My first tart saison

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Thrashos

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
I'm looking to brew my first saison, which I'd like to have a light to mild acidity level, something in the range of a traditionnal german Gose (Ritterguts) or some of the Dunham or HF tart saisons (if that helps to give you a range), it has to be definitely noticeable but still easy drinking.

I'd like to avoid simply adding acid to my mash (I can use L. planarum but would also like to avoid it if I can reach my level without it), so I was wondering a couple things:

-I'm planning to use Wyeast 3726, which is said to display some tartness, for those who are used to it, how present is that tartness? Does fermenting on the warm side helps with that or only in bringing out more esthers? At the moment my room is in the 25 to 29°c range (75 to 85°F), and as I don't have temperature control, it would free rise.

-So far my recipe is mostly Pilsner malt (75%+), spelt and a little bit of Crystal (1/2%) for head retention (I'm looking at something easy drinking, rather clean with a mild spelt character, more dry and cereal than caramel forward which I want to avoid). How far can I go with acid malts, and how much of it should/can I use?


Thanks for your help.
 

duffy5018

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 29, 2014
Messages
134
Reaction score
233
Location
MKE, WI
Adding acid malt and adding lactic acid are essentially the same thing (acid malt is just pale malt treated with an acid fermentation, leaving residual lactic acid on the malt). It was an answer to German purity laws that prevented acid being added to beer.

My preferred way to make a tart beer is kettle souring. Mash, collect, boil for 5-10 min, cool to ~100F(~38C), pitch some lacto directly to the wort in your kettle, cover with plastic wrap, and let her rip for a day or two. Check pH every 6 or so hours til you hit your preferred tartness (3.6-3.8 is mild tartness, 3.4-3.6 is medium, 3.2-3.4 is fairly pronounced, and I've never been brave enough to approach 3.0), then bring it to a boil and finish your normal brew procedure.

This way, the lacto will be killed off during the boil, you get your acidity, and you don't have to worry about the IBUs preventing the lacto from doing it's thing.

Edit: Forgot to mention, I've used 3726 once in a nelson sauvin hopped saison and didn't get anywhere near the level of tartness I expected/wanted. But it was once, maybe that's just me?
 
Last edited:
OP
T

Thrashos

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
Thanks! Yeah that is plan B, exactly as you describe it. What made me look for another option was the description of the Wyeast 3726, I wasn't sure which level I can reach with that, if that's a very faint tartness on the finish or something strong enough that I could amplify with acid malt to get to a satisfying level, as I've never used either of them I have no idea about the percepted tartness that can result from one or both of them, and if temperatures had a role in that tartness from the yeast or not.
 

cmac62

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
1,942
Reaction score
682
Location
Menifee, CA
For your first saison, I'd brew it straight to see what the yeast brings to the table then adjust from there. I know some of the saison yeast also bring some tartness with them. This will also allow you to test how sour you want it by adding lactic acid to a glass by the drop.

However, when I make a gose I use a lb of acid malt in a 5 gal batch, but don't forget with a gose there is also salt, which makes it taste more sour. Also, you don't add all the acid malt until your mash is almost complete. You can use some for mash Ph balancing but the rest goes in at 45 mins or later. Good luck :mug:

Edit: Also check out this tread: Fast Souring - Modern Methods
 

Twinkeelfool

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2013
Messages
334
Reaction score
208
Location
Wollongong
3726 is great, but I don’t think tart is a word id use to describe it. My favourite saison yeast. Much less fussy than 3724.
 

couchsending

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
2,899
Reaction score
1,862
If you want to make something similar to HF or other “tart” Saisons you’re gonna need some Brett. You can harvest it from their bottles (you’ll get Wine yeast too but it doesn’t matter). Or you can buy TYB184 from the yeast bay.

Brew with a Belgian yeast of your choice. Let it finish fermentation, and ideally flocc a bit. Then transfer and pitch Brett or dregs and give it 2 months (their Brett is fast). Bottle condition in heavy glass for around 2 months and you’re good to go.

Most Brett strains will drop pH to 3.8-3.9 which is in the “tart” Range. You don’t need any bacteria to make a tart saison.
 
OP
T

Thrashos

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
Thanks you all! Brett would be the next step for me, I wanted to try that recipe first to get a shot at "controling" my acidity level and once I did that, start doing batches where I would add bretts a few days after. I'm still digging into how to proceed with them, and mixed fermentation (which is ultimately what I am after) where you add them later vs co-pitching all from the start, trying to build my own strain and all that.
 

couchsending

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
2,899
Reaction score
1,862
Thanks you all! Brett would be the next step for me, I wanted to try that recipe first to get a shot at "controling" my acidity level and once I did that, start doing batches where I would add bretts a few days after. I'm still digging into how to proceed with them, and mixed fermentation (which is ultimately what I am after) where you add them later vs co-pitching all from the start, trying to build my own strain and all that.
So I think you might be a bit confused about a few things.

