Saison Advise

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Brewin’&Qin’

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Hi all,
New here to the forum and just getting back into home brewing after a long time off. I have never brewed a Saison Beer in the past and looking at a kit that my local HBS has put together for a Saison recipe. I am still not ready to brew All Grain recipes, so this is also an extract recipe. The below are the ingredients. As my second time brewing since, coming out of retirement, is a Saison beer, with this recipe, and all beginner equipment a realistic attempt? In the past I was pretty successful with my extract brewing, and the recent batch (a Chinook IPA) tasted really good before going into the bottle (should be ready to drink in another 7-8 days hopefully). Looking to get my next batch started, and understand the Saison with the Belle Saison Yeast will ferment longer than the IPA I have bottled. Any thoughts and suggestions always appreciated. Here is the recipe the HBS will put together:
Thanks much.
 

Culinarytracker

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Can't say for certain without knowing what your equipment is, but any basic brewing kit should handle that recipe just fine. It'll be pretty much add and boil. Just watch your boil time for the hops, and make sure you cool down enough before you add the yeast.

Is there anything in particular you are unsure about?
 
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Brewin’&Qin’

Brewin’&Qin’

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Thanks CT, I guess the fermentation part more of less. Just want to ensure fermenting the full time in a plastic bucket will work ok. Based on what I have read, fermentation in primary bucket for two weeks minimum seems like the standard. Would you recommend racking to a secondary, and if so when would I do the second fermentation in the process? I do have a second bucket. Thanks.
 

Culinarytracker

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I would not transfer to a secondary. Just let it ferment out completely in your bucket until all activity has stopped for several days. It won't hurt to let it wait an extra week if you can.

Thanks CT, I guess the fermentation part more of less. Just want to ensure fermenting the full time in a plastic bucket will work ok. Based on what I have read, fermentation in primary bucket for two weeks minimum seems like the standard. Would you recommend racking to a secondary, and if so when would I do the second fermentation in the process? I do have a second bucket. Thanks.
 

mashpaddled

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The recipe is ok. I don't personally think the caramunich is necessary but one ounce isn't going to do a lot for the beer. I'm also generally of the mindset that saison benefits from gentle hopping later in the boil or flameout/hopstand but you'll find a lot of recipes online that have a bittering addition and no other hops. I'd say leave the recipe as it is and if you think it needs some hops then make a dry hop addition. You can go a lot of directions with hopping a saison so think about what flavor you might want to add (grassy, floral, spicy, piney, citrus, tropical, etc.), if any.

No reason to rack to secondary. I've sat on beers in a bucket for months with no ill effects. Right now I have a doppelbock sitting in a bucket that has been there for almost two months.

Belle is more likely to rip through the beer quickly--probably quicker than whatever yeast you used for your IPA. I'd check on it in a couple weeks and do an FG test. You'll probably be done by then. Saison can benefit from a little aging but you can do that in the bottle if you wish.
 

hotbeer

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My first brew not very long ago was a saison. I wound up being four full weeks in the fermenter before activity ceased.

The one week after bottling tasting wasn't bad. No off flavors that we noobs with over-active imaginations fear. This Monday it'll be a full 2 weeks after bottling. So I'll know more about taste then.
 

Piggles22

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I really like the Belle Saison yeast for the style. It has high a high tolerance for fermentation temps (up to 35º C / 95º F according to the Lallemend specs) and can actually benefit flavor-wise from higher than 'normal' fermentation temps (IMO it tends to bring out more of the pepper and clove flavor this yeast imparts on the wort and gives it that 'farmhouse' ale flavor common for the style). I've used this in my last 2 batches of Saison and under controlled conditions (thermal wrap), brought the temps up to the low 80º's F with no ill effects. I normally pitch at ~68º to 70º F and slowly bring the temp up over a period of several days to a week, a degree or two each day. Once fermentation slows or stops (based on hydrometer readings) I usually try to hold the final temp for several more days (longer is okay) until you are ready to keg or bottle.
You may not have the ability to raise or control fermentation temps but the point being, not to worry too much about the fermentation temps for this yeast.
Cheers.
 
