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Old 11-19-2014, 05:37 PM   #1
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Default Recipe help for a dual-purpose wort?

Hey just trollin' for some recipe help... I'm pretty inexperienced coming up with my own recipes but I was hoping to come up with something between a classic oude bruin style and a funky saison. Reason being I want to brew up 10 gallons of wort and split it between two fermenters to make two very different beers.

(1) WLP665 Flemish Ale Blend (like Roeselare, has sacch, brett, pedi, and lacto) - for a long aging sour brown ale
(2) WLP670 American Farmhouse (sacch and brett) to which I'll probably add a few Orval bottle's worth of dregs. No sour, lotsa funk - for a dark saison kinda thing

I have Wild Brews and BCS, plus I've been googling around for funky dark saison recipes but there is so much variation in recipes that it's hard to settle on anything. My first thought was to just follow something straight out of Wild Brews but the oude bruins in there have 20%+ crystal malts. That seems insanely high to me, I know the brett is supposed to have stuff to munch on over a long fermentation but putting 20% crystal in a beer seems way high even compared to other oude bruin recipes out there. I also can't do a multi-step mash like Jeff wants in Wild Brews which is probably pretty key if using his recipes...

Here's what I've come up with so far, any critique is welcome:

75% belgian pilsner
10% munich
10% flaked wheat
2% CaraVienna
2% CaraMunich
1% Special B

to a starting gravity of 1.076

single infusion mash @ 156 for a less-fermentable wort plus I'll pull 5 gallons of the mash after 30 min. to do a decoction boil (at least 15 min) for a bit more caramelization. I guess the recipe is more like a lambic given the high amount of pilsner malt but with 10% dark malt (munich) and 5% cystal (various) so it's kindof a brown?

I haven't figured out the hop schedule, but it's probably not going to be a whole lot of IBUs and probably just a bittering addition. Anyone see any issues with this recipe? Am I expecting too much for it to work out as both a dark saison and an oude bruin?

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Old 11-21-2014, 03:21 AM   #2
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This seems like a pretty ambitious plan. In my experience dark saison is a really difficult type of beer to brew. It's hard to get appropriate malt character without loosing the light bodied, drinkable spirit of saison. In my opinion crystal malts are best left out of saisons or used very lightly, but that contrasts what you're looking for in an oude bruin. If you are set on getting these two different beers out of one wort I would suggest steeping crystal malt separately, boiling it briefly and then chilling and adding it to the oude bruin carboy.

I guess to sum all that up, if you aren't super time-constricted for brew days i would turn this into 2 brews and modify the recipes for each. If you are time constricted, up the crystal for the bruin portion by steeping it separately.

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Old 11-21-2014, 02:13 PM   #3
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I actually just did this very thing, minus the Brett in the Saison, and was very pleased with the result. Here's my recipe:

OG: 1.061

73% Pilsner
6% Munich
4% Crystal 120
3% Vienna
3% Wheat
2% Carafa I
4% Dark Candi Syrup
4% Brown Sugar (only because I wanted the color without the cost of Candi Syrup, you could substitute Candi Syrup if you like)

I hopped with Styrian Goldings to 15 IBU

I mashed at 158º since I knew both the Saison yeast and the mix would attenuate really well.

Half the wort got They Yeast Bay's Saison Blend, the other got The Yeast Bay's Melange.

I couldn't be more pleased with this recipe. The Saison is wonderful. The Saison Blend has very balanced profile of both the classic Saison character, with a nice fruitiness. The dark stone fruits from the dark malts and the Candi Syrup are a great compliment to that yeast. This is easily in my top 5 favorites of those I've brewed.

The Melange is still aging. I actually took my first taste last night (it's been in the fermenter for six weeks now.) So far, it's very similar to the Saison, except there's a definite Brett and sour character. They're subtle, but definitely there. I can't wait to taste it after these flavors have more time to develop.

Next weekend, I'm also doing another split batch. It'll be a Doppelbock recipe, half will be lagered as usual, the other half will get Roeselare. Cheers, and good luck!!

[Edit] Also, take Dave's advice to heart. I've been following his blog for some time, and he really knows his stuff. I've had a number of dark Saisons that were completely imbalanced. If they're too dry, then the bitterness and roasted characters become harsh and overpowering. I also tend to like my beers a little on the sweeter side. Personally, with 15 IBU and a FG of 1.011, I think this is perfect. It certainly doesn't adhere to the classic Saison style of being dry, light, and crisp, but I do think it's a great mix of, say, a Belgian Dubbel, and a Saison. If you're worried about this beer being too sweet, I would either recommend mashing a bit lower, or increasing the IBU slightly. The Pedio in whatever bug mix you use should still add some sourness without being too inhibited by the IBU (from what others on here have said.)

