Saison de Bourdon – Our Honey Saison

Since Biloba first opened, we have offered several versions of the Saison styled beers and always have one on tap. Last fall, at the end of the honey season, we were offered a very unique honey from a great friend of ours who resides in the Chilton, WI area. Doug Schulz is the proprietor and bee keeper of Wisconsin Natural Acres and in the past has put hives on our farm. Traditionally he only collects honey from clover, alfalfa and basswood trees, but this year one of his clover fields happened to be in proximity of a buckwheat field that the bees decided to pay visit to.

Doug came to me asking if we might be able to use this honey in a beer, so we went to work on what would turn out to be a great combination. We have made Honey Saisons in the past using honey, produced by Doug, that came from 10 hives feeding on our clover and alfalfa fields. Pure buckwheat honey is known to have a strong flavor with molasses, malty tones and a lingering citrus aftertaste, but also tends to be higher in anti-oxidants than other varieties. The honey that Doug provided is raw, which means it is not filtered. It has specs of pollen floating and is a combination honey that possesses a mild flavor, slightly molasses with the malty overtones, as well as a very nice floral bouquet from the clover portion.

Kristen and I came up with a formulation of 91% Pilsen style malt with 9% honey and fermented with our house Saison strain to provide a slight peppery, fruity flavor with a dry tart palate to the final product. In order to preserve the true honey aroma and flavor, we added the raw honey, un-treated when the beer had reached near terminal gravity The beer was exclusively hopped four times (including a dry hop) with Sorachi Ace that is known to provide a Meyer lemon aroma and flavor as well as a healthy dose of citrus zestiness. After the fermentation was complete the beer was then aged in a Pinot Noir barrel for 3 months, kegged and bottled.

Saison de Bourdon is a very dry beer that is all about the honey and hops with a lemon, peppery, slight fruitiness citrus punch fading to a long lingering lemon/honey aftertaste. Appearance is slightly cloudy with a slight pinkish tinge from the Pinot Noir barrel. Aroma is typical Saison with a nice lemon citrus yet floral note. The impression is a smooth, dry, medium light body, with a high carbonation. The beer is categorized as a Super Saison since it clocks in at 9.75% ABV.

OG: 19.33 Plato (1.080 SG)               FG: 1.25 Plato (1.005 SG)              IBU: 30

We are offering a limited release of 200 corked bottle conditioned beers that we carbonated to 4.0 volumes of CO2 to give a very effervescent pour. We are hopeful you will find this as enjoyable as we have, while sharing it with the best of company!


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