I collaborated on this beer with my pal Derek. In our trio of friends he has the second most brewing experiance behind me. I always have several brewing ideas kicking around in my head but I wanted to get derek more involved and invested in brewing so I offered to brew a beer with him. I gave him the choice of premium East Coast Yeasts I purchased for my summer brew sessions. He chose the Saison Brasserie Blend (ECY08). As part of the deal he had to design a beer, take the fermentor home in his car, and keg the beer. We brewed the beer on a saturday and while the beer was still in growth phase he took it home. After the break I've parsed his comments with some of my own thoughts. His writing will be in italics, with mine in green.
(read more after the break.)
I was offered a couple of different strains of yeast when deciding what beer to brew. The only one that stood out inretrospect was the one I chose, Saison Brasserie Blend. The only conditions for the use of the Saison Brasserie strain were to come up with a recipe and then purchase the rest of the ingredients. So naturally, I waited until the night before I had to send the recipe over to start researching the matter. Thinking back to some of my favorite saisons throughout the years, I settled on one flavor that I really wanted to make sure came out. This ingredient was pepper. I have always enjoyed that nice peppery finish you get out of some saisons. After a bit of research I confirmed that many saison yeast strains provide this flavor, but that the surefire way, though less subtle, was simply to add pepper. Aside from that the grain bill was pretty straight forward: a bunch of pilsner malt, some 2 row pale, and some sugar. I settled on candi sugar to keep with the Belgian theme and when faced with the need to darken the beer some, I chose to add a little amber candi sugar instead of some sort of caramel malt. I wanted to see how the candi sugar turned out, the flavors aren't comparable, but they aren't so different I thought that this would ruin the beer. This could be a great belgian made with saison yeast. It could be a great saison. With Derek buying the supplies himself it was a no lose proposition for me. For the hops, I went with a low AA hop for the bittering addition as I wanted the hop flavors to be on the lighter side. Some locally grown cascade hops would do nicely as if a flavor did make it through the long boil, it would impart some citrus flavor which would blend well with the beer. For my flavor / aroma hops, I chose Czech Saaz to accent the peppery flavor I was searching for. I liked his hop choices; Saaz is one of those hops that is hard to use wrong. Never being one to pass on a sure thing, I decided to add some spices at the end of the boil as well. I found a forum post for a lemon / pepper saison and decided to steal their measurements for the additions at .5 oz of pepper and .5 oz of lemon. I decided to go with the more traditional orange flavor and opted for orange bitters instead. I also decided to take one of the posters suggestions for adding seeds of paradise instead of pepper. Ultimately due to inattentiveness as the store, I ended up with 2g of the seeds of paradise so I threw those in and supplemented them with about .1oz of freshly ground pepper. This was less than the original call of .5oz, but it was starting to seem like a lot and I was getting sick of grinding pepper. I dunno how traditional all of that is but it's a saison; anything goes.
7 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) 66.7 %
2 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM) 19.0 %
1 lbs Candi Sugar, Clear (0.0 SRM) 9.5 %
8.0 oz Candi Sugar, Amber (75.0 SRM) 4.8 %
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min 18.7 IBUs
1.00 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min 8.2 IBUs
0.50 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min 1.4 IBUs
0.50 oz Orange Peel, Bitter (Boil 5.0 mins)
0.50 oz Seeds of Paradise (Boil 5.0 mins)
Mash In Add 12.25 qt of water at 162.7 F 152.0 F 60 min
Mash Out Add 6.30 qt of water at 203.3 F 168.0 F 10 min
Boil Size: 6.43 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Estimated Color: 7.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 28.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Brew day was pretty uneventful and we followed the schedule pretty closely. While it took longer,and left more to clean up, I found the use of the mash tun cooler and hot liquid tank to be far less stressful than monitoring the temp using the brew-in-a-bag method. Once the yeast was added and the airlock was in place, it sat for about 24hrs before beings trapped in the back seat and carted off to Chicago. After spending another night stationary the yeast seems to have started doing its thing in earnest so I look forward togetting it into a keg in a couple of weeks so I can start enjoying it. I agree with Derek in part, no complaints with BIAB. I don't stress out too much about it and opt to go with a single temp rest. I think part of the problem with the yeast was the temp in Michigan. It's still cold here, and the temps are in the low 70's. In Derek's apartment on the 3rd floor of his building in the city I have no doubt that it is 75 degrees or so.