Today, Stone Brewing Co. released its last collaboration beer of 2012: 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 expands on the definition of a saison.
“Dark with deception, mysteriously smoked, unexplainably dry, and intriguingly hopped,” as Strumke states on his bottle, this beer gets away with the farmhouse ale classification…but just barely. Like traditional farmhouse ales, Belgian saison yeast provides intense fruit and spice notes. However, unlike traditional saisons, the beer is black as night, has added viscosity, and pronounced smoke character that dominates thanks to the brewers’ decision to use oak-smoked wheat malt, a new malt style that produces a flavor eerily similar to a fresh oak barrel.
Evil Twin / Stillwater / Stone "The Perfect Crime" Black Smoked Saison
Stats: 6.8% ABV, 60 IBUs
Availability: Limited 12-ounce bottles and draft, beginning November 12
Hops bill: East Kent Goldings, Chinook, and Cluster
Distribution: AZ, CA, CO, FL, IL, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, VT, and WA
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, provided 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