Golden Spur Saison

Although Spring doesn’t officially start until March 20th, we’re kicking if off early with our Spring Seasonal – Golden Spur Saison. Golden Spur is light in color and very dry – but don’t let that fool you. This brew hits 6.7% ABV and the White Labs Saison II yeast used in this beer packs quite a flavor wallop.

We started fermentation at 75 degrees Fahrenheit and let the yeast activity warm it up to 85 degrees, the warm fermentation temperatures increase the yeast’s natural phenolic & ester production – enhancing the yeast flavors (banana, clove, fruit) and imparting a slightly sour taste to the beer due to slightly increased acidity.

In order to highlight the yeast flavor, the brew needed to have low residual sugar. To do this we mashed low (145 for 90 minutes, 155 for 30, then denatured at 168) & added 5 lbs of candy sugar per 100 gallons to increase fermentability.

History

Wallonia Coat of Arms

Wallonia Coat of Arms

For starters, Saison means Season in French. Historically it comes from Wallonia (specifically the province Hainaut), a French speaking region of Belgium (it’s kinda like Canada’s Quebec). Traditionally this beer was low in ABV (3% – 4%), produced by local farmers (not brewers), brewed in the winter, and was served to migrant workers who helped with the Summer harvest. According to The Oxford Companion to Beer (which we highly recommend you read), there is reason to believe that traditional Saisons varied greatly from year to year – brewed with whatever grain farmers had (barley, wheat, rye, spelt) and often instead of hops, whatever spices and herbs were available.

The beer name, Golden Spur, comes from the Battle of the Golden Spurs in the City of Courtrai on July 11th, 1302. The city is located in the Flanders region (which borders Wallonia) and the city is just north of the Walloon border. The Kingdom of France was trying to retake the city they lost in May that same year. The French had exiled all Flemish citizens from their homes, but the citizens went back to the city and murdered every Frenchmen they could find. To identify the French, they Flemish asked everyone they came across to pronounce a Dutch phrase “schilt ende vriend” (shield and friend). Anyone who mispronounced it was killed.

The French wouldn’t stand for this and sent in 8,000 troops: 2,500 knights, 1,000 crossbowmen, 1,000 spearmen and ~3,500 other light infantry. The Flemish had only 9,000 militia troops to defend.

The battle was fought over rough terrain, with ditches and streams, making it difficult for the knights to charge. This was a huge advantage to the defending militia. The militia defeated the knights and the battle got its name from the golden spurs collected from over 1000 fallen French knights in the aftermath.

To celebrate victory, the militia drank copious amounts of Saison. To commemorate this, we’ve named our beer after the battle. (NOTE: There’s no historical evidence that the militia drank Saison after the battle – it’s just what we would have done.)



For more information on this battle, check out the Wikipedia page: Battle of the Golden Spurs. Nothing quite as satisfying as reading about a Medieval Battle (unless of course you’re also drinking a Golden Spur Saison while you read).

Also, stay tuned for our upcoming Barrel Aged Saison – Courtrai. Here’s a peak at the Barrel we picked up from a local winery, Bella Victorian (who, incidentally, is starting a 2BBL brewery soon!:

Barrel in the BT

Golden Spur Saison Specs
Saison – ABV: 6.7% | IBU: 27
SG: 1.056 | FG: 1.006

MALT:
American 2-Row
German Pilsner
Pale Wheat Malt
Candy Sugar

HOPS:
Hallertauer

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One Response to “Golden Spur Saison”

  1. Fireman Dave says:

    Great beer AND a history lesson.

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