Taras Boulba Clone

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Hey guys, I'm thinking about doing a Taras Boulba Clone by Brasserie de la Senne. Unfortunately, my yeast options are limited to 2 strains: Wyeast Trappist High Gravity and French Saison (Wyeast 3711). Any ideas on which way to go? :mug:
 

madscientist451

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Thanks for posting your request, I've never heard of that beer and after looking at their website, it doesn't look like they are going to export any time soon.
I found this small clue on their website: "it takes us two months to make a beer, which is considered a very long time to make beers of top fermentation these days"
Does this mean they are using a top fermenting yeast? Or maybe just a juxtaposition of words as they are translated?
I found another tidbit that referenced the brewer in the following book:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1906417865/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
Reader Comment:
"I received this book for my birthday the other day.
In it there is a small profile on Brasserie de la Senne. It doesn't give much away regarding ingredients, but it does suggest that their beers are brewed without the use of adjuncts. It also says that Tarras Boulba is a modern interpretation on a Saison and that it is fermented with two yeast strains......saison yeast and english ale yeast perhaps??
No clues on the grain bill or hopping schedule ."
So...the plot of this mystery thickens somewhat.

I don't believe you will be able to clone this beer with either of the two yeast choices provided. If you are in Brussels and can get this beer, I'm wondering if you could grow a yeast pitch from bottle dregs? Their website says they do minimal processing and don't filter, I'm thinking maybe they don't pasteurize and there may be viable yeast either in the bottles or out of a keg at a pub.
They may be brewing two different beers using different yeasts and blending or using multiple yeast pitches.....
Your grain bill and hops will also have a big influence on how close your clone come out, but if you can only get those two yeasts, I'd make two batches and see which one comes close.
 
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drunkmonk59

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I took a stab at this a few years ago. It came out really good, but I wasn't quite there. I used a 50/50
blend of WLP005 & WLP500. My thoughts at the time is that it just needed a little more bitterness and that little lemony thing I get from Taras Boulba. I just enjoyed a pint of the real thing a week ago at my local pub and thought I should give this another try. So much flavor in a little beer is a work of art.

These guys have been working on a recipe but haven't finished it yet. I used their clear blonde sugar in my recipe. Good Luck!

http://www.candisyrup.com/recipes.html
 

couchsending

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Man I wish I could find this beer even somewhat regularly. Had it on tap finally this summer and wow is it amazing.

Yeast and process and really good hops are key for this beer.

To me the yeast is a very restrained Belgian yeast. I know De Ranke uses BE-256 and Yvan used to brew there.

Has anyone ever degassed one to see what the FG is?
 

Dirty25

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Man I wish I could find this beer even somewhat regularly. Had it on tap finally this summer and wow is it amazing.

Yeast and process and really good hops are key for this beer.

To me the yeast is a very restrained Belgian yeast. I know De Ranke uses BE-256 and Yvan used to brew there.

Has anyone ever degassed one to see what the FG is?

Yvan gave a friend and me a tour of his brewery last summer. All his beers use the same yeast (excluding his Brett beer) also he only uses European hops in all his production beer. His Fermenator geometry is short and fat to drive down esters in the yeast. I can’t remember what he did for primary fermentation temp control but I think it was just letting it ride. He has a cool box with unjacketed fermenters where he lagers his beers for a while before packaging.

He did confirm he redoses yeast at packaging but uses a clean ale yeast (probably us05?)
 
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Northern_Brewer

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I took a stab at this a few years ago. It came out really good, but I wasn't quite there. I used a 50/50
blend of WLP005 & WLP500. My thoughts at the time is that it just needed a little more bitterness and that little lemony thing I get from Taras Boulba.

The hardness of Brussels water is obvious in TB - Molenbeek uses Boitsfort and Callois water, punch Molenbeek-Saint-Jean into the widget at the bottom of this page and you'll get an analysis that looks something like this - 130ppm Ca, 350ppm HCO3, 70ppm SO4, 35ppm Cl

Obviously we don't know the extent to which they are Burtonising, but terroir seems quite important to them so I wouldn't imagine they're doing much beyond possibly a bit of gypsum.

Ed Wray has lots of detail on their process - they mash at 45-62-72-78°C with different times for different beers. Hop pellets rather than cones, 95% of the hops used are German or Slovenian. Yvan : "Tettnanger and Saaz stand for the bulk, and beyond them, we primarily use Savinjski Golding and Hallertau Hersbrucker".

