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Old 09-03-2013, 06:09 AM   #1
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Default First sour saison

Towards the end of this week I plan on brewing my first sour. The base beer will be a saison that I intend to ferment with Wyeast 3724 Belgian saison, then rack into secondary with Wyest 3753 Roesalare Blend. Months down the road, and before bottling, I plan on racking it onto some cherries, hoping for a sour cherry saison in the end. Since this is my first "sour" fermentation, I was wondering if I should plan on working up a starter for the Roesalare blend (smack pack dated 6/2013). Any other words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 09-03-2013, 06:19 AM   #2
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You don't want a starter with Roselare. It's a very specific blend of yeasts, and it's supposed to grow at a fairly calculated rate in five gallons of wort. I'm not totally sure how this "calibration" is supposed to scale to different gravities, but this is the conventional wisdom.

What I'd suggest is... do two 5-gal batches, one with each yeast. Blend them afterward. Delicious success, and you have ten gallons of it!

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Old 09-03-2013, 06:21 AM   #3
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Don't make a starter - the smack pack comes with a distinct ratio of bugs.

Also, I recommend skipping 3274 and pitching just the Roselare. In my experience the roselare is a relatively tame blend the first time out of the smack pack. It will have more time and food (more sour) if you pitch it as the primary yeast/blend. You can add a little extra yeast if it makes you comfortable to get a nice strong start, but roselare already has a belgian yeast strain in it.

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Old 09-03-2013, 06:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick feedback. Since I have a pouch of each, I will likely work up a 10-gallon batch, splitting 5 with the Roesalare and 5 with the regular saison strain. Guess I could eventually end up with 3 different batches: saison only, blended, and Roesalare only.

Any feedback on how long to let the Roesalare work before bottling? Obviously ensuring it's at final gravity, just curious what people's individual experience is with how long it takes to work its magic?

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Originally Posted by Kerin
You don't want a starter with Roselare. It's a very specific blend of yeasts, and it's supposed to grow at a fairly calculated rate in five gallons of wort. I'm not totally sure how this "calibration" is supposed to scale to different gravities, but this is the conventional wisdom.

What I'd suggest is... do two 5-gal batches, one with each yeast. Blend them afterward. Delicious success, and you have ten gallons of it!
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:11 AM   #5
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The Roselare's going to need at least six months, after you combine the two batches. Sours need time.

I'd advise you to go ahead and do the split batch, though, because while Roselare is a tame blend (with a belgian strain in it, as blizzard remarks) I don't think it's going to give you any saison character, which generally doesn't come from the malt or hops.

Your other option is to do a lacto sour... do your mash, then instead of boiling cool to 110, throw in a bag of unmashed grain, and wait a couple days until it sours from the bacteria. Then heat 'er back up to a boil and do your 60-minute hopping schedule as normal. This will yield a less complex sour, generally, but it's pretty controllable... you get exactly as much sour as you want, as long as you have time to start the boil when it hits the sweet spot.

Though then you'd need to find something else to do with your Roselare.

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Old 09-06-2013, 06:28 PM   #6
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So as I prep my 3724 Belgian Saision starter, here's my tentative plan for tomorrow's brew session.

Brew a 10-gallon saison batch.

Ferment 5-gallons with 3724 Belgian Saison. Bottle as normal when fermentation is complete.

Ferment 2.5 gallons with 3763 Roeselare
Ferment 2.5 gallons with Belle Saison
Once the Belle Saison has completed its primary fermentation, blend the 2.5 gallon batches together, and begin the waiting process. Once ready, rack onto cherries, then bottle, cage, and cork.

Any obvious downsides? I'm definitely interested in experimenting with some blends, but since I don't have the ability to tie up my 2 primary fermenters for up to a year, this should give me the opportunity to still experiment, and have something to drink in between.

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Old 09-07-2013, 01:02 AM   #7
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The thing with sour saisons is that they end up just tasting like a dry sourish blond ale. The peppery and estery flavors get broken down by the Brett lea ing you with a comparatively tame flavor from the saison yeast. You get some funk mild yeast flavor and a nice sour/bitter character ter that ive grown to quite like. I have tried this a few ways and right now my sour "saison" is a 1.037 wort with 30% spelt and about 20-25ibus along with an equal amount of aged hops. The yeast is a culture of lambic yeasts I indiscriminately grew simply out of bottle sediment. The latest batch is close to bottling and I only made it around 5 months ago.

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Old 09-07-2013, 02:01 AM   #8
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Maybe he should bottle each separately and mix at the pour.

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Old 09-07-2013, 02:08 AM   #9
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Haha. . Slight modification to my plan. Using the 2.5 gallon fermenters, I lose the ability to transfer both the wort and the yeast come time to blend. So, I'm thinking I will still ferment the 5-gallon batch with the saison yeast, then ferment the other 5-gallons with the Belle Saison and Roesalaire simultaneously. Then down the road, I'm going to split each of the batches with and without cherries, giving me a total of 4 different variations. What the hell - it should turn out to be beer, right?'

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Maybe he should bottle each separately and mix at the pour.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:13 AM   #10
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Haha. . Slight modification to my plan. Using the 2.5 gallon fermenters, I lose the ability to transfer both the wort and the yeast come time to blend. So, I'm thinking I will still ferment the 5-gallon batch with the saison yeast, then ferment the other 5-gallons with the Belle Saison and Roesalaire simultaneously. Then down the road, I'm going to split each of the batches with and without cherries, giving me a total of 4 different variations. What the hell - it should turn out to be beer, right?'
You're sounding like a complete goddamn maniac. In the best possible way.

Brew on, sir. I want to hear how each variant turns out.
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