Le Trou du Diable – Dulcis Succubus

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Le Trou du Daible is one of a handful of premiere breweries out of Quebec, and Dulcis Succubus is a flagship beer from the brewery.  At least, that’s what I gather based on its astronomical price.  This price comes from the fact that it is barrel aged and it is produced with wild yeasts and spontaneous fermentation, all of which has been applied to a saison or farmhouse ale base.

Saisons with brettanomyces or other wild yeasts are one of my most adored beer styles.  There are a number of great examples out there, including Upright Brewing’s Saison du Blodget which I had quite recently.  Logsdon makes world-class examples of this style as well.  I prefer Dulcis Succubus to any of the aforementioned; it’s that good.

I think this comes largely from the barrel aging:  there is a good dose of oak flavour from beginning to end.  The nose is primarily fruit and some musty fruit skin:  apricot, pear, peach.  These are also present as flavours and combine with the big oak barrel character and a gueuze-like, complex yet gentle sourness.  The acidity of this beer is quite wonderful and is more significant than most saison-brett beers.  It’s a little dry thanks to the acidity and barrel character and wonderfully crisp from the saison side of things.

It has a high price of entry, but I truly believe if you like sour saisons, this is a must-try.

Brassneck – Stockholm Syndrome

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Saisons with brettanomyces are pretty hip these days, though I swear my love for them has nothing to do with their popularity.  Brettanomyces, henceforth referred to as ‘brett’ for ease of typing, is a rather funky member of the yeast family which gets along famously with the tart, spicy nature of the farmhouse ale.  Its function is two-fold: it adds character and complexity to the base saison, and it adds a funky sourness as well.

Four Winds Brewing recently released a brett-laden saison which was the first of the style in Vancouver.  It was very exciting.  It was also very good stuff—perhaps not quite on par with Logsdon, but a very good first effort.  Brassneck has now come through with their crack at the challenging but rewarding style.

To answer the burning question of how it turned out, I would say it turned out really quite well.  I wouldn’t place it in Logsdon territory either, but it’s got great balance and really pleasant flavour.  I took some notes, though I preface that my note-taking is not incredibly insightful stuff:

Appearance:  Densely opaque, pale tangerine with that characteristic fluffy white head that leaves plenty of lacing behind.

Smell:  I’m getting apple skins, hay, earth, and maybe some clove-forward spices.

Taste: Bready wheat and sweet grapefruit citrus dominate the first portion of the palate while the long, long finish is dominated by the characteristic earthy funk that brett leaves.  It is reminiscent of Logsdon’s Seizoen Bretta though I find the Brassneck version to come across slightly heavier or denser.

Mouthfeel:  Rich body, carbonation falls a little short of perfect but it’s by all means good.

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