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Brewin’&Qin’

Brewin’&Qin’

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Thanks all. Appreciate all the feedback. I had a store bought Saison for my breaking of lent (long story). Looks like the Saison is in my wheelhouse this upcoming weekend. I will post how the brew and next stages go.
 

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The main thing that stands out to me is that there are no simple sugars. Saisons are meant to be dry, and have added simple sugars (plain sugar or syrup) to bring down the FG. The Belle Saison yeast will help with drying out the beer, but being extract, it will probably not dry out enough to be to style. I would add 20%+ of table sugar to the recipe. 25% would be 2 lbs of table sugar. That may be pushing it, but I have added up to 30% simple sugars to Saisons and mashed at low temps to dry out the beer. Saisons and some Belgians are beers that need a lot of simple sugars to help dry them out.

Try and keep the ferment temps as high as you can with that yeast to develop flavors.
 

goodolarchie

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Ditch the Caramunich, OP, and just add some cane sugar or belgian candi sugar. If you want color, buy the amber stuff.

Caramunich will get you closer to a Biere de Garde, which is a fine style, but malt depth will only get in the way of the esters and phenols that are meant to speak through the lighter grist found in a traditional saison.

To that end, I'll be honest that Saison Belle is my least favorite Saison strain, but it's very reliable and easy to use for a beginner, so it's perfect for your case. If you find the beer is a bit dull or not like the saison du pont you were aiming for, check out Maltose Falcon's Saison write-up for some other notes. Even in the french saison archetype, I find 3711/Napoleon to be much more interesting than Belle.
 
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Brewin’&Qin’

Brewin’&Qin’

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Ok, so I waited too long to order and the Belle Saison yeast was now out of stock. The folks at the HBS recommended Omega Yeast Saisonstein's Monster OYL-500 as a replacement. I will now plan on making a yeast starter with the Omega. Yep, never did that before, but read a lot on this site about how to do it. Hope to pick everything up tomorrow and get the yeast starter going for a brew on Saturday. If now looks like a Sunday brew day for me.
 

goodolarchie

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The folks at the HBS recommended Omega Yeast Saisonstein's Monster OYL-500 as a replacement.
Congrats, you just upgraded your Saison! This is a great blend.


I will now plan on making a yeast starter with the Omega.
Don't let me stop you, learning how to do a starter is a good skill to learn. Sanitation is super important across the board and this adds another layer.

But... K.I.S.S. - this is very optional in my opinion. For 5 gallons of modest (1.045 - 1.055) wort, where slightly underpitching is a thing in expressive yeast-driven beers, a real fresh pack will get you there just fine, if not make the beer better. Same thing with something like a hefeweizen, you'll get more esters (isoamyl acetate) and phenols if the yeast is slightly stressed out. And 150B cells that supposedly are packed with Omega is totally appropriate for 5 gals of Saison.

If anything, pick up some yeast nutrient, pitch the yeast around 68F, give the fermenter a good shake before pitching and allow it to free rise to 73-78F after a couple days (not sure what your temp control regimen is, it could just be moving it into a warmer room/closet).
 
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Brewin’&Qin’

Brewin’&Qin’

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Picked up the ingredients yesterday, and they came with a recipe from BeerSmith.

Saisons are meant to be dry, and have added simple sugars (plain sugar or syrup) to bring down the FG. The Belle Saison yeast will help with drying out the beer, but being extract, it will probably not dry out enough to be to style. I would add 20%+ of table sugar to the recipe. 25% would be 2 lbs of table sugar.
Calder, you were 100% correct on the sugar. Recipe calls for 1# of sugar. At this point I will probably just use the table sugar I have in the closet. Hope to brew tomorrow.
 
