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Saison vs Session

What is the difference between a saison and a session beer? And what defines one or the other?

I’m under the impression that a session appeals to broader tastebuds, a tame brew if you will where a few can be consumed in one sitting. Saison being Belgian/French, larger alcohol perhaps and regional?? My .02 w/o the use of the googles.

A saison can be a session beer, if made right.

Saison is a style from belgium/france.

http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style16.php#1c

Where as session is a broad group of styles. Usually but not limited to any style made under aproximately 1.050 and less than 5% abv. Some people will argue that session beers are defined by being able to drink multiple beers at one sitting without fatigeing the palate and becoming to inebriated.

A Saison (Farmhouse Ale) is a specific style (Belgian/French). Traditionally they are lower ABV beers around 3.5% for the farm workers. Low ABV so they could work and not get plowed. But more recently they are much stronger. 5, 6, 7% range.

A session is just a lighter, lower ABV beer that can be consumed in larger amounts and not get you wrecked. A session beer can be a low ABV version of almost anything (excluding dubbels, tripels, imperials, etc).

So to me, Saisons were the original “Session” beer. But now they are being made in stronger non-session strength.

Yeah, I use a pretty broad definition of a session beer. Generally anything under 5% typically with a light body and bitterness for me.

nb’s petite saison kit is a good session saison. Not to heavy on the Alc., easy to drink, very satisfying. Even if you mess it up like i did :slight_smile:

Just to avoid any possible confusion, saison means “season” in french. As in harvest season.

Cool, thanks for all the responses. I think I’ll be doing a farmhouse ale soon. That Speckled Heifer looks pretty good.

I thought a session was anything 4% or lower? No?

Saisons are usually distinguished by a Belgian yeast character; check out this Zymurgy article on the style here:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/zymurgy/free-downloads

My understanding is that Speckled Heifer, while tasty, is a cream ale recipe; a session beer, but not a saison. Just so you know what you’ll be getting; either way, brew on!

Re: “session-strength” beers, everyone seems to have their own definition. Here’s one guy’s take:

From what I’ve heard a session is 5-6 people going to the pub and each buying a round. So I suppose a session beer is something you drink 5-6 at one sitting.

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