Hard to believe Alex and I are already talking about our eighth annual dark/funky saison! The bottle I’m drinking tonight is from batch #6 (recipe), brewed almost two years ago with the help of a few of the Modern Times Kickstarter backers. A year later, I cooked down two quarts of fresh cranberries with orange zest to add to the fermentor. Applying heat accomplishes a similar effect to drying fruit, it destroys many of the brighter/fresher flavors, producing a richer singular flavor that usually meshes more seamlessly with dark beers.
Also hard to believe that in that time Modern Times has gone through such raid growth, recently announcing that they’re opening a second brewery with a restaurant in Los Angeles!
Appearance – Foamed up slightly when I opened the bottle, which in turn churn up the sediment. Pours a hazy rusty-chestnut. Moderate off-white head, better than many sours (but still not great).
Smell – Mild aroma, with bready malt, and jammy red fruit. The Brett is wonderfully leathery, a hint of toasty oak as well. A hint of alcohol warmth towards the end of the glass. Certainly reminds me of the fall.
Taste – More oud bruin than dark saison (not that it is brewed to any sort of style-guidelines). Not too surprising given the base-malt-trio of Maris Otter, Vienna, and Munich. Rounded, malty, with that saturated berry-cherry fruit. It is obvious there is real fruit, but I’m not sure I would have been able to say cranberry definitively. Acidity is pleasantly puckering, but not aggressive or harsh. Earthy funk is subdued, allowing the fruit and malt to lead. Lingering bready-fruity finish.
Mouthfeel – Medium-light body with less carbonation than I expected given what happened when I opened the bottle.
Drinkability & Notes – Cooking the cranberries softened their flavor enough that I would probably up the amount next time. I don’t taste any influence from the orange peel, which is nice because I was planning to add orange peel directly to the fermentor a few days before bottling Dark Saison VII!
Source: The Mad Fermentationist