What happens when a delicious, mild-mannered saison takes a turn toward the dark? A surprising, seductive sort of black magic we are proud to call Nightfall Black Saison! This harmonious hybrid pours black as pitch but still sips with the complex, lightly spicy notes of a classic farmhouse ale...Just one that’s been brewed after lights-out to capture a rich and darkly delicious malt character, with barely a hint of roast.
Unexpected? Yes. Unforgettable? Hell yes. Nightfall balances the best of sun-dappled days and moonless nights in one tall, dark, and deceptively drinkable brew. So get ready to drink in the dark. Nightfall has cometh.
If you're not afraid of what lurks in the dark, we highly recommend Omega Yeast Saisonstein's Monster for this recipe. Featuring the best aspects of both Belgian and French saison strains, Saisonstein's Monster produces incredibly complex flavors of pepper, spice, slight bubblegum, citrus, and a touch of tartness, while fermenting way down to achieve a bracing dryness.
- Style: Dark Saison
- Fermentation Range: 65-78F
- Original Gravity: 1.060
- SRM: 27
- IBUs: 30
- ABV: 7.0%
- Aroma: Grainy malt aroma with notes of dark chocolate and subtle coffee. Low floral and spicy hop aroma with prominent pepper, spice, faint bubblegum, and moderate citrus yeast character.
- Appearance: Nearly jet black in color with fair clarity. Firm, persistent tan foam head with tight lacing in the glass.
- Flavor: Clean pilsner malt flavor with slight honey-like sweetness with medium-low smooth roast notes. Moderately bitter with floral and spicy hop flavor. Classical Saison yeast flavors of black pepper, slight citrus, and a faint tartness.
- Mouthfeel: Medium body and silky, smooth mouthfeel although finishing quite dry on the palate.
Looking for the Extract Version?
One of the best aspects of brewing is experimentation -- who says you have to stay within the style guidelines? The inspiration for this recipe was a matter of happenstance and a nearly mis-pitched batch of stout. After a long day of back-to-back batches of saison and stout, in a weary state of brewer’s fatigue, I nearly did the unthinkable and mixed up which yeast starter was which. Seconds away from pitching my freshly propagated yeast culture into the stout wort, I realized I was about to inoculate it with entirely the wrong yeast. I caught my error, pitched the correct yeast, and proceeded to pitch the saison yeast in the wort intended for it. Then I got to thinking -- what would a stout have tasted like if fermented with a saison strain? To the drawing board!
Feeling that a traditional stout wort would be too aggressively roasty to balance well with the flavor profile of a saison, I decided I would start from scratch and design a recipe that would merge typical stout and saison recipes into something cohesive. From the saison side of things, I decided that the base malt had to be pilsner, and from the stout’s aspect, it had to be dark but not too roasty. The solution came in the form of one of my favorite specialty malts, Weyermann Carafa Special III. Because Carafa Special is huskless, much of the intense roast and associated bitterness is gone, leaving the deep, dark, rich color behind in the beer. With a dash of medium caramel malt for complexity, wheat malt for body and head retention, and a typical saison hop bill, the last ingredient had to be that same nearly mis-pitched saison yeast.
The results were great -- a nearly pitch-black color, slight roast reminiscent of stout, moderate bitterness, and all the flavor you would expect from a saison, sipping with a medium mouthfeel but finishing dry. Be bold and mix up the styles, you may just like what you find!
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