Canard Noir (“Duck Black”) is a long time in the making. Although we finally brewed it this past weekend, DJ was drawn to the concept of brewing a Belgian-Style Porter more than 2 years ago, before we were even officially licensed. After finalizing the Black Duck Porter recipe early in the planning stages of the brewery, DJ was sure he wanted to brew a one-off with Belgian yeast. And, if our licenses had been approved on time, it might have even been one of our brewery’s very first batches - brewed just in time to bring to Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2010. The authorities acted as they often do and the idea was shelved.
Our recent “Belgian tangent” provided a perfect opportunity to bring the beer to fruition. Our only real choice was between the Abbey or Saison yeast that we had in the rotation (the Abbey yeast from brewing Havre Rouge and Project Hoppiness: Belgian IPA, the Saison yeast from Spring Turning (Rye) Saison). A homebrewed Black Saison that I made over the winter helped make it clear that Saison yeast was the way to go.
Identical in malt and hops to Black Duck Porter, Canard Noir is roasty at it foundation. The addition of French Saison yeast transforms the beer. While recognizable as the original, the dry and pepper-like spiciness and tropical fruitiness of the Farmhouse yeast turn the beer into something truly special. What started as a one-off is essentially a new beer.
Canard Noir is currently fermenting away in FV3. Look for it to drop during Long Island Craft Beer Week.