Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Farmer in the Rye Saison

I am a big fan of Saison, you could say its my favorite style but I do go through phases from time to time with other styles. Its the history and tradition in Saison that I find so intriguing  From the farmer brewing the beer in the winter to be served to the farm hands working the fields through the summer months, to brewing the beer with whatever ingredients the farm had on hand at the time. Its just a fantastic historical style to make a rustic thirst quenching beverage is right up my alley.

This is a Saison recipe that I have done a few times before, the resulting beer is fairly classic despite the addition of the Rye. I have dialed in the grist and hop schedule, so in this batch I am working to find out which yeast strain works best with this beer. In the past I have used WLP565 and really enjoyed the results. The goal of this recipe is to create a delicate and refreshing beer for spring/summer to be enjoyed after a long days work.

Tasting when going into the keg.

Brew day: 1/12/2013
Kegged: 2/12/2013

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 16.85 gal
Post Boil Volume: 14.66 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 14.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 13.60 gal
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 4.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 75 Minutes

74.5% - 19 lbs Belgian Pilsner
15.7% - 4 lbs Rye Malt
3.9% - 1 lb Munich 10L
5.9% - 1lb 8oz Cane Sugar

Boil: 60min - 1.00 oz Bravo [11.30 %] - 16.6 IBUs
Boil: 30min - 1.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.80 %] - 9.8 IBUs
Boil: 5min - 1.50 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - 1.8 IBUs
Boil: 5min - 1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.80 %] - 1.7 IBUs
Boil: 0min - 1.50 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - 0.0 IBUs
Boil: 0min - 0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - 0.0 IBUs

1.0 pkg French Saison (Wyeast #3711)

Sacch rest - 90 min @ 148 F

Fly Sparge 12.23 gallons of 170f

Misc: 45 seconds of pure O2 for each carboy.

Each vial had a different production date, based on that date I used to build up 125b cells to slightly under pitch for more ester production (Proper rate was 152b cells). Each strain was pitched into its own 6 gallon better bottle with ~4.5 gallons of wort.

***All fermentations started at 68f and were ramped up in temperature after 48 hours of fermentation.

Tasting notes:

ECY08 1.010 - Some clove, touch of banana, smells slightly of alcohol, earthy. Taste is somewhat dry, not overly. Moderate bitterness, medium body. Primary ferm temp ramped to 80f max.
3711 1.007 - Smells fruitier then the other, green apples no clove or banana. Taste is more dry, a touch more bitter medicinal on the back but not on a bad way. Thin body but a bit silky. Primary ferm temp ramped to 74f max.
WLP565 1.016 - Smells sweeter, very earthy, some sulfur. Taste is sweet almost clean. A bigger body than the other 2, my least fave. Primary ferm temp ramped to 80f max, I wanted to get this warmer but just couldn't get it any higher.

2/12/13 - Final gravity at kegging
ECY08 - 1.008
3711 - 1.004
WLP565 - 1.016 Stuck fermentation, pitched ECY03 Farmhouse Brett slurry into the carboy to get it to finish, it took off by the next morning. Obviously this will be a quite a different beer then I had intended.

3/1/13 - Final tasting.
ECY08 - 1.008- Banana nose, medium body giving perception of under-attenuation, earthy, fusel alcohols. Not what I am looking for, 3rd time Ive used this yeast and havent been a fan, it leaves the beer with a strange mouthfeel.
3711 - 1.004- Fruity nose, high carbonation, moderate body with a silky texture, dry and slightly spicy, drinkable and refreshing. Subtle. This is exactly what I was looking for.
WLP565 - Racked to secondary onto 4 lbs of fresh Mangos, boiled then pureed. I'll let the Brett work on the added sugar for a few months before bottling. I'll update with a tasting post on this beer down the road. FItR w/Mango Tasting notes

The French Saison version.


  1. Nice experiment. Your recipe is pretty close to mine. I have tried dropping off the Munich malt, but every time the malt bill just seems flat. I actually haven't been too impressed with either of the the East Coast Yeast Saison blends 03 or 08. I have a cultured strain from Dupont that I really like and it never seems to have issues with staling, but it recently got a Brett infection - so I'll need to do some more harvesting.

    1. Odds are pretty good that I got inspiration from your recipe when I first brewed this recipe a while back, when I formulate a recipe I take a little from this a little from that then tweak from there. After ~4 batches of this I think I have it dialed in. This was the first time 565 stalled on me, but I really couldnt ramp it up as high as I normally would so I wasnt surprised at all. I may have to culture it from a bottle myself bc I really do love the strain.

  2. How do you think this would fare as a dark saison? I think I've seen you mention your disinterest in them, but I wanna give one a go, and this recipe seemed robust enough when I brewed it to hold up to a percentage of Midnight Wheat/Carafa III/Blackprinz. Do you have any thoughts on this, or totally not about it haha

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  5. Brewed this before Christmas and it has turned out extremely well. I went for a blend of WLP566 / Wallonian Farmhouse / Dry French Saison dregs all from previous beers. I can taste what each is brining especially the ballance from the 566 and Wallonian. Cheers

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