Sunday, September 14, 2014

Barrel Aged Saison: It's All Gravy, Delicious Gravy.

Crushed Sunflower seeds, absolute bitch to crush.
It's been a while since i updated on the barrel aged beers, with Barrel #1 we have already aged the Philly Breakfast Stout  and the Quad (tasting notes coming soon), both beers holding a fair amount of oak and whiskey flavors, but the whiskey aromas are waning. I have been a bit anxious to get some Brett into this barrel and felt it was about time to get going, a nice Saison with some fruity Brett strains seemed appropriate. I am a still a bit concerned that there is too much whiskey flavor hanging in there but we will monitor it and hopefully not over do it, I certainly do not want whiskey overpowering this beer.

We came up with a recipe that wasn't too high in ABV but something that packed a punch and can withstand the flavors/aromas that we will be pulling out of the barrel. I had a few pounds of Malted Sunflower seeds that I used in a very floral delicate Saison a while back, they add a grainy-ness to the flavor of the beer, and help to add body so we tossed a bit of them into the grist. The base grain was Pilsner malt of course, with some White Wheat, Naked Golden Oats, and Munich for some malt complexity, finished off with Turbinado for dryness and because we are snobs.
Frothy, fruity, funky starter of
the Beersel blend.

A fruity, tropical, Brett barrel aged Saison needs Nelson Sauvin if you ask me, we bittered with Magnum and late hopped the beer with Nelson at 5 minutes and flame out. Going into the barrel this thing was more Nelson forward than I could have hoped for, which is great because we want it to hold up for a few months in the barrel.

I distributed some Wallonian Farmhouse slurry (and some Sunflower seeds) to the group, four of us each brewed 5 gallons again with portions of each racked to the barrel and some not barrel aged. On barrel fill night we sampled each of The Yeast Bay Brett blend beers I brewed to decide what blend would be best, the group favored the Beersel blend over the other two so I built up a starter and added it to the barrel. I may have thrown some Brett Brux Trois dregs into the starter as well! 

There was a bigger difference in all of our beers going into the barrel then we have experienced in past group barrel projects. One was a bit more astringent, another was darker then we expected, another was lighter and way more Nelson forward (was awesome actually). I kind of like the variability in the batches, its interesting having each brewers own stamp on the portion being blended in and see how it all comes together in the end. There were aspects of each that I liked, or felt the Brett would enjoy working on, pretty excited for this one to finish. Now we wait...

It's All Gravy, Delicious Gravy

Brew day: 6/28/2014
Kegged: 7/12/20134

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 8.00 gal
A keg and 3 fermenters waiting to be racked and
I cropped Chris' face out of this one,
it was not pretty.
Post Boil Volume: 5.80 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Measured OG: 1.064 SG
Measured FG: 1.007 SG
ABV: 7.5%
Estimated Color: 6.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 36 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Boil Time: 75 Minutes

64.8% - 8lbs 8oz - Pilsner
  9.5% - 1lbs 4oz - White Wheat 
  9.5% - 1lbs 4oz  - Golden Naked Oats 
  4.8% - 10oz - Malted Sunflower Seeds
  3.8% - 10oz - Turbinado

Boil: 60min - 0.35 oz Magnum [14.20 %] - 17.5 IBUs
Boil: 15min - 1 Whirlfloc Tablet + 1 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
Boil:  5min - 2.00 oz Nelson Sauvin [11.20 %] - 0.0 IBUs
Boil:  0min/Whirlpool - 1.00 oz Nelson Sauvin [11.20 %] - 0.0 IBUs

Generation 5 - Wallonian Farmhouse Slurry - 250ml/5 gallons (230b cells)
The Yeast Bay Beersel Brettanomyces Blend (100ml slurry woken up in 250ml starter, pitched into the barrel)

Sacch rest - 60 min @ 149 F 

Fly Sparge 5.75 gallons 170f

Misc: 60 seconds of pure O2. Filtered Philadelphia Tap water, Baxter Plant. 

Notes: Pitched 250ml of healthy Wallonian Farmhouse slurry, then 500ml starter of the Beersel Brett blend + Trois dregs.


  1. Can I ask what happened to this experiment? It sounds awesome.

    1. This beer took a bit to come around, had a bit of diacytl going on, but I never posted tasting notes. I am planning a post with updates on 2-3 beers I never wrapped up with this being one of those. Its drinking nice now though.