Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saison w/ Spelt Brewday

So spelt. I bought a bag of Best Malz Spelt malt to experiment with—mainly to compare it to wheat, and to see how the nuttier flavor expresses itself in a beer, something like, oh, say, a saison. Shocking, right? It is a bit heavier on overall protein (16%, as compared to 11-13% for most other malted grains), but has high enzymatic power. As described on the Best Malz website, “Spelt is a distant genetic relative of wheat, and imparts a dry, tart, and earthy character and aroma. Spelt is good for Belgian Saison and wheat styles.” That’s good enough reason for me! Plus, since I just scored some new ECY08 Saison Brasserie yeast, everythings coming up Milhouse!

152. Saison w/ Spelt
6 lbs. MFB Pilsener
4 lbs. Best Malz Spelt
1 lb. Breiss White Wheat
4 oz. rolled oatmeal
4 oz. rolled barley

Mash @ 150° F for 90 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 2 gallons @ 1.074
Batch sparge @ 168° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.022

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off with ½ gallon RO water to bring it to 6 ¾ gallons, brought to a boil (90 minutes), & added:
w/90 to go: 1 ½ oz. Cluster leaf 7.6% AA

w/60 to go: 15 g. dried dandelion root

w/15 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Golding leaf 2.9% AA
10 g. dried dandelion root

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Styrian Goldings leaf 2.9% AA
10g. dried dandelion root
6 g. crushed homegrown coriander
3 g. crushed cumin seed
3 g. crushed Grains of Paradise

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Syrian Goldings leaf 2.9% AA

Let stand for 15 minutes, chilled, & pitched ECY08 Saison Brasserie

Primary: 7/27/2013
Secondary: 8/10/2013 @ 1.006; dry hop w/ 1 ½ oz. Styrian Golding leaf 2.9% AA
Bottled: 8/12/2013; bottled 1 gallon w/ .8 oz. table sugar, and kegged the rest for Beer & Sweat

OG: 1.056
FG: 1.005

Tasting Notes (12/4/2013): I waited on tasting the last bottle I had of this as I wanted to see how much the spice levels—specifically the coriander—would fall off. In the initial bottles, the underlying beer was good, the spice additions got in the way. Here, things have mellowed, and the Styrian Goldings are able to come through, as well as some of the ephemeral herbal dandelion components that were equally lost under the haze of floral citrus spiciness from the coriander, cumin, and grains of paradise. The beer pours a slightly hazy straw with lots of tiny streaming white bubbles, producing a creamy white head that laces the glass nicely. There is faint pepper and hay in the nose, with hints of citrus and mintiness amidst the floral esters—the delicate aromas are able to express themselves in ways they couldn’t when this was initially bottled. Flavors start with bread dough and candy sweetness, along with bread crust; the middle gives way to hay and a light mineral and minty herbal bitterness. The citrus appears in the turn to the finish, and does more bread crust and a slight nuttiness, with a bit of a harsher bitterness lingering on the back of the throat—the Cluster addition for bittering comes across as more aggressive than the other subtler components of the beer; it is something to rethink in homing in on this beer. While the beer is dry on the palate, there is also rounded creaminess via the rolled oatmeal and barley; the bright, sharp carbonation contributes to dryness, and yet the spelt and white wheat also give this beer some gummy/doughy mouthfeel, even in conjunction with the attenuation. I’ll be interested to compare this with the more recent version of this beer (162. Saison w/ Spelt), which cuts the spice and dandelion additions as well as the rolled oatmeal and barley, and trades the white wheat for acidulated malt, but maintains the same MFB Pilsen and Best Malz Spelt ratio and hop additions. Oh, and there is a new yeast to consider. But this current beer does confirm that Styrian Goldings are a keeper in regards to late hop additions. And the four months this sat in the bottle has dramatically improve this beer—it has brought the outlier components into a more even harmony that harkens to better things. I’m still betting I’ll be missing the dandelion in the new version, though.

Oh, and I am amused that this was entry number 69 for Beer & Sweat.


  1. Is your house just flooded with saison at this point? At least your cuffs will stay bone dry.

  2. While it is not flooded with saison yet, it is flooded with Brettanomyces beers. Can you feel the tragedy?