Posts Tagged 'saison'

AG#42 – Bastogne Amber Saison

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Here’s proof that disastrous brew days can often result in great beer.
Last autumn, I remember regaling a few of the SDB lads with tales of bad luck that I’d been having with my brewing. It seemed like every brew day had some kind of disaster. Forgotten ingredients, careless monitoring of temperatures, boil overs, infected fermenters, you name it..
The one that really pissed me off was during last summer, when a tiny fruit fly got underneath the foil I had placed on top of Trappist ale yeast starter. I was planning on making a Belgian Pale Ale during the weekend. The starter had been whizzing away on the stir plate for a day or so. I fished the fly out and called emergency services, or Rossa O’Neill, as he’s sometimes called. “Would you use it, knowing there had been a fly in it?”, I asked him. His response was not unexpected. “No, I’d be too worried about infecting an entire batch of beer”. Foolishly, I made a decision the night before brewing to use the starter.
I completed the mash and the boil and was really happy with the flavour and appearance of the wort. Time to pitch the yeasties. It was only at this point that I decided to actually taste the yeast starter. My first thought was “lambic”. That’s not good. Yeast starters never taste great, but this was decidedly tart. The funny thing is, it actually tasted quite nice. I stood sipping it for ten minutes while agonizing whether to pitch the starter or not. In the end, I chucked it down the sink, as I thought it was too risky.
Before I chucked the starter, I realised that I had a yeast cake from a saison available. It wouldn’t be a Belgian Pale Ale after all, but an amber saison instead. Though commercial dark saisons exist, the classic examples tend to be golden-orange in colour. The only problem was that there was a golden saison still gently fermenting on top of it. So I racked the saison into a corny, praying that it had reached final gravity and if not, that there would be enough yeast in there to finish the job.
So anyway, I racked the golden saison into a corny and opened the vial of brett. This was my first time using a vial of brett and I was surprised by how little yeast there was in there compared to the vials of saccharomyces I’m used to. I pitched the brett into the corny and, like an idiot, I rinsed the brett vial with some of the beer left in the fermenter. Yep, I had dunked a brett vial into a yeast cake that I wanted to re-use. Cursing myself, I pitched the potentially “infected” yeast slurry into my amber saison wort and hoped for the best. I also sealed up the corny keg containing the brett inocculated version.
Three or four weeks later, I ended up bottling the amber saison. Once it was fully conditioned, I had a taste and thought it was a decent saison with a bit more toast and caramel character. But on subsequent tastings I could taste the beginnings of something funky in there. With each bottle I opened, the brett character had intensified slightly to a level where it was unmistakably a “brett” beer. There was a little more pineapple character, more spicy phenols and a tiny hint of barnyard poking through. But, it was absolutely delicious. Easily one of the most complex beers I had produced in over 5 years as a home brewer.
Fast forward six months. The “accidental” amber saison won a silver medal in the 2016 Nationals. I’m currently still enjoying it, but I’m wary of the fact that there was some crystal malt in the Belgian Pale Ale grist and that the critters in the bottle haven’t finished snacking yet. My plan is to work my way through the remainder of the batch before the weather gets warmer and the bottles become bottle bombs.
And the moral of the story? Disastrous brew days happen, but they can produce the most delicious results. For me, it’s also a reminder that I should experiment more with new ingredients and processes.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Estimated Color: 19.0 EBC
Estimated IBU: 25.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

4.444 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EBC), 79.6 %
0.444 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 8.0 %
0.222 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 4.0 %
0.222 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 4.0 %
0.222 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 4.0 %
0.030 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (591.0 EBC), 0.5 %
19 g East Kent Goldings [5.70 %] – Boil 60.0, 15.8 IBUs
18 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0, 7.9 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
15 g Saaz [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 1.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.585 kg
Mash In Add 15.64 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.35l) of 77.0 C water

23/08/2015 – Total disaster of a brew day. I went to pitch the yeast and I tasted the starter which was really sour and funky. I couldn’t think about pitching that into the wort I’d just made, so I pitched the yeast cake off the jasmine saison instead. Got knows what this will turn out like. It’s a pity, despite another boilover, the wort looked and smelled great. I’m planning on doing another starter of WLP500 next weekend, so might even do a re-brew of this.

