Hoppy Rye Saison with Brett Trois – Recipe and Review

More and more I’m beginning to think that there is real potential to create delicious beers by exploiting the synergies that can take place between fruity American hops, and fruity yeast strains. To achieve this end, it is important to select the appropriate hop varieties that lean more towards the fruity/tropical rather than pine/resin end of the flavor spectrum. To further investigate these possibilities, I decided to brew up a super hoppy saison that would be complemented by the pleasant fruitiness provided by the Dupont saison yeast and intense tropical esters provided by Brettanomyces Trois (which may or may not actually be a Brettanomyces strain). Additionally, my goal in pitching a Brett strain along with the traditional Dupont strain would be to allow the Brett to finish up the ferment where the Dupont yeast typically stalls out.

Rye Saison

Hoppy Rye Saison with Brett Trois

Recipe Specs:
Size: 3.31 gal
Efficiency: 70%
Attenuation: 84%

Original Gravity: 1.050
Terminal Gravity: 1.008
Color: 3.87 SRM
Alcohol: 5.5% ABV
Bitterness: 30.6 IBU
Mash Temp: 144°F 90 min., 154°F 10 min.

Grain Bill:
5.75 lb (79.3%) Weyermann Pilsner Malt
.75 lb (10.3%) Weyermann Rye Malt
.75 lb (10.3%) Briess Flaked Rye

Hopping:
0.75 oz Mandarina Bavaria (7.2% AA) – 90 m

1 oz Citra™ (13.7% AA) – 180 degree hop stand – 20 m
2 oz Mandarina Bavaria (7.2% AA) – 180 degree hop stand – 20 m
1 oz Centennial (10.5% AA) – 180 degree hop stand – 20 m

2 oz Amarillo® (8.5% AA) – Hop Back

1 oz Mandarina Bavaria (7.2% AA) – Dry Hop 3 Days
1 oz Citra™ (13.7% AA) – Dry Hop 3 Days

Kettle Additions:
0.5 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – 15 m
0.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – 10 m

Yeast:
WYeast 3724 Belgian Saison™ – Added to 2 gallons of wort
White Labs WLP644 Brettanomyces Trois – Added to 1 gallon of wort

The Saison strain and Brett strain were pitched on brew day into two separate fermentation vessels. Once the Saison yeast stalled (typical of this strain), the two fermenters were combined and allowed to co-ferment.

Water Treatment:
Soft NYC municipal water with 3g Gypsum and 2g Calcium Chloride added to the mash.

Tasting Notes:

Judged as a BJCP Category 16E Belgian Specialty Ale

Aroma (11/12):
Initially there is a big hit of meyer lemon-like fruit up front, followed by a massive amount of tropical fruit. The beer is almost reminiscent of POG (Passion Orange Guava) juice. Very bright and refreshing aroma. The impression of fruitiness is huge, but it is unclear where the hops and yeast character begin and end. A great melding of aroma compounds. Malt is soft and bready. No grassiness, alcohol heat, or other off-aromas. Just a hint of pepper — not as much as you’d find in a typical saison.

Appearance (1/3):
Murky gold. The hop haze and high-protein rye have produced a very muddy beer. Glass is capped with a nice persistent white foam.

Flavor (16/20):
Huge tropical notes fill the pallet. Very delicious and refreshing. Low amounts of pepper-like phenols are present and add to the beer’s dry impression. The base malt is in the background and nondescript. The rye is evident and provides a spicy kick. The overall impression of dryness is very high and gives a great refreshing impression. The is a firm hop bitterness that is high for style, but works well in this beer.

Mouthfeel (5/5):
This is where the rye really shines. The beer has an immensely pleasurable silky mouthfeel that prevents a dry beer like this from feeling too austere. The silky body balances well against a prickly level of carbonation.

Overall Impression (9/10):
This is a fantastic, refreshing, and complex beer. In many ways, it feel more like a Belgian IPA than saison due to the immense hop aroma and flavor. The synergies that are happening between the potent hopping and yeast derived compounds work well. It will be interesting to see where this beer goes as the hops begin to fade and the yeast derived flavors come more to the foreground.

Excellent (42/50)

6 thoughts on “Hoppy Rye Saison with Brett Trois – Recipe and Review

  1. Wow, great timing on finding this post. This is seriously close to the recipe I have been thinking about brewing for an upcoming competition in DC. Similar malt bill, same yeasts, slightly different hops. There is a custom “cherry blossom” category, where a floral ingredient must be used (flowers, honey, etc). With this being my first competition and recently moving to DC I’ve decided to “swing for the fences” with a fruity/floral saison. So, assuming this recipe was hopped a little less, would a floral aspect work or just clash with the fruitiness?

  2. Depending on the specific character of the floral note, it could be nice. I’d certainly tone down the hops and let the special ingredient’s character shine if this is indeed what the competition is about. I’d also be concerned with the yeast and rye dominating a bit. ‘Floral’ tends to be a fairly subtle descriptor which may be trampled by pretty intense peppery rye and yeast character.

  3. I’m also planning to use those yeasts together for a saison. I was just going to pitch them together, but how would you combine the two? Siphon the beer with the 3724 into the one with the 644? Vice-versa? Something else?

    Thanks!

    • I pitched separately into two different vessels in order to allow for the 3724 to have a chance to contribute the nice fruity esters that I like about it before the Trois took over and dried it out. Once the 3724 started stalling out, I simply racked them both into a single vessel. Good luck brewing and please let me know how it turned out!

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