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any way to remedy low-ester batch of saison post-fermentation?

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twd000

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I have a batch of a simple Belle Saison recipe I brewed a couple months ago. Got full attenuation down to 1.002 for this diastaticus strain. It turned out "fine", just really boring. I think the temperature was too low, and my spunding valve inadvertently applied some top pressure. So the esters just never developed like you would expect in a saison. There is a touch of sulfur which Belle Saison is known for, but I think I'm just noticing it since there is no pepper or fruit esters flavors to counteract the sulfur.

At this point, it's been taking up space in a keg I could refill. I've been ignoring it long enough that the fresh hops flavors have dropped out. There is no oxidation as it has been stored chilled and carbonated and never opened post-fermentation.

So should I dump it, or try to rescue it? Is there any way for me to add esters or otherwise spice up a boring beer post-fermentation?

I've read of people pitching brettanomyces clausenii as a secondary fermentation culture to add tropical fruit flavors. Any value in trying this?
 
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OldDogBrewing

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I have a batch of a simple Belle Saison recipe I brewed a couple months ago. Got full attenuation down to 1.002 for this diastaticus strain. It turned out "fine", just really boring. I think the temperature was too low, and my spunding valve inadvertently applied some top pressure. So the esters just never developed like you would expect in a saison. There is a touch of sulfur which Belle Saison is known for, but I think I'm just noticing it since there is no pepper or fruit esters flavors to counteract the sulfur.

At this point, it's been taking up space in a keg I could refill. I've been ignoring it long enough that the fresh hops flavors have dropped out. There is no oxidation as it has been stored chilled and carbonated and never opened post-fermentation.

So should I dump it, or try to rescue it? Is there any way for me to add esters or otherwise spice up a boring beer post-fermentation?

I've read of people pitching brettanomyces clausenii as a secondary fermentation culture to add tropical fruit flavors. Any value in trying this?
You can spice it up with whatever you want really, from spices to fruit juice
 

thehaze

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Sulfur dissipates, as long as the yeast has had time to do so. Belle Saison, although reliable and very attenuative, it's not the most expressive dry yeast. It can showcase phenolics and some of that medicinal flavours, and maybe sometimes fruity notes ( have found threads where brewers have coaxed very proeminent esters out of it, otherwise it wouldn't have been mentioned... or at least I assume that ), but nothing on par with liquid saison yeast. You can add anything you like to it. Brett can possibly add some interesting notes, but regular Brett takes months to develop any real flavours. Maybe find a Brett strain that works faster?
 

OldDogBrewing

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Sulfur dissipates, as long as the yeast has had time to do so. Belle Saison, although reliable and very attenuative, it's not the most expressive dry yeast. It can showcase phenolics and some of that medicinal flavours, and maybe sometimes fruity notes ( have found threads where brewers have coaxed very proeminent esters out of it, otherwise it wouldn't have been mentioned... or at least I assume that ), but nothing on par with liquid saison yeast. You can add anything you like to it. Brett can possibly add some interesting notes, but regular Brett takes months to develop any real flavours. Maybe find a Brett strain that works faster?
I find Belle saison to be really fruity, apple and peach, but lacks depth in the phenolic department, french saison from mangrove works the other way around, so I just blend them 50-50 and it certainly gives a better product.
 

thehaze

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I find Belle saison to be really fruity, apple and peach, but lacks depth in the phenolic department, french saison from mangrove works the other way around, so I just blend them 50-50 and it certainly gives a better product.
That's great - please tell me how do you coax proeminent esters, and low phenols with Belle Saison, as my experience so far has been lacking. I mainly get the phenolic aspect of the yeast, with no real fruitiness. I only had a very successful beer made with Belle Saison, when I blended it with T-58 and Lallemand New England yeast and some NZ hops.
 

IslandLizard

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At your current FG of 1.002 there's not much left to ferment, so pitching a Brett culture won't help much, unless you add more (complex) fermentables to it.

What temp did you ferment this at? Saison yeasts like it fairly hot, generally, to express their character. I've used Belle Saison at 80-90F, which made a decent beer, but still kinda linear compared to other Saison yeasts. One of my favorites is East Coast Yeast's ECY08, Saison Brasserie.

FWIW, Belle Saison is often referred to as being the dry form of WY3711, which is definitely lackluster for a Saison, but will ferment voraciously, even resurrect fermentations stalled by other yeasts.

You could add some fruit, and let that ferment out, that should add some flavor.
Or instead, dry hop it, to bring back some of the dissipated hop flavor.
 
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OldDogBrewing

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That's great - please tell me how do you coax proeminent esters, and low phenols with Belle Saison, as my experience so far has been lacking. I mainly get the phenolic aspect of the yeast, with no real fruitiness. I only had a very successful beer made with Belle Saison, when I blended it with T-58 and Lallemand New England yeast and some NZ hops.
I ferment at 36°C basically, so I get lots of fruity notes, but so far I'm not completely happy with it or the mix with the french saison strain, I still need to find a dried strain that can produce good farmhouse ales
 
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twd000

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At your current FG of 1.002 there's not much left to ferment, so pitching a Brett culture won't help much, unless you add more (complex) fermentables to it.

What temp did you ferment this at? Saison yeasts like it fairly hot, generally, to express their character. I've used Belle Saison at 80-90F, which made a decent beer, but still kinda linear compared to other Saison yeasts. One of my favorites is East Coast Yeast's ECY08, Saison Brasserie.