14/09/2015 – Took a gravity sample. With the lack of simple sugars in there and the small percentage of crystal malt I wasn’t expecting a low finishing gravity of 1.002. Alcohol a little overwhelming, but definitely a decent saison flavour. Sample from the trial jar wasn’t as dark as I was expecting. Will go ahead and bottle in a few days.

17/09/2015 – Bottled with 146g of glucose (17 litres at 3 vol). Got 12 x 750ml bottles and 14 x 500ml bottles. Taste was okay, but I wouldn’t be getting too excited. Not surprising, really. This beer is a bit of a runt. Right, time to brew something that isn’t a saison.

12/11/2015 – I’ve drank quite a few bottles if this now, and it’s a decent saison. Amber coloured, bit maltier than a regular saison, but not at all sweet. Like other saisons I’ve done, it’s got that tart flavour. I also occasionally pick up a bit of funkiness in it, but I’m not sure if I’m imagining that.

23/11/2015 – I’m getting that brett character in this still. I can’t be sure if this beer was fermented with yeast where I accidentally placed a brett vial into the yeast cake to wash out the vial and then subsequently pitches this yeast. The dates on my blog don’t seems to add up, but I think this is the beer. It’s actually really tasty, I wish the brett character was stronger, so that I could decide whether it is a brett beer or not. It’s just very subtle. Quite tart, from the saison yeast. I just hope I haven’t contaminated my equipment.

20/12/2015 – It has been unseasonally warm over the last couple of days and I’m not sure if the weather caused this to happen, but there is a small pellicle in all of the remaining bottles of this. I opened a bottle this eveing only to find that it was completely undercarbonated. I ended up chucking the dud bottle.

23/01/2016 – Lovely brett nose, plenty of fruit and bags of Belgian yeast character. There isn’t a huge amount of follow through of the brett in the flavour. Big malt flavour, but not overly sweet. Still bone dry. Complex, but not funky, as brett beers go. Very, very drinkable.

AG#41 – Saison au Jasmine

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This is probably the last saison I’m going to do for the rest of the year. I’ve done a fair few at this stage and while I wanted to get some value out of the two vials of yeast that went into all of these saisons, it’s now time to mix things up a bit.

I’ve always liked the aroma of jasmine – it reminds me of long holidays in Thailand. I figured a floral, fruity, spicy saison would be a great base beer to put jasmine into.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 19.12 l
Post Boil Volume: 16.12 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 13.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Estimated Color: 11.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 12.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 45.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 46.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

2.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent 1 –
4.700 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EB Grain 2 85.5 %
0.300 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 3 5.5 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 5.5 %
0.200 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC) Sugar 5 3.6 %
15 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi Hop 6 9.5 IBUs
0.32 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 7 –
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 mi Hop 8 2.5 IBUs
11.00 g Jasmine Flowers (Boil 0.0 mins) Flavor 9 –
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565 Yeast 10 –
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP Yeast 11 –

Mash Schedule: Bubbles Small Batch BIAB Mash
Total Grain Weight: 5.500 kg
Saccharification Add 22.36 l of water at 74.9 C 68.0 C 60 min

16/08/2015 – Not the best brew day I’ve ever had. It was a bit spur of the moment, and I didn’t really bother with a recipe, just winging it by using the Lemon Saison recipe as a guide. I replaced the Sorachi Ace hops in that recipe, which have a high alpha rating, with Styrian Goldings, which are a very low alpha hop. I’m going to do a hop tea of Sorachi Ace to try to bring the IBUs up from 12! I also had much higher efficiency than expected, 1.066 versus 1.055. This is because I never adjusted my brewhouse efficiency after the last time I did a BIAB brew. Plus I had lots of spills and the brew day was just a drag in general. I’m not sure how much jasmine flavour I got out of 11g of flowers added at flameout, but I might have to do a jasmine tea when I rack this to secondary.

