Saison Partial Mash - Recipe Critique

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KarmaCitra

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So I have a few brews under my belt now and wanted to get my feet wet in recipe building. Since I don't have a good way to regulate temps at the moment (don't want to use swamp cooler), I decided to come up with a Saison recipe. Any help would be appreciated!

Brew size: 5.5 gal
Boil size: 3 gal

Fermentables:
4# American Pilsner
1/2# grits
1/2# Rye Malt
3# DME - Extra Light
1# Cane Sugar (added at 15 mins left)

Mash at 148° for 60 min in 2 gallons, sparge at 165°

Hops:
1oz Kent Golding's - 60 min
1oz Saaz - 15 min
1oz Saaz - 10 min

Yeast - 1 packet Danstar Belle Saison, rehydrated

OG = 1.048
FG = 1.008
ABV = 5.19
IBUs = 22.55

Let me know your thoughts!
 

stpug

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-2# biscuit is A LOT in any beer, and unheard of in a saison (0.5# would be plenty)
-Since you're using a base malt for conversion/minimash, why not make it pilsner since that's pretty common in saison
-Grits at 15 minutes in boil?? That's crazy - you'll make breakfast if you do that. They go in the mash for the whole time.
-Looks like the IBUs will be pretty significant, maybe too high, especially since you'll have a very low FG with belle saison
-Mashing lower for higher attenuation is an option but not needed.
 
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KarmaCitra

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Ok, thanks for the critique! Wasn't sure on the grits thing, but was intrigued. So cut the biscuit down to .5#, add grits at mash AND keep in during boil? Should I up the 2 row or pilsner to an extra 1.5 to make up for the reduced biscuit?
 

snowveil

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Agreed with stpug on all counts.

Ditch the grits, or mash them. Pils would be a more fitting base malt than 2-row pale. Bring the biscuit down to half a pound or cut it out entirely.

I'd ditch the 45 minute hop addition....the others look good. Maybe move the 30 minute Saaz to 15, but that's nit-picking.

You still want to have some form of temperature control if you can with a Saison yeast...like any other. Try to keep it stable. It doesn't need to stay mid-sixties like Cal-Ale or anything, but you don't want it making 10 degree swings up and down during fermentation if you can avoid it.

Belle Saison is pretty aggressive and will ferment out without having to go with ridiculously high temperatures like some might recommend. Try to pitch in the mid-high sixties and let it free rise from there. Low to mid seventies will produce plenty of Saison character with this strain...there's no need to bring it up into the 80's or 90's.
 

snowveil

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As for upping the Pils malt...it depends on the gravity you're looking to hit. Belle Saison will ferment out DRY, so remember that your ABV will wind up higher than a pale ale of similar gravity will. Plan on 1.000 -> 1.006. I've used this strain 4 times and for me it has finished between 0.999 and 1.002 every time.
 

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Agree with everything above. Reduce the biscuit, ditch the 45min hops, and let the yeast free rise and help it to get warm. If nothing else, zip it up in your warmest winter jacket for insulation. I use a swamp cooler with an aquarium thermometer to get my saisons into the 90s but I've had success with the winter jacket to get it around 80. I've used Belle saison up to 90 with good results

My only other thing is you are mashing way too high for a saison. I mash mine at 148 usually. You want it very dry. Especially since you are using DME (which usually prevents a recipe from reaching target FGs) i'd definitely recommend lowering that mash temp. I mash my stouts at 155....
 
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KarmaCitra

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For sure on the temp control, I'm using belle right now and I'm regulating it to a certain degree, but let it free-rise to 75, wrapped in blankets in the closet and it has stayed at a consistent 75.
 
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KarmaCitra

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Pilsner it is! So will 4# of pilsner mashing alongside .5# of grits, then 4 lb of extra light DME work?
 
