Thursday, August 19, 2010

Saison Brewday

Last year, I made a Dandelion Ale that turned out delicious, and I thought that the bitterness and flavor from the dandelions would work well with the dry tartness of a saison. So here it is--my attempt to match two great tastes that (hopefully will) taste great together.

74: Dandelion Saison
2 lb. Acidulated Malt
1 lb. Dingeman’s Pale Malt
8 oz. Dingeman’s Cara 45 Belgian Malt

Mashed w/6 quarts water @ 120° F for 30 minutes;
150° F for 60 minutes; raised to 170°
Sparged with 1 gallon of 170° F water

Added to brew kettle, brought to a boil (60 minute) and added:
6 lbs. Breiss Pilsen Light DME
8 oz. Turbinado Sugar
1 oz. Hallertauer leaf 4.1% AA
2.1 oz. fresh dandelion root
1.4 oz. fresh dandelion leaves

w/30 minutes to go: .65 oz. fresh dandelion root
1.4 oz fresh dandelion leaves

w/10 minutes to go: .65 oz. fresh dandelion root
1.4 oz. fresh dandelion leaves
1 g. grain of paradise
4 g. coriander (fresh/homegrown)
½ oz. ginger

Cooled wort, racked to bucket, pitched Wyeast 3711 French Saison

Brewed: 8/19/2010
Secondary: 8/28/2010 @ 1.010; on 9/28/2010 added final third of bottle of Bruery Saison de Lente in last 4 gallons
Bottled: 1 gallon for Dayton Beerfest on 9/1/2010 with 1.1 oz. white sugar
Secondary: 9/28/2010; added final third of bottle of Bruery Saison de Lente in last 4 gallons of beer
Bottled: 4/7/2011 @ 62° F w/4.0 oz. of table sugar

OG: 1.060
FG: 1.000

Tasting Notes 9/10/2010: I bottled one gallon for Beerfest, hoping it would be something interesting, but the beer still at the 1.010 it was at when it was moved to the secondary. This made for a weirdly sweet saison—the yeast character was correct for 3711, but the FG was way higher than any of the other beers I’ve made with 3711. Since I wasn’t sure I wanted to bottle the other four gallons, I pitched in the final third of a bottle of Bruery Saison de Lente, which had developed some nice funky characteristics to it—here’s hoping the Brettanomyces in the Saison de Lente picks up this beer.

10/8/2010: I tried another bottle to see where it was at; still sweet with very little carbonation.

6/26/2011: I’ve purposefully waited on typing up notes on this beer as I wanted to give the brett character a chance to develop. At this point, the cherry pie flavors in the body would indicate that this is brettanomyces lambicus, although there could be multiple strains; however, this flavor is the one that is currently most apparent in the beer. The beer pours a crystal clear gold with a thin white head than keeps at least a ring and a skiff throughout the entire beer, while the nose is a delicate mix of sweet fruity and floral aromas with a slight adhesive or smoky character in the background—the fruitiness seems a combination of 3711 yeast character and slight hints of soft cherry. There is not much in the way of malt in the nose, just perfume-y floral and fruit notes. Flavors start soft and candy sweet; there is an ever so slight touch of caramel in the front before dropping into the cherry pie tang of the middle, which picks up strength and power into the finish and creates a slight curl in the back of the throat. There is also a slight warming solvent character that accompanies the rise in cherry fruit flavor, with a brief residual smokiness mixing with the curl in the back of the throat. There is also some spiciness in the final third, possibly from the dandelion root and leaves—the spiciness lingers, as does the light alcohol warmth. The body is bone dry; after the initial impression of sweetness, the body drops off, leaving the other palate sensations listed, but without the impression of substance in the body (after all, it did finish at 1.000)—hence the lingering spiciness and light alcohol flavor. The beer is interesting and enjoyable, but it could use more complexity and nuance; for that, I am looking forward to the beer I pitched onto this yeast cake, the American Hopped Belgian Pale Ale. Nonetheless, I’ll call this a good start for the first beer I tried with brettanomyces. Here’s to many, many more.

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