Joseph Formanek's picture

New Belgium Sour Saison

December, 2017
Judges Rating: 
24 / 24
5 / 6
35 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

New Belgium Sour Saison is being evaluated as Mixed Fermentation Sour using a Saison base beer (Cat 28B in the 2015 BJCP Guidelines). This brew is described as being a Saison that has been blended with a Foeder-aged Sour Golden Ale.  While the character of the Sour does come through in the finished product rather well, the fermentation character of the Saison leaves a bit to be desired for the style.

The nose has an earthy character, presumably from the Saison, some sour fruit (mainly cherry), apple, pear and floral esters as well as a slight oakiness that is probably derived from the Sour Golden Ale portion of the blend.  The aroma is very attractive!  This highly carbonated brew pours a hazy medium golden color with a solid white head that dissipates rather quickly, as expected for a sour style brew.

The flavor is much more subtle than the aroma, particularly on the Saison side.  A light to moderate lemony tartness greets you on first sip, followed by banana and clove character from the Belgian yeast used along with a light malt sweetness to help balance out the tartness.   There is not a lot of earthiness nor sour funk present.  The wood notes are far in the background, which is fine for this style in which wood aging should not be a dominant character.  The citric tartness along with the banana and clove fermentation flavors that are present in the middle and finish tend to dominate over the subtle Saison funky farmhouse notes in this medium bodied brew.  The finish is quite dry and lightly tart, preparing the palate quite well for the next sip. 

This is an interesting and quite refreshing beverage, but the base beer character tends to present itself more as a Belgian Blond ale rather than a Saison.  This causes the flavor component of the evaluation to suffer a bit.  Still, regardless of the base style, this is a very nice effort well worth searching out to try!  Cheers and enjoy!