brew-day: 12/26/2015 // OG – 1.072 // Update on temp. chart of fermentation later along with FG, we are hoping for 8%. This recipe originally called for 3lb of sugar, we used 1.5lb. If you want 9%, add that extra sugar.
For yeast using a 2000ml starter, French Saison #3711 prepared 28 hours ahead of time. The best thing to do with starters if you really want to be exact about it, is to test the wort until it reaches an OG of approx. 1.040. This will prepare and propagate the yeast for the main fermentation without tiring its self out before the main fight. The best way to do that is with a refractometer (make sure to buy one with the SG wort scale for brix %).
Fermentation is an exothermic process. The internal temperature of the fermentor can be as much as 10F above ambient conditions on the outside, just due to yeast activity.
70 minute boil.
24 lbs of American 2-row (use local grain from your state/region if you can, support your local farmers)
1.2 lb aromatic malt
1.5lb cane sugar – [ in Belgian beers sugar is added to lighten the body of the beer without affecting the taste, it will also increase the ABV as it should fully convert. Warning: Belgian beers are not Budweiser. drink them responsibly and slow… ]
10 minute into the boil (70 mins total), add 2 ounce of Magnum Hops – for Bitter
at end of boil, add 2 ounce of Styrian Hops – for Aroma
We always add Irish Moss at 15 minute to end of boil
We used a French Saison #3711 // but there are other choices not limited to: Abbey Ale or Wyeast 3787 (Trappist High Gravity) yeast (we recommend you make a starter atleast 24 hours bore brew day).
Add 2 days into the fermentation the Apricot Puree, 5-6 lbs. Fruit doesn’t transfer well in boil, otherwise skip if you don’t want the Apricots.
Fermentation took a solid week. ABV 8.9% // SRM 25
90 Minutes Mash at around 148F, followed by a 45 minutes at 158F, then mash-out at 170F // what we did different this time, used more grain and no Belgian Candi was used. Also, the 2 lb of Caramel 40L was split into 1 lb 40 and 60 Caramel each.
grain schedule (cost of grain bill was $47 from a brew store
Pale 2-row 27.50 lb
Torrified Wheat 1 lb
Chocolate Malt 350L 1.5 lb
Caramel 40 Love 1 lb
Caramel 60 Love 1 lb
hops schedule (whole hops cost was free, since we grew our own hops // pellet we buy it by the pound, this way cost averages down by ounce )
1.5 oz of whole hops Cascades, at start of boil
1 oz of pellet hops, Cascades at 30 minutes
1 oz of pellet hops, Cascades at 45 minutes + Irish Moss
yeast (we maintain our own, so this is almost free)
The yeast was the 1214 Belgian Abbey from 2014 brew which was sitting in the fridge all this time; we made a starter, and like a Boss! 2 liter starter, 48 hours.
December, 2014 Brew below:
90 minutes at 142F, than raise temps to 158F and hold for an additional 45 minutes, Mash out.
Over Ratio Grains Recipe:
80% pale 2-row
5% torrefied wheat
5% Belgian Chocolate mail
10% Caramel Malt (40L)
1lb of Belgian Dark Sugar Syrup
Hops schedule for a 5 gallon batch:
1 oz at start of boil – Willamette
1 oz at 30 minutes – East Kent
1 oz at end of boil – East Kent
for this recipe however we used Cascade hops for the whole thing, because we have a lot of them from the 2014 Harvest :- ) and also, these were the exact grains that we used, sometimes you have to substitute based on what is available where you live, you can also order exact grains and have them delivered, probably costs more money…
For the 10 gallon batch, we used:
24 pounds of Golden Promise – which is a pale 2-row malt
3 pounds of Crystal Malt, 40 Lov. (40L)
1.5 pounds of British Chocolate Malt (450-500 L)
1.50 pounds torrified wheat malt – it increases head retention and body / version of flaked wheat
1 LB of Dark Brown Candi Sugar
1 LB of Dark Belgian Candy Syrup
double the hot schedule for a 10 gallon batch ( see above )
We used 1214 Belgian Abbey yeast on this one!
12/21/2014 Brew OG 1.082
mashing stage with re-circulation:
Ferment for 2 ~ 3 weeks at about 70F, read your yeast specs…
Yeast – many different type of Belgian yeasts exists, please do your research…
Achouffe — Wyeast 3522 (Belgian Ardennes) and White Labs WLP550 (Belgian Ale)
Chimay — Wyeast 1214 (Belgian Ale) and White Labs WLP500 (Trappist Ale)
Du Bocq (Corsendonk) — Wyeast 3538 (Leuven Pale Ale)
Duvel Moortgat — Wyeast1388 (Belgian Strong Ale) and White Labs WLP570 (Belgian Golden Ale)
Rochefort — Wyeast 1762 (Belgian Abbey II) and White Labs WLP540 (Belgian Abbey IV)
Orval — White Labs WLP510 (Bastogne Belgain Ale)
Unibroue — Wyeast 3864 (Cana-dian/Belgian)
Westmalle — Wyeast 3787 (Trappist High Gravity) and White Labs WLP530 (Abbey Ale)
picture below ( wort after mashing finished, continually recirculated ):
Today we have brewed a Belgian Saison – using the Wheast 3724 strain. If you read about this strains feedback and requirements from the manufacturer and other people’s experiences, you will quickly realize that this is not a beginner strain. If you are starting out and lack precise heating control in your fermenting environment (or some heat control), then you perhaps should go with a different strain, like the Wheast 3711 or perhaps offerings from other vendors like, White Labs., but check the requirements and do a little research for which ever yeast you decide to go with.
