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Old 08-07-2012, 07:23 AM   #1
Rarig
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Aug 2012
Los Olivos, California
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After brewing a few Saisons I have extended my hand in once again trying something different, or actually retrospect to the past. After listening to some inspiring music and reading about the old French ways of beer making in their villages I refreshed my memory. We havent always had these powerful beers so accessible to make. I think it would be nice to jump back a century or two and make a Saison as they did in the little farming villages. Traditional French Saison's seemed to be at around 3%+ and heavily hopped. What would be one of the oldest European strain of Hops we have available commercially? Is there any French yeast I can purchase online from Europe. I want to capture the true essence of something from the past to share with my friends and family. If you fellows have any meaningful stories to share about old beer making tales or any folklore I would like to hear. If you have any advice simply on this, share. I might sound nutty but I really enjoy this craft and think there is much appreciation rooted right here in this online community.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:00 AM   #2
beerandloathinginaustin
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Jun 2011
Temecula, California
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I have no idea what 3711 French Saison's lineage is. I guess I'd be tempted to give it a little acid malt, since most beers back in the day had to have usually been a little sour.

I know there are guys very much into this sort of historical brewing though. I vaguely remember a HBT thread from a guy who was making a documentary on a historical brew he was doing. A little more googling & searching here should at least find you some fellow brewers who might be willing to help track down this sort of thing.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:50 PM   #3
ReverseApacheMaster
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Have you read Farmhouse Ales?

 
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:26 AM   #4
kingwood-kid
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Jul 2008
houston
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Historical is sort of a vague term, beer has been constantly evolving for thousands of years. I think until relatively recently, most beers were small, infected, smoky, darkish and underattenuated by modern standards. To replicate that, you'd probably want a grist that was about 50% rauch and 50% brown or biscuit malt, but you could toss a medley of unmalted grains in as well. Hops may have been plentiful by weight, but they would have been low-strength whole hops. If not used fresh, they would have been aged and dried under conditions modern brewers would question. The hops would chiefly have acted as a preservative as in historical UK IPAs. Most of the hoppy flavor/aroma would have faded by the time the ale was consumed; saisons were often made after the harvest to drink the next year. I'm guessing they would have been oxidized and served with minimal carbonation. As far as yeast goes, 565/3724 is thought to be a mutated red wine yeast. I assume wine yeast was easier to come by in France than beer yeast, and when evolved into something that ate complex beer sugars, it outcompeted the strains that didn't evolve. Not sure how you'd recreate that, so I'd just pour the dregs of Dupont and Orval and add a small handful of raw grain.

I don't say all this to rain on your parade, just to give some idea of what an accurate recreation would entail. I love experimental beers and low-gravity saisons and hope your project turns out well.

 
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:40 AM   #5
Rarig
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Aug 2012
Los Olivos, California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReverseApacheMaster
Have you read Farmhouse Ales?
I haven't read that yet. Shall I check out Amazon.com?
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"True character of a man is reflective upon his life in a few ways, good beer is one of them."
Words of wisdom

Cheers,
Rarig

 
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:57 AM   #6
beerandloathinginaustin
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Jun 2011
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I have it and really enjoyed reading it. It gave me all sorts of fun ideas. A must for any saison junkie. Just flipping through, it has about 20 pages directly on the history of Saison.

If you're going to get it, go to www.thebrewingnetwork.com and use their Amazon link if you don't mind (unless Amazon has ads here). Those guys have helped me a ton with my brewing & deserve all the pennies I can help throw their way.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:07 PM   #7
lowtones84
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Oct 2011
Montclair, New Jersey
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Yeah, Farmhouse Ales is an awesome read. I'm not sure how "historical" it is but strisselspalt is a French hop. I used it in two of the saisons I've made and both turned out very well. As for the yeast, there are plenty of commercial options, or you can harvest some from a bottle though you'll likely have to do that from a Belgian rather than French beer.

 
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:41 PM   #8
djbradle
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Nov 2011
Central MA, Ma
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Maybe try harvesting some dregs from the likes of a bier de garde like Jenlain or tres monts? I just did a saison with acidulated malt and 3711 but it's still in the primary therefore I've nothing to add whether it would be slightly sour or not. It certainly has a more sour yeast smell than my usual brews during primary ferm.

 
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:48 PM   #9
kingwood-kid
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houston
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Belgium wasn't a country until 1830. It spent most of its time before (okay, and after) that being annexed, overrun, occupied, bullied or traded around by its more powerful neighbors, so I don't know if you can really find a yeast that's historically Belgian without also being French. Yeast tend to be fairly disdainful of international borders anyway.

 
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:15 PM   #10
djbradle
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Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingwood-kid
Belgium wasn't a country until 1830. It spent most of its time before (okay, and after) that being annexed, overrun, occupied, bullied or traded around by its more powerful neighbors, so I don't know if you can really find a yeast that's historically Belgian without also being French. Yeast tend to be fairly disdainful of international borders anyway.
He's looking for a historically French yeast not Belgian.

 
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