10-15% crystal sugar is added to the copper for beers over 6.5% ABV, liquid invert sugar is used to prime secondary fermentation in keg (?!) and bottle. "Carbonation of 5.5g/l is aimed for in bottles". Collect wort at 21-22°C; weak beers are allowed up to 26°C to encourage esters, strong beers up to 24°C to minimise fusels. 5-6 days in fermenter and 14-15 days in secondary at 23°C - part of the idea is to free up space in the primary fermenters which are filled to 1m or 2m and are the limiting factor but which they deliberately use to avoid the hydrostatic pressures of tall thin conicals. Brett beers get 3 months at 15°C. This has more on their yeast harvesting.

Coy on their house production strain other than it's a single strain of Saccharomyces from a big-name Belgian brewery, they reuse it 30-35 times before re-propagating. It's obviously POF+, which would rule out Rochefort and de Koninck, and implication would be that it's not a dry strain. Their Brett-B strain is a wild one from a local homebrewer.

Reading this (which also explains the origin of the name) :
It is a modest 4.5% in strength, revealing one of its sources of inspiration. “If I have one beer style that is my favorite ever,” De Baets says, “it’s a good English bitter properly served from the cask. Taras could be seen as a Belgian version of that.” That’s certainly a cask-like strength, far lower than most Belgian offerings. Okay, what else? “We are also big fans of traditional German pilsners,” he continues. “We see [them] as a sort of achievement for a brewer to make. Hence the noble hop character of Taras....

It has a wholly unique flavor: a bright lemon stiffened by minerally hard water up front, then a slow evolution into a dry herbal finish....The beer may be hop-heavy (in addition to bittering additions, Senne dry-hops Taras Boulba)....“It’s a yeast we’ve chosen carefully for the subtle, mellow esters it gives. We enhance them using very flat fermenters we designed ourselves.” He points out that the bitterness comes from the hops, not phenolics, but I’d emphasize all the heavy lifting the yeast does in other ways. Esters up front accent the lemony hopping and create the spritz that buoys this beer. In Taras Boulba, the way those esters work with the bitterness, the way their aromas harmonize with the citrusy hops, are what tie the beer together.

The emphasis on subtle esters rather than phenolics makes me think of witbier yeasts. Combine witbier with the pride they take in being from Brussels and I think of Blanche de Bruxelles - I'd suggest the Lefebvre yeast must be a favourite? So I'd be thinking 3944 or WLP400, maybe Brewferm Blanche as a dry yeast?

I've only had Taras once, towards the end of a beer festival so my memory is a bit hazy other than it was nice!
 

Northern_Brewer

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@metic has blogged quite a bit about his obsession with de la Senne. He mentions a recipe contributed to a book by Yvan which is mostly pilsner malt with a bit of wheat and Munich, which sounds plausibly inspired by Taras. He also mentions an interview in French (frustratingly not available at present) in which Yvan refers to the yeast as the "greatest gift in his life" which sounds like a one-off donation and they've since propagated in-house.
 

couchsending

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Are you positive it’s POF+? I’ve only had TB a few times but I feel like I struggled to find the phenols, similar to XX Bitter from De Ranke.

Their process is also somewhat similar to De Ranke in that they give the beers somewhat long warm conditioning times to really dry the beer out. Interesting that Fermentis also recommends getting the beer off the yeast quickly for BE-256 in order to preserve flavor.

I don’t think DLS uses BE-256 but I wonder if you could get close with it.

Also in regards to water there’s no way they could make a decent light beer with Alkalinty that high. They probably just breboil/decant and adjust with acid. You’d end up with pretty standard water after that and adjust as necessary.

Has anyone degassed to se what FG actually is? Sorry if I missed that in one of the articles.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Well, POF can mean flavours other than clove, like pepper. When you read reviews by BJCP judges of their tripel : "Lime fruity notes up front with a slight peppery note. Not what typically comes to mind in tripel aroma, but enjoyable with light sweetness. Floral fruity esters...Fresh juicy fruit (lime and lemon) flavors balanced by a nice floral lingering hops bitterness. Spicy phenols of pepper and light clove are notable in the aftertaste." Lime and pepper with a hint of sweetness actually sounds quite T-58-like rather than Be-256? T-58 is definitely POF+ without being a clove bomb.
Or this on Taras : "classic Belgian yeast flavours; expect some cloves and banana on top of European hops and a crisp finish"

That 2014 interview is now up again, the only specific of note is 7 weeks conditioning "once brewed": "Une fois brassée, la bière est mise en garde durant sept semaines. "On laisse la levure faire son travail à son aise. Au final, c'est elle qui décide quand la bière est prête." Les sept semaines font partie du credo des maîtres d'oeuvre: pas question de raccourcir le délai, ni de recourir comme d'autres à des techniques d'accélération de la fermentation."