23/08/2015 – Disaster with this, I was racking it to secondary because I need the yeast cake for another diaster of a brew, and there’s a serious bang of fusels off it. Though I’ve just realised writing this that it’s only been in the fermenter a week. However, I did notice that the fermentation was far too fast on it, with the yeast having dropped after 24-36 hours. There might be enough residual job to finish the job in secondary, but I think this might be a lost batch. I’ll leave it a week or two and then have a taste.

30/08/2015 – Dumped. Still tastes shitty. Could be the jasmine giving the off flavours or could be the hop tea I added. Whatever the cause, I’m not wasting bottles or my time on this batch. A thankfully rare occurrence for me to dump a batch.

AG#40 – Funkytown Brett Saison

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The intended purpose for this brew was something to age with Brett over the next few months. But I got such a low FG on my last saison (1.002), that I decided to have another crack at the same recipe. This time I omitted the simple sugar in the hopes of leaving a little more body in the beer. I also plan on using a slightly higher mash temperature to leave some more residual sugar in the beer. I’ll need something left in there for the brettanomyces.

I’m planning on bottling 6 or so bottles with just plain sugar and the rest of the batch will be racked to corny for aging with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, available as WhiteLabs’ WLP650.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Estimated Color: 9.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

3.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent 1 –
5.175 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EB Grain 2 87.0 %
0.476 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 3 8.0 %
0.297 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 5.0 %
20 g East Kent Goldings [5.80 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 5 17.0 IBUs
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi Hop 6 8.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 7 –
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 mi Hop 8 1.8 IBUs
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 9 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565 Yeast 10 –
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP Yeast 11 –

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.948 kg
Mash In Add 16.65 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 17.70l) of 77.0 C water

25/07/2015 – Mash temperature of 65.5C. Thankfully, an uneventful brew day, though chilling the wort took an absolute age, probably because I was chilling in the afternoon. OG was 1.056. Used hop bags for all additions and got over 20 litres into the fermenter.

02/08/2015 – Fermentation has been going pretty strong, but still the odd bubble coming from the airlock. Will leave another few days before racking. I want to get rid of as much yeast as possible before it goes into the keg for brett ageing. I’m keen to see what the higher mash temperature and the lack of simple sugar has done for the FG.

14/08/2015 – Racked to corny keg today and pitched a vial of Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. I mis-calculated on the amount of trub in the fermenter and bottled 5 x 500ml bottles, thinking I had more than enough left to fill the corny. A lapse in concentration while siphoning also resulted in me losing a bit more beer than intended. I’d say I only got about 16 litres into the keg. Seated the lid with some gas and left in the shed. Will probably leave this about 6-9 months before having a taste.

14/11/2015 – Comparison tasting between the “La Deluge” saison and one of the few bottles of the unbretted “Funkytown” saison. In comparison to the Funkytown, the Deluge is tart and fiercely alcoholic. But the most striking difference between the two is the clarity. The Funkytown is absolutely sparkling, whereas the Deluge is extremely hazy, though you’d expect that for a saison. The Funkytown has an alcohol presence, but it’s not as hot. I can’t explain the difference in the clarity – both beers got the same dose of Whirlfoc. The hotter alcohol in the Deluge can surely be attributed to the fact that there’s no simple sugar in the recipe. The Funkytown recipe has a slightly lower OG but it’s an all-malt beer. The Deluge has a considerable portion of corn sugar in the recipe. I will definitely be rebrewing the Deluge beer without corn sugar next summer.

