Extract Rye Saison

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Extract Rye Saison

Postby barfsurfer on Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:09 pm

Hello everyone, just joined this forum today, looking forward to meeting you all some day. The other day a Northern Brewer catalog arrived, and they had a new item that really intrigued me: Rye Extract. I had been planning to do an experimental rye steep kind of thing (I'm an extract guy), but this seemed too easy. So here's what I'm planning, I'd love extra eyes on it to see if you guys have any thoughts. This is only my 3rd batch, so I'm definitely a newbie.

1# Belgian Special B (Steep at 160 for 30 min prior to boil)
6# Northern Brewer Rye Extract (70% 2-Row, 20% Rye, 10% Caramel 40)
2# White candi sugar
1oz. Sorachi Ace @ 60 min
1oz. Sorachi Ace @ 5 min
Wyeast Belgian Saison yeast
1oz. Sorachi Ace dry-hop in secondary for 1 week

Really interested to see how the Sorachi Ace tastes/smells. Description is "very lemony". Kinda curious to see how that will play with the Rye. Wondering if the special B will overpower some of that though. Thoughts? Thanks!!
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby bwarbiany on Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:46 pm

I think a traditional saison would skip the Special B and the Crystal, although you can't skip the crystal in this recipe.

I would drop the Special B -- in general I think it'll overpower the rye, and may step on the hops & yeast character a bit too. Your candi sugar (BTW you can simply sub in cane sugar IMHO) will help to allow it to dry out a bit with the use of extract and the crystal, so I'd definitely keep that.

I haven't used sorachi ace, so I can't offer any tips there.

What Wyeast strain are you using? I've heard 3724 can be very finicky and requires you keep it HOT (I've had luck doing so with WLP565, a very similar strain). As a new brewer, though, I'd advise you stay away from finicky yeast strains. 3711, from all reports I've seen, is much easier to deal with, generally reaches FG faster at more reasonable temps, and is also delicious.
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby barfsurfer on Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:30 am

Thanks for the advice. It is the 3724 Wyeast, and I was reading about its finicky nature last night. I don't have any temp control in place, so we'll see. My garage stays pretty hot though! The pack was also shipped mail order. I'm on the fence on that now... give it a shot and hope for the best or just swap out something else. If it wasn't working out too well, could I just pitch another strain in? Is that a dumb idea?
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby bwarbiany on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:38 am

barfsurfer wrote:Thanks for the advice. It is the 3724 Wyeast, and I was reading about its finicky nature last night. I don't have any temp control in place, so we'll see. My garage stays pretty hot though! The pack was also shipped mail order. I'm on the fence on that now... give it a shot and hope for the best or just swap out something else. If it wasn't working out too well, could I just pitch another strain in? Is that a dumb idea?


#1: Make a starter, make a starter, make a starter! Given that it's a mail-order smack pack, the level of viability you have in that package is unknown. Given that 3724 is a bit finicky, you want to give it the best chance you can.

Starters are very easy to make, and if you don't have DME available or can't make a quick run to a homebrew store to buy some, you can use a bit of your Rye LME in the starter and then just pour the entire starter into the beer when it's time to ferment (i.e. no wasted LME).

For 3724, I'd make sure that you pitch your yeast with the wort temperature down in the high 60's or low 70's. Then let it free-rise as high as it wants to go (high 80's or even low 90's is acceptable with this yeast). *Try* to keep it insulated well enough that you don't have wild temp swings with the yeast (i.e. dropping a lot during the night, spiking during the day) if you can do so. This yeast likes to get hot and stay hot.

Have a good dry yeast on hand (1-2 packs of US-05 is a good option, as it's pretty attenuative) in case the 3724 stalls on you. Alternatively, I *have* heard that if you simply give 3724 enough time (5-6 weeks), it eventually starts back up. But I've heard reports of it completely stalling as well. Either way, having a second yeast ready to "finish it off" is probably not a bad idea. So if it's going to stall, my impression is that it typically stalls in the 1.020-1.030 range. At that point you should have a good "saison" flavor, so swapping to a more neutral yeast won't destroy the flavor profile of the beer. An important note if you later pitch US-05 is to return it to a lower fermentation temp (60's is optimal, but low 70's is acceptabe).
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby barfsurfer on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:50 am

Great advice on the starter. I'll get that going today so it should be ready for a Sunday brew. Thanks!!
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby brahn on Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:50 pm

I agree with everything bwarbiany's said. 3724 is a bit slow to finish, but it makes a great beer and I haven't had problems with stalling completely. It takes about 4 weeks to hit FG, it should be very happy in a hot garage.