I think it's safe to say that the US and Europeans have rather different views on brewing water, but if they are doing their temperature steps by the addition of boiling water then that would drop out much of the bicarbonate, and references to the minerality of Taras seem common. I suspect they're not doing much more than boiling, then acid to hit pH but no more, leaving quite a bit of carbonate in the water if it's anything like SE England, and then quite possibly adding some gypsum.

Nope, not seen an FG
 

mikeroesoft

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Thank goodness for this thread. I have been obsessed with DLS beers for a bit now, specifically Taras Boulba. I find it to be one of the most, if not the most refreshing beer. I have attempted three 'inspired by' beers and feel like, they were on the right track though I'm still no where close to cloning Taras Boulba. I've used pils malt with malted wheat and a touch of flaked wheat to make up for my single infusion mash and mixed up some Motueka, Hallertau hops. I'm of the belief that the hop'ing is some form of two of either Saaz, Tettnanger and/or Styrian Goldings. In a podcast Yvan de Baets mentioned that there is one malt and two hop varieties in Taras Boulba. So Belgian Pilsner malt, step mashed, hard-ish water, but I'm thinking he lowers the pH with an acid rest.

For yeast, I've used WLP510 and really loved it. It's supposed to be derived from Orval and possibly their sacc strain. I'm not sure if DLS uses this yeast, but it fits the profile...light on the esters and finishes slightly tart.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to following along this tread. If others are also interested, maybe we'll keep getting closer.
 
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skibb

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I've had this beer and it was really refreshing - this thread has inspired me to give it another shot - I just ordered a keg of it for my taproom. Will definitely plate the beer and see what grows from it. Also, will degas a sample and report back. Who knows, might get squirrely and send some in for chemical analysis to see what its water profile looks like.
 

couchsending

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I've had this beer and it was really refreshing - this thread has inspired me to give it another shot - I just ordered a keg of it for my taproom. Will definitely plate the beer and see what grows from it. Also, will degas a sample and report back. Who knows, might get squirrely and send some in for chemical analysis to see what its water profile looks like.

Hell yeah!! Looking forward to hearing what you find. I’ve been brewing this beer in my mind for a few months now and really want to make something like it. For me it’s the reference for the Hoppy Table Beer and it’s pretty much impossible for me to find anywhere near where I live.
 

mikeroesoft

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I've had this beer and it was really refreshing - this thread has inspired me to give it another shot - I just ordered a keg of it for my taproom. Will definitely plate the beer and see what grows from it. Also, will degas a sample and report back. Who knows, might get squirrely and send some in for chemical analysis to see what its water profile looks like.

I would love to hear what you find out!
 

Mer-man

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Keg is better than these bottles I can get at my lhbs
IMG_2093.JPG
 

mikeroesoft

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Well, POF can mean flavours other than clove, like pepper. When you read reviews by BJCP judges of their tripel : "Lime fruity notes up front with a slight peppery note. Not what typically comes to mind in tripel aroma, but enjoyable with light sweetness. Floral fruity esters...Fresh juicy fruit (lime and lemon) flavors balanced by a nice floral lingering hops bitterness. Spicy phenols of pepper and light clove are notable in the aftertaste." Lime and pepper with a hint of sweetness actually sounds quite T-58-like rather than Be-256? T-58 is definitely POF+ without being a clove bomb.
Or this on Taras : "classic Belgian yeast flavours; expect some cloves and banana on top of European hops and a crisp finish"

That 2014 interview is now up again, the only specific of note is 7 weeks conditioning "once brewed": "Une fois brassée, la bière est mise en garde durant sept semaines. "On laisse la levure faire son travail à son aise. Au final, c'est elle qui décide quand la bière est prête." Les sept semaines font partie du credo des maîtres d'oeuvre: pas question de raccourcir le délai, ni de recourir comme d'autres à des techniques d'accélération de la fermentation."

I think it's safe to say that the US and Europeans have rather different views on brewing water, but if they are doing their temperature steps by the addition of boiling water then that would drop out much of the bicarbonate, and references to the minerality of Taras seem common. I suspect they're not doing much more than boiling, then acid to hit pH but no more, leaving quite a bit of carbonate in the water if it's anything like SE England, and then quite possibly adding some gypsum.

