Just this week, collaboration beer gurus Stone, Stillwater, and Evil Twin unveiled its latest creation — a black smoked saison aptly named The Perfect Crime. Seeing as how the saison is one of my all-time favorite styles to both drink and to brew, I am particularly intrigued by this collaboration.
Brian Strumke (Stillwater) Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø (Evil Twin) Mitch Steele (Stone)
This Frankenstein-esque saison is definitely not the first black saison, but it is one of the first beers to use oak-smoked wheat malt, a new malt style that produces a flavor “eerily similar to a fresh oak barrel.”
Although I’m certain the brewers will tell me otherwise, the only semblance this beer has to a saison is its use of saison yeast. The Perfect Crime was brewed with a blend of 8 different malts, including dark malts and the aforementioned oak-smoked wheat malt. The hop profile comes from a mix of both noble and American hops – East Kent Goldings, Chinook, and Cluster. The end result is a black as night “saison” at 6.8% and 60 IBUS.
Tasting Notes, by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele
Appearance: Black with a long lasting head
Aroma: First aromas are of dark roast and mildly smoky malt characters. The saison yeast fights through with a fruitiness and spiciness that presents a nice side-by-side complement to the malt characters as the beer warms.
Taste: Light roast character and a blended smoky character up front. Again, the Belgian saison yeast comes through just after; contributing intense fruity and peppery spice flavors that linger after the dark, smoky impressions have faded. Hints of citrus and banana assert themselves late into the palate. There’s a very pleasant hop bitterness in the finish.
Palate: Dry, with a balanced bitterness and very light astringency. The complex flavor profile blends incredibly well.
Overall: This is a beautiful beer, with just the right amount of smoke and roasted malt character to keep the beer interesting while you drink the entire glass. We brewed this beer with eight different grains, and although it was a difficult lautering day in the brewhouse, the end result more than makes up for those challenges. And one of the more interesting malts we used was the oak-smoked wheat malt from Germany. It has a wonderful flavor, reminiscent of a fresh oak barrel.
Suggested food parings, by “Dr.” Bill Sysak
Appetizers: Coconut shrimp, deviled eggs, smoked salmon blinis
Salads: Chinese chicken, antipasti, honey mustard pork
Main course: Caramelized fennel and apple flatbread, ramen, quail, roasted chicken or turkey, halibut cheek
Cheeses: Triple crème Brie, Cowgirl Creamery Devil’s Gulch, Muenster, Morbier
Cigars: Dunhill Aged Dominican Condados, La Aurora Puro Vintage, Arturo Fuente Magnum R Rosado Sungrown, La Flor Dominicana Air Bender
And, last but not least, for your watching pleasure…..
About the Beer
Evil Twin / Stillwater / Stone “The Perfect Crime” Black Smoked Saison. In a masterfully orchestrated collaboration of the minds, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Denmark’s Evil Twin Brewing, Brian Strumke from Baltimore’s Stillwater Artisanal Ales, and Stone brewmaster Mitch Steele crafted a beer that cleverly exploits the definition of a saison.