I was round my next door neighbour George’s house for a BBQ last year when I mentioned to him that I had spotted the grapevine growing in his garden. George hates this grapevine and has been trying to kill it unsuccessfully for years. I had to look out from my bedroom window to see it as it was hidden behind a massive bit of wood to stop it overtaking the garden. This year it had been particularly prolific and George knocked on my door a few weeks later with a massive sack of grapes. We’d spoken at the BBQ about my brewing and so he thought I might like them. He thought correct.
I’ve tried quite a few beer/wine crossovers this past year and loved them all. I’m quite excited about these two fields coming together and what the outcomes will be in the future as the use of grapes, yeast and techniques such as fermenting in amphoras develops more within the brewing industry.
I’ve gone with making a saison and sitting it on the grapes for three months. The grapes are very small and purple, super concentrated. I decided to freeze them first, 1 because I wasn’t planning on brewing with them straight away and 2. It makes them easier for the yeast to break down. I used belle saison and although I do like the outcome I wish I’d gone with a Belgian strain and added brett at some point. I find Belle finishes very low and doesn’t leave a lot for the brett to eat if you don’t put it in quick enough. One to try for next time.
I had a taste before bottling. The colour of the resulting beer is beautiful, it reminds me of a few orange wines I’ve tried. There’s the classic saison notes on the taste but then you get a light rose feel at the end. It’s quite nice, I’m not a rose fan, mainly as I’ve only ever been subjected to that disgustingly cloying Echo Falls White Grenache one. Gillie if you’re reading this, I love you but that wine is hideous. Now we wait for it to carbonate, really excited about this one.