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Old 06-22-2009, 12:50 AM   #1
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Default Belgian Brew Time?

Hi al, so I was contemplating my next batch, aiming at it being ready in August, and thought this one (Midwest's "Lawnmower de Saison") sounded interesting.

http://www.brew-winemaking.com/ProductPDF/6474.pdf

Now given the multiple ingredients, and the suggestion in their catalog that Belgian beers do well with some extended aging, any insights on how long a time I'd be looking at for this? Like I mentioned I was hoping for August something, but not if it's going to shortchange the beer's full potential. Thanks!

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Old 06-22-2009, 02:06 AM   #2
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Saisons don't need to age that long..you will have it ready in time for the august heat.

I just brewed an all grain clone of "Saison Dupont" today, I'm going to leave it in primary for a month and bottle, so it should be ready by late july early august.

That PDF didn't have the recipe in it, so I couldn't look at what you planned on brewing...but it's pretty straight forward.

A couple things...There are no dry saison yeasts, so you will have to go with whitelabs or wyyeast, so you need to make a huge starter or use a couple tubes of yeast.....I couldn't get the yeast ahead of time to make a starter, though I did harvest the yeast from a bottle of it over night, and threw that in with a fresh tube I got today from the lhbs as well as a half off outdated tube from the "old yeast" bin in the back of the lhbs fridge.....that should be plenty.

If you are mail ordering your ingredients, make sure you spring for the extra few bucks for the ice pack with the yeasts...AND make a huge starter ahead of time, anyway. Since the temps are high now and you don't know how long the yeast will travel, you will NEED to make a huge starter to reproduce the yeast that survived the long trip.

You do NOT want temp control for this brew....so find a warm place in your home for the fermenter..part of the saison's "magic" comes from the funkiness imparted from the warm fermentation temps.

If you can lay your hands on the May/june 08 edition of zymurgy magazing, it has a great article and a ton of all grain AND extract Saison recipes, plus a lot of tips on brewing them.

Zymurgy Magazine - May/June 2008 - Homebrewing Beer Resource for Beer Enthusiast

When I go to bottle the beer, I plan on brewing another saison on top of the yeast cake, and will probably brew one of the recipes in there....the saison du pont is a very straightforward recipe, the only addition was some orange peel, the rest of the flavor comes from the yeast...so the next one I might do one with some of the spices uses in them.

Another thing you need to plan ahead for is that saisons are usually extremely carbed 3-3.5 volume of co2 ...much more than a traditional beer..many of them are bottled in champaigne bottles...so you will need to think about what you will be bottling in...If you plan to use regular beer bottles, sort through them for the thickest ones possible (some of them from the lhbs are mighty thin...I wouldn't trust them) You will need really thick bottles.

You have a month to think ahead...you could order some champagne style "splits" or get some champagne bottles (check at wedding reception places and bars/restaurants to see if they will save them for you.

If you go for champagne and split type bottles...some can take regular crown caps and be capped with your wing capper...but some will not, so you will need to get some plastic or cork "champagne" tops and wire cages...the guy at my lhbs recommended just the plastic types and the simple wire cages. You will need a rubber mallet to seat the plastic corks.

Oh a couple more tips I picked up over the last couple days....use beet instead of cane sugar for and sugar additions it calls for....evidently that is the more common sugar used in most saisons (don't know if it's true or not, but the guy at my lhbs evidently brews a lot of them.

And evidently one of the brewing network shows (the Jamil Show perhaps) did a recent show on saisons, and they suggest that YOU NOT ADD the sugar addition to your boil (no matter what the recipe says) but add it after a few days when the primary fermentation phase starts to wind down (when the krauzen begins to fall)...the theory I guess is that after the complex sugars from the grain are chewed through, they yeasties will really dig into the simple white sugar...and it will drive the beer closer to it's final gravity, and give it the somewhat dry champagne like quality that saisons tend to be known for...

(and don't be surprised by adding the sugar later, if you get another krauzen and vigorous fermentation...I did a Belgian Strong that had 3 sugar additions, one in the boil and two later on, so I was blessed with 3 krausens to watch.)

