Saison vs. Witbier: Side-by-Side

sensory analysis Nov 01, 2022

In this episode of the Beer Scholar "Classic Style Side-By-Side" series Advanced Cicerones Chris Cohen & Chris Crowe sit down to taste and discuss the differences between classic BJCP commercial examples of Saison and Witbier. We went with the archetypical Saison Dupont vs. the beloved Allagash White. These are both widely available around the world, so you should be able to do this one at home. Head's up, this is one you may very well see on the Style Discrimination panel of the Certified Cicerone tasting exam!

These beer styles share several similar characteristics, they're both pale & spicy phenol flavor forward. The big giveaway here is the differing spice character. In the Witbier you're going to get coriander, which is added to the beer, for the saison you'll get more of a black or white pepper spice character. Coriander and black pepper are quite different. Which spice type you're sensing should be immediately apparent in the aroma of the beer. That said, if you need to go to the next step to verify your guess, the typical saison is very dry and has a fair amount of hop bitterness, whereas a witbier is generally going to lean slightly sweet and have a fuller mouthfeel. Remember, NEVER rely on visual cues in a blind tasting!

The Beer Scholar "Classic Style Side-By-Side" series, we compare similar classic styles, discuss them, & provide tips for how to pick them apart in a blind tasting. This is all about helping you pass the Certified & Advanced Cicerone exams. Tasting blind is HARD, we're here to help!

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sensory analysis