Saison #4

Saison #4

Saisons have become my new favorite style of beer.  This is my 4th version of a classic saison (Saison #1, Saison #2, Saison #3), and this time, I wanted to brew a lower gravity version.  So many of these are made very big now, often coming in very large bottles, and that makes it hard to enjoy on a weeknight.  I was looking for a more moderate alcohol, table saison, that I could have a glass or two with dinner during the week.

I do very much like, and  have saved some on a slant so I can grow it up when I please.  I like that it tends to dry the beer out and ferment very quickly, but leaves a much more spicy, peppery note then other strains I have tried.  I also wanted to make this a simpler beer to make, so I decided to not do any dryhopping.  I was just going to do a bittering charge, and then an addition at knockout/whirlpool to see how well the hops aromatics come through with that technique.  I decided to modify my Saison #2 recipe, as I enjoyed it so much before, and thought it made a great warm weather beer.  The recipe is as below.

6.50 lb       Pale Malt (2 row) New Englander (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lb       Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)
1.00 lb       Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)
0.50 oz       Sorachi Ace [11.80 %]  (60 min) (First Wort Hops)         23.4 IBU
0.50 oz       Simcoe [14.10 %]  (60 min) (First Wort Hops)         25.2 IBU
0.50 oz       Sorachi Ace [11.80 %]  (0 min) (Aroma Hop — steeping)
0.50 oz       Simcoe [14.10 %]  (0 min) (Aroma Hop-steeping)
1.00 lb       Turbinado (10.0 SRM)    Sugar
Saison Blend (East Coast Yeast #8)       Yeast-Ale

OG 1.047, FG 1.009, ABV 5.3%, IBU/OG: 1.019, IBU/FG: 5.4

The grain was mashed starting at 150F via a simple infusion mash.  The temp dropped 3F over 75 minutes, and then I fly sparged and ended up with just below 8 gallons at the start of the boil.  The beer was boiled 60 minutes.  Hops were added at first wort, and at knockout on the burner.  I let the whirlpool go for 10 minutes, then I turned on the immersion chiller.  The whirlpool caused the beer to chill very quickly, and in about 15 minutes, I shut off the whirlpool, and let the beer sit for another 15 minutes, then poured the cooled wort into a 6 gallon better bottle.  The wort was aerated for 30 seconds with pure oxygen, and I added the yeast.  It was fermented at 78F for the first 3 days, then bumped up to 80F.  After 9 days, the heat was turned off, and I let this cool to ambient, 61F, over the next 5 days.  This was then racked into the keg, and force carbed.

Appearance:  Slight haze, golden color, nice head that drops in a few minutes, but leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

Aroma:  spicy jumps out, pepper and cloves, also banana.  There is some citrus peel and floral notes in the background.

Taste:  light body, some light malt at the front.  There is a slight fruity sweetness, again banana with some background citrus,  that is quickly covered by a spicy, clove, peppery bite.  It finishes very dry, and with a strong bitterness.  Very crisp.

Critique — The nose is more phenolic then I would ideally like, and the hops were more muted then in my dry hopped versions, no suprise.  The beer is also balanced too far to bitterness, and the beer is a bit harsh overall.  There is some malt, but not enough to balance this.  As I was trying to make a lower gravity, every day drinking saison, I think I would tone down the bittering hops.  The taste comes across as very dry, which I usually like, but it is too much so given the bitterness.  In the future, I will cut the IBU’s back by about 20-25%.  I do miss the brightness of the dryhops.  Not my best beer, but I learned quite a bit from it, and I think there is something here too work with.

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