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Old 11-21-2014, 05:41 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback!

davejanssen - what you are saying about saison makes absolute sense given everything i've read about the style (mostly what I know comes from reading the Farmhouse Ales book and not from direct experience, I've only made two saisons, both with the main dupont strain, and they were both pilsner/wheat, that's it) but I'm bamboozled by the number of 'dark saison' recipes that call for specialty grain and crystal. I'm thinking about oldsocks collection of dark saisons here...

for ex: http://www.themadfermentationist.com...rk-sasion.html (5% crystal, 3% carafa special) or http://www.themadfermentationist.com...-cardamom.html (10.6% crystal, 5.2% other dark specialty grains)

I'm shooting for a pretty non-traditional saison here, it's big and boozy and I was thinking that if the base turns out nice after a 6-8 months, I would probably carmelize a bunch of raisins or figs with a tiny bit of bourbon and rack onto that before kegging/bottling for a little extra dark fruit complexity. I'm thinking about it more like a brett-aged beer that happens to use a saison yeast to provide a bit more interest in the final product. All that being said, it wouldn't be hard to brew two separate batches on the same day in order to get two different worts if what I'm proposing doesn't sound do-able.

TheZymurgist - glad yours turned out so good! your grain bill doesn't seem drastically different than mine, except the carafa. I've noticed that a lot of dark saison recipes call for carafa (or carafa special). I've never brewed with those, and my LHBS doesn't carry either. Do you think a bit of Pale Chocolate (or even de-bittered black roasted barley) would be a good addition? I'm not concerned about it being too sweet, really the opposite. A long time on brett should dry anything out and boozy beer like this probably wouldn't be so wonderful if it didn't hold on to some body.

Another question - what do ya'll think of pitching some saison yeast along with the WLP665 Flemish Ale Blend to give it a bit of a kick start? I'm worried that the cell count of the 665 won't be up to the task of fermenting a 1.074 wort. I could also use a neutral dry yeast (US-05) if the saison won't work with the sour mix, but I have no idea what to expect there... I know Jester King (amazing local sour beers) uses a saison strain for everything they do, so I figured it might work.

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Old 11-22-2014, 12:48 AM   #5
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There's a belief that Saisons should be bone-dry, with no crystal malt whatsoever and an FG right around zero. I suppose that's fine if you like them that way. To me, a Saison is largely defined by its yeast character, with everything else secondary and negotiable. If you want a dark, caramelly Saison, go for it. If makes you happier to label it a Dubbel fermented with Saison yeast or whatever, fine. It sounds tasty to me.

Oldsock's recipes and yours don't really fit my own personal definition of Saisons, as the use of Brett largely eliminates the yeast character of the Saison strain. Although the Brett would give the requisite dryness. Maybe this is as much a semantic issue as a recipe issue. Perhaps my favorite batch of homebrew was a Quad with added dregs, so a dark, funky "Saison" sounds like an excellent beer, whatever we end up calling it.

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Old 11-22-2014, 03:40 AM   #6
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Sweet, I'm glad you were able to do a successful split with this idea Zymurgist. It will be interesting to see how the melange portion turns out. The doppelbock/roeselare split sounds cool!

Scone, I've done some dark saisons with a good bit of crystal as well and while i do enjoy them, they aren't exactly what I am looking for in a saison. I think spices work especially well in darker saisons, playing with the interesting fruit notes you get and playing up the flavors associated with darker malts without going so far as to make it roasty with stuff like black cardamom and star anise. I think this is definitely worth a try. And I think the bugs will help. It might take a few iterations to make exactly what you're looking for but I think what you're proposing sounds doable for a first try and 5% crystal malts isn't too much. If it is easier to make one big batch then go for it. It's not too tricky to add steeped grain in later if you want to bump the crystal or carafa or something like that in one of the two.

Kingwood, I guess i have a bit of an opposite view on saison. While i think saison yeasts are pretty fundamental, looking at the history and some of the belgian (and North American) examples that I think are excellent, brett and potentially bacteria definitely play a role. To me saisons are held together by the spirit/feel of the beer rather than any specific ingredients, final flavor profile, or process. But i think the dry nature and optional funkyness are important in that feel. I wouldn't say that crystal malts can't be in a saison but they certainly present a challenge and are tricky to use. That said you're right that there are some good funky dark beers out there. One might prefer to call them saisons or prefer to not call them saisons but that doesn't change their flavor.

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Old 11-22-2014, 11:56 AM   #7
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Maybe I shouldn't argue about the definition of Saison with the 2013 NHC champion Brett-funky, pale, bone-dry and tart sounds more like a Lambic to me, but that's a word that other people will rush to narrowly define. I'm not sure if there's a word that captures the broad spirit of that sort of beer, unless it's "farmhouse." As we've said, what we call the beer doesn't change the beer itself.

