Vignette 22, Olivier DeDeycker (Brasserie Dupont)
In the most recent Beervana Podcast we delved into saisons, so who better for today's Vignette than Olivier DeDeycker of Brasserie Dupont? In the first quote, he situates Dupont in the saison lineage. Saisons are one of the most yeast-centric beers in the world, and in the second quote, we hear how this plays out even during refermentation in the bottle--Belgium's classic technique.
“With this barley malt they are brewing some beer, and that beer had second fermentation in wood barrels. It was drunk in the summer by the people who worked in the fields. So we speak of a beer with a low alcohol content, high bitterness, no residual sugar, so a refreshing beer. It was what we call in Belgium biere de saison, saison beer, brewed in the winter and drunk in the summer. They were brewing in the winter for microbiological reasons, to avoid [infection] but with wood barrels, with the basic materials they had, of course I am sure they had some lactic. It could improve the refreshing character of the product. At this time they would have beer that was totally different from another one from the next year due to microbiological intervention, but actually we have to have something more standard, which is why we work with cultured yeast and we try to avoid any parasites. In Dupont we work with a mix of different yeasts so we can have some difference—but that we accept.”
“It’s mostly important for us to initiate secondary fermentation in this way [with the bottle lying down, not upright]. If we start the secondary fermentation like so [here he makes the gesture of an upright bottle], we have a totally different beer. The yeast multiplies very differently. Not the same. We do all the multiplication of the yeast in the bottle; we don’t pitch the beer with massive quantities of yeast. We pitch, but just a little bit. It is only an issue of multiplication of the yeast. It seems to be only a small thing, but the impact on the taste is really big. We made different trials, and the conclusion was that we need to continue like this. It’s very difficult to manage [on the bottling line], difficult to automatize. Actually, we put the bottles by hand [on their side] in crates. Next month we have a robot who will put the bottles lying down. We had to wait a long time to be able to buy it.”