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Old 03-16-2013, 08:09 PM   #1
highgravitybacon
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Default Love ABV saison -- what's the history on it?

I've not read Farmhouse Ales, but I'm curious if anyone who has some familiarity with the history of farmhouse beers like biere de garde or saison can suggest a recipe that is a modern interpretation of a low ABV (3-5%) session saison.

I know that, in historical contexts, particularly for English beers, that anything less than about 6% was not particularly common until rather recently. Mitch Steele talks at length about this in his IPA book.

Where I get hung up is the fine line one walks with the sub 1.040 beers using yeasts that have a tendency to attenuate. I've had good luck with the 1.050+ saisons, even though they attenuate to 1.004 or less.

Hitting that sweet spot of 1.002 to 1.008 and having sufficient body without being too thin or too sweet. I have incoporated small amounts, like 5%, of table sugar in the 1.050+ beers with some success, but experience tells me that an all grain beer is more suited to a sub 1.040 beer.

Any suggestions or recipe starting points is appreciated.

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Old 03-16-2013, 08:09 PM   #2
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Oops on the title. Meant to say "LOW" not "love". Can't edit that.

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Old 03-16-2013, 10:06 PM   #3
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f71/session-saison-343162/

I am planning on brewing this one soon. Looks really tasty.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highgravitybacon View Post
I know that, in historical contexts, particularly for English beers, that anything less than about 6% was not particularly common until rather recently. Mitch Steele talks at length about this in his IPA book.
Historically, you had heavier beers from the first runnings, then lighter beer or 'small beer' from the second and onwards runnings, depending on the brewery.

IPAs weren't historically under 6% because the high alcohol and high hop levels helped them keep on the journey to India.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:25 PM   #5
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Saison yeasts produce a lot of glycerol, meaning they leave behind more mouthfeel than their low gravity would suggest. And of course, they're quite flavorful, which diverts the focus from the dryness. I wouldn't be terrified of the low gravity, but I'd skip the sugar and do something other than 100% pils, be it all-vienna or with additions of the flaked and/or toasted grains of your choice. I'm not a huge fan of 3711 to begin with, and I think its extreme attenuation is probably out of place here. I'd also hop with a light hand.

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Old 03-17-2013, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walking_Target View Post
Historically, you had heavier beers from the first runnings, then lighter beer or 'small beer' from the second and onwards runnings, depending on the brewery.

IPAs weren't historically under 6% because the high alcohol and high hop levels helped them keep on the journey to India.
Well, not to get too far off the subject, but the IPA book pretty much refutes this. The text cites quite a few sources discussing how everything from pales, porters, table beers, small beers, strong beers, were exported to India. I was of the same opinion as you, but apparently recent information and logs have changes the thinking on the export business.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:38 PM   #7
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Ok, I'm doing 70% german pils, 20% wheat malt, 10% aromatic and a smidge (15g in 22L batch) of Carafa for a bit of color and a fleeting flirtation of roast.

Last batch I made was about a 6.5% saison that turned out well with the aromatic, but I wanted more malt presence in the smaller beer.

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