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Old 02-23-2009, 02:01 PM   #1
keelanfish
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Default Saison - Target FG?

Last Thursday night, February 19, my brother and I brewed up a mini-mash saison kit that we ordered from MoreBeer. I'm a little frustrated with MoreBeer because the kit is way outside the style guidelines for a Saison, but I should have checked that myself before deciding to order. Regardless, I'm hoping it will be a good beer and worth the money and effort.

My problem is that the kit instructions from MoreBeer suck and are obviously wrong. From 4 different MoreBeer sources, I've gotten the following four different answers:

MoreBeer Website (before I pointed out their inconsistencies)
OG: 1.096
ABV: 11%

MoreBeer Website (after I pointed out their inconsistencies)
OG: 1.080-1.090
ABV: 8-9%

Instructions with Kit
OG: 1.068
ABV: 11%

Email from MoreBeer Support
OG: 1.087
ABV: 8-9%

The kit had the following ingredients:
Mashed @ 154f for 60 minutes @ 1.2 quarts/lb, Batch Sparged w/ 180f water
5 lbs Belgian Pilsner
1 lbs Munich
0.5 lbs Caramunich

Boiled 60 minutes and added
9 lbs German Pilsner LME @ 60 min
1 oz Glacier Hops @ 60 min
0.5 oz Sterling Hops @ 20 min
0.5 oz Sterling Hops @ 5 min
Whirlfloc @ 5 min

Cooled to 70f using immersion chiller. Ended up with 5.25 gallons wort @ an OG of 1.093. I made a 2L yeast starter using White Labs Saison Yeast (WLP 565) and pitched the whole thing without decanting. Strong fermentation with blow off was occuring within 12 hours of pitching.

Following MoreBeer's fementation schedule, we started at 70f and are increasing the temp 2 degrees per day until we get to 85f. Then we're going to hold at 85f for three days and check FG.

My question is what should I be expecting/shooting for an FG? Style guidelines say between 1.010-1.015. But I'm already way above style guidelines for the OG. Using the recipe calculator at Tastybrew.com, it indicates I should expect an FG of 1.023 assuming 75% attenuation. Whitelab's website indicates with high gravity beers that it might be necessary to dry the beers with alternate yeast after 75% fermentation. What yeast would I use for that and how do I know when I've hit 75% fermentation? I've never pitched more than one yeast, so what's the process for doing that?

Any suggestions or feedback are welcome. Right now I feel like I'm shooting in the dark and don't have a good feeling where I should be trying to end up with the gravity.



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Old 02-23-2009, 02:12 PM   #2
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Wow, 1.093?! That's a pretty huge Saison, yo!

You should be shooting for as low as you can get it with your yeast. What strain are you using right now? In my experience, "finishing" with another yeast never works unless it's a yeast cake from another beer. But overall, you want a Saison to be dry, very dry. Yours might end up being much sweeter than the style range, though, because their kit obviously blows cock. First off, your mash temps were way too high. I can't believe they'd tell you to mash a Saison at 154f. Jesus, B3 sucks. Not only that, but I see no simple sugar additions, which would have helped dry it out if you were to replace some of the LME with it. Table sugar works fine here.

At the end of the day, your FG is gonna be what it's gonna be. You can't change that now, unless you were to take a very high-attenuating yeast strain (like the WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale), make a low-OG beer with it, then rack that beer off to another vessel and dump your Saison onto that cake. You might get it to finish out lower with a strain like that, but you'll need the power and might of a whole yeast cake, not just a vial. You could make a huge starter, but by that point, you might as well just make a little belgian pale ale or something with the 570, and use the cake to finish the saison. I'd say, with that OG, and that mash temp, you should be happy if you can get it to finish below 1.020.

In the future, steer clear of Morebeer. Their suckage seems to be increasing exponentially lately.



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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan! View Post
In the future, steer clear of Morebeer. Their suckage seems to be increasing exponentially lately.
Will do. We didn't have anything lined up to brew and I thought I'd give them a chance. Unfortunately in my panick to get something in hand for the next brewday I did a quick order from their site without looking at the details. I thought, Spring and St. Patty's Day are coming up, it would be nice to do a dry Irish stout and a saison. So, that's what I ordered. The "dry Irish Stout" had an OG of 1.068 and we ended up with over 7% ABV. Dry my A$$. Isn't calling a product something it's not false advertising?
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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well, the dryness is determined by the FG and the amount of residual long-chain dextrines. So it would be possible, via a low mash temp and/or using dextrose/sucrose in place of some of the base maltose, to have a stout finish "dry" even though it started out with a high OG.