Hope this helps!!! Have fun with this style....

I'm looking forward to mine in a few weeks.

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Old 06-22-2009, 02:23 AM   #3
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Yeah, I tried that kit. I had mine bottled 3 weeks after brewing & very drinkable a couple weeks after that. It'll keep developing & changing over time, the spices may be a bit prominent at first but that's the fun, to monitor the progress. Anyway, brew it now & it should be fine in August.

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Old 06-22-2009, 11:03 AM   #4
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Sounds good, I'll probably be looking to go this weekend. Somehow I keep forgetting what their sheets do and don't have (see "no IBU listed" elsewhere) but the actual bill goes like this:

3.3 lb. Pilsen liquid malt extract
3.3 lb. Wheat liquid malt extract
1 lb. Clear Candi Sugar
8 oz. Cara-20
8 oz. Unmalted Wheat specialty grains
1 oz. US Saaz
2 oz. U.S. Goldings hops
1/4 tsp. Grains of Paradise
1 oz. bitter orange peel
1/2 oz. whole coriander

+ yeasties of course. I'll probably have to go with using a couple vials of yeast, my starter flask is only 1L at the moment, on the plus side though shipping isn't really an issue since I just drop in and grab them from the cooler The treeware version of the catalog mentioned some people left them for 5 years, which I figured was a bit extreme but better to get a second opinion. Thanks all

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Old 06-22-2009, 02:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewStooge View Post
The treeware version of the catalog mentioned some people left them for 5 years, which I figured was a bit extreme but better to get a second opinion. Thanks all
That seems odd to me too. Midwests saison is a wit beer style & I always think of a wit beer as being one that doesn't have to age so much & maybe even shouldn't? Not really even all that big either. The other supplier I like to use, Windriver does their saison kit all barley malt (a little flaked wheat I think, if I remember right). Maybe I'd let that one go longer but then I'm not always the most patient, depends on my supply more that anything to be honest.
I see you're not too far away, I'm in the Delano/Watertown area myself. Just popped into Midwest yesterday although I really don't go that often. Online is just too easy & Windreiver doesn't charge me any shipping on orders over $50.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:53 PM   #6
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Saisons, wits and begians oh my! The long term aging part is a side box under the Belgian section at large, so it might not have been meant specifically for this one either. TBH at this point I wouldn't be able to tell one from another without someone telling me.

So far actually Midwest has been my only shop, though I might check out one in St. Cloud I'd heard of sometime. It actually works out well though since I pass pretty near by their store on my way to work, so it's just a quick zig and a zag over to stop by on the way home. Probably saved $100 on shipping at least that way

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Old 06-23-2009, 12:14 AM   #7
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FYI, it's in the 80's in my place and my saison is happily chugging away...I'm in the bedroom with fans blowing, and a cold HB vienna Lager to keep me cool....such the sacrifice for funky Belgian beer.

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Old 06-23-2009, 11:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
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FYI, it's in the 80's in my place and my saison is happily chugging away...I'm in the bedroom with fans blowing, and a cold HB vienna Lager to keep me cool....such the sacrifice for funky Belgian beer.
Good deal, my brew room has been hanging about 10-15 below the outside temps, and that's only because it's in the basement, so a warm brewing beer makes life all the easier.
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:59 AM   #9
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Update for the curious, got it all in this Sunday, went quite well with the assistance of my expert hops adder daughter for what hopefully should be one of the most interesting brews yet. Only thing that could use a bit of revamping the next round is to use either a hops bag or a siphon at transfer, managed to clog the strainer real good with all the pellet hops. Fermentation started nice and quick at somewhere within 12 hours (it was going well by Monday morning) with only a 1L and slowed to about 1 every 8 seconds by Tuesday PM.

On a second note, though I suspect that it may have just been poor mixing, my OG came in at 1.050 which seems a bit low for 6.6 LB of extract and a pound of candi sugar. Half the extract was wheat if that makes a difference. Can anyone confirm/deny my suspicion and give me what you might expect from something like this?

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Old 07-02-2009, 02:21 AM   #10
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My reading was 1.054. Pretty close.

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