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Author Replies
08/09/11 09:58 PM  
Saison - Variations
There has been a bit of discussion here of saison in the past few days. Got me thinking of the slight tweaks I've done so far this summer and what I have planned next and that it would be a good starting point for discussion.

1) My standard recipe of 4 lbs each of Belgian and US Pale with 1.5 lbs of Vienna. Bittered with Nugget to 40 IBU and late additions a mix of Hallertau, Saaz, and S. Goldings. Fermented with a starter from Dupont sediment then Wy3711 when that inevitably stuck around 1.025. (Oh yea, I blended in .5 gal of old sour into the last 1.5 gal when bottling. Fun.)

2) Same as above but triple decoction mashed. This is just ready. It has a that little extra maltiness that only comes from a decoction. Nice, but probably not going to replace the step mash.

3) Rye. Replaced the Vienna with .75 lb flaked rye and .75 lb malted rye. Still fermenting but I hope the rye mixes well with the yeast and hops.

4) Berliner saison. I think it would be fun to do a no boil saison. I have yet to think through when to add hops and yeast so I'm open to suggestions. I'll call this one Little Ghost.

Comments, questions, or criticisms welcome. I think saison is a fantastic beer for these subtle variations.

What have you done with saison lately or are planning on?

08/09/11 10:30 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
Love your idea on the Berliner saison but it may get too funky with the saison yeast. Regardless, a low gravity saison can be a delight especially if some sourness is present.

Since I've had very few great saisons brewed in America, I've been working and tweaking the style in the traditional mode for several years now. Starting to mix various yeasts to achieve fruitiness, dryness and spice all at once.

08/10/11 12:20 AM  
Re: Saison - Variations
Probably my favorite beer I've made to date was a 1.076 og with pils and a pound each of munich, rye, wheat, and sugar.
08/10/11 12:22 AM  
Re: Saison - Variations
Probably my favorite beer I've made to date was a 1.076 og with pils and a pound each of munich, rye, wheat, and sugar. Used 565 in primary at 90 degrees and then finished it in the low 60s with brett b for 2 months. Bottled it a couple months after adding the brett, and after a year in the bottle it is phenomenal. I'm sad I'm starting to run low on bottles, but have another batch of it aging with brett c and another with brett l right now.
08/10/11 01:38 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
So far this season I've done three, fairly straightforward single hop saisons. Nelson Sauvin, Sorachi Ace, and just the other day, Calypso. I've used Nelson a few times before, but in general just trying to get a feel for these hops in something besides an APA.

Grain bills varied slightly, but for the most part was just pils, a little wheat, and small amount of more toasted malts (munich, vienna, etc). ~1.045 and probably 35-40ibus in each. They were all fermented with a culture of Al's Saison blend that I've kept going since he originally sent it out a few years ago. It's really developed quite nicely over the years and I have very little desire to use anything else. OG's on the first two were 1.004 and 1.000 - nice and dry. :)

I'll probably knock out a couple more before the weather starts to cool too much (not that it ever got warm here in PDX). Not sure what they'll be yet. I usually plan them as a spur of the moment thing.

08/10/11 04:25 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
I've recently made a Saison with Brett in secondary. However, my primary saison yeast took the gravity down to 1.003, which doesn't leave much for the Brett to eat. What would be the best thing to use to feed the Brett? What's the best way to do this?
08/10/11 05:38 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations

I made a 1gallon batch for ess's and gee's last week. 1#pils, 6oz's of lqd munich malt extract, 2oz's each of flaked oats, flaked wheat, and torrified wheat. an 1&1/2oz's of homemade candi light sugar, and 4oz's of honey at flameout.

step mashed from 113>125>136>147>158 then ramped up to 180 for mash out over ten minutes. All ten to 15 minute rests aside from the 147 which was an hour. Again, shits and giggles.

I used Bramling Cross for the hops. 60 and 10 minute additions to 33ibu's. Dry hopping with about a gram and a 1/4.

I know a lot of folks are dead set against spice additions, but since this was a kitchen sink brew, ( all leftovers from other batches), I decided to go all out. I added fresh sliced ginger, crushed indian corriander, crushed white pepper, a few crushed cardamom seeds, a sprig each of rosemary, sage, thyme from the garden. Didn't measure the amounts but i'd say I went verrrry conservative and stayed at around an 1/8 to a 1/4 tsp of each, if not less.

I used washed 3724 for this. Started at 80f and ramped up to 95 over two days. To my surprise it was down to 1.001 as of today! that's a record for 3724 and any wort I've ever used it in. I racked two a 1gallon vessel and gave it the dry hops. The sample tasted really, really great. the ginger crept up slowly and provides a really nice warming sensation over time. Hoping this is going to make an excellent fall Saison to sit out back and watch the autumn leaves blow around. Might have to scale it up for a 5gallon batch.

08/10/11 10:43 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
I'm in the process of tweaking saison recipes. Right now I have a batch made with ECY03 chewing through the last few gravity points. Last I checked it was at 1.006. It has 27% rye, a touch of vienna, with mostly pils and acid malt for mash ph.

