Brew in 2017:
picture below ( wort after mashing finished, continually recirculated ) / more pics to follow…
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.
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. 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.
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, unless you specialize in this yeast and have been brewing with it for 10 years – it has a mind of its own, it will stall.
This strain will most likely stall around 1.035, fir us it was 1.033, just ramp up the temp and take a vacation, you will have to wait a few weeks.
This yeast is 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!!!
Brew in 2015:
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.
Brew in 2014
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.
- 10% Wheat
- 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
- At 45 minute of boil add some Irish Moss – helps with Chill Haze later – http://byo.com/stories/item/486-conquer-chill-haze
- At 5 minutes end-of-boil, add 1 oz of Sweet Orange Peel or lemon peels – depends what you want – ( skip peels for a traditional Seison )
- At 2 minutes end-of-boil, add 1 oz of Noble Hops
Wheast #3711 seems highly recommended by other brewers, Wheast #3724 was reported to be slow and a pain-in-the-ass. Yeasts by White Labs was recommended, choose a proper yeast for a true Saison beer.