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Brewin’&Qin’

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Ok, today I brewed the Saison with all the above ingredients, including the addition of 1# basic table sugar. I am hoping a mistake in the final stages I made has impacted my OG reading. I followed the recipe exact, starting with just over 3.0 gallons of water in the brew pot. After the brew was completed and the cooled wort was dumped into the fermenter, I had to add a little over 2 gallons of bottled spring water to bring the total volume up to 5 gallons. I then took my OG sample, and after taking the sample really went and shook/stirred the wort to incorporate all the water and add O2 for the yeast. After pitching the yeast is when I actually went and did the hydrometer test from the sample pulled earlier. My OG was 1.090 ....ugh. I am really hoping the very high reading is due to the wort not being incorporated enough with the added water. Since I have pitched the yeast, I don think there is more I can do other than see how it comes out? Is my thinking way off base?
 

palmtrees

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Ok, today I brewed the Saison with all the above ingredients, including the addition of 1# basic table sugar. I am hoping a mistake in the final stages I made has impacted my OG reading. I followed the recipe exact, starting with just over 3.0 gallons of water in the brew pot. After the brew was completed and the cooled wort was dumped into the fermenter, I had to add a little over 2 gallons of bottled spring water to bring the total volume up to 5 gallons. I then took my OG sample, and after taking the sample really went and shook/stirred the wort to incorporate all the water and add O2 for the yeast. After pitching the yeast is when I actually went and did the hydrometer test from the sample pulled earlier. My OG was 1.090 ....ugh. I am really hoping the very high reading is due to the wort not being incorporated enough with the added water. Since I have pitched the yeast, I don think there is more I can do other than see how it comes out? Is my thinking way off base?
Since you're using extract, it's unlikely that you actually overshot your gravity that much, unless you aren't actually at 5 gallons. And if you boiled for an hour, I would expect you'd have to add a little bit more water than you did to get to 5 gallons. Are you going off of the marks on the side of the bucket? Or eye balling it? If the latter, your volume might be too low. If you think that's the problem, you could still top up with a little more water now to bring the OG down. I wouldn't do it once active fermentation has started, but if you pitched yeast in the last few hours, that's fine.

If you're going off of volume markers on your bucket, then the high OG is probably just a bad reading from wort that wasn't fully homogenized. It's very hard to mess up OG with an extract recipe, if you have the right volume.
 
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Thanks Palm. Yes, I went off the measure on the bucket. I am way too new to do any eyeballing...hahahaha. I am hoping it was the wort not fully homogenizing with the extra water added. I really appreciate the feedback, makes me feel a little better with you saying it is hard to overshoot with an extract. Thanks.
 
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I brew a lot of Saisons. If you are going to bottle be aware - French Saison yeast is diastaticus. It will continue to convert complex sugars after bottling. So the longer they sit, the more.... vigorous the bottle conditioning can become. Cold store if you can.
 
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Well. You're not going to store cold enough to stop the conversion. So once you're carbonated to a good level, try to keep it in the fridge if you can. Or drink it fast. One of my first Saison's after 3 weeks of bottle conditioning were gushing / had to have a 22oz poured into a 16 quart container to off-gas and contain the foam.
I would add a stabilizer and keg carbonate if you could. If you can't try to cold crash in a kiddie pool or bathtub filled with ice to get as much yeast to drop out as possible. I started kegging but I've never been able to bottle a saison with consistently good results.

Might play with sugar added too. Once the 3-week conditioning was done it didn't seem to get much worse stored in a cool garage, but I always added one of the carb sugar pellets per 12oz bottle, and that was too much, since once the yeast woke up they started creating amylase. We did have one explode that was stored in a warmer garage.

I guess my point is if you cold store, and add about half to 1/3 the sugar recommended for other beers you should be fine.
 

hotbeer

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I don't have much experience with brewing Saison's or drinking them.

I thought they were intended to be a beer you drank soon after brewing and weren't for any sort of storage life.

Though I'm sure all sorts of things can be done to make them last better for the time they are stored.
 
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