Less is more. Saison brew day

For the past month I’ve been finding some great examples of farmhouse ales. From the Saison du Buff collaboration to a funky Bam Biere by Jolly Pumpkin, these beers have been my “go-to” styles. Farmhouse ales from the Wallonia region of Belgium and northern parts of modern day France represent a diverse range of flavors. In addition to sampling, I also picked up Phil Markowski’s book about Biere de Garde and Saisons. The diversity makes sense given the beer was brewed traditionally for sustainability. Batches were brewed in the winter to be consumed by workers during the late summer months and never left the farm. Besides historic research, the book provides a basis for recipe formulation. It was definitely a great buy which I highly recommend.

With Iron Hill in Maple Shade hosting Big Brew Day on Cinco de Mayo, I thought a Saison would be perfect to brew for the occasion. I choose Pilsner as my base malt considering most recipes use this. There are examples of unconventional grains being used so I added a decent percentage of rye malt to give some spiciness. One of the facinating things about saisons is how some brewers use a mix of spices while others rely soley on the yeast strain for that distinct saison flavor profile. I decided to go with a less is more approach and mixed a small portion of multiple spices that will hopefully add a sutble note. Monday night brewing went perfectly and I hit almost every number. My OG was a couple points high, but that’s never a bad thing! Here’s the run.down:

Big Brew Day Saison
Brewed March 26, 2012
Yeast: Wyeast 3711
Starter: No
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Target Original Gravity: 1.056
IBU: 33
Efficiency: 75%
Boiling Time (Minutes): 80
Color: 5 SRM
Mash: Single Infusion @ 148F (60 minutes) – Batch Sparge

Grain Bill:
7.87 lb Pilsner (69.22%)
2 lb Rye Malt (17.5%)
1 lb White Wheat Malt (8.8%)
8 oz Munich Malt (4.4%)

60 min 1 oz Northern Brewer (8%)
20 min 1 oz Strisslespalt (2.3%)
15 min Irish Moss
5 min 1 oz Czech Saaz (3%)
5 min Spices:
Coriander (9 grams)
Black Pepper (1/4 tsp)
Star Anise (3 blades)
Orange peel (1 whole)
Grapefruit peel (1/4 of skin)


One thought on “Less is more. Saison brew day

  1. Pingback: Brewing Log – Rye Saison and Saison #2 | happily hopped

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