Saison De La Mer 26.08.13

For the first recipe on the new 9L system, I wanted to to do something Belgian to take advantage of the late summer heat, but keep it relatively simple to get some baseline efficiency numbers. I’ve also been extremely impressed with the WLP566 Saison II yeast. Many saison yeasts are famous for taking their time, but this one seems to achieve very high attenuation very quickly. At least that was my experience with it earlier this summer on the big system.

The minimalist saison recipe I used is based on Jamil Zainasheff’s advice from the Jamil Show podcast (which is really a proxy for his book, Brewing Classic Styles). I also decided to start the fermentation at  at 22C and gradually ramp up the temperature to 26C. The general consensus seems to be that this will result in fewer harsh fusel alcohols than a steady 26C fermentation, while still bringing out the character of the heat loving saison yeast.

The mash temperature was kept around 66.0-66.5C for an hour to make the resulting beer dry and light-bodied. The vorlaufing process was messy. Next time I’ll use the ‘tin foil raft with holes’ method of vorlaufing to avoid having to either pour the recirculated wort slowly and have it drip everywhere, or pour it quickly and disturb the grain bed.

To chill the wort to pitching temperature, I placed the brewpot in the kitchen sink on top of a few folded pieces of paper, and set the cold water tap to maintain the water level while the sink slowly drains. It was a hot day, so the ground water was around 22C, and getting the wort under 30C took longer than I would have liked (around 45 minutes). I wrapped cold bags from the freezer around the siphon hose to further chill the wort on its way to carboy. The siphoning process ended just a little bit early (oops!), and I ended up with around 8.3L in the fermentor. I’ll just say I was being extra careful about avoiding kettle trub. After aerating for around 2 minutes with the wine degasser, the entire tube of yeast was pitched.

At bottling time the beer was extremely clear, and it finished nice and dry with a gravity of 1.007, ABV just over 6%. Tasting notes here.

Saison De La Mer

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size: 9L
Boil Time: 60 min
Measured OG: 1.055
Measured FG: 1.007
Estimated IBU (brewtoad): 28
Estimated SRM (brewtoad): 5
Measured Extract Efficiency: 77%

Grain Bill
2000g Pilsner Malt
200g Wheat Malt
200g Munich Malt 20L

Mash Schedule
Saccharification rest for 60 min at 66.5C, 2.6L/kg
Mashout for 10 min at 75C, 2.6L/kg

Hops
25g Styrian Goldings 4% AA @ 60 min
15g Styrian Goldings 4% AA @ 5 min
20g Styrian Goldings 4% AA @ 0 min

Yeast
WLP566 Belgian Saison II @ ~10 Million Cells/mL

Fermentation Notes:
27.08.13: Temperature at 22C, swamp cooler and ice packs used to maintain temperature.
29.08.13: Stopped using ice packs, temperature up to 24C.
30.08.13: Removed fan and towel, temperature up to 26C.
02.09.13: Temperature down to 23C over a few days due to cooler weather.
11.09.13: Bottled 7.7L with 65g of table sugar (3.0 Volumes).

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