Thursday, June 23, 2011

New England Wild Yeast Saison

Not sure what style to call this brew, so I'm going with "New England Saison" (yeah, I know it's a made-up style). Maybe a more generic "American Wild Ale" or "American Farmhouse Ale" would be better, but I looked to the saison style for inspiration. Not really knowing the characteristics of my wild-caught yeast (don't forget to check out the photos!), I figured I would go with a relatively simple recipe with a modest, but not too modest, OG. I know that saisons are mainly brewed with pilsner malt and continental hops, but since this is not a standard Belgian saison, and since I'm coming to realize I am not the biggest fan of pilsner malt or continental hops, I decided to spin this a little more English-style. It is a New England Saison after all.

Nothing special about the brew day. I'm starting to really settle into a groove with my split-boil, 3.5 gallon batch process. I had run out of Irish Moss during my last batch, and forgot to grab some at my LHBS, but I figured a little cloudiness would be OK with this brew. After aerating and cooling the wort to about 70°F, I decanted my wild yeast starter and dumped the slurry in (saving a little of the yeast in a bell jar so I could try to maintain an active culture, just in case this turns out to be a yeast I want to use again). I was a bit nervous about how the fermentation would go, but within 24 hours I had an amazing krausen forming and the airlock was rocking. After a few days I moved the fermenter upstairs to a warmer part of the house (~75-77°F). A couple of days after that, I wrapped a heating pad around the fermeter, set on low, to get the fermenter temp up to the low 80s. I want to give this yeast every chance to attenuate well. I'll let it sit in the fermeter for at least a couple of weeks before bottling.

(tasting notes posted)

Voie du Curé (Saison de la Nouvelle Angleterre)
Brewed on 6/16/11

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.50 gal
Boil Size: 5.00 gal (split 2.5 & 2.5)
Estimated Color: 5.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 31.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
OG: 1.053

6 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter - 88.8%
8.0 oz Wheat Malt, Pale - 7.4%
2.0 oz Caramunich I - 1.9%
2.0 oz Acid Malt - 1.9%

7 g Northdown [12.30 %] (60 min)
10 g Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (30 min)
20 g Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (5 min)
10 g Northdown [12.3 %] (dry hop - 6 days)

Local, Wild-Caught Yeast

Mash Schedule
Single Infusion, 147°F, Batch Sparge

Brewed on 6/16/11

Two stage strike
  • 2 gallons @ 212°F + 1.34 gallons @ 77.4°F --> 3.34 gallons @ ~154°F in mash tun
  • With grain added, mash temp hit 146.5°F
  • Added 2g gypsum and 1g CaCl2 to the mash
  • Mashed for 80 minutes

Batch sparge and split boil
  • ~2.5 gallons of 1st runnings = 1.062
  • Sparged with 2.5 gallons @ 170°F
  • ~2.5 gallons of 2nd runnings = 1.024
  • hopped just 1st runnings

aerated with aquarium pump and stone for ~20 minutes

6/17/11 - strong krausen forming

6/18/11 - moved to warmer upstairs (ambient temp = 75°F)

6/20/11 - wrapped with heating pad (fermenter temp = 83°F)

7/1/11 - racked to 3-gallon glass carboy, dryhopped with 10g of Northdown - overfilled carboy, lost some of the hops during overflow - not sure how much. Moved to cellar; ambient temp ~73°F

1 comment:

ChrisF said...

I have been experimenting with Saisons a lot over the past year. I made a few batches with Al B's Farmhouse with Brett and his Saison Brasserie blend, and a few with 3724. Now, I haven't done any straight wild yeast batches, but I've gotten lax about sanitation and have some obvious major "house" infections going on of unknown varieties and origin. For example, if I leave ANY sort of sweet beverage out for a day or two, it starts fermenting heavily. I've left my hydro sample out on a number of occasions and it will often begin fermenting before the main batch does, ( though I realize this could be for entirely different reasons),. I find most of my brews that I don't treat to extremely careful sanitation methods, will pick up a very strong brett infection if not a lacto infection as well. The lacto never seems to work though as these beers are usually pretty well hopped to around 32 IBU's. What I've been thinking about doing though to get it more lactic and tart, is making a lambic of sorts with aged low alpha hops, just a one gallon batch, and fermenting it with just lacto. Then calculate a batch of saison to be over hopped if you will, and blend the two. I'm thinking that if the lacto batch is barely hopped and barely bitter that at blending time this would bring the main batch down to appropriate levels of Alphas for the style? This combined with this "house" brett infection I seem to be developing sounds to me like the makings for a nice, funky Saison. I'd like to primary with 3724 though. Very interested to see how yours turns out.

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