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Old 11-16-2011, 04:23 AM   #1
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Default Honey Rosemary Saison

My friends are getting married at the end of April, and they've asked me to brew the beer. I picked four of the five brews based on their preferences, but the fifth one is completely up to me. I don't often dabble in mushy/cheesy type things, but I figured I'd give a go at traditional/symbolic ingredients for my "brewmaster's choice". As such, I want to do a traditional saison with honey and rosemary. Honey has the traditional "honeymoon" connotations, while Wikipedia says of rosemary:

Quote:
In the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies - the bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary, and from this association with weddings, rosemary evolved into a love charm. Newlywed couples would plant a branch of rosemary on their wedding day. If the branch grew, it was a good omen for the union and family. In ‘A Modern Herbal’, Mrs Grieves says “A rosemary branch, richly gilded and tied with silken ribands of all colours, was also presented to wedding guests, as a symbol of love and loyalty.” If a young person would tap another with a rosemary sprig and if the sprig contained an open flower, it was said that the couple would fall in love.
On to the recipe:

BREW-IN-A-BAG, NO-CHILL, efficiency 75%+

6 lb. Belgian Pilsner
4 lb. German Wheat Malt
.5 lb. Aromatic Malt
1 lb. Honey
1.5 oz. Cascade FWH (calculated as a 30 min addition)
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves only (flameout)
Saison yeast (not sure which one)

OG: 1.066
FG: 1.010
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 21.7
SRM: 6.7

Three questions: 1.) FWH contributes flavor, but will it be enough grapefruit from the cascades to help balance the pine from the rosemary? 2.) More, less, or just right rosemary? 3.) Will the honey flavor come through, do I need more, or do I need something like honey malt?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:40 AM   #2
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I made a Rosemary Rye Saison this past spring that came out very well. I used 4 grams of rosemary along with Sorachi ace hops, awesome.

The honey may not come through, If you ferment at a hight temp you should get enough esters to balance the pine. I personally did not get much pine from the rosemary, I think it came off more floral when coupled with the Sorachi (which have a lemony floral flavor).

*Edit* Remember to mash on the low side to get a fermentable wort!

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Old 11-16-2011, 06:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for the input. I've brewed a similar basic saison recipe with turbinado sugar instead of honey, mashed at 153 and had it finish at 1.010. A little sweet, but could it help bring out the honey character, our will the yeast clear that out? Should I reduce the malt, raise the honey, kind of like a braggot?

I think a grapefruit-like hop flavor would work very well, but I could see how lemon would also be a good pairing. It'll be interesting to see if my LHBS can get Sorachi Ace.

Thanks for the input. Keep it coming.

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Old 11-16-2011, 06:50 PM   #4
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I vote for using the honey malt. Love that stuff.

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Old 11-16-2011, 06:50 PM   #5
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and i think this beer's a great idea btw

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Old 11-17-2011, 03:28 AM   #6
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Okay, revision time:

7 lb Belgian Pilsner
4 lb German Wheat
.5 lb Belgian Aromatic
.5 lb Honey
.25 lb Honey Malt

1 oz Cascade, 6.6% AA, FWH (calculated as a 30 min addition)
1 oz Cascade, 6.6% AA, 60 min (40 min for No-Chill)

1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, in the no-chill cube

Wyeast 3711 French Saison

According to BrewTarget, I get this:
OG: 1.063
FG: 1.014 (should dry out more than this)
ABV: 6.4
IBU: 31.7
SRM: 7.3
BU/GU: .51

I think the 3711 will dry it out a bit lower with a low mash, and I may cut back the hops a bit to hit the low 20s IBU. I really want the honey and rosemary to come through without being over the top. Balanced but quaffable.

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Old 11-17-2011, 05:42 AM   #7
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I'm not sure you need the aromatic. I love that malt but it's pretty potent and might do things you don't want. Otherwise I think it looks great

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Old 11-17-2011, 10:35 AM   #8
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This looks amazing. I may try it out... Subscribed to see your thoughts/results!

Only thing I can add is that IME, calculating FWH as 30-min addition will NOT accurately predict your IBUs or flavor!!!

FWH actually yields MORE bittering than 60 min additions in BrewMaster, and despite the official line, does NOT add flavor like later hop additions. I'm a relative new-comer here, but there's a recent thread where Yooper and some others agree with my experience. Not trying to derail you, I'm just really excited about your recipe and I think FWH & 60-min additions = one bitter beer w/ almost no hop flavor.

EDIT: my software puts 6.6% AA Cascade additions of 60 mins & FWH at around 47 IBU. I've not done BIAB or no-chill, however, so if that changes things, please ignore this post

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Old 11-18-2011, 01:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piratwolf View Post
Only thing I can add is that IME, calculating FWH as 30-min addition will NOT accurately predict your IBUs or flavor!!!

FWH actually yields MORE bittering than 60 min additions in BrewMaster, and despite the official line, does NOT add flavor like later hop additions. I'm a relative new-comer here, but there's a recent thread where Yooper and some others agree with my experience. Not trying to derail you, I'm just really excited about your recipe and I think FWH & 60-min additions = one bitter beer w/ almost no hop flavor.
I started calculating my FWH as a 30 min addition when I started no-chill brewing. The Pol came up with a chart that worked for him to adjust additions for the extended heat. It's done me pretty well. My IPA with 1.25 oz of Bravo (14.2%) FWH, 1.25 oz Bravo in the cube, and 2 oz Bravo dry hop, turned out beautifully smooth, hop forward, and very drinkable, even to the malt heads in my homebrew club.

I'll be brewing this the week after Thanksgiving, so I'll be able to adjust before the wedding (end of April). That said, I think I'm changing the hops to Sorachi Ace as recommended above -- rosemary and lemon are a very traditional combination, and honey lemon is my favorite cough drop!
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eulipion2 View Post
I started calculating my FWH as a 30 min addition when I started no-chill brewing. The Pol came up with a chart that worked for him to adjust additions for the extended heat. It's done me pretty well.
Thanks for the clarification. That's really interesting... one of the reasons I love this forum and brewing in general is the vast amout of experience and difference!

If it's ok to steal your idea, I'm going to attempt this over the holidays but with Cascade and Rosemary and leave out the honey. I want to emphasize the citrus/rosemary play rather than the sweetness. If you have any thoughts on that decision or info from your experiment, I'd love to hear them!

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