Next up is the same recipe with spelt replacing the rye malt. The hops being used are stryian golding and strisselspalt. Same yeast and I will just let it free rise (might add heat to this one as the temps are starting to drop).

I have to do another one with 3711 because they're quick and easy.

I may do a saison style grain bill with Bugfarm5 and see how that comes out.

My mash schedule is typically about 148 for 90min then decoct and raise to 156-158 for 15min no mashout steup. Then run off and denature in the kettle. It's been working for me so far. I might tweak that in the future as my equipment gets upgraded.

08/11/11 04:06 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
Ross, I was thinking that the saison yeast would dry it out and keep things from getting too funky. Worst case, I have a couple friends that are in the "give me the funkiest muck I can find" phase of beer discovery. And I know what you mean about American saisons. However, this summer Notch Session made a 3.8% saison that really hit the spot.

Cody, to leave more sugars for the brett you could try mashing a tiny bit higher or pitch Brett with/shortly after primary yeast. You could also use a primary strain that is known to stick (Wy 3724) and pitch the Brett when it sticks.

ChrisF, personally I am against spices but to each his own. Thats the nice thing about homebrewing, you get to cater exactly to your own tastes.

08/11/11 07:58 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
yeah I mean, I'm more or less on the same page as far as spicing....

but the as per the point of this here thread, I thought I'd try to vary my usual approach.

Glad I did too, the sample tasting as good as it did and all.

08/12/11 12:40 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations

Another tip I have used to boost the brett complexity when your primary strain dries out the beer a bit too far, is through the use of maltodextrin. 1# of maltodextrin in a 5 gallon batch will yield about 8 gravity points which regular sacch. yeast cannot eat through. The brett will chomp down on that and restart the fermentation.

Be sure to dissolve it in a small amount of water, boil for a few minutes to sterilize it and be sure to stir it the whole time so it does not burn/scorch. Cool, and add to your beer. Good luck!

Scott J
08/12/11 01:21 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
I was in my 3 year of brewing "A Saison for every Season" (article from Zymurgy a few years ago) when the Navy unceremoniously sent me to Afghanistan (where I am now). If I get back as planned (next July). I plan to brew a "Harvest Saison" with about 50% adjuncts. I have not decided on the individual percentage yet but it will include flaked oats, malted wheat, malted rye, and maize.

After that will be my Saison Automne brewed with Golden Promise and amber sugar. That is probably my favorite of the seasonal ones.

Before I left I brewed a Saison / Biere de Garde recipe. It was basically my Oktoberfest grain bill (1/3 munich, 1/3 vienna, 1/3 pils) with some sugar to bump up the gravity to 1.066.

I brewed 10 gallons and split the batch between a mix of WL 565 & WY 3711 (for 5 gallons) and fermented in the high 70's/low 80's and fermented the other 5 at 60 degrees with WL 565, WY 3711, & a dry lager yeast). That will be the Biere de Garde. I was able to transfer them to the secondary before I left and was pretty pleased with the results of both.

The Biere de Garde is now lagering at 34 degrees and I plan to bottle both beers when I get home for R & R (probably Christmas time). I will let you know the results.

08/14/11 01:48 AM  
Re: Saison - Variations
So far this summer I've done a black saison with brett b secondary and rosemary, and three grain variations on a standard 1.050 bill- 75% pils, 15% rye, oat or wheat and 10% munich, fermented with ECY08 (now on it's 3rd generation, and definitely more orangy than initially). I'm planning on doing spelt before the summer's out, and maybe buckwheat if the stuff growing in my side yard heads soon enough to malt it. Only spice I add is a couple grams of crushed pepper in whirlpool.
08/21/11 05:59 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
This is an inspiring thread! I've been lurking around here for a while so I thought I'd better post up and share some ideas as well.

I have a few funky Saisons under my belt and so far they've turned out pretty good.

1.) 90%Pils/10% Wheat...1/4oz Lavender(too much!) at flame out.

1 week fermentation with WLP568, then "It's Alive" dregs and 1 quart of pureed strawberries.

2.)Pils/wheat/vienna/flaked oats...grains of paradise, rosemary, bitter and sweet orange peel, coriander at flame out. 1 week fermentation with WLP568, then Orval dregs.

3.)Dark Saison (can't remember grainbill off the top of my head) steeped rose-hips, hibiscus, and chamomile at flameout for ~15mins while cooling. Fermented with WLP565(1.070-1.008 in one week), then pitched White Labs brett C, Orval dregs, Cuvee Rene dregs.

4.)Pils/wheat/vienna/flaked oats...similar spicing as #2, but aiming for very subtle spicing. Fermented with cultured Fantome dregs with Brett C, and on top of yeast cake from the Dark Saison containing WLP565, brett C, Orval dregs, Cuvee Rene dregs. This will get watermelon juice in the secondary next week.

03/11/12 02:50 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
I recently used wlp530 for a saison and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. Kind of bridges the gap between a belgian pale and a saison. Not so much on the spicy tip, but definitely had a nice big fruityness to it. Though, I also used sorachi ace for the flavor and aroma hops.
03/18/12 09:30 AM  
Re: Saison - Variations


I remember a CYBI episode that cloned a commerial Bel IPA, the brewer let the 530 rise to 80F to get the flavors he wanted.