That having been said, I think they're doing their customers a disservice (and engaging in deceptive practices if you ask me) by hocking kits that are so far out of the style guidelines. BJCP, while not the bible by any means, is a good common reference for classic styles. And so when the BJCP says a saison should have an OG between 1.048 and 1.080, and yours is at 1.093, something's not right. Hell, a "dry" stout has an upper style range of 1.050 (OG). Overshooting that by 18 gravity points is silly. Call it an American Stout or something! Yeah, it's their kits, they can do what they want with them, and I'm not saying you have to be a slave to the BJCP, but I do think that you're doing your customers wrong by calling something a BJCP style name, when the recipe is far outside of the guidelines.

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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:50 PM   #5
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I know, but when I think dry Irish stout, I think Guinness. I've tried one bottle of the kit we brewed. While still a little green, it's good, but it is nothing like Guinness.

In fact, I just checked their site and this is the description they offer.

Quote:
Here it is: a Dry Stout in the style of Guinness. Flaked Barley helps to provide all the protein that is needed to produce that wonderfully creamy head. 63 IBU of bitterness compliments the dryness of the Roasted Barley to produce authentic Irish Dry Stout. The liquid yeast is of course from Irish decent.
Also, there is no way in hell this beer has 63 IBUs.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:44 PM   #6
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I went by at lunch and replaced the blow off tube with an airlock. While it was open I took a sample and checked the gravity. Adjusted for temperature, it's already at 1.043! Only 3.5 days in the primary and it's already at 7% ABV. Already at 53.7% attenuation. I'm hoping to at least get down to 1.018, but that's going to require at least 80% attenuation which may be unrealistic with this yeast. The airlock was bubbling like crazy, so maybe there is still enough action going on to reach my goal. I know airlock activity isn't a good indicator, but it sure makes me feel better.

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Old 02-24-2009, 01:02 PM   #7
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So I listened to the Brew Strong podcast on attenuation on my way to work this morning and I now realize that once set in motion, little can be done to alter the F.G. of beer in a downward direction. Lots can be done to alter it upward, but that's not going to be my problem with this batch. I'm hopeful that since most of my fermentable sugars are coming from the LME and not from the mini-mash, that my high mash temps won't effect the F.G. to much.

My goal is to get sub 1.020, which would be over 78% apparent attenuation. If fermentation stalls out higher, I'm thinking of trying one of the following:

1. Make a big yeast starter with a high attenuating yeast that won't influence the flavor profile. Rack to a Secondary and pitch the yeast starter at high krausen and hope the gravity will drop a few additional points.

2. Try the Beano trick.

Any feedback?

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Old 02-24-2009, 01:11 PM   #8
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I would steer clear of Beano, from everything I have heard it is almost impossible to stop once it is set into motion. Meaning, it would likely drop down near to 1.000. However, it might be possible to rack onto some sort of campden or metabisulfite in order to kill all the yeast once you get it to an FG that you are shooting for.

If it were me I would let it ride, drink it like it is, and try again with your new education.

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Old 03-04-2009, 01:21 PM   #9
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Well, we officially have a stuck fermentation. Its been at 1.031 for a few days now. I've never bottled a beer that high. My plan is to transfer to a secondary and allow to clear and bulk age for a week or two. I'll drop the temperature down to around 68-70 for the secondary. After a couple weeks, I'll prime and bottle.

Any suggestions on how to improve this batch would be appreciated, but I really don't have much hope. Since the beer is already so big, do you think watering it down slightly would help?

Also, I've been thinking about another possibility. What about trying beano on 3.5 gallons of the beer, allowing to go down to around 1.000 and then heating to denature the enzyme. Then add the remaining 1.5 gallons of 1.030 beer, add priming sugar, mix and bottle? Any hope that would work?

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Old 03-04-2009, 01:27 PM   #10
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Pitch onto another yeast cake. If you don't have another yeast cake available, brew a session-style beer, and then once that is done, pitch the Saison on top of that yeast cake.



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