Lemon Saison

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kgranger

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This is my second time designing a recipe from scratch, so I am looking for any advice or suggestions!

The goal is to make a saison with a very pronounced lemon flavor and aroma. I don’t want it to taste like pure lemonade, so I am trying to get notes of lemon from the hops and yeast vs. adding lemon juice or zest. I still want a solid saison, but more lemony than most traditional examples. Spice notes are welcome.

I am making this to resemble a traditional Baltimore treat, it’s basically a lemon cut in half, with a peppermint stick inserted into the center. You suck on the peppermint, and slowly the lemon juice soaks in and you get a small taste over time. Instead of brewing with peppermint, in case some drinkers don’t like it, I will serve it with an optional peppermint stick in the glass, to get a little burst of the flavor as it soaks.

I need to find a good balance that is drinkable, but noticeably lemon.

Lemon Stick Saison

All Grain Recipe Specs
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Batch Size (gal): 5
Total Grain (lbs): 12.20
Total Hops (oz): 3.75
Original Gravity (OG): 1.058
Final Gravity (FG): 1.009
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 6.5%
Colour (SRM): 4.5
Bitterness (IBU): 30.6
Boil Time (Minutes): 60

Grain Bill
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9 lbs Pilsner
1 lb Wheat Malt
1 lb Vienna Malt
7.2 oz Acid Malt*
4 oz Victory Malt

8 oz Belgian Candi Sugar @ Lauter

Hop Bill
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1 oz Styrian Bobek (First Wort)
1 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh @ 60 Min (Boil)
.75 oz Kent Goldings @ 5 Min (Boil)
1 oz Sorachi Ace @ 0 Min (Flameout)

Misc Bill
-Lemon peel (Secondary, only if lemon character is not pronounced from hops and yeast)
-Typical Saison Spices? I don't want it to be too spicy, since I am going for more of a lemon taste, but are there any suggestions of spices that won't take away from the lemon, but add some complexity?

Single step Infusion at 152 for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 78 with Wyeast 3711 French Saison

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*I’ve never worked with Acid Malt, but I read an article from FunkWerks that they use small amounts to lower the pH just enough for a slight tartness. I like their saisons and the level of tart, so this sounded solid to me. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any advise or changes!
 
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bucketnative

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Have you thought about Lemon Drop hops as opposed to Sorachi Ace? Or perhaps in addition to?

I have also used lemongrass in saisons with success. I think I used maybe like 2 oz of finely sliced fresh lemongrass (the bottom half of the stalk). It had a lemony aroma for sure.

I would cut back on the acid malt. I recently used it in a saison at a rate of 5% (8 oz in a 10 lb grist) and it gave it too much acidity. It's more of a tanginess as opposed to a tartness. It's really meant for mash pH adjustments as opposed to providing a lot of tartness. I might even leave it out.
 
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kgranger

kgranger

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Thanks for the feedback!

With the lemongrass, did you add to secondary?
 

specharka

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If you’re looking to use that much acid malt in a Saison I would recommend adding it in the last 15 minutes of the mash to prevent the acidity from affecting starch conversion. Unless you have really alkaline water it will be difficult to maintain an appropriate mash pH with that much acid malt.

As for the lemon peel/lemongrass additions, you can get a lot of flavor with a whirlpool for 30 min @ 160F. It’s what I do for my Wit and I never struggle to find the coriander and orange peel despite the low dosage (0.1 oz / gal). Definitely not necessary (or desired) to boil those additions.
 
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kgranger

kgranger

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I'm thinking about cutting out the Acid Malt all together. I wanted it for a bit of tart like you get from lemon juice, but if I can get enough of that from the hops, yeast and potentially lemonpeel/ lemongrass, than I will be happy. I want to make sure a lot of different people like it when i serve, and if it is too sour it may not be much of a crowd pleaser.
 

specharka

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I'm thinking about cutting out the Acid Malt all together. I wanted it for a bit of tart like you get from lemon juice, but if I can get enough of that from the hops, yeast and potentially lemonpeel/ lemongrass, than I will be happy. I want to make sure a lot of different people like it when i serve, and if it is too sour it may not be much of a crowd pleaser.
I think the added acidity is a great idea, though. The acidity will balance and brighten the finish, if executed correctly. I love tart saisons and I know a few individuals and breweries that blend sour beer into their saisons. If you’re amenable to mixed culture fermentations, there’s even more opportunity for experimenting.

I’ve actually got a wild Grisette fermenting that used 3% acid malt in the grist. Smells like a funky apricot right now.
 
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