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Old 11-24-2014, 03:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scone View Post
Thanks for the feedback!

davejanssen - what you are saying about saison makes absolute sense given everything i've read about the style (mostly what I know comes from reading the Farmhouse Ales book and not from direct experience, I've only made two saisons, both with the main dupont strain, and they were both pilsner/wheat, that's it) but I'm bamboozled by the number of 'dark saison' recipes that call for specialty grain and crystal. I'm thinking about oldsocks collection of dark saisons here...

for ex: http://www.themadfermentationist.com...rk-sasion.html (5% crystal, 3% carafa special) or http://www.themadfermentationist.com...-cardamom.html (10.6% crystal, 5.2% other dark specialty grains)

I'm shooting for a pretty non-traditional saison here, it's big and boozy and I was thinking that if the base turns out nice after a 6-8 months, I would probably carmelize a bunch of raisins or figs with a tiny bit of bourbon and rack onto that before kegging/bottling for a little extra dark fruit complexity. I'm thinking about it more like a brett-aged beer that happens to use a saison yeast to provide a bit more interest in the final product. All that being said, it wouldn't be hard to brew two separate batches on the same day in order to get two different worts if what I'm proposing doesn't sound do-able.

TheZymurgist - glad yours turned out so good! your grain bill doesn't seem drastically different than mine, except the carafa. I've noticed that a lot of dark saison recipes call for carafa (or carafa special). I've never brewed with those, and my LHBS doesn't carry either. Do you think a bit of Pale Chocolate (or even de-bittered black roasted barley) would be a good addition? I'm not concerned about it being too sweet, really the opposite. A long time on brett should dry anything out and boozy beer like this probably wouldn't be so wonderful if it didn't hold on to some body.

Another question - what do ya'll think of pitching some saison yeast along with the WLP665 Flemish Ale Blend to give it a bit of a kick start? I'm worried that the cell count of the 665 won't be up to the task of fermenting a 1.074 wort. I could also use a neutral dry yeast (US-05) if the saison won't work with the sour mix, but I have no idea what to expect there... I know Jester King (amazing local sour beers) uses a saison strain for everything they do, so I figured it might work.
Given my incredibly limited experience in this area, I think Pale Chocolate would be an ok substitution, and I would prefer doing a double pitch of WLP665 rather than starting with a Sacch-only strain. While the Sacch will give more for the Brett to work with, as far as esters are concerned, it may limit the lactic acid bacteria's ability to contribute sourness. If you prefer more funk to sourness, go with the Sacch start. If you want something more well-rounded, I'd say do a double pitch of the blend.
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Old 11-25-2014, 01:24 AM   #9
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Ha, I do spend a lot of time thinking about saison...

Yvan de Baets draws quite a few parallels between historic saison and lambic, including the potential blending of the two together into the finished product, in the History of Saison chapter he wrote for Markowski's Farmhouse Ales book. So I would say the two could certainly have some similarity.

Scone, when is (or was) your planned brewday? I'd like to know how it turns out!

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Old 11-25-2014, 07:35 PM   #10
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Brew day was reasonably successful.

I brewed on Sunday so I hadn't seen the pale choc. advise or the double pitch of 665 (which in retrospect is a solid idea, wish I would have thought of it)

I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit to lower the gravity to 1.066 and get a little bit of debittered black in there. From what I was reading about the carafa specials, they are dehusked so I went with a dehusked roasted malt instead of pale chocolate, but not very much of it since i wanted to keep the roastiness really really subtle.

70% Belgian Pilsener
12% German Munich
12% Flaked Wheat
2% Belgian Caravienne
2% Belgian Caramunich
2% Belgian Special "B"
1% De-Bittered Black

Hopped with Brewer's Gold to 22 IBUs (Tinseth) and did a 90min. boil.

I've been messing with my brewing parameters to get a few things dialed in a bit tighter, and ended up with a gallon less wort at the end of the boil that I had wanted, but at least I hit the gravity I was shooting for.

Pitched WLP670 American Farmhouse into half, and WLP655 Sour Mix 1 into the other half (I intended to use the Flemish Ale mix but I grabbed the wrong one off the shelf and didn't notice 'till I got home, oopsie poopsie) and both got 3/4 Liter of Saison II (WLP566) that had been on a stir plate for 24 hours in 1.034 starter.

I'm keeping the fermentation at 72 with the idea that the Saison II won't dry it out completely. I'm hoping for some nice phenols from the saison, but with enough residual sugar for the microbes to prosper.

They're in buckets that don't seal all that well, and my plan was to leave them in there for about a month and then rack to better bottles for extended aging. I'm also toying with the idea of taking a good portion of the WLP655 slurry and re-pitching a more classic oude bruin recipe on it in a month or so, maybe even throwing some WLP665 in there with it when I do it.

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