Base Spelt Saison for Mixed Fermentation Magic

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goodolarchie

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Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
3724, Brett, LAB
I brew hundreds of gallons of this every year. I've tried it with just sacch, it makes a great saison. The

OG: 1.046
FG: ~1.002
IBU: Optional

GRIST
63% Pilsner
25% Malted Spelt (BestMalz)
8% Vienna
4% Flaked Oats

Mash at 154 for 60 minutes

BOIL
@75 mins 10g / gallon of 3+ Year aged/lambic hops (e.g. for 6 gallon batch, add 2oz aged hops)
Willamette, Saaz, and other low AA% Noble varieties work well.

@15 mins 2g/gal Cz Saaz (e.g. 6 gallon batch = 12 grams)
@15 mins 2g/gal Styrian Golding, Savinjski
Note: This should produce around 5-6 IBUs, feel free to skip the aroma additions if you want more acidity

@10 mins (Optional) Whirlfloc
@10 mins 2g/5gal Yeast Nutrient

PRIMARY FERMENTATION

Day 1 @ 68F
Pitch an active Dupont starter, i.e. WY3724, or WLP565. Oxygenate if possible. Hold under 70 the first 12 hours
Note: For more acidity, co-pitch with your favorite hop-tolerant strain of Lactobacillus
Day 2 @ 70-75
Allow the yeast to free rise now. It will approach or reach it's dreaded 1.035 stall, which is our friend here.
Day 3 @ 75
Pitch your brett, lacto and pedio strains here. There should be lots of glorious phenols, esters to metabolize, and fermentable sugars left.
Assertive brett strains will see a lot of expression here, and mild strains will still have the runway to show up. If you want less brett character, delay pitching until secondary/bottling.
Note: For more acidity, consider increasing temp to 80-85. It won't hurt the yeast.

Day 4-30
The beer can safely stay in primary, but I would expect to see a serious reduction in activity by day 30. This is a good time to cool the beer into the mid/low-60's and set it up for long-term aging. Transfer to a barrel, a carboy, etc. and try to leave the lees behind. Take a gravity and pH / TA reading and keep tasting notes.
I don't recommend adding fruit or oak at this time.

Day 30-180
By now, the LAB has done most of it's work, any "sickness" from the pedio will have been cleaned up, and you're starting to see an interesting mixed ferm beer show up.
You could let it continue to age in secondary, or bottle recondition with sugar.
Some brett strains are great while young, and produce fast results. Good examples of blends that fit this bill are the Amalgamation I/II series from The Yeast Bay.
You could rack onto fruit, or add oak at this time. You could also blend it back into older beer, if you have a solera barrel etc.

Day 180+
I try to sample the beer against my notes every 30-45 days. This is what having a sour program is all about - always something to do, something to sample. I'm looking for whether the beer is improving nor not... it will tell you when it's "done" because the gravity and pH are stable, and you aren't seeing any more nuanced flavors/aromas emerge. Some young brett strains shift from stone / citrus / tropical fruit esters into more nuanced funky, leathery, musty gueuzey character, and it takes 12 months or more.

Other helpful tips:
  • The aged hops really emphasize the funk from the brett. If you want a cleaner final product, sub for a tiny addition of EKG or Styrian Goldings.
  • You have a few levers to control acidity after pitching: temperature (lower = slower), hops (a small dry hop addition will slow/stop it), and blending in higher-IBU beer to stabilize
  • Oxygen is not your friend... if you have to sample from a carboy or a barrel bung, consider feeding a small amount of fresh wort. Spigots and vinny nails are best!
  • After 3 months of no activity, your yeast is fairly dormant and not in the greatest shape to kick back up for bottling, tertiary fermentation. Pitching a fast-acting brett strain is a great idea for bottling. I've improved my long-term bottle conditioning success doing this alone.
  • You really don't have control as to where the beer will go after a certain amount of time. Blending becomes your lever at this point, which is why I make hundreds of gallons of this wort each year.
 

monkeymath

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When you say "hundreds of gallons", do you actually mean "hundreds of gallons"?

As in... literally?

As in... can I move in with you?
 
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goodolarchie

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When you say "hundreds of gallons", do you actually mean "hundreds of gallons"?

As in... literally?

As in... can I move in with you?
Yeah! Hundreds! The 55-110L barrels need a break in, usually end up too oaky the first couple fills. Then there's the brett, dregs, and spontaneous experiments that are instructive, but not worthy of kegging, fruiting, or bottling.

Lastly there is so much of a wildcard nature to mixed Ferm, that in truth you ferment ten batches, hope five or six turn out, and blend the three best of those. So I'm lucky if I have 50 good Gallons to consume after all is said and done.
 

monkeymath

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Lastly there is so much of a wildcard nature to mixed Ferm, that in truth you ferment ten batches, hope five or six turn out, and blend the three best of those. So I'm lucky if I have 50 good Gallons to consume after all is said and done.
Huh. A little disheartening for those of us living in an apartment in a city, without the space to have so many beers fermenting at the same time.

But, eh, I'll just give it a shot. What else can you do? Brew an IPA instead? Pffft, yeah right...
 
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goodolarchie

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I hear ya, I lived that life before buying my house. I used to put 5/6 gallon carboys under my shirts on coathangers. The nice thing about an aged beer like this is that it can weather some extended fluctuations in temp if you don't have it controlled while it ages. It will do fine at 60 degrees / cellar/basement temp, or at 75 through the summer. Just keep an eye on the airlock, or put a stopper on it!
 
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