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No Rests for the Wicked: Brewing Great Saison with Extracts

With saison’s high attenuation, delicate body, fermentation-driven complexities, and lasting foam, it would be easy to assume that extract brewers are at a disadvantage. Not necessarily, as Annie Johnson explains.

Annie Johnson Aug 9, 2021 - 8 min read

No Rests for the Wicked: Brewing Great Saison with Extracts Primary Image

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The mental image evoked by saison’s story provokes thirst: In Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, farmers and their crew would refresh themselves after a long day’s work with a glass or two of this rustic brew.

Saison probably varied greatly, depending on local ingredients and yeast—which often would have been borrowed from or shared with the neighbors, evolving over time. Effervescent, at times acidic or spicy, its purpose was to quench.

I’ve heard that some Belgian brewers like to thank American drinkers and brewers for not letting this wonderful style die. I’m skeptical about this—my own travels to Wallonia showed me that saison is alive and well, and just as delicious as ever.

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Annie Johnson is an experienced R&D brewer, IT specialist, and national beer judge. Her awards include 2013 American Homebrewer of the Year honors.