Saison can be a difficult beer to brew, especially when using the yeast attributed to Brasserie Dupont (Wyeast 3724 or White Labs WLP565) which can be notoriously fickle. In my experience with using solely Wyeast 3724 the beer tends to attenuate about 10-25% in a day or two, and then floc out and take an additional 4-6 weeks of heavy heat to complete fermentation. To overcome this, I’ve designed this recipe to first use the Dupont strain to impart its beautiful ester profile and then the French saison strain (Wyeast 3711) to get the beer dried out in a reasonable amount of time. Additionally this recipe contains a fair amount of acidulated malt to accentuate the beers quenching nature as well as a fair amount of Munich malt to compliment the austere pilsner base. The touch of special roast provides additional character to the malt flavor. I don’t like coriander or other spices in my saisons as I think the yeast gives plenty of spice character on its own.
Volume: 6.12 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.055
Terminal Gravity: 1.004
Color: 8.37 SRM
Efficiency: 78% (tweak recipe to match efficiency of your brew house)
Boil Length: 90 Minutes
7 lb (57.7%) Belgian Pils
2 lb (16.5%) Munich TYPE II; Weyermann
2 lb (16.5%) Pale Wheat Malt; Weyermann
6 oz (3.1%) Acidulated Malt; Weyermann
4 oz (2.1%) Special Roast Malt; Briess
.5 lb (4.1%) White Table Sugar (Sucrose)
.5 oz (18.2%) Magnum (12.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
.5 oz (18.2%) Hallertau Mittelfruh (3.4%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
.5 oz (18.2%) Styrian Goldings (3.8%) – added during boil, boiled 20 m
1 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
.75 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10 m
.75 oz (27.3%) Hallertau Mittelfruh (3.4%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 m
.5 oz (18.2%) Styrian Goldings (3.8%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 m
1 ea WYeast 3724 Belgian Saison™ – 1000ml Starter on Stirplate
1 ea WYeast 3711 French Saison Yeast
Carbon-filtered Seattle water which is very soft. All salts added to grist before mashing in.
4.0 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
6.0 g Calcium Chloride (Calcium Chloride)
2.0 g Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate)
90 Minute Saccharification Rest at 146° F
10 Minute Mashout Rest at 170° F (I do a second hot water infusion to mashout)
Sparge at 170° F and collect sufficient runnings to hit pre-boil volumes.
- Chill wort to 74° F and pitch yeast slurry of Wyeast 3724.
- Ferment 74-82° F until yeast flocculates and activity drops off.
- Pitch smack pack of Wyeast 3711 and keep temperature in the low 80’s. Ferment until beer is attenuated to 92% or so. It may take weeks… be patient.
Keys to Brewing
- High attenuation is the heart of Saison’s very nature. Because of this, it is important to push the fermentation with high temperatures and design the grain bill and mash profile to encourage maximum fermentation. Low 90’s percentage-wise is a starting point for a good attenuation rate.
- Don’t use crystal malt in your saisons (including carapils). It tastes odd to me and really clashes with the overall nature of the beer. If you want more malt character that is not sweet or caramel like, try malts like Munich, Victory, Biscuit, Special Roast, etc. that add interesting notes without adding lots of unfermentable sugars. If you’re worried about head retention, add some wheat.
The beer brewed from this recipe has won several awards as a BJCP Category 16c. Saison:
- 2012 NHC First Round – 1st Place
- 2012 Best of the Bay – 2nd Place