Thoughts on aging Saisons?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by jzmaxson27, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. jzmaxson27

    jzmaxson27 Zealot (90) Illinois Oct 14, 2011

    In particular, I am considering Fantome at the moment, since my local store has about 6 of the latest batch on the shelf and no one seems too interested in it, so I'm thinking of buying the lot and sitting on it for when I get the craving.

    Does Fantome improve or at least maintain with some time on it? How about other saisons? Care to share any experiences?
  2. callmemickey

    callmemickey Advocate (640) Pennsylvania Aug 12, 2007 Verified

    Saisons brewed with Brett will change with time (generally becoming more funky with age). As such, Fantomes are cellerable. The one big problem is bottle to bottle variation of Fantome. Dany (the brewer at Fantome) doesn't seem to keep recipes consistent and bottles even within the same batch aren't exactly well controlled specimens. If you age those six (or age five and open one now for reference) who knows what the hell you will get when you open them. That's one of the mysteries of Fantome -- some might be stellar, others might be mediocre or worse.
  3. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Champion (895) Illinois Aug 18, 2008

    I will add to callmemickey's comment that with Fantome, it also depends on what you want out of the regular saison. Fresh it's quite fruity with loads of peach and tropical-fruit notes. As it ages, those flavors fade and the infamous "Fantome character" takes over. Sometimes this is good; sometimes it's not. Bottle variation -- not to mention batch variation -- is huge.
    The_Walrus likes this.
  4. pmoney

    pmoney Advocate (665) Colorado Apr 15, 2011 Verified

    I'm curious as to what the "Fantome character" tastes like. I'm in a similar boat. I found four bottles and have two left.
  5. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Champion (895) Illinois Aug 18, 2008

    "Fantome character" to me is very earthy, slightly acidic, and a bit of funk. That would be the base. You never know if that's going to come along with something off flavored, a more-intense sourness, a mellow mushroom-like character, barnyard, and/or any number of other things. To me, that's one of the joys of Fantome -- it's always interesting. (Plus, more often than not, it's very good.)
    Mandark and The_Walrus like this.
  6. Glad I found this thread. I have a bunch of Fantome (and have been lucky to have a lot of it in the past). I tend to open bottles of the basic saison as fresh as possible; the fruit the Thorpe429 references is spot on. One recent bottle I opened had a distinct scent of strawberry on the nose and even overtones in taste. I tend to enjoy that, particularly in warmer months. But I also have some Blanche, Pissenlit, La Dalmatienne, Magic Ghost and La Pietrain Blonde from Fantome and have been cellar'ing them. Wondering if I should drink them sooner than later and if the discussion above applies broadly to most of the Fantome beers?
  7. Prospero

    Prospero Champion (775) Colorado Jul 27, 2010 Verified

    Can I bump this for a related question (non-Fantome), what about other Saisons, worth cellaring? Hill Farmstead? Crooked Stave? Convivial Suarez? Dupont? Hennepin? Tank 7? Inquiring minds want to know!!! Otherwise I might just cellar all of them.

    2 years? 3 years? 10 years?
  8. BrettHead

    BrettHead Advocate (600) Nebraska Sep 18, 2010

    I personally wouldn't go much past 1 year on any saison
    grassrootsVT likes this.
  9. Saison Brett ages like a champ, if you like some straight up funk. I had a one year old bottle of hf flora recently that was probably the best Saison I have ever had the pleasure of tasting
    cfrances33 likes this.
  10. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Champion (895) Illinois Aug 18, 2008

    If you're going to age a saison, it needs to be something that's got some bugs in it, or is really heavy. For those that you listed, the Hill Farmstead saisons develop very nicely, especially now that there are some bugs in at least everything. The same for Crooked Stave, for the most part. I'm not sure on the two more recent releases of Vieille Artisinal and Surette Provision, but I believe both of those have something in them. When I picked up Convivial at HF, Phil said he thought Convivial would get better with a bit of time, but you don't want to go too long before the hibiscus falls out.

    I would not intentionally age Dupont, Hennepin, or Tank 7. These are bright and crisp when young, and are best that way, IMO.
    grassrootsVT likes this.
  11. Prospero

    Prospero Champion (775) Colorado Jul 27, 2010 Verified

    Ok next question, how do you know if a Saison has Brett in it other than by taste or if it says Brett on the label? I find there are saisons with brett that don't specifically state it.

    Yea, I think all I could do would be 1-year on a saison... even brett'd up.
  12. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Champion (895) Illinois Aug 18, 2008

    You generally would just need to do some research. You could take a look at the reviews, or ask on the forums. Asking in a regional forum could help for some beers, as you might then catch the eye of locals who know more about the beers.
  13. Prospero

    Prospero Champion (775) Colorado Jul 27, 2010 Verified

    I find that very infuriating, it's like sour stouts, why on earth would you release it without saying it's sour. Why is there a sub-category of saison's with brett in them, there's no mention of brett being acceptable in a traditional saison, so at minimum I'd expect to see it on the label? Is that too much to ask? :)

    None-the-less, I love the style and will probably seek out more saison's w/ brett in them, love the dry mouthfeel mixed with fruit and earthiness to it. Just curious as to how or why Saison's brewed with brett don't fall into their own category as it's a pretty big diversion using wild yeast on something that doesn't call for it. (and why brewer's wouldn't label or advertise it as such) since it requires much more time on oak and harder to produce I imagine.
  14. After reading Farmhouse Ales, speaking with a few people in Belgium on my trip there last summer, and drinking a few saisons in Belgium, all bets are off as to what "standard/traditional ingredients" are. If you go by the BJCP style (which is extremely narrow) then you might as well just think of Dupont as the only saison out there.
  15. Prospero

    Prospero Champion (775) Colorado Jul 27, 2010 Verified

    Yea, I'm getting that vibe.
  16. mocktm

    mocktm Savant (430) Virginia Jan 3, 2011 Verified

    Sofie gets substantially better with age. Also agree on the Fantome; I don't touch mine for at least a year.
    MasterCraft and cfrances33 like this.
  17. Sofie, Saison Rue, ST Imperial Cherry Saison, Cynicale, Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale, and both Pretty Things Jack D'or and Fieldmouse's Farewell have all aged gracefully for me over the years.
  18. I just had a 2012 Sofie next to a 2011 last week, preferred the 2011 by a good bit. Arthur improves with some time as well to my palate, that lemon/green apple skin tartness really comes through with a bit of cellaring.