Do you have a pH meter? Do you just use tap/well water?

You should be using acid malt and/or lactic acid for every beer regardless.

If you want to make something tart you don’t want to start at the beginning of the process, you kinda want to start further towards the end. There are a bunch of scientific reactions that need to happen along the way and there’s a specific pH band that those reactions need to happen in. Acidulated malt is what you want to use to get your mash/boil into the correct pH band. You can use lactic acid for that as well.

However if you’re trying to make something tart without adding Brett or Bacteria you should add it after the boil is over at the earliest. If you’re using lactic acid you can actually add it after fermentation is complete as well. There are plenty of crappy commercial breweries that make “sour” beers like this. They just blend lactic acid in on the way to the brite tank to hit a specific pH. However adding lactic acid to make something tart is simIlar to microwaving a steak. Yes it’s technically cooked but there are a lot better ways to do it.

You won’t get anything “tart” with just a normal Sacch ferment. There are a few wit beer strains that say they produce a “tart” character. The flavor, aroma, and tartness in the Dunham and HF Saisons You mention is 100% created by Brett. If you’re looking to replicate that you need to use Brett. It’s incredibly easy to do.
 
OP
T

Thrashos

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
Thanks for the insight! I got a pH meter and I use tap water (which is pretty good where I live, very soft with no particular taste, though I'm also researching possible adaptations for different recipes here for different results as well).

I guessed only a Sacch strains wouldn't be enough, but the description of that strain got me curious and I was just wondering at which point acid malts can push me to that direction (so if a certain amount of acid malt + 3726 would already give a tartness that is interesting or not), or if I really need to add a clean strain of Lactobacillus after the mash like for a Berliner Weisse (which I would then boil once I got a pH that I like before adding the Sacch) to obtain a "clean", non-brett tart result. HF/Dunham are only examples to give an idea of the level I want to reach,I don't necessarely want to create a clone of these right now, though I admire their work and hope to create something of my own in that direction later on. But I have to say, the more we talk about it, the more I think I'll go for both clean and bretted at my next session since I brew 10 Gal and can split them.

Talking about adding dregs, should I look to reach a specific quantity or it doesn't matter? How far can I go creative when it comes to mixing different dregs, and should I do a starter or it doesn't matter as long as I give it time?
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,549
Reaction score
7,653
Location
Pasadena, MD
I use tap water
Please stir in 1/4 crushed Campden tablet (or an equivalent "pinch" of K-Meta) per 5 gallons to all your brewing (and top up) water. The exact amount is not very critical as long as you use at least that minimum and not overdo it (like a whole teaspoon or tablespoon would).
It removes all (unwanted) chlorine or chloramines that every municipal tap water contains, added for sanitation during distribution.
 

couchsending

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
2,899
Reaction score
1,862
Thanks for the insight! I got a pH meter and I use tap water (which is pretty good where I live, very soft with no particular taste, though I'm also researching possible adaptations for different recipes here for different results as well).

I guessed only a Sacch strains wouldn't be enough, but the description of that strain got me curious and I was just wondering at which point acid malts can push me to that direction (so if a certain amount of acid malt + 3726 would already give a tartness that is interesting or not), or if I really need to add a clean strain of Lactobacillus after the mash like for a Berliner Weisse (which I would then boil once I got a pH that I like before adding the Sacch) to obtain a "clean", non-brett tart result. HF/Dunham are only examples to give an idea of the level I want to reach,I don't necessarely want to create a clone of these right now, though I admire their work and hope to create something of my own in that direction later on. But I have to say, the more we talk about it, the more I think I'll go for both clean and bretted at my next session since I brew 10 Gal and can split them.

Talking about adding dregs, should I look to reach a specific quantity or it doesn't matter? How far can I go creative when it comes to mixing different dregs, and should I do a starter or it doesn't matter as long as I give it time?
Even with RO water you should be using some acid source to make sure your mash pH falls somewhere in the 5.2-5.5 optimum window. Usually with RO for 6 gallons into the fermenter and a pale grist I’m adding 4oz of acid malt plus a decent amount of Ca salts to get mash pH into the 5.3-5.4 range. Then adding more acid at the start and/or end of the boil to hit specific pH targets for the boil.

The pH of most of the good commercial “tart” Saisons is in the 3.8-3.9ish Range. This can be achieved with Brett only and no bacteria. You can kettle sour and ferment with saison yeast but Brett in secondary is the way to go to achieve what you’re looking for.

It depends on the brewery and the beer but I usually wait to add dregs after primary fermentation has been completed by a clean ale strain and the beer has been transferred off the yeast into a secondary vessel (ideally glass). It depends but a lot of breweries bottle with champagne/wine strains that are killer yeasts and won’t ferment complex sugars in beer wort. There’s no issues when adding these to secondary as the beer has already been fermented and the wine strains have no affect on the Brett in the dregs.

