Beer Maverick

Specialty Saison

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Location: Belgian and French
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 25B - Saison

Style Description

This is the description of how the Specialty Saison style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the Specialty Saison beer style.

Specialty Saisons represent a very wide family of specialty beers. Entries brewed with dark malts, fruit(s), spice(s) or other special ingredients may deviate substantially from traditional appearance and flavor and from parameters shown in this guideline. Ingredients including spices, herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, fermentable sugars and carbohydrates, special yeasts of all types, wood aging, etc. may contribute unique attributes to these beers. Earthy and/or cellar-like aromas are acceptable. Color, body, malt character, esters, alcohol level and hop character should harmonize with attributes from special ingredients. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as ingredients such as malts and grains, hop varieties, microflora, fruit, spices, or other ingredients, etc. or processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.

  • Body: Low to medium
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Typically low to medium-low, but may vary in beers made with specialty malts.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Low to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are medium to high. Diacetyl should not be present. Complex alcohols, herbs, spices, low Brettanomyces attributes including slightly acidic, fruity, horsey, goaty and leather-like, as well as clovey and smoky phenolics may be present. Herb and/or spice flavors, including notes of black pepper, may be present. A low level of sour acidic flavor is acceptable when in balance with other components. These beers are often bottle conditioned and display some yeast character and high carbonation.
  • Common Ingredients: At standard strengths and pale color (the most common variety), like a more highly-attenuated, hoppy, and bitter Belgian blond ale with a stronger yeast character. At super strength and pale color, similar to a Belgian tripel, but often with more of a grainy, rustic quality and sometimes with a spicier yeast character.

Brewing Properties of Specialty Saison

The functional properties of brewing Specialty Saison beers as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, historical significance, authenticity or a high profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
4.4 - 8.4%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
20 - 40 IBUs
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
3 - 20 SRM
(6 - 39 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.040 - 1.080
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.008 - 1.014

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.