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Just Bottled: Harpoon Leviathan Saison Royale

August 6, 2009

On Monday, we bottled and kegged the newest edition to the Harpoon Leviathan Series, Saison Royale. It is now available in both of our brewery stores, but it won’t be in stores for a couple of weeks. Later this month, we will have a live chat/tasting on our website so you can participate in a virtual tasting and ask questions of a Harpoon brewer.

Todd Charbonneau - Harpoon Head Brewer (Boston)

Todd Charbonneau - Harpoon Head Brewer (Boston)

To help learn more about this unique Belgian styled beer, we sat down with Harpoon’s Head Brewer, Todd Charbonneau, to discuss the inspiration behind and the creation of Saison Royale.  Here is part of that discussion.

What was your inspiration for brewing this next addition to the Harpoon Leviathan Series?

[Todd] This beer style interested myself and the other brewers because it is rich in history, and there is a lot of reading to be done on it. The style is one that I’ve always enjoyed.

Can you share some insight on the history of this style of beer?

[TC] This style started in southern Belgium along the French border. During the 1800s, there was basically a brewery on every farm. Each would brew saisons, (season), during the correct brewing months. This easy to drink beer style would quench the farm hands’ thirst after their long work days. Later on, as this style was being brewed more for celebrations, they became super saisons, ones higher in alcohol and flavor.

Is there something unique about the brewing process of this style of beer?

[TC] The Harpoon Leviathan Saison Royale uses a very stubborn yeast strain, which ferments the beer to a very dry state. There is very low gravity to this beer. In place of hops, spices were added, very traditional to the saison style. In our case, we added white pepper and rosemary.

What types of malted grain did you use?

[TC] American Pale malt, German Pilsner malt, German Vienna malt, and a small amount of acidulated malt.

Why did you choose these and how did they influence the finished product?

[TC] The American Pale and German Pilsner malts were used because they are typical to the saison style. The Vienna malt added a little bit of color and a bready malt body, and the acidulated malt, (malt steeped in acidic water), was used to pick up the tangy, sharp sour edge of the beer.

What types of aroma hops did you use?

[TC] German Hallertauerg, from the Tettnang region

Why did you choose these and how did they influence the finished product?

[TC] These are very prized, noble hops that deliver a spicy, earthy aroma

Did the beer turnout like you had envisioned? If not what was different about it?

[TC] Yes, the spices are a nice accompaniment to the yeast, and there is a nice herbal, earthy character.

In your mind what is the perfect setting for enjoying your masterpiece?

[TC] In a quaint cow pasture in Bologna, with snow-capped mountains within view. Or at an outdoor beer garden in the sunshine.

To learn more about Saison Royale, visit or go grab a 4-pack (when they become available) at your nearest beer store.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Greg M permalink
    August 28, 2009 11:27 AM

    have had this beer twice already at your brewery in VT and at the Blues N Brews fest on 8/22.
    Very nice and complex, bit out of style for a saison per se, due to high alcohol and very light color but still highly enjoyable. Like the spice profile a lot, rosemary and pepper comes thru great.
    As someone who has used rosemary in brewing this is a great spice to use.
    Look forward to having more of it in the future.

  2. BeerMe permalink
    August 28, 2009 5:52 PM

    will kegs of saison be sent to any watering holes in cambridge any time soon? say the Asgaard (around the corner). I had a preview of the Leviathan IPA (and the other belgian) there before it was in stores: and it was good

    • August 28, 2009 8:18 PM

      BeerMe – we have delivered kegs of Leviathan Saison Royale in the last couple of weeks to Summer Shack, Asgard
      Om, Christopher’s, and Bukowski’s in Cambridge. Cheers and enjoy!

  3. January 9, 2010 8:24 PM

    Is it beer 30, yet? I’m ready to crack open a nice bottle of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale!

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