On Monday, November 16th I headed to Brooklyn Brewery for the release of Garrett Oliver’s newest addition to his Brewmaster’s Reserve Series of beers, Lord Sorachi. This 9.5% imperial saison is the “bigger brother” of Sorachi Ace, Brooklyn Brewery’s year round saison. In his usual fashion Garrett quieted down the crowd about half way into the night’s festivities for a brief speech about Lord Sorachi filled with humor and class. Of course I was ready and waiting with my camera and tripod so that I could film the speech and then share it with the craft beer community. I hope you enjoy watching the above video as much as I enjoyed experiencing it in person. Cheers!
Brewery’s Description: The mysteries of the Royal Hop Lines are deep, and many tales are told about them. Long ago, in the 1970s, Lord Beikei of Japan and Lady Saaz of the Czech Lands bore a son, Sorachi Ace, in the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido. Sorachi Ace quickly became a great hop, legendary for his unusual aromatic character. Opponents came to fear his entrancing “Lemon and Dill Stance” and the equally potent “Lemongrass Technique.” Sorachi Ace found his ambitions suppressed and he fled to the United States, making his way to the Pacific Northwest. There, on the estate of the House of Gamache in the land of Yakima, his powers grew strong…This winter, rejoice as he assumes a new guise—Lord Sorachi! He takes this mighty form to help us through the cold dark days, and to raucously celebrate with us on our holidays. A “Super-Saison,” Lord Sorachi’s bitterness is swift and sure, his hoppy pungency irresistible, and his strength assuring and immovable. Now, for a short time, embrace the mysterious duality of Sorachi Ace and Lord Sorachi.
Style: Imperial Saison
Hops: Sorachi Ace
Yeast: Our House Belgian Yeast
Alcohol by Volume: 9.5%
Original Gravity: 20° Plato
Food Pairings: Sushi, sashimi, tonkatsu ramen, yakitori dishes, Asian spices, and sturdy cheeses.
Availability: Very Limited Release
Format: Draft Only
Tasting Notes: With Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace being one of my favorite saisons I was quite excited to try its “bigger brother ” or “new evolution”. In the glass it was quite attractive with a yellow to light orange color and white foam which left behind some nice lacing (3/3). As expected the aroma was full of aggressive notes of lemongrass, dill, and Belgian yeast phenols. If Sorachi Ace saison wasn’t already a great showcase of the hop variety which gave it its name, this beer definitely took its characteristic aromas up a few notches from the start (8/10)…However, it was in the taste that the two beers really began to differ. Upfront the hops were the start of the show, but in the finish the malts and higher ABV added some bread-like sweetness and a noticeable booziness which at times detracted from my enjoyment of this drinking experience (14/20). In terms of mouthfeel the ABV lent a bit of weight to the finish, but overall the beer’s body was on the low end of medium with just right amount of sweetness left on the palate (3/5). Overall, I was left wondering if the beer that I was drinking needed to age a bit. One of the reasons why I love Sorachi Ace saison so much is that it finishes crisp and despite it’s 7.2% ABV it has a refreshing quality that keeps me coming back for my next sip. Therefore, I’d recommend pairing Lord Sorachi with food in order for the added hops to shine and the boozy / “big beer” finish to complement the stronger flavors and or weight of the dish (7/10). Rating: 35/50 (BJCP) or 7/10 (The Brewed Palate scale)