Feb 21, 2014

Brewday: Business Time Saison

I've brewed several saisons over the last couple of years and aside from this one, I've been more disappointed than pleased with how they turned out. Some of it has been bad luck, some of it bad decision making and some of it is that Fantôme and Dupont set an impossibly high standard for saisons. The feedback I got from my mate Nick G about the good one was that it was a nice saison but lacked an 'x factor'. I think he was spot on about that so this year I'm going to be brewing a few different versions of it to try and see whether I can find that x factor.

That's easier said than done. It's hard to know what will give it that hook that turns it from a nice beer to a truly compelling one. Will incremental changes be enough or does the whole recipe need a makeover? At the moment my incremental ideas are to increase the gravity, to try different hops or different yeast management. I'll also bottle several bottles of each with some different strains of brett as another potential x factor.

My first attempt is pretty simple, just brewing a higher gravity (1.050 compared to 1.040) version of the original. I would have kept everything else the same but since I harvested my hops a day before brewing I thought I'd use some fresh ones for the late hops.

WY3725 has become one of my favourite strains of yeast. It works quickly and at relatively high temperatures, gives a lovely lightly apricot and strawberry lolly and leaves a soft malt flavour. I pitched a very healthy dose of yeast and oxygenated for 60 seconds. Fermentation kicked off nice and quickly at 23C and after 36 hours I allowed it to rise to 25C and plan to increase it one degree each day after that until it is finished.

The actual brewing went nice and smoothly so there's not much to report on that front. I'm comfortable with how my process is working and the beer seems to be turning out well.

Check out the fresh hops and the not so
creative photography!
Business Time Saison (21L batch)
OG: 1.050 (measured)
FG: 1.005
IBU: 22
EBC: 6.3
ABV: 5.9%

82% Dingemans pilsner malt
11% Weyermann rye malt
7% Best Malz wheat malt

20g Aramis @ 60 min
100g fresh Hallertau @ 15 min
150g fresh Hallertau @ 0 min

Wyeast 3725

  • 3g CaSO4, 5g CaCl2, 3g MgSO4 for a balanced water profile with calcium increased for yeast happiness
  • 4ml lactic acid for mash pH correction
  • Stepped mash: 62C (45 minutes), 72C (15 minutes) and a mash out at 78C

  • 90 minute boil
  • 20g Aramis @ FWH
  • 100g Hallertau @ 15 minutes
  • 1/2 tab of Whirlfloc @ 10 minutes
  • 150g Hallertau @ 0 minutes
  • 10 minute steep post-boil

  • Oxygenated for 60 seconds
  • Pitched an estimated 210 billion cells
  • 23C increased to 30C over the week

15/02/14 - Brewed

22/02/14 - Bottled, ~2/3 straight and 1/3 with Brett II

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