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Matt MacLeod
02/25/09 07:12 AM  
Historical Saison
I'm thinking of brewing up a "historical" saison recipe based on the description of "old time" saisons in Farmhouse Ales. This is what I came up with:

60% Pils

20% Wheat Malt

15% Flaked Oats

5% Melanoidin Malt

20 IBU Brewer's Gold @ 60 minutes

An ounce or so of Hallertauer at flameout


I plan to sour mash about 15% of the grist to get some sourness in there. I'm also considering adding some brett but I gather these beers were drunk youngish, so I don't know if brett would have had that long to do it's thing.

Aside from being a interesting project I also have one eye on having something nice and refreshing for when spring hits and my wife starts making fix up the garden so I'm looking at having something ready to drink around April/May.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

Rob B
02/25/09 08:13 AM  
Re: Historical Saison
Traditionally, saisons were brewed during the winter for consumption the next summer, so you could definitely let brett work for a few months.

I like the idea of a sour mash to get some lactic in there though.

Matt MacLeod
02/25/09 08:36 AM  
Re: Historical Saison
I'll brew this at the weekend so I guess I could add the brett in secondary and then set aside half of the batch somewhere to see how it develops over time?

Does the basic recipe look ok?

02/25/09 08:57 AM  
Re: Historical Saison
It looks like a good recipe. 2 thoughts:

1) A partial sour mash... would you be opposed to just using like 4-5% Sauer malt? It saves a lot of time, and ensures that you won't get any garbagey byproducts.

2) I'm sure I won't be the only one to tell you that WLP565 does not attenuate properly for a saison. Your beer will probably end up sweeter than you would like. The Wyeast saison strain will ferment much drier.

Matt MacLeod
02/25/09 09:18 AM  
Re: Historical Saison
Seanywonton: I had considered using sauer malt - I wanted something a bit more "organic" - a bit more like "let's do this and see what happens" which fits in pretty well with the "historic" aspect of this beer. The other thing I could do would just be chuck a handful of raw grain into the fermenter and see what happens!

As for WLP565, I'm no expert, but to be honest it's always worked great for me. I've only used it a few times and each occasion have pitched huge starters and insulated the fermenter as well as I could. I've always managed to get down below 1.010 and never had a beer that I've foudn too sweet. Maybe I've just been lucky?

02/25/09 11:12 AM  
Re: Historical Saison
According to "Farmhouse Ales", brewers would use whatever grains they had around as an adjunct to the barley. Has anyone every tried tritcale or spelt? I have seen both of these at my local health food store, and have been tempted to through 10% or so into a saison, but I haven't yet.
Rob B
02/25/09 02:31 PM  
Re: Historical Saison
Blaugies Brewery makes a saison with 33% spelt and the rest is pils.
02/25/09 02:36 PM  
Re: Historical Saison
I've use spelt in low amounts and it great for head retention. I might go up to a full pound for the next batch. This is unmalted and I got it from the local health food store.

I don't know about that 565 though. If it works for you, more power to you! But my experiences and many other brewers' show that it normally does not dry out enough. Maybe not a problem if you use brett though

Happy Feet
02/25/09 07:42 PM  
Re: Historical Saison
Blaugies Brewery makes a saison with 33% spelt and the rest is pils.

I tried this last year, not my favourite. I also used the VSS yeast from Blaugies,I fermented it warm and the FG was around 6. Spelt gave an interesting gold colour. Perhaps to sweet, a little more hops would have been good.

Matt MacLeod
02/26/09 03:04 AM  
Re: Historical Saison
There's a miller who comes to our local farmer's market - I'm pretty sure he carries spelt, so I'll speak to him. I'm assuming we're talking about raw, not malted? Sorry if that's in the book but I don't have my copy to hand.
02/26/09 10:36 AM  
Re: Historical Saison
Some 6-row base malt would be even more historical and would also help get great attenuation out of those adjuncts...

As for how to sour most "naturally" I'd suggest the closest thing would be to try dregs of a good gueuze.

02/26/09 09:01 PM  
Re: Historical Saison
6-row? Are you sure? I thought 6-row was native to North American only and I doubt poor farms in Belgium would import malt as locally grown malt was probably cheaper.
Matt MacLeod
02/27/09 03:25 AM  
Re: Historical Saison
Re: 565 - I forgot to point out that this is going to be a fairly low gravity beer - 1.040 - 1.045 area so hopefully 565 - difficult as it can be - should be able to plough through it pretty easily.

Re: 6-row - IIR many French and Belgian varieties of barley are 6-row so I believe it is local to that part of the world.

Tom from Raleigh
02/27/09 07:54 PM  
Re: Historical Saison
Historically, many Saisons were brewed with winter barley according to Farmhouse Ales. Winter barley has more husk, so 6-row would be appropriate.

02/28/09 09:18 PM  
Re: Historical Saison
My favorite is the WL568 "Saison Blend".

I've used Soured lacto malt and thought the results were artificial and a bit uncharacteristic. As the beer aged it went from lemony/citrusy to mute in a month. I thought the yeast mentioned above gave a little bit of sourness/bitterness. Any thoughts on 568?

Happy Feet
03/01/09 12:32 PM  
Re: Historical Saison
A few more notes about spelt as my recipe had it as 33% of the mash.

I did gelatinize by bringing up through a protein rest, and a second rest at 150. I added a pound of two row pilsner malt to this as well. It did convert, it was really sweet. I then boiled the mini mash and added to the main mash for a strike temp of 152. and left for two hours. I also added a pound of husks to help with run off as it was very sticky.

Good luck!

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