The temperature range for this strain is between 75 ~ 95F, it is a high attenuator 75-80% / which will give you that dry classic Saison profile beer. The grain profile for this brew was more complex than for the French Saison. We used regional hops from England.
For precise heat control management and data capture for later analysis, we of course use the Beeruino, it logs all the variables we need and allows us to monitor and tweak the temperature as the yeast gives you feedback on what to do.
We will post more details later including the exact recipe and final details on ABV.
The starting OG was 1.044 on this beer (11 gallons) and we take samples (gravity reading, date) over time as it ferments and quickly transform that into a plot using R to show what is going on.
On the 4th week we added 2lb of frozen raspberries / and waited a week extra.
Video before shows how I blend frozen raspberries. Total volume added was 3/4 of a gallon – I mix warm water with frozen raspberries, otherwise its difficult to get them blended.
On Friday 5/12/2017 the heat was turned down to 78F and I let the temperature fall so that everything settled to the bottom of the fermentor. You can ferment longer after the addition of the raspberries to let things integrate longer, maybe 3 weeks total after fruit addition.
Here is how the color looks before and after / also for testing purposes its always a good idea to leave some of the original beer before fruit was added to see how they compare.
left = before adding fruit
right = after addition of fruit
This yeast likes heat!
Make no mistake about it, this yeast like heat right from the start, 80F minimum is perfectly ” a ok ” even as soon as you pitch. Some people like to gradually raise it by a degree per day or so, but I think that this is totally unnecessary.
Most other strains when fermenting at these temperatures would result in a beer that tasted like a combination of gasoline and nail polish remover, seriously, so for this reason a lot of people naturally are wary of starting at higher temperatures. Be warned that if you start with a warmer starter, and pitch into a cooler wort say 68F / this yeast can stall right away and you might not even see fermentation – which probably will freak you out. As that’s exactly what happened the 1st time we did this, simply raise your temps to 75, then 80, then 85, 5F per day and let it sit there. Agitate your fermentor if you can once in a while.
Stalling – did I say already that this yeast is notorious for stalling ? It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced brewer, it has a mind of its own, it will stall, maybe on your first try or 5th try. Also – this yeast can be slow – so a lot of people will confuse that with stalling, but it just takes time.
This strain will most likely stall around 1.035, for us it was 1.033, just ramp up the temp and take a vacation, you will have to wait a few weeks.
Make a big starter – for this brew we only made a 1000ml starter, but bigger is better with this strain of yeast, next time we will do 2000ml starter at bare minimum.
This yeast *may* be pressure sensitive.
Some research indicates that this yeast could also be stalling because of the pressure created inside the fermentor from co2 gas, and therefore some people open ferment, maybe put some aluminum foil over the exhaust.
What we actually did was use an air lock, because not a lot of pressure is needed to move the air lock up, but more is needed to overcome the water resistance enacting over the fermentor when the blow-off tube is sitting in a container full of water.
But think about it, maybe that’s really what an exciting brew is all about, brewing becomes a little bit boring after a while, if everything comes out like clock work ” as to be expected ” and there is no element of mystery, what is going on in there, hello yeast, knock knock, anyone there ?
This Saison will reward you with a wonderful complex peppery-fruity flavor, people will be breathing down your neck, they will beg!!
The ABV can range anywhere between 5 ~ 7.5%, it all depends on your recipe and what you are looking for.
Detailed observations to come, stay tuned!!!
22 lbs – German Pilsner
1 lb – Vienna
1/2 lb – Munich
1 lb – Caramunich
1 lb – Wheat
2 ounce at start of boil – East Kent
1 ounce at 5 minutes to flame off – Styrian Hops
Wyeat 3724 1000ml starter
The more complex the grain bill is, the more it will cost ( specialty grains cost more per pound compared to base 2-row grain ) – for all ingredients ( grain, hops, yeast, raspberries ), total was $72 with tax – this brewed 11 gallons, which means that we average about $6.50 per 1 gallon of awesome, fantastic beer. Tell me where you can go and buy a gallon of Belgian Saison with Raspberry for $8 bucks ( no where ), most breweries sell Belgian by a small glass and that cost $8/$12 per glass, forget buying a growler to take home or a gallon.
The biggest cost was the German Pilsner, at $1.79 per pound.
Here is how it looks at only 1 week out of the fermentor with a quick cold crash in the fridge – ( tart, dry and a good hint of fruit ), very drinkable, now we age and see how it transforms and refines over time.
In conclusion – if you want a stronger/sharper raspberry flavor, remove beer about a week after addition of the fruit from the fermentor, however; if you want it more smooth and less fruity, let it ferment longer 3 weeks up to a month after addition of fruit. You can also have both worlds, by removing half of it and half later from the fermentor, and also save some without fruit additions so that you can compare it all.
