First Annual Westchester Farmhouse Ale Competition

First Annual Westchester Farmhouse Ale Competition - October 11th in Dobb's Ferry

First Annual Westchester Farmhouse Ale Competition – October 11th in Dobb’s Ferry

Update, Winner! I had a great time serving beers to the thirsty public at the festival. It was great to talk brewing, enjoy everyone’s beers, and eek out one last bit of fall weather. I also managed to take home the biggest prize, the Brewer’s Choice Award! I am collaborating with Yonkers Brewing Company to have the beer brewed commercially. It’s gonna be a blast! Stay tuned for details about where the beer will be tapped in the NYC area.


Join me on Sunday, October 11th, for the first annual Westchester Farmhouse Ale competition at Harper’s Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry. 20+ homebrewers (including myself) will be pouring ‘farmhouse’ style homebrewed beers. Thirty dollars gives you access to 5 hours of drinking, food, and live music. The grand prize winner will have their beer brewed commercially at Yonkers Brewing Company with additional winners for people’s choice, brewer’s choice, and Harper’s choice.

If you like saison, and the many creative and interesting permutations of the style, this will be a fun event to check out.

Oast House Saison

My entry for this competition is a new take on the prototypical Saison DuPont-esque saison. I’ve taken a base of pilsner malt, added a bit of rye to round the mouthfeel and accentuate the spicy phenolic yeast character, and then added some oats to give what is typically a very dry beer a soft roundness on the palate. I then took the beer and fermented it with a house-mixed culture that originally consisted of harvested Saison Dupont dregs, The Yeast Bay’s Brett Amalgamation blend, and a touch of White Labs’ Lacto Brevis.

I’ve run this culture through a number of trial fermentations and it tends to be very fruit forward with lots of melon and minimal brett funk. There is some tartness that likes to come out in low-IBU beers such as this one, but is pretty much non-existent in beers over 15 IBUs.

Post fermentation, the beer was dry-hopped with a blend of New World citrus-forward hops that play very nicely with the fermentation character and tartness in the beer. The resulting bright and juicy fruit character is amazing — a perfect blend of yeast and hops.

If you come out, please stop by and say hi. I’m very curious to hear your feedback on the beer!

Mixed-Culture Dry-Hopped Saison Recipe:

Size: 5.5 gal
Efficiency: 66%
Attenuation: 88%

Original Gravity: 1.052 (measured)
Terminal Gravity: 1.006 (measured)
Color: 4.88 SRM
Alcohol: 6% ABV (calculated)
Bitterness: 10.1 IBUs

9 lb (69.2%) Weyermann Pilsner Malt
2 lb (15.4%) Oats Flaked – added during mash
2 lb (15.4%) Rye Malt – added during mash

Mash Regiment:
147 °F – 40m
152.0 °F – 20m
158 °F – 10m

Water Treatment:
Extremely Soft NYC Water
6g Gypsum (to mash)

8 g Centennial (10.5% AA) – 90 m
1 oz Citra™ (12.5% AA) – dry hopped 3 days
1 oz Azacca (10.3% AA) – dry hopped 3 days

Kettle Additions:
0.5 ea Whirlfloc Tablets – 15 m
0.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – 10 m

1L House Saison Mixed Culture



10 thoughts on “First Annual Westchester Farmhouse Ale Competition

  1. What was your fermentation / aging schedule for this? I have only done one Brett beer and that is still sitting in secondary although it is just about done.

    What are your thoughts on blending a standard white labs saison yeast with the amalgamation?

    • For this beer I fermented in a single vessel for 6-weeks before racking to a keg (which I also dry hopped in). The beer had reached a pretty low terminal gravity and was tasting great.

      The White Labs standard saison yeast (which I think is a Dupont isolate) is great, but stalls out leaving plenty for the Brett to continue chewing I’d. Seems like it would be very similar to what I did (without the lacto).

  2. so you threw the lacto in at the same time? I feel like I am just getting a handle on standard fermentations and practices. The wild stuff just boggles my mind… Seems like such a dice roll and I get completely lost trying to sort through sites like milk the funk for beginners info. I am a fan of brett but also terrified of it. Not a huge fan of lacto outside of very mild fruity sours.

    Do you maintain separate kegs / lines for your funky stuff?

    Only place that carries yeast bay here is about 2 hours away. so Ill have to wait till i can head down that way of till Florida is sub 100° and I can ship it in.

    • Yeah, the beer definitely has a lacto presence, although much of the sourness is muted by the kettle hops. I actually use a mixed culture of Amalgamation, Lacto Brevis, and Sacc strains which I grew up from Saison Dupont. I’ve maintained it over a number of generations, so it’s impossible to really know what the blend is now.

      I keep a different keg dedicated for funky beers as well as different soft parts (better bottles, tranfer tubes, sample thief, etc.). I’ve never had any issues with cross contamination. … fingers crossed!

  3. I’m building up some crooked stave dregs that have Brett and lacto right now that I plan to pitch with the standard WL Saison strain. Adventure!

      • Racked into a keg today for dry hopping. Planning on serving it at my homebrew clubs end of the year banquet so I should get a fair amount of drunken criticism.

        I like it, so far I am pleased with my first mixed fermentation attempt. I finished right on your numbers which is interesting seeing I’m using different strains.

        The crooked stave dregs are definitely more lacto than the brett. It’s pretty tart and has a clean lactic sour aroma. Will be interesting to see what the dry hops do and how they play. There is a Florida competition opening soon and I will likely save a few bottles for it as well.

        I’m going to save the slurry and try to get a brew in in a couple weeks I think this beer would be great with raspberries so may give that a go.

        Thanks again for the recipe share.

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