23/01/2016 – The ‘clean’ version of this is absolutely wonderful. It hits so many of the descriptors in the BJCP style guidelines, it’s uncanny. Dry, fruity, spicy, malty, hoppy, highly carbonated. Sweet malt aroma but the flavour and mouthfeel confirms this beer as absolutely bone dry. Alcohol is prominent but perfectly balanced. This is one of the special, and all too rare, beers where I wonder at how lucky I was to have made something as good as this. I’m very excited about the brett aged portion of this batch.

08/10/2016 – I applied some gas to the corny in order to have a taste before I wasted a lot of time preparing bottles, priming sugar etc. I was extremely surprised to taste considerable tartness, in addition to the familiar brett funk. Though the sample was extremely cloudy so I figured it might just be the yeast that I was tasting. Had a nightmare with racking to the bottling bucket. I hadn’t figured on the beer already being quite carbonated. I kept losing suction the the siphon because there was so much foam in the keg, so I had to hastily sanitise my large auto siphon and use that. It wasn’t much good though, as I basically had to “pump” the beer to the bottling bucket. It might end up oxidised as a result. I got all my bottles filled, along with fresh yeast in the form of approximately 2g of US-05, but I’m worried about bottle bombs on this one. Particularly with the 4 regular 500ml bottles that I filled. I have the bottles in crates in the kitchen, and they’re well covered. If the hold out over the next week, I’ll be happy enough. Bottled with 131g of corn sugar (14 litres @ 3.2 vol). Got 1 x 1.5l, 4 x 500ml, 9 x 750ml champagne and 10 x 0.375 geuze bottle from the batch.

AG#39 – Saison au Citron

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After my last disastrous attempt at a fruit beer (the Raspberry Porter), I wanted to try another one, this time based on a Belgian Saison. I want something as pale as possible, so I’m using a large percentage of wheat malt. “Farmhouse Ales” suggests a maximum percentage of 30% wheat malt for saisons.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 19.12 l
Post Boil Volume: 16.12 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 13.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated Color: 10.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 24.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 45.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 46.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

2.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins
3.580 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EBC), 63.0 %
1.705 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 30.0 %
0.170 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 3.0 %
0.227 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC), 4.0 %
15 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mins, 9.5 IBUs
0.32 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
30 g Sorachi Ace [14.10 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 15.0 IBUs
3.00 Items Lemon Peel (Boil 5.0 mins)
0.6 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565
0.6 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP566

Mash Schedule: Bubbles Small Batch BIAB Mash
Total Grain Weight: 5.683 kg
Saccharification Add 22.46 l of water at 75.0 C 68.0 C 60 min

12/07/2015 – rrr

03/08/2015 – Bottled with 120g corn sugar (14 litres at 3 vol). Added lemon juice to most of the bottles – 7 x 500ml with 5ml juice, 7 with 2.5ml and 7 with no juice. Also did 8 x 330ml bottles with 2.5ml.

23/01/2016 – I’m astounded that I haven’t posted any updates for this recipe, but I’ve been merrily sampling bottle of ths for several months now. It’s simply amazing. The lemon character is perfectly integrated with the citrus flavours from the saison yeast. Delightfully sharp and lemony, but underpinned by the sweet and malty backbone provided by the pilsner and Munich malts. Full batch next year.

AG#38 – La Deluge Saison

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This beer was going to be called “Saison du Maison” but a couple of disasters later, probably caused by drinking while brewing, I hastily renamed it to “La Deluge”. The new name really sums up the beer. “Apres moi, la deluge..”, as they say in France.. Read on..

