Review #9 Brasserie Fantome Pissenlit ‘wet the bed’ – 80/100
Pissenlit is a French word meaning ‘wet the bed’ which is a nickname given to dandelions. In England we always used to call them ‘pee the beds’ or ‘piss the beds’. For this beer, the brewers at Brasserie Fantome steeped sun-dried dandelions in water to create a kind of tea, which is then used in the mash along with malt. The wort is then boiled with hops before being allowed to ferment for a suitable period of time
The style of this beer is a botanical infused farmhouse saison. RateBeer and Beer Advocate rate the Pissenlit high in the 90’s; it is up there with some of the best beers in the world. I really liked the beer, but I wouldn’t go that far. It took me a while to appreciate it for what it was, which was – an unusually funky saison with something in there that I couldn’t quite put my finger on (I would later find out it was the dandelion), but what was apparent, was that it smelt like a bag of damp conkers.
Out of the bottle and into the glass, the beer pours a very deep, hazy orange, a much more interesting colour than I usually see in farmhouse saisons. Medium carbonation gives life to a light fluffy head which sticks around for the duration of the drink. The Pissenlit has quite a high alcohol content for a saison at 8%ABV, but you would’t guess it when your drinking it.
On the nose, the alcohol is definitely there but it isn’t as pungent as you would expect for an 8% beer. The aroma is funky, but not in a sour/lambic way, it smells musty like I mentioned previously. It reminded me of years gone by, when my dad would take me ‘conker hunting’ in the autumn and the bag would smell of this damp funkiness which I will forever associate with that time, and in a way this beer has kind of sent me on a trip down memory lane. It takes quite a lot to get past the initial funk but when you do, you will find delicate grassy and citrus notes coupled with a light ester aroma. The initial aroma would have me believing that there is some wild yeast present in this brew, it reminds of a wild yeast cider I made not too long ago.
On the palate, what I initially get are notes of sourdough rye bread, rosewater, all stitched together with light spices of black peppercorns, cardamom and sage. The beer finishes up quite sweet with with notes of old, musty oak.
Fortunately, I didn’t piss the bed and quite enjoyed the beer, that being said I wouldn’t rush to buy it again