Nope, not seen an FG

I'm going to try T58 this weekend in a TB inspired beer. I don't have any Tett hops and will likely go all Saaz. Maybe I'll mix in some Spalt or Hallertau or styrian goldings for an earthier touch. Any suggestions?
 

couchsending

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Unless you mash for an incredibly long time at 145 I don't think you can get T58 as dry as TB. That yeast
is super weird for me.

I'd be more likely to recommend BE-256 which is the De Ranke yeast. YDB brewed the De La Senne beers at
De Ranke for a while. I think that'll get you close to TB profile than T58 personally but you never know.
 

thehaze

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T-58 can easily attenuate around 80%, at least I have had it attenuate this much a few times.

It's not a bad yeast, but kind of dull in terms of esters and phenols. The attenuation is said to be 70%, at least this what Fermentis is saying, and I never got less than 75% with it. It's peppery and spicy and not much fruitiness to talk about. And it's weird, 'cause during fermentation this yeast throws off some really fruity aroma.
 

skibb

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Sorry for the delay - got water report back from Ward Labs

Taras Bulba (De le Senne)

pH: 4.4
TDS Est: 1333
Electrical Conductivity: 2.22
Cations: 30.1
Anions: 12.3
Sodium: 20
Calcium: 73
Magnesium: 103
Potassium: 663
Total Phosphorus: 202.9
Nitrate (NO3): 12.9
S- Sulfate: 91
[Sulfate] (actual): 273
Chloride: 183
CO3: < 1.0
HCO3: 28
Total Alkalinity (CaCO3): 23
Total Hardness (CaCO3): 612
Total Fe: < 0.01
 

Northern_Brewer

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I never got less than 75% with it. It's peppery and spicy and not much fruitiness to talk about. And it's weird, 'cause during fermentation this yeast throws off some really fruity aroma.

Sounds like you're keeping it too warm for too long, and it's cleaning up after itself, you want to get it cooler sooner, per this thread on British yeasts.
 

mikeroesoft

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My attempt with T58, Pils and Saaz was a pretty good beer but it wasn’t TB. It was more like a dry Czech Pils with a Belgian twist. I tried infusion step mashing and I liked the outcome, I maybe went a little too dry. Tomorrow I’m going to try another dry bitter Belgian TB inspired ale. Im still finalizing the recipe but I’ve got Belgian pils malt, Tettnang and Celeia hops and WLP510. I feel like this could get close which is all I want.
 

couchsending

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Circling back here... I’m convinced their house ale yeast is an English strain. There are no detectable phenols in Taras, or Zinnebier. Had some on tap a few weeks ago followed by essentially the same beer from Thiriez and the difference was staggering. Really drove home that the yeast character is really pretty clean. Plus YDB has always professed his love for English Bitter.
 

mikeroesoft

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Circling back here... I’m convinced their house ale yeast is an English strain. There are no detectable phenols in Taras, or Zinnebier. Had some on tap a few weeks ago followed by essentially the same beer from Thiriez and the difference was staggering. Really drove home that the yeast character is really pretty clean. Plus YDB has always professed his love for English Bitter.

Personally, I think it’s from Orval. Just from what I’ve read and from some limited experience with WLP510.
 

Northern_Brewer

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As an aside, Yvan pops up in this article (along with Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker) expressing his admiration for Eric Toft of Schönramer

"Yvan De Baets, cofounder and brewer at Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels, has told me many times that he believes Toft is one of the best brewers in the world. “He has the precision of a Swiss clockmaker when he brews, but remains very humble,” De Baets says. “His knowledge in malt and hops is simply incredible. He also has a huge respect for his yeast and the time she will need for making a good job. And he makes to perfection the ultimate ‘brewer’s beer’—a German Pilsner.”

Schönramer Pils, De Baets says, “is for me the best in the world, with its perfect depth in maltiness, super-refined noble hop character, and sharp-but-clean bitterness.” Toft, De Baets says, is “a real mentor to me.”"
 

couchsending

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Personally, I think it’s from Orval. Just from what I’ve read and from some limited experience with WLP510.

Really? I’ve never had really fresh Orval so I don’t know it that well without Brett but I’ve had Farmers Daughter from the Alchemist which at least for a few batches used Orval yeast and it was pretty spicey/phenolic.

