I kegged and bottled our Summer Wit around two weeks ago, so today I thought it was time to try a bottle. This was one of our stranger experiments, as the basic wheat beer malt bill, was hopped with large amounts of galaxy, spiced with lemongrass, lime peel and Szechuan pepper, and fermented with WLP566 Saison II yeast. We had some huge problems with fermentation temperature, as first it dropped to around 16 degrees C after 24 hours, when we forgot to turn on the heater, and after that it rose to around 32 degrees C, as the sensor probe had at some point fallen from the fermenter to the cooler concrete floor (thermostat set at 24C). Hopefully this is drinkable at all. We were aiming for a refreshing and easy-to-drink beer for the summer. Let’s see how it does!
The color is pale yellow, and almost has a grey taint. The beer is hazy, as the style calls for. A firm white head is formed, that stays on top of the beer for a while, leaving nice drapes of lacing along the glass as it falls. Overall, the appearance is pretty spot-on for the style. Really inviting a warm summer evening as this. The aroma is really fruity, featuring a blend of yeast-derived esters and lemon-like tones, which I believe are from the lemongrass. The lime peel, and why not even the Szechuan pepper, could also be contributing to the citrus aroma. The aroma features some spicyness as well (more of the phenolic kind), which the yeast has brought with it. An interesting and quite refreshing aroma, but it somehow feels a bit off (the lemon tones and yeast products makes me think of the traditional Finnish sima). While the aroma was dominated mostly by the fruity tones, the flavor instead begins with more spicy notes, combined with a honey-like maltiness. The fruity tones become more evident as the beer lingers in the mouth, lending lemon, grapefruit and even some slight resiny hoppiness. The finish is surprisingly sweet, even though this finished with quite a low FG. Perhaps a result of the Saison yeast. The bitterness level feels quite low, even though the calculated IBUs were around 40. Pleasantly surprised about the flavor, mostly because the fermentation temperature rose to whooping 32 degrees C during peak fermentation. The body is light and the beer has a medium carbonation level. Despite the light body, it doesn’t feel thin and it still leaves a slightly sweet impression. Nothing spectacular, but should be a nice thirst-quencher for the summer.