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01/27/10 07:26 PM  
Super Saison
Looking to make up a super saison (8+%) with some WY french saison yeast working happily away on a lower gravity saison (7%) as I write. I also have a tube of WL Brett B. to pitch in as well.

I was planning on brewing a 1071 gravity and letting it ferment for 5-6 days and racking to a carboy just as the primary begins to slow and add the brett. Here are my questions:

1. I typicall mash my saisons around 147 for dryness but wanted to leave behind some unfermentables for the brett to work on. I am not looking for a brett bomb with this one, but do want a nice flavor/aroma contribution from it. Soooo, any ideas for a good mash temp on this one? Maybe 152 or so? I will be aging it till the heat of the summer...

2. I also want to add some oak as well. I usually use 1 oz of french oak med toast for aging and just tasted a 100% brett brown I made with this amount of oak in it for only 2 mos. I thought it was quite oaky (almost a bit too much). Does a 1/2 oz of oak sound like too much for a dry (5 SRM) saison or should I go less like .25 or so? Once again, looking for a nice contribution, but not an oak bomb!

Any suggestions/ideas or experience would be greatly appreciated for this anticipated delicious summer saison. Thanks!

01/27/10 08:39 PM  
Re: Super Saison
Do you treat your oak at all before adding?

I always use around two ounces, but boil the crap out of the chips before hand to leach out a lot of the flavor. I've had some quite nice results with this method and amount.

01/27/10 08:55 PM  
Re: Super Saison

I am carbing a jolly pumpkin bam biere clone OG 1.040 FG 1.009. The recipe called for .3oz oak cubes boiled in a couple of oz of water for 30 seconds in the micro wave "..to pull out some of the flavor and aromatics, also to soften the oak flavor. Pour off the water and add just the oak cubes."

Its a low gravity beer and with that small amount of oak cubes i got noticable flavor and tannic dryness after one week. Its not too much but I suspect if the cubes had not been boiled, one week would have been overwhelming.

I have mashed in the 150-152F range with good results for dryness and body and I suspect 6 mons on the brett would pull it down nice and dry. The attenuation of the 3711 will also contribute.

01/27/10 11:55 PM  
Re: Super Saison
I remember reading an article, no idea where :(, about pro brewers consulting and learning from winemakers on oak aging. (I think RR was a focus of the article) The big point was that oak needs plenty of time to become. well integrated into the flavor profile. Two months sounds short. So a beer that has spent more time on oak will seem less oaky than younger beer with an aggressive oak.

My couple experiences with fresh oak jive with this line of thinking. Though I suppose if you use too much oak the flavors will never round out. Give it time.

01/28/10 02:54 PM  
Re: Super Saison
I think you have it nailed down pretty well. That yeast is pretty aggressive so a higher mash temp is a good idea. Actually throwing in a small amount of crystal malt or carapils might be worth considering. Most everyone seems to think that crystal is not appropriate for saisons, but I've found it's great for color and especially with brett you won't have a problem with it finishing too high.

With oak, I've done a similar beer with 3/4 oz medium toast french oak chips per 5 gallons, and I threw in the water I heat sanitized them in too. It was too much at first and almost tasted like whiskey, but after a few months it was just a nuance, unless you poured the bottle dregs, in which case it became astringent. I think going forward I would rather leave the sanitizing water out.

01/28/10 04:21 PM  
Re: Super Saison

I just went back to listen to this podcast where Shea Comfort provides a wealth of information about oak aging with cubes. Very descriptive on oak flavor and mouthfeel contributions, toast characteristics, and cotributions to beer styles.


01/28/10 06:55 PM  
Re: Super Saison
All good tips, as usual, from the crew! I could easily see how oak flavor would mellow with time and have no problem letting the beer age as such.

I typically sanitize my oak cubes by boiling up some water and resting the oak in the preboiled water (just finished boiling) for 15 min. Pour off the excess water and add the oak only. Most of my oak aging experience is with sour beers which are only 8 mos or so, and I have not tasted them yet so I am unaware of how the flavor is contributing to the overall beer experience.

I am considering mashing between 149-152 and using about .5 oz oak. I am looking for a finishing gravity around 1012 to 1014 with the saison yeast and then adding the brett to dry it out the rest of the way on oak till summer. Although, I am still up in the air with the mash temp as I have only used the WY french saison yeast once before.

01/28/10 07:02 PM  
Re: Super Saison

How long did you let your beer sit on 3/4 oz. of oak chips for?

01/31/10 09:59 AM  
Re: Super Saison
After checking the final gravity of my WY french saison batch in the fermenter (going to repitch yeast)I have decided on a good mash temp for the super saison I am brewing as I write. the original saison dropped to a 1.004 in 8 days with temps ranging from 68-81 F during the week long ramp up. Man, I could not believe how attenuative that 3711 strain is! Since I mashed it at 147, I have decided to go with a mash temp of 155 for the super saison so the brett have some residual sugars left to much down on until summer. I am estimating that at 155, hopefully the primary yeast will only eat down between 1012 and 1014 which would leave behind some sugars for the brett to feed on. What a great aroma that 3711 has. Spicy, tropical fruit, citrus all in one. Can't wait to carb up this one! I bet the Dupont strain and 3711 would make for a nice dual yeast blend in the primary for some summer saisons in the future..... Mwhahaaaaa!
02/01/10 12:29 AM  
Re: Super Saison
I left the beer on the oak chips for about 5 weeks.

I agree mid 150's, I've seen the 3711 plow through a 1.069 batch with a lot of specialty malts and still take it down to single digits.

You can always add back some dextrins if the beer dries out too much from the primary yeast. I just did that for a brett saison using maltodextrin powder. I haven't tasted it but the brett is going buckwild in there.

02/02/10 08:41 PM  
Re: Super Saison
Thanks Sean-

Hit a 1072 starting gravity and repitched 1.5 cups of trub/slurry on Sunday afternoon. I let my saison sit for 2 days between 65-68 degrees and tonight I put the brewbelt on and let it ramp up. This helps to control the fusel production which I cannot stand in beers. I am thinking that tomorrow night I will rack the beer into a carboy (while it is still fermenting) and add brett B. and 1/2 oz. french oak for aging. This summer will be good!

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