A note on the elevated carbonation in our 2017 Saison bottles
Some of our 2017 Saison bottles may feature elevated carbonation levels. Although this is by design it can lead to excessive foam and (worst case scenario) less beer for you.
Crafting beers with elevated carbonation levels is certainly a delicate dance. Part of this tango means using champagne bottles to withstand the pressure and corks with cages – they aren't just for show, they have a specific function.
Our bottles are also bottle conditioned using the krausen method which adds another layer of complexity into the mix. When yeast consumes sugar it produces alcohol and carbon dioxide (Co2) which is responsible for that lovely fizzing effect in beer. All this to say it is twice as difficult to achieve desired carbonation when using these methods.
As always, we're continually improving our methods. We appreciate your understanding regarding our inaugural batch of bottled saison.
Now since we're talking about carbonation – here's a bit more on the subject. The vast majority of breweries use carbon dioxide from a pressurized tank to carbonate their beers. By pumping the gas into a vessel designed to contain beer under pressure, the gas cannot escape and, in turn, permeates the liquid and forms carbonation. This method of carbonation is easiest in terms of achieving a specific desired level of carbonation – just keep adding gas until the beer is as fizzy as you'd like.
Another method is adding plain old sugar. This method is more difficult than forced carbonation but still far more predictable. Refined sugar is the most predictable fermentable product. If a brewer knows the amount of sugar added to a certain amount of beer, they can almost perfectly pin point the carbonation level.
Last and most difficult, by a considerable degree, is the krausen method. It begins by choosing a carbonation target. Next the brewer will brew a batch of beer and transfer it into the bright tank with an already brewed beer. This transfer has to happen at the precise moment when there is enough beer that has transformed into alcohol but still had unfermented sugars for the yeast to consume in the bottle.
It truly is a fine art.
Here at Nonsuch, we push the limits as close to the breaking point as possible in a high protein beer. This means the slightest miscalculation in timing could result in over-carbonated beers and foam overs since high protein beers will foam more easily than lower protein beers.
So why krausen if it all seems so difficult? Because without question, it is worth it. Sample the same exact beer, one force carbonated and the other krasuened and they will not compare. We firmly believe bottle conditioned beer using the krausen method is the epitome of finesse. It also provides our beer the best possible environment inside the bottle for cellaring. Similar to wine, our beer is crafted to evolve in flavour and appreciate over time by being cellared. This is another reason for the bottle, the cork, the cage and the vintage (year on the bottle).
We are proud of our Saison and stand behind it fully. We set out to deliver a traditional highly carbonated saison and that's exactly what we did.
We'd love to hear what you think about it – should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on any of our social media platforms (links in the footer of this page).
Thank you for your time,
Matthew Sabourin on behalf of the Nonsuch team.