I’ve gotten my first order. The wife of one of the local craft beer enthusiasts I’ve been sticking bottles to (I’m on a craft beer mission from God and it never hurts to build your brand) wants me to brew a beer for her husband’s 50th birthday. How can you say no to that? But since it is illegal to sell craft beer as a private citizen I will give it to him as a present.
She said that he likes… wait for it…. IPAs! So I gave her some bottles to try together with him, an amber ale, a farmhouse ale and a very fresh IPA, and guess what – he preferred the saison. Actually I think that many of the contemporary IPA drinkers (the new mainstream) would appreciate the saison style. Well.
So I’m rebrewing batch 77 but since there are no more Cascade in all of Sweden (we’ll have to wait for the 2016 harvest that is under way) I will substitute it with Chinook which should work well in an Americanized saison. Brew day is tomorrow so today I’ve made a starter with two vials of WLP566 Belgian Saison II.
Images from brewing Batch #80:
The Blichmann BoilerMaker is nice. However, the thermometer does not work properly. It is possibly the mechanics of the hand that’s stuck or jammed after sitting in the same temperature for a long time. Perhaps. Nevertheless, despite calibrating at various levels it did not display the right temp at all (it boiled at 80 degrees C). And the level gague is only partly useful since it cannot be read during the boil. Because the liquid in it boils. Duh. But it’s still much better than my old pot. I just need to get a HopBlocker so that I can chill the wort in my plate chiller. This time I chilled it with my copper immersion chiller, shich is a bit small for this size, and siphoned it from the kettle to the carboys (Again, I ended up with too much wort so I prepared two vessels).
Here’s the final recipe.
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale. 5 gallons/19 liters. OG 1,050/ FG 1,004, 29,5 IBU, 8,8 EBC, 6,0 % ABV.
4,20 kg (73,3 %) Extra Pale Malt
0,30 kg (5,2 %) Wheat
0,29 kg (5 %) CaraPils
0,29 kg (5 %) Munich
0,09 kg (1,5%) Caramünch I
0,57 kg (10 %) Table sugar (add to fermenter)
Mash with 15 liters of the brewing water of your choice at 65 degrees C for 60-90 minutes or full conversion. Sparge with 73 degree water (approx. 21 liters) to collect 30 liters of wort with a pre-boil gravity of 1,036 (that’s without the sugar).
Boil for 90 minutes: Add:
Protofloc @ 15 min before flame out
50 g Chinook pellets (12,7 %) @ 12 minutes
30 g Chinook pellets (12,7 %) @ 5 minutes
20 g Chinook pellets (12,7 %) @ 0 minutes
Chill to pitching temperature, transfer to fermenter, add the sugar and pitch the yeast, WLP566 or similar. Let the temperature rise to 25 degrees during primary fermentation.
After about a week, when you’ve reached final gravity, dry hop with
50 g Chinook pellets
50 g Amarillo pellets (I couldn’t help myself)
for 5 days.
Cold crash if you wish (I did the last time and got a really clear beer which is out of style but rather pretty), keg and carbonate to 2,7 volumes at your preferred serving temperature.
The new version of BeerSmith has a new tab called Session. It has a nice added feature where you can record a string of fermentation readings (temperature and specific gravity) and have them presented in a simple but illustrative graph that allows you not only to track your fermentation progress but to compare it against your chosen fermentation profile. Nifty, Brad!
After complete fermentation, dry hopping and cold crashing (mainly to settle the hops) and with 6 days to go until the party, I racked the beer to a Corny keg and began carbonating it. I keep it at 8 degrees C so I should set the regulator to 1.2 or 1.3 bars for 2,6 to 2.8 volumes of CO2, but because I have a feeling that my system underachieves in that department, and because I cannot afford to have an under-carbonated saison on the following Saturday, I set it to about 1.7.
And on Friday night I let my wife try it to see if its servable (cause I’m so friggin’ nervous that could never make that call) and she approves. And it is a good saison, at least according to my taste. It’s not a perfect style-fit but more of a refreshing American/Belgian pale ale. I believe it is something that will appeal both to industry-lager-drinkers and to those who think that they suddenly like IPAs but clearly doesn’t know what an IPA is. This is a crowdpleaser.
So on Saturday I load up the keg and the CO2 stuff and me and the wife take the bus to the party.
And even though the rise in temperature creates excessive amounts of foam (next time I will arrive with a much colder beer with some sort of isolation around the keg), it is a total success. 5 gallons is about gone by the time the birthday boy arrives (its a surprise party) because people are lining up for refills, but I manage to save the last pint for him. I should have brewed 2 kegs. And what an enormously rewarding feeling to have a large group of people really enjoy something that you have brewed!
A spent but happy keg waiting to go home: