Monday, May 2, 2016

Batch 185, Saison

This is my first attempt at a saison. A friend's daughter is getting married this fall, and she wants a beer that has arugula in it. I did a little research and found there are a few pro brewers featuring arugula in beer. The base style of those that I found was saison, apparently the peppery flavor imparted by the arugula goes nicely with the spicy flavors of the saison yeast. This is a pretty basic saison recipe, I'm aiming for something on the lower end of the ABV scale, but otherwise close to the style.

10 gallon batch

22 lb pilsner malt
1.25 lb caramunich malt (provides color without all the sweetness of a crystal malt)
1.25 lb white wheat malt (head retention)

Mashed at 150F. I was aiming for 147F, but this should still come out fairly dry. I would have adjusted, but kept getting interrupted by the parents, who came over to watch a brew session. No problem, and good fun, just a little distracted so I didn't think of everything on the fly. I did remember to adjust the pH and I ran off 13 gallons into the boil kettle and one more gallon into a jar for batch 186.

90 minute boil

4.5 oz US Saaz, 60 minutes
2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 minutes
3 os US Saaz, 5 minutes

Wyeast 3724, Belgian Saison, I only had one packet since I thought I'd just make 5 gallons when I bought it, so I stepped it up with a 3 quart starter. Oh, and I dumped the stir bar into the fermenter... again. I put a sticky note on top of the fermenter so I remember to recover it later.

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.011
ABV: 5.4%
SRM: 6.7

I'm planning to add sugar towards the end of primary fermentation to see if I can get the FG down to around 1.005.

May 11, 2016, gravity is about 1.030, I would have expected much lower by now. I'm thinking my starter wasn't as good as it should have been, so I bought 2 more packages of the same yeast and pitched them.

April 17, 2017 -- I was reviewing my notes for this and realized I've left out a lot of detail. The arugula was not good. I made a few extracts, one of arugula, one of fennel, and one with vanilla beans. The extracts were made by soaking the various items in vodka for a few weeks. After the saison itself was done, we did some sample tastings with a little bit of each extract in a glass of saison. The arugula was weird, and no one liked it. The fennel was pretty good, a little licorice flavor went nicely with the saison. The vanilla was excellent, which is why I was reviewing these notes since I want to make it again. If memory serves, I used 5 vanilla beans in about a pint of vodka for a couple of weeks and added the vodka to 2.5 gallons of the saison.

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