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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Help me with my first Saison (Partial Mash)
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:21 PM   #1
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Default Help me with my first Saison (Partial Mash)

Emboldened by the amazing success of my last three beers (Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Oktoberfest & Hefeweizen) and wanting to take advantage of the intolerably hot summer we're having, I've decided I want to try my hand at a Saizon. How does this recipe sound:

1 lb Cara 20L
1 lb Pils 2 Row
1 lb Flaked Oats

Steep in 1.5 gallon water @ 150 deg F (is 45 minutes enough with those oats? Can the Pils enzymes handle all that conversion?)

Sparge with 1 gallon water @ 160 deg F

Add:

3.3 lb Munton's Amber LME
3.3 lb Munton's Wheat LME

Bring to boil, additions (pellets):
1 oz. Liberty 3.9 AA @ 60 min.
1 oz. U.S. Goldings 4.9 AA @ 15 min
8 oz. Light Brown Sugar @ 5 min
1.5 tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper @ 5 min
0.5 oz U.S. Goldings 4.9 AA @ Flameout
1 oz U.S. Hallertau 4.3 AA @ Flameout

Water to 5.5 gallons
Wyeast 3724

I know everyone's going to say use rye instead of oats, but that's what I have on hand. The Cara and Pils malts are mixed together so I can't separate. I have an ounce of low AA (maybe 2.9) Tettnanger on-hand as well. Let me know what you think.

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Old 07-09-2013, 03:48 PM   #2
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First things first, saison is a broad style, and Belgian beers have a wide range anyway. So take all of this with a grain of salt--it's your beer. This advice is intended to get you closer to what is normal, but you don't have to do that. At the same time, if you haven't brewed a normal saison before, there's a good argument for trying that first before experimenting too wildly.

For the oats, you should just use instant oatmeal. If you don't, you'll have to cook them first before adding to the mash. A pound of pils for a pound of oats isn't really enough for conversion, and saisons typically don't have any crystal in them, so I would consider swapping the 20L for another pound of pils. I realize you'd have to buy more grain to make that work, since it's mixed in. The crystal will have no enzymes.

As for the hops, noble hops are typical for saison, though I guess Golding isn't too bad. I would eliminate the flameout hops. Especially with the pepper, you will have a lot going on. Saisons typically show off their yeast character, so you don't want to muddy things too much.

I would not use amber extract. Use the lightest thing you can find. Similarly, I would not use brown sugar, but rather just plain table sugar, or maybe turbinado if you can find it.

What is your calculated OG here? Also, bear in mind that 3724 may need to ferment hot. You can pitch in the mid-60s to 70F, and then let it free rise at ambient temperature; don't cool it aggressively, or you'll get stuck. A starter is worthwhile if, as I imagine, your OG is over 1.050.

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Old 07-09-2013, 04:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
I would not use amber extract. Use the lightest thing you can find. Similarly, I would not use brown sugar, but rather just plain table sugar, or maybe turbinado if you can find it.
This^^^

If you can fild pils extract use that instead of the amber. Plain sugar is fine but like the above poster suggested turbinado works great.

Also using 3724 be prepared to get this brew warm. 3724 likes heat to finish up. I usually take it to 90 to finish. Pitch in the mid 60's and then let the temp rise. Don't let the temp drop after it starts. If you don't have a way to easily get the brew real warm, you might want to consider 3711 or the new dry Belle Saison yeast. They both are lest temperature sensitive than 3724, which can be a little finiky on the temps.

enjoy
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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I agree with most of what motorneuron said above, however I disagree on two points:

-Flaked oats and Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats are almost exactly the same; quick/instant oatmeal are flaked oats that have been broken down into smaller bits. Any of these options are sufficient for easy mashing (flaked, old fashion, quick/instant). I personally prefer the Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

-I do believe that 1lb pils is sufficient for 1lb oat conversion. Self-converting is said to be 35°L, therefore 1lb of grain at 70°L can convert 1lb of grain/adjunct with 0°L. Most pilsner malt is around 110°L so you could effectively convert almost 2 lbs of adjunct with 1lb of pils malt.

I will reiterate some of motor's points. Saison typically don't have crystal/cara in them, but playing with a small amount might be okay (1lb would be too much IMO). I have used some cara in a saison - I won't do it again .

No amber extract; it is likely to contain more cara/crystal malts. Light or Extra Light or Golden is the way to go with LME/DME in almost every situation. Use grains to get your color/flavor.

Move your flameout hops to 5 minutes, and reduce them to <1oz.

Change your brown sugar to a sugar with less flavor; brown sugar can impart an unusual flavor characteristic when used it a light beer (almost metallic). I would personally use regular old white table sugar or even honey.

Add your LME/DME in the last 5 minutes of your boil to reduce maillard reactions which can darken your wort color and increase unfermentables leaving you with a sweeter beer (not a good thing on a saison).

I think oats are fine, though I've never used them in a saison (you could call it a "Silky Saison" ). I personally like wheat in a saison, but have used rye also. It's kind of a catch-all kind of beer; what ever you happen to have in your country farmhouse when you were brewing it (basic sugar, simple grains, some spices, etc).

