New American Hops meets French Farmhouse Yeast
Belgian beers seem to be all the rage for American craft brewers. Keeping with the hallmarks of drinkability, or “digestible” as the belgians would say, and distinctive yeast derived flavors, their arguably one of the most approachable families of beer styles. In truth, only beers produced in Belgian should hold the title “Belgian,” and even fewer (less than 12 brewers) can legally be labeled “Trappist.” American versions are properly labeled “Belgian-style.” That is not to say America does not have some world-class examples from several fantastic breweries making some of the finest and likely freshest examples of Belgian-style ale any of us will ever enjoy.
Style mixing is not uncommon in American craft beer, but I think the best results require a strong vision and artful hand of the brewer. Like many trends, some may take it a step too far in my opinion. What exactly is a Black Kolsch anyway?, but that’s another post….
Focusing on the positive: American brewers have been able to successfully innovate and built upon the fantastic canvas of beer characteristics to built unique new world versions. Breaking with tradition, several U.S. breweries have introduced “White IPA” such as Deschutes Chainbreaker or “Belgian IPA” such as Allagash’s Hugh Malone. Many of these trendsetting beers take the bright vibrant characters like tropical fruit, passion fruit, and lemon of new American hops such as Citra and artfully balance them with the unique yeast characteristics like pepper, citrus, and even bubblegum of Belgian yeast strains. It may not seem like a natural marriage, but with a little restraint (uncommon for most hopheads out there) you’ll be rewarded.
“American Stowaway” is a play on the fact that the following recipe take a straightforward Saison malt and yeast profile then hijacks with those “stowaway” new American hops, specifically Citra. Eminently drinkable as any Saison should be, but also with a hop edge common in American Pale Ales and IPAs. Thanks to Kevin for the great idea and name. Cheers!
“American Stowaway” Recipe (5gl)
Malt (Brew in the Bag- Mash at 146F for 20 min & 155F for 60 min):
- 10 lbs Belgian Pils
- 5 lbs German Munich
- 1 lbs White Wheat
- 1 lbs Flaked Wheat
- 0.55 lbs Demerara Sugar
- Irish Moss
- Wyeast Nutrient
Hops (31 IBU):
- 0.5 oz Whole Leaf Citra 14% (60 min)
- 1 oz Ahtanum 3.4% (15 min)
- 0.5 oz Citra 14% (0 min)
- 1 oz Citra 14% (Dryhop)
Yeast: Belgian Saison 3724, with High Gravity Trappist added for Attenuation @ day 12
O.G. 1.055, F.G. 1.008, ~6.2% ABV