Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Red Saison

After having to do a few extract batches, I finally fixed my mash tun yesterday. The stainless steel braid I was using was way too long and, when stirred, the mash grain would get underneath it and prop it way up on an angle so I'd get terrible efficiency. I got to go check out the new Northern Brewer store nearby in Milwaukee recently and picked up a false bottom. After being non-functional for the last week due to my eye injury I finally felt up to brewing. Although I was really hoping to do a strong dark batch to use with the 3rd generation of my Al B's Bugfarm3 yeast cake, I decided on something simpler (and cheaper) as a test run for the mash tun repairs.

What I decided on in the end was a pretty straightforward saison based on the "classic version" recipe in Farmhouse Ales. I did make a few tweaks though. For this one I used red wheat rather than a pale wheat malt for a darker color, they were out of Saaz at the local homebrew store so I replaced it with Spalt for a portion of the finishing hops, and I added 8oz of flaked barley to up the head retention. Once signs of primary fermentation are starting to die down I'll add 10oz of table sugar to help dry it out. Also, I've really been wanting to try the Wyeast French Saison yeast, so this was a great opportunity.

I started this ferment out at ambient temperature (high 60s F) in our house, but after I add the sugar I'll use the new heat belt I picked up to boost it up towards about 80F. Here's the recipe:

Red Saison

brewed on: 2/8/10
expected OG: 1.065 (actual was a few points lower)
IBUs: 24
mash temp: 152F

10 lbs Pilsener Malt
1.5 lbs Red Wheat Malt
8oz Flaked Barley

1.2 Kent Golding @ 5% - 60 minutes
.6 Kent Golding @ 5% - 15 minutes
.4 Kent Golding - 2 minutes
.4 Styrian Golding - 2 minutes
.4 Spalt - 2 minutes

Wyeast French Saison

Sugar Addition:
10oz white table sugar - after primary fermentation dies down

Ferment at ambient temp (mid-60s F)

Raise temp to 80F with heat belt and add sugar

I used a bit of rice hulls in the mash due to the wheat and flaked barley, but still got a bit of a stuck sparge. It wasn't a big deal and was easily remedied. I was a bit lower than I'd hoped on my mash temp, so I boiled up another gallon of water and added it until I brought it up to 152. My biggest gripe with the new false bottom is that it allows more crap to get through from the grain bed. I'll have to try and do a better vorlauf next time and see how it goes.The efficiency was still a few points lower than I'd hoped, but was much better than the ss braid I was using before. I actually took my OG reading while the wort was still pretty hot then adjusted for the temperature, so for all I know I actually hit my OG right on and just didn't adjust right. Note to self: Next time cool it off then check again to see how close the math on the temp correction is.

2/16 - Boiled 10 oz white table sugar in 2.5 c. water. Added to primary bucket & applied heat belt.

2/21 - SG @ 1.001! The sugar character/dryness & wheat both come through nicely, but not overdone. Yeast character is great! I'm super impressed with the Wyeast French Saison strain! Bitterness seems a little high, but this is a hydrometer sample, so that should mellow a bit with some bottle conditioning.
- Moving to basement (60-62F) for a few days until ready to bottle.
-2/27 - FG 1.001. Bottled w/ 5 oz corn sugar. Bitterness still seems a tad high, but not unpleasantly so.
-3/11 - Bottles are *super* carbed at room temp. Tossed the entire 2 cases in the fridge to help bring the foaming down and hopefully avoid bottle bombs!

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