Saison

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Saison

Postby bwarbiany on Thu May 05, 2011 2:54 pm

Thinking of brewing a saison to go alongside my lawnmower beer for a more boozy hot-weather beer -- I think the barleywine will be a slow mover this summer... Never brewed one before, so I'm wondering how long they typically take to turn around, and what folks think of the below recipe.

It's a bit above style for both ABV and IBU. Plan to ferment about 90 deg F.

Ingredients Amount Item Type % or IBU
22.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 78.57 %
3.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 10.71 %
2.00 oz Magnum [14.00 %] (60 min) Hops 40.4 IBU
4.00 oz Saaz [4.00 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
3.00 lb Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 SRM) Sugar 10.71 %
1 Pkgs Belgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724) [Starter 1250 ml] Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile Estimated Original Gravity: 1.074 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Color: 4.6 SRM
Bitterness: 40.4 IBU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 7.81 %

Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Step Add 31.25 qt of water at 159.1 F 148.0 F 60 min
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Re: Saison

Postby brahn on Thu May 05, 2011 3:58 pm

That yeast can be finicky, I used it once and it took about a month to finish even after I raised the temp up to about 85F. It does make a really nice beer though. Here's my saison recipe, it took a 3rd at IEB a few years ago with a bottle that had been sitting in my garage for a year (it was way better fresh, IMO). I've brewed it quite a few times now with different yeasts and different gravities. If you want a quicker finish you could use WY3711 which is really nice too. I've also made this recipe with yeasts cultured up from bottles of various beer and it's come out great.

http://www.brewcommune.com/recipedb/recipe.php?r=138

I generally prefer lower ABV saisons to higher gravity versions. I've judged saison a few times and it seems like homebrewers tend to have a really hard time brewing a higher gravity saison well.
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Re: Saison

Postby bwarbiany on Thu May 05, 2011 4:34 pm

I hadn't even considered Rye. I think I'm sold on that, swapping out the Vienna for some Rye. Beyond that, I think we're largely in the same area on a number of things.

Any particular reason for going with American 2-row rather than pilsner?

Was the wheat in there for head stability, or do you think it really contributed to the flavor?

And I saw the gypsum salts as well -- I read in the BJCP notes that hard water tends to accentuate the dryness and bitterness... I might need to put that in.

I'm okay with the higher gravity -- I think the addition of corn sugar will help me a bit there to dry it out and keep it light, (swapping to Rye will help the perceived dryness as well). I'm not worried about that.
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Re: Saison

Postby brahn on Thu May 05, 2011 4:58 pm

Any particular reason for going with American 2-row rather than pilsner?


In Farmhouse Ales Phil Markowski talks about how saison would be made with varied grains - whatever the brewer had on hand from their fields. I had 2-Row, Wheat and Rye in stock when I brewed this. I'm pretty sure I've subbed in pilsner for the 2-Row on some of the later brews, depends on what I've got around.

Was the wheat in there for head stability, or do you think it really contributed to the flavor?


The wheat is there for flavor, again based on Farmhouse Ales and the idea that brewers would use multiple grains. Wheat adds a pretty mild flavor and I don't think you'd miss it too much.

And I saw the gypsum salts as well -- I read in the BJCP notes that hard water tends to accentuate the dryness and bitterness... I might need to put that in.


That's exactly why I add gypsum here. It would probably be good without it too, but since you're looking for a good crisp dryness I think it's a good fit.

I'm okay with the higher gravity -- I think the addition of corn sugar will help me a bit there to dry it out and keep it light, (swapping to Rye will help the perceived dryness as well). I'm not worried about that.


You tend to make good beers, so I'm sure you can pull it off. You're picking up on one common problem with big saisons - under-attenuating. It's also very common to have them too hot or fusel-y. I like to start mine out around 68-70 and then let it free rise, then push it up to the mid-80's with a heater once the temp stabilizes.

Oh, one more thing, I just checked your expected attenuation. I'd expect 85-90% rather than 80% - and that's with all malt. I've never used sugar with these yeasts, but I'd guess with that much sugar you might be pushing 90-95% AA. This isn't necessarily a problem if that's what you want. The last time I brewed this recipe with WY3711 and an OG of 1.032 and got 93% AA!
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Re: Saison

Postby bwarbiany on Fri May 06, 2011 11:44 am

Here's the updated recipe. I also read somewhere that it might be useful to add DAP [diammonium phosphate] to help out this particular yeast...

I think my process is pretty good for standard American or Belgian yeasts, but I've never done a saison, and I've heard the yeast can be more finicky.

I'm guessing my ferment, like yours, would start in the mid-high 60's, and as soon as I see activity I'll put a 13W compact flourescent bulb in my fermentation fridge to ramp it up... Hopefully 13W is enough to get it into the upper 80's!

Thanks for the heads-up on the attenuation. I dropped total grain to get the OG down a bit, since it's likely to go farther than most of what I brew...

Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
20.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 74.07 %
4.00 lb Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain 14.81 %
2.00 oz Magnum [14.00 %] (60 min) Hops 41.7 IBU
4.00 oz Saaz [4.00 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
1.00 oz Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
3.00 lb Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 SRM) Sugar 11.11 %
1 Pkgs Belgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724) [Starter 1250 ml] Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile Estimated Original Gravity: 1.069 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.008 SG
Estimated Color: 4.9 SRM
Bitterness: 41.7 IBU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 8.03 %
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Re: Saison

Postby brahn on Fri May 06, 2011 1:40 pm

I haven't tried DAP specifically, but I do always add yeast nutrient. I'm interested to hear your experiences with this yeast, I definitely found it finicky. It took off like crazy and I thought all these horror stories I'd read about it taking forever were crazy. Then when it slowed down I checked the gravity and I had something like 50% apparent attenuation. It took 3 more weeks before it finally finished at 85%.

I like that big saaz addition at the end, and of course rye makes everything better. :happybeer:
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Re: Saison

Postby bwarbiany on Fri May 06, 2011 2:42 pm

brahn wrote:I'm interested to hear your experiences with this yeast, I definitely found it finicky.


Do you use a different yeast for your saison?
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Re: Saison

Postby brahn on Fri May 06, 2011 3:16 pm

The commercial saison strains I've used were WYeast 3724 and 3711. I've also used yeast(?) cultured from a bottle of Fantome Noel and a bottle of Russian River Consecration in this recipe. All made very tasty saisons, but they were all quite different. I didn't try the others because I didn't like the flavor from the 3724 or because it was difficult to work with, and I'd happily use it again. I just like experimenting.

I've cultured up some dregs from a bottle of Bam Noir on my stir plate right now. I've got it fermenting about 4L of wort. I'm not sure yet if that's destined for this recipe or something different...
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