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Estimated Color: 8.6 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 73.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

3.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent 1 –
4.500 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EB Grain 2 79.6 %
0.350 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 3 6.2 %
0.350 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 6.2 %
0.450 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC) Sugar 5 8.0 %
20 g East Kent Goldings [5.80 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 6 17.0 IBUs
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi Hop 7 8.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 8 –
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 mi Hop 9 1.8 IBUs
20 g Saaz [4.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565 Yeast 11 –
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP Yeast 12 –
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.650 kg

Mash In Add 14.56 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 19.05l) of 77.0 C water

04/07/2015 – This is what I hope will be my house saison recipe. The mash was going perfectly, treated the water with a little gypsum, hit a good mash temperature (64-64.5C), did a 90 minute mash to account for the lower temperature. I’d poured a pint of cider off the keg during the mash as I was going out for dinner later. All going well, drained off the first runnings and set aside. When I was draining off the second runnings into the boiler I had failed to notice that the tap on the boiler had been left open. After a quick run to the toilet I walked back into the kitchen to find the kitchen floor flooded. I closed the tap and started with the long and dirty job of cleaning that mess up. The wort had went under the washing machine and behind the kickboards. They all had to be removed in order to clean. Never has a brew day taken so long to clean up after. I don’t normally have a beer when I’m brewing, and now I remember why. It causes lapses in concentration and brewing can be pretty unforgiving. One simple mistake can drastically alter the final result. An absolute disaster! I now have a new rule – no beers until both runnings are done. I estimate that I lost about two litres of wort. It’s positive that it was the second runnings that I lost where there is less concentration of sugar and flavour. I’m also getting a good percentage of fermentables from simple sugars on this brew, so that’s a positive also. Given the disaster, I decided to rename this beer to “La Deluge”, not realising what was going to come next..

05/07/2015 – I still wanted to do a full boil so I decided to replace the lost sugars with some dry malt extract. I figured that since I lost around 2 litres of wort and that the wort would be around 1.040 (though I didn’t bother checking this) that 200g of malt extract should suffice. It turned out to be a pretty good hunch, as I hit my OG perfectly in the end (1.060) and got 19 litres into the fermenter. My renaming of the beer was especially ironic as during the chilling phase, the weather turned extremely sour. Huge downpours of rain that not even the patio parasol could hold. I had to put the lid back on the boiler while the wort was chilling because the rain was coming through the parasol. Felt like another disaster and a huge disappointment after yesterday’s fiasco. However, I was delighted to see that I’d hit my numbers, produced a very clear wort, and got the full amount into the FV. During chilling, I racked my spelt saison off the yeast and pitched about two thirds of the yeast into this saison. I reserved a flask of yeast to do a small batch with during the week.

18/07/2015 – The bubbling has only just stopped on this. This yeast combo really is a beast. Will cold crash for a few days to drop the yeast before bottling.

24/07/2015 – Bottled with 169g corn sugar (18 litres at 3.2 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 16 x 500ml bottles from the batch.

17/09/2015 – I thought this was going to take a long time to condition but this is tasting fantastic already. The alcohol is prominent, you know it’s a strong beer you’re tasting, but it isn’t hot in any way. Lovely colour, perfectly judged bitterness, can’t wait to see what another few months aging does for this beer.

14/11/2015 – Comparison tasting between the “La Deluge” saison and one of the few bottles of the unbretted “Funkytown” saison. In comparison to the Funkytown, the Deluge is tart and fiercely alcoholic. Nut the most striking difference between the two is the clarity. The Funkytown is absolutely sparkling, whereas the Deluge is extremely hazy, though you’d expect that for a saison. The Funkytown has an alcohol presence, but it’s not as hot. I can’t explain the difference in the clarity – both beers got the same dose of Whirlfoc. The hotter alcohol in the Deluge can surely be attributed to the fact that there’s no simple sugar in the recipe. The Funkytown recipe has a slightly lower OG but it’s an all-malt beer. The Deluge has a considerable portion of corn sugar in the recipe. I will definitely be rebrewing the Deluge beer without corn sugar next summer.

20/12/2015 – I think the alcohol has faded quite a bit in this. Tasting pretty good, perhaps a bit drier than Saison Dupont, I’m not sure if would pass as a clone. Very dry, very highly carbonated. Still has a satisfying body though.