FWIW, Belle Saison is often referred to as being the dry form of WY3711, which is definitely lackluster for a Saison, but will ferment voraciously, even resurrect fermentations stalled by other yeasts.

You could add some fruit, and let that ferment out, that should add some flavor.
Or instead, dry hop it, to bring back some of the dissipated hop flavor.
probably 70F fermentation temperature, I didn't add any external heat. I've had success in the past with a summer batch on the second floor of my un-air-conditioned house, and didn't realize how important the extra heat was.

Honestly as it sits today I could enter this into a competition as a Munich Helles and expect a pretty decent score! But I can't fake myself out like that!

Maybe I'll add some fruit and see if it gets any more interesting...
 

OldDogBrewing

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At your current FG of 1.002 there's not much left to ferment, so pitching a Brett culture won't help much, unless you add more (complex) fermentables to it.

What temp did you ferment this at? Saison yeasts like it fairly hot, generally, to express their character. I've used Belle Saison at 80-90F, which made a decent beer, but still kinda linear compared to other Saison yeasts. One of my favorites is East Coast Yeast's ECY08, Saison Brasserie.

FWIW, Belle Saison is often referred to as being the dry form of WY3711, which is definitely lackluster for a Saison, but will ferment voraciously, even resurrect fermentations stalled by other yeasts.

You could add some fruit, and let that ferment out, that should add some flavor.
Or instead, dry hop it, to bring back some of the dissipated hop flavor.
Brett doesn't need barely any sugar to show it's character, I thought so before I exchanged some emails with Nick from The Yeast Bay, he told me it only needs enough sugar to be alive and produce the needed enzimes to break other compounds already present, so at an SG of 1.002 it should work and give some extra flavour, although I think your idea for a dry hop is more interesting
 

monkeymath

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I sort of dislike Belle Saison and its cousins: way too boring for a saison. And, in spite of the low FG, it leaves a rather sweet, full-bodied beer - not what I'm looking for in a saison.

I'm thinking some coriander seeds might help, their lemony aroma could really "lift" the beer. But I've always used them in the kettle, not the fermenter. Or you could make a limoncello-style extract of lemon peel in some spirit (or pure grain alcohol). Haven't tried it, though.

Brett doesn't need barely any sugar to show it's character, I thought so before I exchanged some emails with Nick from The Yeast Bay, he told me it only needs enough sugar to be alive and produce the needed enzimes to break other compounds already present, so at an SG of 1.002 it should work and give some extra flavour, although I think your idea for a dry hop is more interesting
I second that. I once pitched Orval dregs into an imperial stout; it barely affected the residual extract, but transformed the beer wonderfully.
 

IslandLizard

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Brett doesn't need barely any sugar to show it's character, I thought so before I exchanged some emails with Nick from The Yeast Bay, he told me it only needs enough sugar to be alive and produce the needed enzimes to break other compounds already present, so at an SG of 1.002 it should work and give some extra flavour
1.002 is already darn low, though, likely due to Diastaticus.
From what I understand, Brett would benefit from chewing on a larger load of unfermentables left behind by the other yeast(s) and microbes. At least that's what you aim for in mixed fermentation sours, they should not be too easily fermentable (e.g. turbid mash). They also take 2-3 years to get there.
 

OldDogBrewing

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1.002 is already darn low, though, likely due to Diastaticus.
From what I understand, Brett would benefit from chewing on a larger load of unfermentables left behind by the other yeast(s) and microbes. At least that's what you aim for in mixed fermentation sours, they should not be too easily fermentable (e.g. turbid mash). They also take 2-3 years to get there.
In theory the notes come from the conversion and degradation of yeast byproducts, that's why when Brett is used as primary, it's not even half as expressive as when used as secondary yeast.

From what I get from the literature and that short emails I exchanged, Brett only needs enough sugars to keep it alive while it degrades the stuff it needs to degrade to give the beer its characteristic flavour. The large unfermentables I think are more focused to the souring bacteria and to keep Brett working for longer
 

OldDogBrewing

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I sort of dislike Belle Saison and its cousins: way too boring for a saison. And, in spite of the low FG, it leaves a rather sweet, full-bodied beer - not what I'm looking for in a saison.

I'm thinking some coriander seeds might help, their lemony aroma could really "lift" the beer. But I've always used them in the kettle, not the fermenter. Or you could make a limoncello-style extract of lemon peel in some spirit (or pure grain alcohol). Haven't tried it, though.



I second that. I once pitched Orval dregs into an imperial stout; it barely affected the residual extract, but transformed the beer wonderfully.
I think the lemony aroma in beer from coriander needs to go through fermentation to be really present as it gets biotransformed
 

Kee

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Brett doesn't need barely any sugar to show it's character
I've made quite a few batches with WY3711 as the primary yeast and using Orval dregs in the bottling bucket. By the time the bottles are carbonated (say, 3 weeks) there is already a distinct brett characteristic.
 

deadwolfbones

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I had a belle batch recently that finished at 1.001 and was also super boring. I ended up dumping dregs from a couple of Brett saisons I liked into the keg and putting it in my closet for six months. Tastes pretty phenomenal now, though it's definitely funky, sour, and went through a brave fight with a pedio infection.
 

monkeymath

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I think the lemony aroma in beer from coriander needs to go through fermentation to be really present as it gets biotransformed
Yes, exactly. I don't know if Brett is capable of this biotransformation. I would guess it is, but this is merely a gut feeling and general trust in brett (brett can do anything, right?).
 
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