Thursday, 6 November 2014

Ilkley Brewing Siberia Rhubarb Saison

Ilkley Brewing Siberia Rhubarb Saison
Style: Rhubarb Saison 
Alcohol Content: 5.9%
From: Ikley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Purchased from: Trickling Tap, Grantham, United Kingdom

Many moons ago, when I was new to blogging and the craft beer I decided to buy a few books in order to fully understand all the beer styles out there. One of these was by a female writer named Melissa Cole. Inspired by her passion and her eloquent explanations, I digested her book within one day (that's extremely quick for me). During my studies I read that Melissa had collaborated with Ilkley Brewing in Leeds to create a Rhubarb Saison named Siberia. Desperate to find one, I searched high and low  but to no avail. Deflated, I gave up. Clearly this beer was never destined to touch my lips. After a trip to Grantham to see my uncle, I stumbled across the Trickling Tap bottle shop. To my amazement and sheer delight, I found one bottle of the fabled Serbia lurking on the back of the shelves. Naturally I snapped it up and gleefully drove back home with my bounty.

The original Ilkley brewery was founded in 1873 and soon became on of West Yorkshires leading beverage producers. Ultimately this success wouldn't last and the brewery was soon swallowed up by Hammonds Bradford Brewing Co. and consequently Bass. In 2009 the brewery was resurrected and now produces up to 40,000 pints a week. The brewery currently offers a range of seven core beers including the subject of this review; Siberia.

Colour: Pours a hazy, straw yellow with a slight reddish hue. A small amount of foam is present but this soon disappears after a few seconds in the glass. I'm must admit, I'm slightly disappointed to find that this beer is not red in colour. Given the extensive use of rhubarb to flavour this beer, I thought some of the deep red colouration would of filtered into the brew itself. Oh well, you can't have it all!

Aroma: The nose is perfumed with hints of tart rhubarb and raspberries. These aromas are held together by a straw/hay like quality that you would expect from a classic Saison. It's rather like sleeping in a barn. Subtle hints of warming cloves and sweet vanilla round out the nose beautifully.

Body: As drank this beer straight from the fridge, the mouth feel felt rather thin to start with. As the drink warms, the beer gets denser with the lack of carbonation helping you think that you are drinking straight from the cask. Perfect stuff!

Taste: As a general rule of thumb, I find Saisons are rather spicy, dry affair. However, this Saison is packed full of fruity notes that will quite frankly, blow your mind. You can instantly taste notes of the sweet yet slightly tart rhubarb. The use of traditional Saison yeast help to add notes of wheat and cloves. Once warmed, subtle notes of caramel being to come to the fore. Over time this helps to mute the tartness of the rhubarb. The finish is long and dry with a slight juicy kick thanks to the rhubarb. I really enjoyed this beer as all the flavours are perfectly balanced and I felt as if I was drinking straight from a perfectly conditioned cask. Tip top!

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