Is there any other beer that screams spring more than a saison? I’m not one for brewing seasonally, but this might be the most refreshing style as the days get warmer. Pale ales are great, but a nice saison is quite the palate cleanser after brewing with loads of hops as I tend to do. I’ve been meaning to brew this style more often, so what better time to start than now?
A Saison for Spring
|Batch Size||Boil Time||IBU||SRM||OG||Est. FG||ABV|
|6 gal||60 min||27||3||1.040 SG||1.009 SG||4.0%|
Fermentables (75 min mash @ 149°F)
|CMC Superior Pilsen Malt||7 lbs 11 oz||83.7|
|Briess Rye Malt Malt||9 oz||6.1|
|CMC White Wheat Malt||9 oz||6.1|
|Flaked Oats||6 oz||4.1|
|Warrior||0.35 oz/~18.6 IBU||FWH||Boil||Pellet||15|
|Cascade||2 oz/7.4 IBU||5 min||Boil||Pellet||5.50|
|Cascade||1 oz/0 IBU||FO||Boil||Pellet||5.50|
|Saison Blend||The Yeast Bay||76-82%||68°F/12 days|
I brewed this recipe once before with Wyeast 3711 French Saison and loved it, but I felt like the yeast profile wasn’t complex enough. This beer is largely based on Tired Hands Brewing Company’s SaisonHands which I always love to drink when I visit. Rather than using 3711 again, I decided to use a different yeast to get the complexity that the real beer has. I’ve been wanting to try The Yeast Bay’s products for a while, and their Saison Blend seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment, especially since I couldn’t find much info about it. If I had to take a guess based on the description, I’d say that it’s a blend of the Dupont strain and French Saison yeasts. If true, then it’s the best way to get the complexity from Dupont, and the ease of use/attenuation of French Saison rather than buying each individual strain.
Brew day went off with one annoying problem: all the beta glucans from the oats, rye and wheat led to a stuck sparge which was a big pain to deal with. I ended up doing a pseudo no-sparge in an attempt to loosen the harden brick at the bottom of my mash tun with some success. I had to use my mash paddle to break up the sticky mass every gallon or so as it was sparging without vorlaufing in between. Any attempt to vorlauf would reduce the flow to a trickle. Because of this, my preboil wort had a small amount of grain particulate floating about in the kettle. RDWHAHB, right? Oh well, I just bought a pound of rice hulls to prevent future sticky situations.
Aroma: Clove, citrus, fresh dough, hay, light sulfur. This yeast put off a huge amount of sulfur as it was fermenting and some of it carried over into the keg. It’s been fading with time but there was a week when it smelled like a glass of farts. Now it’s distinctly saisony with all the typical spice characteristics.
Flavor: Lemon zest and peppery yeast followed by moderate bitterness. Creamy body with a lingering dry breadiness, ending in almost a must-like or slightly oxidized note. It has the same ‘clean’ flavor as the French Saison strain, but there’s no denying it’s a saison. Still, I think it lacks some of the complexity of actual SaisonHands. The Saison Blend adds a lot to the aroma, but the flavor is very similar to my experience with Wyeast 3711, which I might slightly prefer over this strain. It could be a touch drier in the finish, too. No surprise there, considering it ended up at 1.009.
Regardless, it’s an incredibly refreshing and tasty saison even if the yeast character isn’t quite complex enough. I’ll enjoy drinking multiple pints of this over the course of the spring as the days start to warm even more. In the mean time, I have my eye on the Wallonian Farmhouse strain…