Saison No. 1

I’ve only ever had one kind of saison, but I truly enjoyed it and have frequently wanted to try one. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any bottle-conditioned saisons on sale here in Bolivia that I could harvest yeast from, nor do I know of any dried saison yeasts that I could have brought back from the US. So, to make the best of it, I figured I’d just try a very basic and stripped down attempt using T-58 and the smaller runnings from the tripel batch I made. I did some research, and found inspiration in places like Zymurgy’s saison article that has something like seven different recipes in it, and lots of good principles.

My biggest problem besides yeast, though, was lack of adjuncts to add some complexity to the grain bill. So, I kept it simple and tried anyway. Also, because I rarely go between here and places that have an HBS, I only have three kinds of hops: Cluster, Palisade, and Willamette. So you make do with what’s available. Having heard somewhere that saison yeasts are actually descended from red wine yeasts, I decided to try and develop some kind of reminiscent character and really dry out the beer by racking the primary on the Pasteur Red yeast cake of a banana wine that was just finishing up. Whether or not that was a good idea, or yielded what I was trying for, I’m not entirely sure and will just have to see eventually.

Batch Size (L): 5
Total Grain (kg): 1.5 (really it was the small runnings from a 3 kg mash)
Anticipated OG: 1.060
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Anticipated IBU: 27

1.5 kg (94%) Pilsener Malt
100 g (6%) table sugar

4 g Palisade hops @ 60 mins
1 g Palisade hops @ 5 min
5 g Chamomile flowers @ 5 mins

Safbrew T-58 for primary
Racked onto Pasteur Red yeast cake from a banana wine

-Brewed on May 6, 2012.
-OG after the boil: 1.046., but the volume was lower than I wanted, so I topped off the fermenter with water and added 100 g of table sugar. Re-measured the OG at 1.047.
-After two weeks in primary (got down to 1.004), racked it onto the Pasteur Red yeast cake from a banana wine and left for another week, although there was no noticeable fermentation going on.
-Bottled on May 27, 2012. with 21 g cane sugar.  SG at 1.002, so 6.0% ABV.


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