Apex Predator Farmhouse Ale
Saisons are the hoppiest of the Belgian beers and Apex Predator is no exception. But beers with a pronounced hop profile don't have to be defined by it. With a fragrant juicy fruit aroma, dry finish, and a hint of honey, Apex Predator has many distinct layers. We use a free rise fermentation, where the yeast is allowed to get as high as 27 C (or 80 F for silly Americans) during fermentation. When paired with the correct yeast, we create a pleasant bubblegum character. More on that below.
Then, yes, we dry hop it with a bunch of Crystal hops which give the final beer a grassy, floral character. Using honey malt adds a touch of sweetness to an otherwise very dry beer. When this yeast ferments, it turns everything it can into alcohol. Not that we help by adding sugar to the kettle. We package it with a slightly high carbonation level to bring out the aromatics so you can taste it before you take a sip.
Thanks for reading this... here are some pictures of us having fun with at The Field Museum.
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Esters are one of the most important components of beer flavor. They are highly volatile and greatly influence beer aromatics. Yet when asked to define them, most responses will center around German hefeweizen and it signature banana ester (isoamyl acetate). But there are so many more different types of esters that make up the flavor of beer, they deserve a little more understanding. At its very basic, esterification is a process in which yeast takes an alcohol molecule and an acid and mushes them together to create a new molecule and usually a bit of water through enzymatic activity. The amount of any given esters present in a beer will be determined by the amount of alcohol molecules, the amount of acid molecules, and the enzymatic properties of the yeast.
Additionally each ester has a different threshold level that humans can perceive. For example, ethyl acetate is the most common ester in beer but has a threshold of around 30 ppm (parts per million) to add a slight fruity aroma to a strong nail polish aroma to beer. While ethyl hexanoate will give an apple or anise aroma to beer in as little concentration as 200 ppb (parts per billion). For those of you without a billion fingers to count on, people can sense ethyl hexanoate at about a 0.6% concentration compared to ethyl acetate.
Apex Predator contains a high level of ethyl butyrate which gives off a juicy fruit bubblegum, tropical fruit, or pineapple aroma. Our saison yeast creates a high level of this ester which has a threshold of around 400 ppb. We don't add any fruit or other ingredients. All those aromatics come from the yeast doing stuff.