Reviewed: Paradox Future Knowledge V.13
Official description: Our ever-evolving solera foeder blend is a lesson in patience. Now on its 13th iteration, our house mixed culture of over 30 different microbes have experienced a population drift driving the beer slightly more tart and drier with noticeable ripe stone fruit and tropical funk. It has always been the goal of this project to make beers that are complex yet absolutely delicious and a joy to drink. This modern farmhouse ale is a solid leap into territory that took us years of careful guidance and blending to achieve. Grist: Locally grown pilsner and white wheat. Hops: Ekuanot, Experimental 6300. 6.6% ABV
Paradox Beer Company – Paradox Future Knowledge V.13 – 19.2 oz can served in stemless snifter – 6.6% ABV
This is the first beer I’ve tried from Paradox Beer Company based in Divide, Colorado. Future Knowledge’s description piqued my interest as the can proclaims in large font, “Tart Modern Farmhouse Ale” and “100% Oak Foeder Free-Rise Solera with Brettanomyces.” Wow. For casual consumers that may sound intimidating to downright gibberish. Thankfully, Paradox defines each term for us on the can label. Foeders are “large wooden, often vertically positioned, storage vessels used for aging a variety of fermented beverages.” Free-rise is “a fermentation process that allows the yeast to control temperature changes.” Solera method is “a process for aging fermented beverages by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues.” And last, Brettanomyces is “a non-spore-forming genus of wild-capture yeast in the family Saccaromycetaceae. ‘Bretts’ create a wide variety of sensory compounds that contribute both to flavor and aromatic complexity.”
On the bottom of the can is no packaging date but rather the words, “Marvelous Fresh or Aged.” Well, this is shaping up to be one of the most bizarre beers to be offered in a gas station style tallboy can. Let’s see how it tastes!
Into my glass, Future Knowledge V.13 is hazy straw in color with an oddly-forming head of foam that includes a mix of giant and micro-sized bubbles like homemade sourdough bread. The aroma starts off super funky with a big Brettanomyces character (think wet hay and musty attic) combined with beautiful notes of green strawberry, white grape, and zesty citrus. It smells like some of the best saisons out there. Clearly, there is a house yeast/bacteria mix at work here overlaid upon bright summer fruit aromas.
Flavor-wise, Future Knowledge really nails it for saison, a style I believe is on par with pilsner for the toughest beer style to excel in. The body is light and highly effervescent with delicate acidity that keeps the beer within the saison category rather than full-blown sour ale. Salt and limeade flavors combine to really drive home the refreshing quality of this beer. Just a bit of fattiness/oiliness from the oak foeder peeks through over time.
The palate is aerated, buoyant while the lack of sugar and alcohol plus low acidity solidify Future Knowledge as a slam dunk saison. This is just a wonderful beer all-around.
Perceived Specs for Paradox Future Knowledge V.13
Future Knowledge shows that you need only go completely crazy to make a delicious saison. But in all seriousness, this beer is a testament to a ridiculous level of dedication and experimentation to formulate such a unique but well-mannered funky beer.
Without going too crazy, find yourself funky but lower acid saisons. One widely available beer with Brettanomyces character but hardly any acid is Orval. After that, highly-regarded saison producers have a “terroir” so to speak of their funky house microbes. Saisons from Jolly Pumpkin, Hill Farmstead, Fantôme, Anchorage, Upright, Jester King, Logsdon, and so many others have unique blends of funk and acid. But none will capture the exact flavor blend of the other. Great saison is almost impossible to duplicate.
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