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Saison Squared

Call it super, call it double, or call it imperial. After you’ve tried one or two strong saisons, you’ll just call it your new favorite beer.

Dave Carpenter Jul 28, 2016 - 4 min read

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Who, other than U.S. craft brewers, would dare take a light, refreshing ale, originally meant to sustain farm workers through warm summer days, and then boost the alcohol so much as to promote more snoozing than sowing?

Well, the Belgians, for one. From Belgian super saisons to American imperial interpretations, a stronger farmhouse ale is emerging: a saison that delights modern palates as much as its forebearers fortified farmhands.

Imperial Saison by the Numbers

If saison is difficult to define, then imperial saison is even more so. Neither the 2008 Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) nor the 2013 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) beer style guidelines include descriptions for imperial saison. However, categories 16C and 69, respectively, characterize normal-strength saison, and from these numbers we may estimate numbers for imperial saison.

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