Brewday: American Saison

I’ve had a long-term love/hate relationship with Belgian beers, but this year I fell in love with Saisons. They’re often everything you don’t find in a typical Belgian beer, hoppy, dry and bitter [Note: I know there are some Belgian beers like this, calm down]. I made a Saison last fall (2010) with the Wyeast 3711 strain, and found it enjoyable, but nothing like the ECY03 strain. I made an admittedly over-the-top Saison this summer (be careful with your ABV calculations with a beer that attenuates 90%+), which was really good once the heat of the summer went away, and since that keg kicked, I’ve been planning it’s return.

This summer’s Saison was around 8% ABV, which is too big for me, especially in the summer, so today’s Saison is targeted for 5.4%. The Saison I made this summer was bittered with Columbus hops, and dry-hopped with Centennial. Today’s was bittered with Centennial, and got a flameout addition of Centennial and Amarillo. I’m planning to keg-hop it with whole-leaf Cascade hops, but we’ll see about that when it comes time to keg.

Since East Coast Yeast is so hard to find, I made sure to save my yeast from this summer, and last week I washed it and made a starter. Sure enough, there was life in the starter after less than 24 hours. I crashed and decanted, then fed it with some cooled second runnings this morning to wake it back up. That yeast did not disappoint, and within an hour there was a krausen forming in the starter.

As there’s Brettanomyces in this particular blend of microbes, I’m not sure how long I’m going to let it sit in primary before packaging it, only my nose can tell. I’m looking for a little Brett character, but not too much.
american-saison-brewdayToday also marked the first brewday with outdoor temps below freezing. It was 10ºF outside when I started, and we peaked at around 20ºF mid-day, which didn’t do me much good, because by then, I was trying to use the outdoor ambient temps to cool my wort. A good reminder that I need to get a manageable hose set up indoors to run my wort chiller through the seemingly longest season of the year in Maine. The steam dumping out of the boil kettle is from wort that’s not even close to boiling yet.

Recipe: 2011 Saison w/Brett (ECY03)
Style: 16C-Belgian And French Ale-Saison

Recipe Overview

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.0 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 5.25 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 5.25 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.0 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.041 SG
Expected OG: 1.051 SG
Expected FG: 1.010 SG
Expected ABV: 5.4 %
Expected ABW: 4.3 %
Expected IBU (using Daniels): 44.5
Expected Color: 5 SRM
Apparent Attenuation: 79.9 %
Mash Efficiency: 70.0 %
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins
Fermentation Temperature: 76 degF

German Wheat Malt 4lb 3oz (41.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Pale Ale Malt 4lb 0oz (39.2 %) In Mash/Steeped
German Munich Malt 2lb 0oz (19.6 %) In Mash/Steeped

US Centennial (8.5 % alpha) 0.75 oz Loose Pellet Hops used First Wort Hopped
US Centennial (8.5 % alpha) 0.75 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 15 Min From End
US Amarillo (5.0 % alpha) 1.80 oz Loose Whole Hops used 1 Min From End

Yeast: East Coast Yeast 03 – Farmhouse Saison

Mash Schedule
Mash Type: Full Mash
Schedule Name:Single Step Infusion (66C/151F)
Step: Rest at 151 degF for 90 mins

12/25/11: Gravity reading of 1.004 (92.5% attenuation)
12/26/11: Kegged with 1/2 cup priming sugar


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