Monday, May 14, 2012
Farmhouse Mild: Tasting
I'm finally getting around to doing some tasting notes for Farmhouse Mild, which I brewed back at the end of March. I only kegged up two gallons of this batch, so I have been saving it until I had some time to review it and use my Beer Gun to get a few bottles filled. The other three gallons were split between three one-gallon jugs, with each one getting a dose of a different Brettanomyces strain. I used White Labs Bruxellensis, Clausseni, and Lambicus. I plan to bottle each of those after letting them sit with the Brett for a bit.
Appearance: Pours a very pale golden-straw color. Very clear with a nice, fluffy white head. Good retention and some spotty lacing as it falls down. A thin cap remains throughout. 3/3.
Aroma: The nose brings faint earth and herbal character along with a touch of white pepper. There isn't much fruitiness, despite the American hops that I used. I can't say that I miss it, although I expected a bit more given the level I put in there and the otherwise-basic recipe. Behind that is a bit of light pilsner malt and a touch of straw. As it warms, there's just a bit of Amarillo in the background. 9/12.
Flavor: It starts out with some crisp pilsner malt with some wheat and straw in the background. Behind that is a nice yeast presence; most prevalent are notes of faint pepper and just a touch of fruit, which was otherwise missing from the nose. Behind it all is a nice, smooth bitterness leading to a very crisp finish. I think the yeast presence is nicely subdued, and I'm not sure I'd want too much more from a beer that is intentionally light and refreshing. Perhaps a bit more hop flavor would put it over the top. Perhaps another half ounce or so at 5-10 minutes. 16/20.
Feel: Body is very light and refreshing. Quite crisp with moderately-high carbonation. I think that this is something that can comfortably sit around 2.5 volumes. Bitterness is just right. There isn't much I'd change about the feel of this one. It's crisp and dry, and leaves behind just a bit of flavor through the finish. 4/5.
Overall: This is the second iteration of a small saison that I've done. The first was Petit Saison, and this is the Farmhouse Mild. There wasn't much variation between the two, and I really like how both turned out. Perhaps some minor tweaking over time, but not much. 8/10.
This is something I could really see ending up as the flagship of a brewpub. In the past I had thought something like a Kolsch, but this offers a bit more complexity, and also wouldn't require the addition of a separate yeast. I would really like to follow the model of a place like Tired Hands, basically only using American Ale and Saison yeast, then letting various other critters go to work in a separate barrel-aging area.