AG#37 – Epeautre Saison


Another saison recipe, this time upping the gravity a little and using 20% spelt malt, to see what that brings to the party.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 9.2 EBC
Estimated IBU: 21.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

4.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins
3.500 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EBC), 67.3 %
1.000 kg Spelt Malt (5.0 EBC), 19.2 %
0.500 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 9.6 %
0.200 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC), 3.8 %
38 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mins, 16.7 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
20 g East Kent Goldings [5.80 %] – Boil 10.0 , 3.4 IBUs
22 g Saaz [2.30 %] – Boil 2.0 min, 1.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565)
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP566) (500ml slurry from Dimanche Saison)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.200 kg
Mash In           Add 14.00 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 19.41l) of 77.0 C water

21/06/2015 – Bit of a disaster of a brew day. I mashed yesterday and that went fine, even though I was expecting some lautering issues with the spelt malt. I assumed that because it is a type of wheat malt that it was prone to the same stuck mash issues. But no problem draining off. The wort smelt nice, but different. Today’s boil took quite a bit of babysitting, especially during the 30 minute boil before the hops went in. I came close to a boilover a couple of times and had to keep cycling the second element on and off. I decided at the last minute to add 200g of dextrose to boost the gravity and dry out the beer, but even with that, I ended up with an OG of 1.050. The same gravity that was caculated by BeerSmith without the sugar! I also got only 17 litres into the fermenter, so I’m glad I didn’t decide to top up the beer with water. I racked the Dimanche Saison to a secondary fermenter and pitched pretty much the entire yeast cake. Got a little too much hop and break material in the fermenter. Next time I think I’ll use hop bags for the bittering addition. The cold break in the fermenter was pretty sticky, and a lot of it, probably from the spelt malt.

24/06/2015 – The airlock is still going in this, but has slowed down compared to yesterday. Should be good.

10/07/2015 – Bottles with 160g glucose (17 litres @ 3.2 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 16 x 500ml bottles from the batch.

14/08/2015 – Been sampling this for quite a while. Very nice saison flavour, though nothing particularly distinctive from the spelt malt. There’s a prominent tartness from the yeast which has alarmed me in the past. I keep thinking there’s an infection in there, especially with the extremely low finishing gravities I’ve been getting with these saisons. Lovely orange colour though surprisingly low head. It looks like I could have done with some wheat malt in the grist after all.

27/09/2015 – This really is a fantastic saison. A bit of extra wheat malt would definitely help the head retention next time. I’m a bit disappointed that there’s not more of a unique contribution from the spelt, but it’s still a wonderful tasting saison.
10/12/2015 – Have a few 750ml bottles of this left. Had a bottle tonight and it tastes really good. Fantastic aroma. Head retention is still disappointing, but nothing a simple recipe tweak can’t fix.

AG#35 – Dimanche Grisette

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After a couple of years of disappointing summer brewing, I felt that I approached things correctly last year. Instead of doing my usual styles of beer like pale ales and IPAs, I concentrated on using yeasts which thrive under warmer conditions. I did some Belgian/Trappist beers with excellent results and I also did some wines and turbo ciders. It’s a good approach and one I was determined to take again this year. As the summer approaches I’ve decided on doing a series of saison ales, a Belgian farmhouse style which must be fermented at warm temperatures.

The classic strain for saison is the so-called “Dupont” strain, available from WhiteLabs as WLP565. However, this particular strain is known to be a little finnicky – often stalling at higher gravities and leaving an under-attenuated beer. Heavy aeration in conjunction with controlled, elevated fermentation temperature can eliminate these issues, but some brewers opt to finish the beer by pitching a neutral ale yeast which produces the dry beer that is required. In contrast, WhiteLab’s WLP566 Saison II strain (reported to be another strain isolated from the “Dupont” multi-strain culture) is reported to be less troublesome, giving the beer a classic saison character but attenuating fully in a timely fashion.

