-side comparison with the “real” Sorachi Ace. It was supposed to be part of LCBO’s summer release, but didn’t get on the shelves in time unfortunately.
Worth a re-brew next year? Probably! With some modifications… notably the yeast strain. I would also consider lowering the ABV in a future version. 7.6% is fine for special occasions, but when you have a couple kegs of it, it’s a bit much!
|Batch Size||Boil Time||IBU||SRM||Est. OG||Est. FG||ABV|
|11 gal||90 min||35.2 IBUs||3.5 SRM||1.060||1.006||7.1 %|
|Pilsner (2 Row) Ger||19 lbs||92.68|
|Sugar, Table (Sucrose)||1.5 lbs||7.32|
|Sorachi Ace||1 oz||60 min||Boil||Pellet||12|
|Sorachi Ace||1 oz||20 min||Boil||Pellet||12|
|Sorachi Ace||6 oz||1 min||Boil||Pellet||12|
|Whirlfloc Tablet||2.00 Items||15 min||Boil||Fining|
|French Saison (3711)||Wyeast Labs||80%||65°F - 77°F|
|Mash Out||168°F||5 min|