So Phil over at the Beersay blog has come up with the #supsaison Saisonathon. A celebration of all things belgian farmhousey!
As it just so happens, Saison is one of my all time favourite beer styles. Everything about the style, from its history through to its flavour profile, I find fascinating. Like a lot of beer fans I first encountered the style through the medium of the classic Saison Dupont.
A great beer that has become the benchmark for the style. Fruity esters, peppery spice and farmyard characteristics play off against a strong (in Belgian terms) hop presence. A vibrant effervescence lifts the beer and adds to it’s refreshing nature. A truly great beer.
The world off Saison does not end with Brasserie Dupont though, and the nature of the style itself has led to a monumental variation in the brewers interpretation of this beer. Here lies the essence of the Saisonathon as I see it. With such variation within the style, grab yourself a fist full of saisons and enjoy them with your nearest and dearest, beer geek pals, anyone really……..then tell us all about it!
My interest in this event was really sparked by what seems to be a season of Saison brewing within the microcosm of homebrewers on Twitter. Myself, @broadfordbrewer, @lugsy51, @Quadrangularus and others have all been (seemingly through coincidence) brewing Saisons.
As well as promote the Saisonathon, I though I would add my Saison brewday to the end of this post to kick off my contribution to #supsaison.
I started the recipe creation at the heart of any good Saison…..Yeast. If I’m going to do this, I may as well do it right! So one 75ml bottle of Dupont later and I was growing up a starter from the bottle sediment! I was very supprised at how healthy the yeast from the bottle was. A stepping up schedule of 50ml, 200ml, 1L, 2L seemd no problem for the yeast, and demonstrated the same healthy fermentation as I would expect from a vial of Whitelabs. Very little lag time. Happy!
As for the rest of the recipe, I wanted to go classic for this first attempt, so armed with my copy of the excellent “Farmhouse Ales” by Phil Markowski I came up with the following:
87.5% Pale Ale Malt
5% Wheat Malt
5% Aromatic/Abbey Malt
2.5% Caramel Vienna Malt
Saaz 3.5%aa 56g (25 IBU) 60 mins
Styrian Goldings 4.5%aa 15g (2.3IBU) 15mins
Saaz 3.5%aa 25g (1.9IBU) 1 mins
Styrian Goldings 4.5%aa 25 g (2.4IBU) 1mins
I mashed at 62oC to try and maximise the fermentability of the wort and dry out the beer rather than add sugar.
On my Saison brewday I was joined by @bradfordbeer (also of pintsizedticker fame). A friend who had fallen by the brewing wayside, and has since found the insatiable need to pick up the mash paddle once again.
All in all it was a prety chilled brewday! The yeast worked admirably, fermenting the beer down to 1.006 over about 3 weeks (this strain can be a little slugish near the end). I fermented at about 25oC to drive those yeast flavours of barnyard, pepper spice, and tropical fruit.
After primary was done, I left the FV warm, just to help drive the last few gravity points and then bottled with 10g/L of sugar to get 3.5vol cO2
Having recently bought a new capper, with a 29mm capping bell, I took the opportunity to bottle a couple of champagne bottles as well, just for added authenticity of course!
I will be swapping a couple of bottles of this with some other homebrewers for their Saison efforts and will be cracking them all open on Saturday 15th September.
I can’t wait