My understanding of 3724 is you will want to get the heat up and keep it up until fermentation is complete; otherwise you might be looking at 2+ months in the fermenter. I'm currently using 3726 for my third time and I simply wrap the fermenter in an unplugged heating blanket from the start, and put the bundle in a ~72F room temp. I allow the fermenter to free rise for 1-2 days and can get up to about 85F on it's own. When fermentation starts to taper off I plug in the blanket and keep the temp up at around 85F for the remainder. If you keep those temps up high and maintain them then fermentation can be finished in as little as 4 days!! I had done my previous two 3726 batches at 90+F and it was FAST to finish, but I felt like I got too much banana so I'm going a little cooler this time.

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Old 07-11-2013, 03:39 AM   #5
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Thank you all for the honest criticism. Better to learn something and throw out a couple bucks worth of malt than to make a bad batch of beer. Here's my modified recipe thanks to your help:

2 lb German Pils
0.5 lb Flaked Oats
0.5 lb Rye

Steep in 1.5 gallon water @ 150 deg F (is 45 minutes enough with the oats and rye?)

Sparge with 1 gallon water @ 160 deg F

Add:

3.3 lb Breiss Pils Light LME
3.3 lb Munton's Wheat LME

Bring to boil, additions (pellets):
1 oz. Liberty 3.9 AA @ 60 min.
1 oz. U.S. Goldings 4.9 AA @ 15 min
8 oz. Clover Honey @ 5 min
1.5 tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper @ 5 min
0.5 oz U.S. Goldings 4.9 AA @ 5 min
0.5 oz U.S. Hallertau 4.3 AA @ 5 min

Water to 5.5 gallons
Lallemand Belle Saison Yeast


I know everyone's said to keep it light, but what would be the affect of switching the honey to dark Belgian candi sugar?

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Old 07-11-2013, 04:28 AM   #6
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I like your proposed changes. It all looks to be lining up pretty well with the exception of the IBUs. It looks like you're coming up a little short on IBUs to balance this beer. You should be aiming for about 30 IBUs for this beer and you're only up to about 17 IBUs. It would take about 2.5 oz of Liberty or a lot less of a higher AA hop (1 oz of a 10% AA hop variety).

About the honey vs dark belgian candi sugar: I don't have a good answer for you there; never used the dark belgian candi sugar.

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Old 07-11-2013, 02:52 PM   #7
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Dark candi sugar will add toasty, caramel kinds of tastes--like caramel, or a toasted marshmallow, or dark dried fruits maybe, depending on the color. There are good recipes for dark saison, of course, but I know less about that. Any sugar, whether candi syrup/sugar or honey (which is mostly sugar), will lighten the body.

Just as an example, many of the medium- to dark-colored Belgian beers--so dubbels and Belgian dark strongs--have almost exclusively light grain, and so color comes from darker sugar. So that will give you an idea of what the flavor would be like if you have a light grain base, but add some dark sugar.

I agree with stpug that you should consider upping the IBUs a bit. mid-20s to low 30s would be a good target.

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Old 07-11-2013, 03:00 PM   #8
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Hmmm, let's see what I can do with what I have...

- If I bump the aroma hops back up to 1 oz each, that'll bring the IBUs up to around 21, which is (barely) within the Saizon envelope.

- Instead, if I dump the extra 0.5 oz of Goldings that I have (bringing total up to 2.0 oz) @ 60 min, that'll bring my IBUs up to 26 - which is perfect.

- If I throw my extra 0.5 oz Hallertau in @ 60 min (bringing total up to 1.0 oz), that'll bring IBUs up to 25 - which is still in-range.

Now, let's talk about this sugar/honey thing. I like the idea of honey, but I've heard that boiling honey ain't so great - would it make sense to add the honey after flameout?

Also, my SRM is on the low side...I can use some blueberry blossom honey (does not taste like blueberries) to darken it up a bit. Brown sugar has already been identified as a no-no. The other option is to use dark Belgian candi sugar.

Motorneuron - our posts crossed during posting.

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Old 07-11-2013, 03:14 PM   #9
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Well, this is a loose style, so you're free to do what you want, even to stay within style. But saisons are "classically" light beers. So I feel like your first one should be light. Plus it's summer, and you may want to drink this thing in August! I don't think you should add something dark just to hit some preconceived idea of style, though. Also, since you're using extract, you may actually wind up slightly darker than you expect or calculate.

Boiling honey (and other things, like hops) tends to get rid of the subtle aromatics. That's one reason why people conventionally add it at flameout. There is a whole complicated literature about honey and sanitation that I won't get into now, especially since there seems to be some disagreement, but suffice to say that while honey is shelf stable at room temperature, it does contain wild yeast that can be activated. So you do want to add it with some heat to sterilize it--five minutes to go in the boil is a good time.

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Old 07-11-2013, 03:25 PM   #10
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However you work on the hop schedule to get reasonable IBUs with some flavor/aroma additions should work fine considering the varieties you're using. I see you're getting 25-26 IBUs with a couple of your ideas and that should work from my perspective.

The honey is almost exclusively there to help dry the beer out. If you intend on getting any kind of honey quality to the beer you would have to add it much later (at 160F or below); even then it's such a small amount that all the aromatics might be driven off during fermentation.

I generally don't worry too much about color in my beers. I like to be "in range" but I'm not bothered if I'm a little light or dark for a style. I'm more interested in making sure the ingredients I use will make a beer I'll like drinking, and to a lesser extent to look at . With that said, it seems like you're looking at about 5-6 SRM which is perfectly in range for the style.

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