At what temps was your saison fermented?

03/18/12 09:30 AM  
Re: Saison - Variations


I remember a CYBI episode that cloned a commerial Bel IPA, the brewer let the 530 rise to 80F to get the flavors he wanted.

At what temps was your saison fermented?

03/18/12 07:32 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
It went from the mid 60's to 80ish for three days and was more or less done. It was a low OG to begin with, 1.046 and was mashed on the low side at around 148f.
Joe S.
03/20/12 02:59 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
I see about 80% of what I brew as a saison of some sort. Typically it's 100% pale or pils malt, mash 148-150F, 90-minute boil, ending around 4.5% abv. Yeasts vary but here in the tropics we're mostly stuck with dry stuff; lately have been doing 50/50 blend of S-33 and T-58. Ferment 72-76 F (ambient). No spices in my saisons but yes to loads of flavor and aroma hops. Lately I've been enjoying the challenge of balancing the yeast's spicy esters with the hop aroma.

And that's basically our house "drinkin' beer."

03/20/12 04:39 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
There was an article in the latest edition of Zymurgy about brewing in the tropics, and it mentioned that dry yeast is pretty much all anyone uses.
03/21/12 01:53 AM  
Re: Saison - Variations
At the moment I am drinking batch 2 of a double batch of Saison. I used:

24 lbs bel pils

3 lbs vienna

1 lb acid malt

1 lb flaked wheat

3 oz centennial 60

2 oz styrian 20

wyeast 3711

added brett c. to both

fermented #1 @ 75-80 fg 1004 dry hopped w/citra

fermented #2 @ 70 fg 1005 added brett b

entered #1 in nhc, letting #2 clear up maybe for next year

saison has so many variations-awesome!

03/26/12 09:35 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
I'm very happy to see that this thread is still going.

I never did get around to the Berliner Saison. Fall came and I focused on heartier brews, though I should make time for it soon so it will be ready for summer.

I also just signed up for a malt CSA that will likely include some unusual grains - perfect for saison! Anyone ever brewed with emmer or grain sorghum?

Joe S.
03/28/12 11:28 AM  
Re: Saison - Variations
Malt CSA? Cool. Where do you live? I want to live there.
03/28/12 12:05 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
I haven't brewed with either emmer or sorghum. Isn't emmer one of the "acient" grains and a distant genetic relative of wheat?

I've brewed with raw local wheat, flaked wheat, spelt (flaked and raw), rye (malted and flaked), wild rice, and purple corn as adjunct ingredients.

03/28/12 08:23 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
Joe, Massachusetts. There's a newish malthouse in Western Mass that focuses on locally grown grain. They started the CSA last year but I missed out. They seem to have really struck a chord and several breweries have even done all MA beers. http://www.valleymalt.com/malt-of-the-month-club/

Smokinghole, from what I can tell emmer is about what you describe. I wonder what flavors it can contribute to beer...

03/29/12 10:27 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
Only one way to find out. I really like the way the spelt turned out in my saison and I don't think emmer would be too far off. I liked it so much that as soon as my flaked wheat is gone I'm getting bulk spelt from vitaspelt.
03/31/12 08:10 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
has anyone noticed any issues with using oats for their saisons? I've noticed poor head retention and formation when I've used them in other brews.

aside from that, what do folks find oats bring to the table when used for the style in question?

Rob B
04/02/12 12:50 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations

I have heard this before but I have never had head issues with oat beers. I love oats and use them in several styles (bitters, stouts, saisons, pale ales, etc). I really love the creaminess I get from oats and like to use large percentages, up to 15%.

04/03/12 05:51 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
wow, that IS a rather significant amount of oats. are you using malted oats or flaked?

I just brewed a saison with 5#'s pils, 1#dark Munich, 1# white wheat, 1# victory malt, .8#'s flaked barley and .3#s c10 to see if it might help with the body on such a thin brew.

curious to see what the flaked barley and victory malt bring to the mix. I usually only use crystal in porters, I know it's sort of a big no-no amongst most saison brewers on here. hopefully the low amount won't contribute much in the way of flavor.

Rob B
04/06/12 04:29 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
I have used both flaked and malted oats with great results.

I recently did a low gravity Belgian Pale ale with just pils and a bit of caravienne and half was fermented with 3522 and the other half with 3711. I actually prefer the 3711 version. I don't have any issues with a bit of crystal malt, especially in the darker saisons I brew. I have a red table version that has munich and special B and it is one of my favs.

04/27/12 12:20 PM  
Re: Saison - Variations
prepping to make an all pils, ( ok, MAYBE a lil sucrose too), saison this weekend.

I'm going to use 10#'s of undermodified BoPils and do a triple decoction for a 5 gallon batch, just for the shit of it.

I've googled around a bit and haven't been able to find any similar brews lying about on the internetwebs.

My guess is: more or less a waste of time and I run the chance of effing the head retention up if I don't get the rests right.

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