Thursday, January 12, 2012

Black Solstice (Fitger's Brewhouse, Duluth, MN)

From the second glass of the growler, the tan, fluffy head bubbles up very nicely on top of a nearly opaque beer that has dark ruby highlights along the edge.  Falls with a great lace.  First sip confused me a bit.  I liked it, but didn't really  know what I was tasting, so took a look at the description from Fitger's website.

Fitger's Black Solstice with butcher block
reflected in glass.  
From Fitger's website:
This Belgian style black saison is brewed with pale malts and chocolate malts to add a dark color and cocoa like flavor.  Belgian yeasts make strong ester fruity notes and the addition of crushed peppercorns to the brew fermentation.  The resulting slight spiciness balances the dark flavors perfectly.

I just love the beer world: black saison--spectacular whether I like it or not.  Heavy, clean roast in the nose complimented by enough spice to float on top easily.  Complicated and interesting nose.  Promised fruity esters there with dark cherry.  Heavy spice, Belgian yeast and pepper.  Roast continues in the taste along with a distinct saison taste.  That's what confused me--clearly a saison, just dark and roasty.  Peppercorns bite very hard off the back of the tongue, which is the only thing that hinders the beer at all.  I like pepper, especially fresh or from yeast, but this is still a bit strong.

Overall, a very fun and interesting tasting that I'm enjoying a lot tonight, but would suggest backing off the peppercorn a bit and lightening up the beer so the blend works even better.  Again, thanks to Kat for schlepping a growler from Duluth for me.

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