7/28/2015 – on Sunday we are brewing a slightly different variation this year. 80% Pilsner, 10% Vienna, 10% Wheat. Columbus for bittering and Saaz for Aroma hops // using French Saison Yeast #3711 by Wyeast. In addition we will use Raspberries during secondary conditioning for a – French Raspberry Saison… Also we will shoot for at least a Double, so approx. 9% ABV+. The colour we are looking for is a farmhouse straw!
The two pics below were a test pour out of the Fermentor at 2 weeks, the classic staw Farmhouse Ale colour was spot on. The beer tasted awesome as well, only will get much better with time.
Raspberries also come through the best in beers for the flavor, taste and their overall profile. It can turn some beer slightly sour with an unexpected benefit!
OG this time was 1.068… FG was 7 days later (1 week fermentation), for a final of 1.005 – which would put this beer at a approximate 8.30% // not too shabby!
Now to Age // CHEERS!
Here is how the beer looks like at mashout…
and here is how it looks like after 1 week of fermentation with the raspberries added to the fermentor at day 3.
7/20/2014 – we used 12 pounds of grain (per recipe percentage proportions), and 1/2 lb of Belgian Candi sugar (that’s all we had left).. OG – 1.049, FG – 1.009
ABV % – 5.25%
Belgian Saison Ale
Historically a Saison is a french style farm beer, brewed in Fall/Winter for the next season – a harvesting/farmer drink. These days many variations exist, and many good articles too – Google for additional research and ask questions if you are not sure about something.
If you want a traditional Saison don’t add any spices or orange/lemon peels and use traditional German hops like the Noble or something regional from the French area – since this is a traditional French beer. We also like East Kent (even tho they are from the UK) and Styrian – these add a sweet edge to the beer.
Traditional Sainson’s are bottle conditioned and highly carbonated. Color can be Golden to Amber, ABV 3 ~ 5%, modern Sainson can be as high as 6.5%+. Should be moderately hoped to balance out the maltiness for all ABV variations.
Age: 1 ~ 2 months, and up to a year+
60 minute standard mash, some people even do a 90 minute mash
We will post out ( OG , FG ) and final ABV later.
85% lbs domestic Pilsner // we like to use the German Pilsner Malt as substitution.
5% Euro Caravienne
Hops / Additional ingredients:
Once you achieve a rolling boil, set timer:
At start-of-boil add 1.5 oz of Styrian Golding Hops and 1 lb of Light Belgian Candi
Above picture was taken on a frosty November morning 11/23/2013.
Belgian beer in general needs to be aged properly for longer than your average, we recommend at least a good 3 months, you will noticed the beer get considerably better over time.
Belgian Abbey Ale – 5+ gallon batch (means you might end up with a little bit more than 5 gallons).
A darker and stronger Belgian beer, if you like a beer with a little kick, but one that still tastes great, this is it!
ABV 9~ 11% (depends on your brew setup/equipment/efficiencies and experience)
Standard mash at 152~154F for 60 minutes, boil for an additional 60 minutes, ferment below 70F.
14 lb American 2-Row Malt
1 lb Munich Malt
2 oz. Chocolate Malt
1 oz. Willamette @ 15 minutes (from start of boil)
1 oz. Willamette @ 60 minutes (at end of boil)
Use your house Belgian yeast or try: White Labs Belgian Ale (WLP550) or Abbey Ale (WLP530).
Note, we usually brew the 10 gallon version of this beer.. If you want a darker beer, double your Chocolate Malt, keep in mind that you are adding this using ounces (not pounds) unlike the other malt grains. We usually add 4 ounces for a 10 gallon batch, double the mentioned amount for the 5 gallon batch, here is a video of a Re-circulation of the Belgian Abbey, so you can get an idea of its color….
Additional Tips: Anytime you are brewing bigger batches, 10+ you need to be on the look out for stuck sparges, once the channel gets stuck in the sparging process, the beer will stop want to flow out of the mash tun. You can heat to 168 F, this will most likely unstuck it by reducing the viscosity of your wort, however be careful – too high of a temperature anything past 170F and extraction of unwanted tannins will happen.
Anyways with a few batches you will figure it out :- )
10 Gallon batch:
28 lb American 2-Row Malt
2 lb Munich Malt
4 oz. Chocolate Malt
2 oz. Willamette @ 15 minutes (from start of boil)
2 oz. Willamette @ 60 minutes (at end of boil)
Here we actually used a little bit more water then intended and added also 1/2 lb of Belgian candi sugar – ended up with a OG of 1.058 (border line 1.060) and we actually ended up with about 15 gallons of beer, not 10 – LOL
FG was 1.013 – final alcohol ABV: 5.91% or 6% rounded ( keep in mind that we used the grain amount for a 10 gallon batch in a 15 gallon batch, so the ABV was diluted, to make it less strong )..
Yes – 15 gallons is heavy, you will need a pump to help you transfer the beer, unless you have a 3 stage all gravity system in place, good luck and cheers!