Wyeast 1762 is supposedly Rochefort. According to the yeast genome tree (if it’s the same as 540) is an English yeast. I’ve only used it once (for something else) but it’s a very clean “Belgian” yeast. White Labs lists 540 as POF+ which is odd considering where it’s genetics fall.
 

mikeroesoft

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Really? I’ve never had really fresh Orval so I don’t know it that well without Brett but I’ve had Farmers Daughter from the Alchemist which at least for a few batches used Orval yeast and it was pretty spicey/phenolic.

Wyeast 1762 is supposedly Rochefort. According to the yeast genome tree (if it’s the same as 540) is an English yeast. I’ve only used it once (for something else) but it’s a very clean “Belgian” yeast. White Labs lists 540 as POF+ which is odd considering where it’s genetics fall.

I find 510 the least spicy/phenolic of all the Belgian yeast I’ve tried. I haven’t had Farmers Daughter but I’m thinking the the spicy/phenolic can be encouraged/subdued but frost and fermentation profile. A friend of mine just pointed me to an Imperial Yeast Lab culture of this strain..I think it’s called Precious?
 

dirty_martini

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I find 510 the least spicy/phenolic of all the Belgian yeast I’ve tried. I haven’t had Farmers Daughter but I’m thinking the the spicy/phenolic can be encouraged/subdued but frost and fermentation profile. A friend of mine just pointed me to an Imperial Yeast Lab culture of this strain..I think it’s called Precious?

I’m planning a beer inspired by taras boulba and westy blonde and have probably looked at this thread a dozen times over the years. Nice to see it revived. I’m actually going to use wyeasts Belgian Wheat. Used to be my favorite belgian strain (supposedly sourced from de dolle) but it was discontinued years ago. This year I saw its back as a seasonal so I’m using it for this beer. It has minimal phenolics, and while it has some plum, bubblegum, and apple like esters, they are much more subdued than other belgian strains and tend to balance with malt and hops nicely. I have no idea why they (and omega) call it belgian wheat. Definitely not a witbier yeast and would probably sell better if given a better name.
 

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I isolated the yeast from a bottle of Taras and there are two strains in the bottle; a smooth colony (likely lager used for bottling) and an irregular (main strain) that produces mild POF+ character with a distinct lemony-Belgian aroma. Overall character is rather clean and moderately dry. I would not be surprised if it was the Palm yeast. The Belgian Wheat ale seems like it would be perfect for this type of beer.
 

Mer-man

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I just had this fresh on tap here in town and was blown away. Easily my favorite pale ale.

I guess I will have to start brewing trials! WLP400 or WLP510 to start with . . .
 

skibb

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Yeah its just a super solid and refreshing beer. The professor I was working with to do sequencing/identification has funding frozen but at this point I'm about to shell out the $100 to do it myself.
 

couchsending

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I isolated the yeast from a bottle of Taras and there are two strains in the bottle; a smooth colony (likely lager used for bottling) and an irregular (main strain) that produces mild POF+ character with a distinct lemony-Belgian aroma. Overall character is rather clean and moderately dry. I would not be surprised if it was the Palm yeast. The Belgian Wheat ale seems like it would be perfect for this type of beer.

Just opened my first Palm and it does seem like there are some similarities to the aromas I get from De La Senne beers. Very very light phenolics.

Is the Palm yeast commercially available in any form? Or is there anything close?
 

dirty_martini

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I did my version. Not a clone, but inspired by the beer. Something hoppy and crisp with the belgian backbone. Almost like taras Boulba met fresh westy 6.

1.044
1.008
4.7%
38-40IBUs
Malts: Pils, Pale, Spelt
5% Cane sugar
Hops: sterling, mt hops, enigma
Yeast: wyeast 3942 Belgian Wheat (de dolle)

I was quite happy with it. Kept the fermentation relatively cool for a Belgian. Staying around 68 until the very end to let it finish out at 72 to ensure complete attenuation. Drinks like a pilsner with a bit more citrus and fruity hop character, with the Belgian yeast being a nice supporting flavor with some light bread, apple, and apricot esters. No clove or peppery spice to be found which I’m very happy about. I kinda think this yeast could be interesting in a NEIPA with its fruitiness but lack of phenolics.

D80E7AD3-8A3E-439B-9928-7D75522B8618.jpeg
 

DrJacoby

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The FG is 1.004 (confirmed with Easydens). The yeast is definitely not 510, way too phenolic. I think it's a neutral yeast like 515. My sense is the hops are contributing most of the flavour, with the lightness of the body and high carbonation giving it the necessary spritz. My latest clone attempt used saaz and tettnang and was very close.
 

madscientist451

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I just re-checked the candi syrup page and a clone is in their 2020 pipeline:

 
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