Well I brewed up my recipe of a spelt saison this past Friday. I had planned on ending up with 8 gal of wort at 1.052ish gravity. I instead ended up with just over 6 gal of wort at that gravity. I had a brew pump mishap due to not having the fittings I ordered and tried to brew in a jury rigged manner with my new pump. That was a bad idea.
Anyhow after I cooled my wort down and ran it off into two separate 5 gal fermentors with about 3 gal each I had a thought. Each fermentor will give me roughly a case after loss to trub and such. One fermentor got my ECY03 washed yeast from the last saison I made with rye. The other fermentor is now fermenting with ECY20. I decided that I would use part of the culture in this low gravity 3 gal batch with out using a starter of any kind. I figure in three months or so both fermentors will be done with the ECY20 showing some nice sourness.
I sort of came up with my own mash regime for brett fermenations after reading Wild Brews, Farmhouse Ales, and Brew Like a Monk. When using 30% flaked adjunct I infuse 2qts/lb for a 120F protein rest, then sacch rest temp is acheived through a wort only decoction bringing the mash up to 147-149 for 1.5-2hrs. After the sacch rest I pull off another wort only decoction and raise the mash temp up to 158-160 to dextrinize the remainder of any sugar possibly left. After that has settled I start running the mash off with no mash out step and vorlauf to clear it up for about 2-3 gal worth. I heat my sparge water to 185-190 because the measured temp at the end of my sparge hose is about 170-175 after temp loss along the way. The conversion enzymes get denatured in the kettle. This mashing method has given me good fermentable worts that allows the Saccharomyces yeast to take the wort down to about 1.010. Then over 2-3 months the brett has takes it down rest of the way. This mash takes inspiration from BLAM mentioning that Orval has no mash out step. Then the "rising infusion mash" mentioned in Farmhouse Ales that Saison DuPont uses. Finally the wort only decoctions take inspiration from the body building german techniques along with the dextrinous mashing techniques outlined in Wild Brews for lambics. I think it gives a nice balance of quick fermenation for the Sacch yeasts and food for the slower Bretts. This is my first time using this mash for a mixed culture containing bacteria though. So we shall see how long it takes.
I have been on a mission to create a very tasty rustic saison. I figured between using 30% spelt, 25ish ibus of low AA hops, and now a very mixed culture will get me as close as I'll come to historic saisons. Depending on how the ECY20 batch progresses I will brew up another batch this time as a full 8 gal recipe getting the ECY20 so I can have some nicely tart saison to go through the summer.