This recipe was inspired by the description of grisette beers in the excellent book, “Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition” by Phil Markowski. The book describes the beer style as being the traditional beer of Belgian miners who would exit the mines after a long shift to be handed a glass of this beer by the local young ladies. The ladies were clad in grey uniforms, and were known as the “grisettes”, “gris” being the French translation for “grey”. The beer style is intended to be low-alcohol, light-bodied, refreshing, but full of flavour. In effect, they’re a low-gravity saison.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.044 SG
Estimated Color: 6.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 21.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

3 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins)
4.052 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann, 90.0 %
0.450 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 10.0 %
38g Styrian Goldings [3.0 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 15.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
20 g Saaz [4.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 2.8 IBUs
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.0 %] – Boil 2.0 min
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565 Yeast)
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP566 Yeast) (1.2 litre starter 25/05/2015)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.502 kg
Mash In           Add 12.61 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 20.30l) of 77.0 C water

29/05/2015 – Was a bit worried that the starter hadn’t finished so I took a gravity reading. Delighted to see it was down to 1.008. Taste was a bit tart but this could have been down to the yeast still in suspension.

31/05/2015 – Pitched yeast around 11am and was fermenting by lunchtime. Really pale wort, lovely spicy aroma from the hops.

01/06/2015 – Ffs! It’s only just over 24 hours since pitching and the airlock has gone dead already. The airlock was like a machine gun for 24 hours but I wasn’t expecting the fermentation to be finished this quickly. Took a temperature reading of 21.7c which should be fine for both yeast strains. Have a blanket wrapped around the fermenter.

10/06/2015 – Tentatively took a gravity reading to see what is going on with this. I was expecting an under-attenuated mess but it’s down to 1.004. It’s the palest beer I’ve done in a long time. Yeast hasn’t fully dropped out yet so I might cold crash it for a few days to see if that helps. The most satisfying thing, however, is that it tastes fantastic already. Dry, spicy, grainy, fruity. Just like a saison really.. I’m very excited about the brews i can do with this yeast during the summer. Might do the spelt saison next.

21/06/2015 – Racked this to a secondary fermenter because I wanted the yeast cake for my spelt saison. I was expecting it to be pretty yeasty because there was a lot of yeast floating on top of the beer, but this thing is clear as glass. A little bit tart, lots of Belgian flavour, and the aroma, although a little sulphurous, is amazing. For a 4% beer it’s got bags of flavour. I checked out the recipe in BeerSmith this morning and noticed that the expected FG on this is 1.014. No way is a saison supposed to finish at 1.014! Will bottle in the next day or two.

23/06/2015 – Primed with 169g corn sugar (18 litres at 3.2 vol). 12 x 750ml bottles and 18 x 500ml bottles.

16/07/2015 – Pretty impressive first taste andI’m glad to have it tasting so well after only a few weeks in the bottle. At least now I’ll have a nice Belgian sipper for the summer months. It’s a beautiful colour – pale straw with a nice little haze to it. It’s light-bodiesas you’d expect, low malt flavour, but plenty of Belgian yeast character shining through. Carbonation level seems fine, but the head is low. Despite the low head, the lacing down the glass is very impressive. Very happy with this. The starting and finishing gravities on this give an ABV of 5.2%, a long way away from the 4.% predicted by BeerSmith. But I was using the wrong mash temperature in my calculations, which affected the attenuation a lot.

22/07/2015 – This is a great beer but next time I think I’d put a little Munich in to boost the malt flavours. I like the light body, but malt-wise, it’s a little one-dimensional. I’d also love to see what some light Brett notes would do for this beer. Carbonation is actually good, and the head retention is pretty good, unlike the first bottle I opened. This will definitely disappear in short order.

14/09/2015 – Really enjoyed this, though the tartness is probably a little overwhelming.


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