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Old 01-08-2014, 03:41 AM   #1
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Default Honey Rye Saison with Wyeast 3711 French Saison and Orval dregs

Ok...first off, I'm a wild/sour newbie so go easy on me

I brewed a saison back on 11/6/13 with the following grain bill:

6 lb Pils
2 lb Wheat
2 lb Rye
2 lb Munich
1 1/2 lb Honey (bee vomit, not malt)

Hops are - 1 1/2 oz Cascade (7% AA) @ 60, 1/2 oz Belma (11.6%) @ 10, 1/2 oz Belma @ 0, and 1/2 oz EKG (5.1%) @ 0. Was also planning a 1 oz EKG dry hop for a week prior to bottling. (I don't expect hops matter much for this question though.)

My corrected OG was 1.065 and I pitched a 1 quart starter of 3711 on 11/6. 5 days later (still in primary) I pitched the dregs of a bottle (just one) of Orval in for some Brett funk.

Left sit for 2 months...all along in the same bucket. (Maybe I should have/still should transfer to a secondary?)

Today I finally took a gravity reading. Hadn't disturbed the surface until now and I indeed have the slightest bit of pellicle forming (wow it's weird to WANT to see a filmy, almost slimy layer on the top of your beer). Holy crap...after adjusting for temp, it's at 0.999. 8.7% ABV. Not only that but it's decidedly funky - I wouldn't say barnyard, but there's a definite "funk" there. It's also kinda hot, alcohol hot, I let the temps ramp up to high room temp after a few days and maybe I shouldn't have (in fact I put the fermenter up against the hot water tank in the basement, hoping to keep it a couple degrees above ambient...note that the basement IS actually heated). Beer temp when I checked gravity was 72 and some change.

Biggest question...since it's already pretty funky, should I bottle sooner rather than later? Any benefit to leaving it sit on the yeast cake longer at this point? Most the posts I see discuss how long it really takes funk to develop...I've already got it. I don't think I'm going to drop any more points really since I'm already at 0.999, I sure hope not.

edit - Thought I gave all possibly vital information but I missed one thing. Mash temp was 152 with 1 lb/1.25 qt ratio.

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Old 01-08-2014, 08:29 AM   #2
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One thing is I think you might have mashed too low. The 3711 is a beast. With that one I would mash really high or really low depending on what I was trying for. If I knew I was pitching bugs of any sort I'd mash high(154-158). Just yeast I'd go low (146-148). I'd still leave it a while. You're only 2 months in. I think that alcohol bite will settle down as the beer ages a month or 2 more. It may get more funky also, but my move would be to leave it on the cake for a bit longer before bottling. I dont know if there's a right answer though.

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Old 01-08-2014, 09:00 AM   #3
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Yeah I mean, there's no "off" flavors at this point - just alcohol and funk. And to be honest, I have to agree with what others have said - 3711 may be a super attenuator, but even at 0.999 it doesn't seem watery. It definitely tastes like it needs time, I'm just not sure whether to give it time in the fermenter or the bottle. (It will be bottled, not kegged.)

As for the mash temp - live and learn, I guess. I actually mashed a couple degrees higher than it seemed most people go for a saison just because I had read how much of a beast 3711 could be. I guess if you're going to pitch bugs (or at least Brett) after 3711, you might want to consider an even higher mash temp. Not sure how 0.999 or thereabouts will be for a saison in the end - the gravity sample seemed to tell me this could be good...or this could be bad. Whether fermenter or bottles, it's going to get several months at least more.

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Old 01-08-2014, 10:49 AM   #4
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Yeah most people shoot for a very dry saison. Even mashing where you did obviously 3711 will get you there. But yeah if you want the bugs or brett to have anything left you have to mash much higher than normal. If you really want to bottle it, take another reading in 2 weeks and if it hasnt moved even by .001 it should be okay to bottle. Yours is going to be super dry. Maybe not so dry that it's watery, but still, very crisp. The Orval dregs may not even do anything other than lend some funk and no additional work down in gravity.

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Old 01-08-2014, 12:56 PM   #5
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Thats plenty dry to bottle, and I would imagine you'll get more funk with the Brett under pressure in the bottle. There are probably plenty of esters for the Brett to metabolize and create some interesting flavors.

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Old 01-08-2014, 01:07 PM   #6
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I like using a super-attenuative yeast like 3711 or Belle Saison for saisons that will have brett in secondary. According to Chad Yakobson, the brett doesn't need much in the way of remaining sugars to work on (see here), so this way I can bottle with brett without worrying about bottles exploding. I've read that brett produces a more aromatic profile when under pressure (here), though I've never done a side by side comparison.

My first few saisons with 3711 also had a lot of hot alcohol flavours. I've kept some bottles around, and last time I tried one it had smoothed out a bit but it still wasn't that pleasant. I don't know if it's because I underpitched the yeast, pitched at too high an initial temp, or let it get to high, or what. These days I try to keep that yeast cool for the first 24 hours or so, before letting it free rise.

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Old 01-09-2014, 06:02 AM   #7
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metic - Yeah if I could go back and do it again, I think I'd try harder to keep the temp down the first couple days. I don't have a record of what I started the ferment at so I'm assuming it was probably around 66 or so in the water bath around the fermenter to start. Couple degrees less wouldn't have hurt and may have helped.

I did some more reading/Googling and found this:

Quote:
When used as a secondary fermenter in bottles (Orval style), it gives a very "Orvalish" result, starting rather unpleasant with goat/urine changing within some moths to a pleasant fruitiness + horse blanket smell.
on this website, the last response. http://www.babblebelt.com/newboard/t...&th=1275339078

It's not bottled yet so the big difference between that observation and my own is that in a bottle, the Brett would be exposed to far far less oxygen than in a bucket. Could it in fact be the oxygen permeating the bucket at this point that's making the Brett so strongly (and not so pleasantly) funky this quickly?

I'm leaning at this point towards tossing in the dry hops soon, and then bottling in another 7-10 days. Of course I'd check the gravity again at that point just to be sure it's not still dropping but I can't imagine there's hardly a thing left for the Brett to chew on, other than dead yeast/alcohol/esters.
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:05 AM   #8
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An update - I dry hopped on 1/12 and then was going to bottle this past Wednesday, found that my bottling bucket was leaking from the spigot so I had to wait until I got to the LHBS to pick up another one. Got to bottle this afternoon finally. I'd just let this one go, hadn't checked gravity again, wasn't messing with it until today. I planned to bottle no matter what, thinking if it wasn't tasting good I might just have to leave it for a long, long time to work itself out. Gravity as of today was 0.999 still, hadn't moved, so I declared it 100% good to bottle. Then I tasted it...

As the saying goes, RDWHAHB. I was worried about this one when I'd checked last time. I'm not worried any more. It tastes FANTASTIC. Not quite 1 month made all the difference - it's not hot at all (in fact it's going to be dangerous at close to 9% ABV). The Brett is showing itself quite a bit more now than it even was before...but it's almost 100% pineapple at this point. Don't know if that's the usual descriptor for the Brett found in Orval, but it's definitely what I'm getting. Bottled it up and now I can't wait for it to come into its own in the bottles.

At this point I'm considering my first wild/Brett foray to be a success. Given more time, it may in fact be a resounding success. This one will be going to some competitions...

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