Some Brett strains work very quickly, others can take forever. The HF one found in their standard Saisons is really quick. It will create flavor and hit a stable FG when added to secondary in 2 months, max. The Allagash Brett strains on the other hand can take 7-9 months to do the same thing. I’d build a small starter from some HF dregs (especially the standard $10 Saisons) and add it to secondary. Try to fill a glass carboy right up to the neck to minimize o2 exposure. You can also buy what is basically their Brett from The Yeast Bay. TYB184. It’s an awesome strain and works fast. Will lower pH to 3.9 range and never go below 1.004.

For Brett Saisons I tend to primary with a non diastaticus yeast strain. 3522 is great, as are other wit beer strains. This will leave you with a bit more sugar for the Brett and also a beer that won’t finish bone dry. Brett usually won’t take a beer below 1.004 if there isn’t a diastaticus strain used in the culture.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,549
Reaction score
7,653
Location
Pasadena, MD
Philly Sour dry yeast is IMHO more tart than sour, and very easy to use, and doesn’t require a long conditioning time
My emphasis (above).
I can testify to that. One of our club members brewed a "Pseudo" Red Flanders with that yeast.
She was in a lineup with 9 other sours of all kinds and held her own. Nice clean tartness, not what I'd call sour. A very unexpected surprise!
 
OP
T

Thrashos

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
Even with RO water you should be using some acid source to make sure your mash pH falls somewhere in the 5.2-5.5 optimum window. Usually with RO for 6 gallons into the fermenter and a pale grist I’m adding 4oz of acid malt plus a decent amount of Ca salts to get mash pH into the 5.3-5.4 range. Then adding more acid at the start and/or end of the boil to hit specific pH targets for the boil.

The pH of most of the good commercial “tart” Saisons is in the 3.8-3.9ish Range. This can be achieved with Brett only and no bacteria. You can kettle sour and ferment with saison yeast but Brett in secondary is the way to go to achieve what you’re looking for.

It depends on the brewery and the beer but I usually wait to add dregs after primary fermentation has been completed by a clean ale strain and the beer has been transferred off the yeast into a secondary vessel (ideally glass). It depends but a lot of breweries bottle with champagne/wine strains that are killer yeasts and won’t ferment complex sugars in beer wort. There’s no issues when adding these to secondary as the beer has already been fermented and the wine strains have no affect on the Brett in the dregs.

Some Brett strains work very quickly, others can take forever. The HF one found in their standard Saisons is really quick. It will create flavor and hit a stable FG when added to secondary in 2 months, max. The Allagash Brett strains on the other hand can take 7-9 months to do the same thing. I’d build a small starter from some HF dregs (especially the standard $10 Saisons) and add it to secondary. Try to fill a glass carboy right up to the neck to minimize o2 exposure. You can also buy what is basically their Brett from The Yeast Bay. TYB184. It’s an awesome strain and works fast. Will lower pH to 3.9 range and never go below 1.004.

For Brett Saisons I tend to primary with a non diastaticus yeast strain. 3522 is great, as are other wit beer strains. This will leave you with a bit more sugar for the Brett and also a beer that won’t finish bone dry. Brett usually won’t take a beer below 1.004 if there isn’t a diastaticus strain used in the culture.
Again, thanks a lot, this is all very helpful.


Philly sour dry yeast is IMHO more tart than sour, and very easy to use, and doesn’t require a long conditioning time
I bought a few packets a few days ago as well to play with fruits, pretty curious of the result, though I like a challenge and I feel like this is too easy for my liking. :D
 

Twinkeelfool

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2013
Messages
334
Reaction score
208
Location
Wollongong
I find it more tart, nowhere near as sour as the sour beers I’ve made. I definitely like it though
 

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
4,893
Reaction score
2,577
Location
Bedford
I'm looking to brew my first saison, which I'd like to have a light to mild acidity level, something in the range of a traditionnal german Gose (Ritterguts) or some of the Dunham or HF tart saisons (if that helps to give you a range), it has to be definitely noticeable but still easy drinking.

(I can use L. planarum but would also like to avoid it if I can reach my level without it),

Thanks for your help.
Why? What's the objection?

Basic Brewing podcast recently featured a tart "cherry pie" beer that you could take some inspiration from, it uses Imperial Sour batch kidz yeast, which is a blend:

 
OP
T

Thrashos

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
No objection other than that I don't have temp control at the moment (at least not in the high ranges, for classic fermentation temps I got a cellar that just hit the spot) and temperature were announce to drop today, which they did.

But I'll probably wait that it rises again, I quoted L. plantarum because it seems to be effective at a room temperature I can reach during summer.
 

Latest posts

Top