If you had to fall back to dry yeast, I'd take a look at T-58.
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby barfsurfer on Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:43 am

Well, it's off to a good start--foaming like mad in the primary. We'll see if I get the dreaded stall...
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby barfsurfer on Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:47 pm

Well, it's been in the secondary for 3 weeks. Given how generally cool it's been, the temp hasn't been as hot as I'd like it.

Took a reading yesterday, and it was down to 1.022. 1 week ago was at 1.026, so it's still going. Still some visibile signs of fermentation too -- occasional burps and small clusters of foam on the surface. But it's taking a while, for sure. Glad I knew this in advance, thanks for the warnings. For now, I guess I'll just keep hanging in there to see if it keeps going before pitching in some additional yeast.
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby brahn on Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:44 pm

Yea, just ride it out. If you can, warm it up. I like to use a water bath and an aquarium heater. I see you're in Tustin, I could probably spare an aquarium heater for a few weeks if you want to rig up a water bath.

Adding yeast to an already fermenting beer is a bit of a tricky proposition. If you decide to go that route you can listen to Chris White talk about it a bit around the 48 minute mark here:

http://s125483039.onlinehome.us/archive ... -10-07.mp3

I think there's more discussion about it in the Yeast book too, but I don't have it handy at the moment.
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby brahn on Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:47 pm

I just noticed that you said it's in secondary. Did you actually rack it to another fermenter? I would suggest not racking to a secondary vessel ever, but if you do it should only be transferred after the beer is done fermenting.
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby barfsurfer on Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:09 am

Yeah, I racked it into a second vessel after the first week. I kinda thought that was SOP based on what I've read -- which is basically just New Joy edition from 10 yrs ago :P I thought leaving it in the primary with all that sediment was potentially a bad thing. Charlie P says not to let it sit in the primary for more than 2 weeks otherwise you risk off flavors developing, so that's what I've been doing.

Thanks for the offer and advice on the AQ water bath. So you basically set that up by putting the fermentor in a giant bucket, fill w/ water, and drop in the AQ heater, eh? How much do those cost? That might be worth an investment, it sounds pretty handy. I have a giant tub that would be suitable for that.
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby bwarbiany on Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:30 am

barfsurfer wrote:Yeah, I racked it into a second vessel after the first week. I kinda thought that was SOP based on what I've read -- which is basically just New Joy edition from 10 yrs ago :P I thought leaving it in the primary with all that sediment was potentially a bad thing. Charlie P says not to let it sit in the primary for more than 2 weeks otherwise you risk off flavors developing, so that's what I've been doing.


There's some disagreement within the homebrew community on this point. Like Brent, I leave my beer in primary until it gets kegged. This is also the case when I dry-hop -- I dry-hop the beer in the primary instead of racking to secondary. I think secondary can be good if you're bottling (as it aids clarity), but on the downside, it's one more step where you can introduce oxidation or infection. But I haven't heard of anyone having negative effects from extending the primary into the 3-6 week range.

Most literature suggests that the worry about yeast autolysis (the concern you get from leaving it on the yeast) isn't an issue on the homebrew scale, as we don't have the many hundreds of pounds of liquid pressure on the yeast that commercial breweries do. Most homebrewers suggest leaving the beer on the yeast until you hit FG, which is a slower process with this yeast. With many yeast strains, you hit FG within the first week.
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby brahn on Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:57 am

bwarbiany covered the racking question, so I'll just answer your question about the AQ heater.

I use one of those big plastic tubs with the rope handles that you see full of beer at parties during the summer. Put the fermenter in it and fill with water to around the line of the beer in the fermenter. You don't want the fermenter floating. Then just put the AQ heater in and set the thermostat. Don't trust the thermostat for the temperature, you'll want to check that yourself, but it should do a reasonable job of maintaining the temperature once you've dialed it in. The temperature of the water should be the same as the temperature of the beer in the fermenter, so you can just check the water.
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Re: Extract Rye Saison

Postby barfsurfer on Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:26 pm

Well, it took forever, but the beer finally hit the FG over the weekend. Sitting in bottles now, waiting for the first sample. I'm sure it will take a while to bottle condition based on the slowness of this yeast. I'm so glad I was warned about it, I would have been freaking out. It never really stalled, the lock was burping right up until the end, just super slow. Can't wait to give it a try, hope the wait was worth it!
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