Woodland Wonders - Bottle
6.0%

Woodland Wonders

Elderflower Saison

Commercial Series

An ode to forest ecosystems, "Woodland Wonders" was brewed in collaboration with Higgins Ale Works using copious amounts of wild elderflowers that were personally hand-picked from the Bavarian Alps. This refreshing saison nudges you to take a step back from the urban landscape and tune your senses to the floral aromas, spicy flavors and subtle earthy notes of the forest.

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  • Last brewedJuly 13, 2023
  • Alcohol6.0%
  • MaltsPilsner, Vienna, Abbey
  • HopsHallertau Mittelfrüh
  • YeastMangrove Jack's M29 French Saison,
    White Labs WLP521 Hornindal Kveik
  • ExtrasElderflowers
Woodland Wonders - Label Design

With a proven track record of brewing artisanal ales at home, the time finally came to scale up production with a much larger commercial batch. Sharing a common love for beer and the outdoors, not to mention a high standard for quality, it was only natural that I joined forces with my friends at Higgins Ale Works so that together we may brew a refreshing saison for the summer. This wasn't gonna be a shot in the dark either, as I had already been homebrewing my "Eyes Of Emerald" elderflower honey saison every summer for a few years now, which served as a solid foundation for this new recipe. That being said, there were still a few tweaks I wanted to make, such as lowering the alcohol level for better drinkability and substituting the honey addition at flameout with Abbey malt in the mash. Once we had a solid recipe to work with, we brewed a small test batch on my homebrewing system to get an idea of what to expect before scaling up production. Of course scaling up also meant using more elderflowers, a lot more! So I went scouting for areas in the Bavarian Alps from where I could forage this key ingredient for our collab. With some good places mapped out, I ended up picking over 4.5kg of wild elderflowers, destemming them by hand to get 2kg of just pure flowers. We used these in the whirpool to give the saison a distinctive but not overpowering burst of floral aromas, which paired excellently with the spicy notes of the yeast resulting in a farmhouse ale that has a wild feel to it while still being delicate enough and easily drinkable by beer lovers and casual consumers alike.

Woodland Wonders - Pencil DrawingWoodland Wonders - Ink IllustrationWoodland Wonders - Digital Print

The Artwork

Nature and wildlife have fascinated me ever since I was a child, wondering endlessly through forests and meadows while my family would forage for mushrooms and plants. Returning home still bewildered by my discoveries, I'd often find myself browsing through zoological and botanical atlases until their pages quite literally fell off. These featured incredibly detailed illustrations of fauna and flora from many habitats, helping me learn about ecosystems, while in the same time fueling my imagination. The artwork featured on this label design is a tribute to all those illustrations and to the artists behind them.

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Woodland Wonders - Artwork
Woodland Wonders - Showcase

Glossary

After countless hours of researching species from Europe's temperate climate forests, what resulted was a composition that resembled those naturalist plates from my old atlases:

  1. Banded darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum)
  2. Cross spider web (Araneus diadematus)
  3. Heathed woodtuft (Kuehneromyces mutabilis)
  4. Grove snail (Cepaea nemoralis)
  5. Trumpet cup lichen (Cladonia fimbriata)
  6. Large marsh grasshopper (Stethophyma grossum)
  7. Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
  8. Flat-brocade moss (Platygyrium repens)
  9. Red deer antler (Cervus elaphus)
Woodland Wonders - Wildlife Glossary
Woodland Wonders - Aged & Wild Editions

Aged & Wild Editions

Two months after kegging the 2023 batch we set some of it aside to age, but inoculated part of it with Brettanomyces claussenii. Two months later we added yet another wild yeast culture, this time one that I personally captured in the Bavarian Alps from the very same elderflowers that went into the beer itself half a year before. After four more months of keg conditioning on this blend of yeasts, this Wild Edition was finally bottled along with the Aged Edition, to be released together in a special event.

Hopsylvania Wild Yeast 001 - Elderflower

Availability

Brewed yearly in early summer when elderflowers are in their full bloom, this is only available seasonally in late summer to early autumn. The two special editions mentioned above will be released on June 7th, 2024. These will only be available at the Higgins Ale Works Taproom in Munich, Germany, either on-site in 100ml pours or in take-away bottles (limited per person).

Event Details
Woodland Wonders - Outdoor View
Vorderer Drachenkopf in Mieminger Mountains • 2,306m
Tyrolean Alps, Austria

Other Beers

Check out some of the other things I brewed that might be similar to this one, or alternatively just explore the full range regardless of their style.

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