Since Biloba first opened, we have offered several versions of Saison styled beers and always have at least one on tap. Typically, we brew a Saison to celebrate the arrival of Spring that coincides with our anniversary parties, this year is no exception.
Four years ago, at the end of the honey season, we were offered a 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 http://wnacres.com who, in the past, has tended the hives on our farm. Traditionally he only collects honey from clover, alfalfa and basswood trees, but that year one of the clover fields happened to be in proximity of a buckwheat field and the bees decided to pay a visit.
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 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. This also tends to be higher in anti-oxidants than other varieties. The honey that Doug provided is raw, which means it is not filtered and this honey was mixed with additional honey from our farm. It has specs of pollen floating and is a combination honey that possesses a mild flavor, very slightly molasses with the malty overtones. It has 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 peppery, fruity flavor with a dry tart palate to the final product. 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 kettle hopped with a Cascade/Centennial mixture of hops from our farm in Kiel, Wisconsin, then dry hopped with Mandarina Bavaria that is known to provide a tangerine aroma and flavor as well as a citrus zestiness.
Saison de Bourdon is a very dry beer that is all about the honey and hops with a slight fruit, citrus punch fading into tangerine followed by the peppery lingering aftertaste. Appearance is slightly cloudy with a nice head. Aroma is typical Saison with a nice tangerine 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 will be offering a limited release of 500 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!