The word “Sorachi” has nothing to do with “Sriracha” – the ubiquitous hot sauce that has taken the world by storm. Sorachi refers to the Sorachi Ace hops used in the recipe to give a unique international twist on the classic Belgian Dubbel style in Saint Arnold‘s Icon Red.
As would be expected, Sorachi Ace Dubbel features yeast from a Trappist Monastery and a strong malt backbone thanks to a complex grain bill. But Saint Arnold’s brewers broke with tradition by using Sorachi Ace, which originated in Japan, as finishing hops and then again to dry hop the beer.
“We wanted to use the classic Dubbel style as a baseline and then throw in something interesting and unique to make it more relevant for Texas craft beer fans seeking new and innovative beer,” said Brewer Eddie Gutierrez, who cut his teeth as a homebrewer before jumping from a career as a mechanical engineer in the oil patch to brewing professionally. “We did a blind taste test comparing the test batch side-by-side against many of the classic Belgian Dubbels that craft beer drinkers love, and our batch did really well, so I think people who appreciate the style will really enjoy this fresh take on it.”
Icon Red pours a rich copper color. The Sorachi Ace hops, developed for Sapporo Brewers Ltd. in Japan 30 years ago, contributes to the beer’s creamy character and adds an aroma of lemongrass and dill. Malts used include Pils, which serves as the base malt, as well as Munich, Honey, Chocolate and Caramunich malts. They combine to create what Gutierrez describes as a “malty melody.”