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KarmaCitra

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Thanks for all of the feedback. Any other suggestions are welcomed!
 

stpug

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Brew size: 5.5 gal
Boil size: 3 gal

Fermentables:
4# American Pilsner
1/2# grits
4# DME - Extra Light
1# Cane Sugar (added at 15 mins left)

Mash at 148° for 60 min in 2 gallons, sparge at 145°

Hops:
1oz Kent Golding's - 60 min
1oz Saaz - 15 min
1oz Saaz - 10 min

Yeast - 1 packet Danstar Belle Saison, rehydrated
I like your changes and you could go with them as-is and end up with a good beer. Sparge water is generally kept at the same temp range (165-175F) for all beers, BUT it won't make a noticeable difference if it doesn't fall within that range either.

If you wanted to add character malts to your saison then certainly feel free to. Your (now gone) biscuit addition was intriguing in the 4-6oz range. Wheat, oats, rye malts, and vienna and munich malts in the half to full pound range are all pretty typical for this style of beer. You could even up the color (and character) with a small addition (2-3oz) of some form of crystal malt (caramunichs, carawheat, cararye, caravienne are good choices). I might pick none-to-two of these options, or stick with your original plan to see what the base beer comes out like and adjust on future batches if you want.

Don't want to make your head spin but just thought I'd mention these options before you're totally settled - food for thought. It's a pretty broad category when it comes to "style".
 
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KarmaCitra

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I like your changes and you could go with them as-is and end up with a good beer. Sparge water is generally kept at the same temp range (165-175F) for all beers, BUT it won't make a noticeable difference if it doesn't fall within that range either.

If you wanted to add character malts to your saison then certainly feel free to. Your (now gone) biscuit addition was intriguing in the 4-6oz range. Wheat, oats, rye malts, and vienna and munich malts in the half to full pound range are all pretty typical for this style of beer. You could even up the color (and character) with a small addition (2-3oz) of some form of crystal malt (caramunichs, carawheat, cararye, caravienne are good choices). I might pick none-to-two of these options, or stick with your original plan to see what the base beer comes out like and adjust on future batches if you want.

Don't want to make your head spin but just thought I'd mention these options before you're totally settled - food for thought. It's a pretty broad category when it comes to "style".
No worries on my head spinning, I'm learning that this category is pretty broad and can go down a few rabbit holes. I always thought that sparge water shouldn't be too hot so not to extract tannins, etc, but seems that isn't the case. Which one of those suggestions would keep it on the lighter side in terms of color? I have a Saison brewing now and sampled it yesterday. Taste was good, but it was a bit darker than I had anticipated. Probably due to the volume of caramunich and caravienne I used.
 

stpug

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No worries on my head spinning, I'm learning that this category is pretty broad and can go down a few rabbit holes. I always thought that sparge water shouldn't be too hot so not to extract tannins, etc, but seems that isn't the case. Which one of those suggestions would keep it on the lighter side in terms of color? I have a Saison brewing now and sampled it yesterday. Taste was good, but it was a bit darker than I had anticipated. Probably due to the volume of caramunich and caravienne I used.
There is potential for tannin extraction given that a couple circumstances are present: high pH and high temp (>6.0pH and >170F). This generally entails that you will bring the grainbed up above those levels too (since that's where the tannins would come from). Using sparge water in the 165-175F range does not accomplish those circumstances therefore you don't run into tannin extraction issues.

Using one of the non-barley malts (wheat, rye, or oats) will not contribute significant color (no more than base malt). Wheat is common and adds to foam stability; can impart a very subtle dough-like breadiness; and can increase the haziness of the beer. Oats will add to the body and mouthfeel (primarily), and may add to the haziness as well (no real flavor/aroma changes). Rye will add to the mouthfeel; can impart some "spicy" aroma qualities that is more like bread crust or crackers; probably not much haze enhancing qualities.
 

stpug

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I think it would add a nice element to the beer. Keep in mind your potential finishing gravity and aim for a reasonable OG so that you don't end up with too big of a beer. My favorite saison I've brewed came in at about 4.5%
 
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KarmaCitra

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I edited the recipe to account for all of these changes, bringing down the ABV a bit and adding the rye. When I mash in the rye and grits, can I put those both in the same grain bag? Any tips in the regard? I'm trying to keep the mess at a minimum since I don't currently have a mash tun.
 

stpug

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I like how it looks on paper. Be prepared for a lower final gravity but don't adjust for it this time.

As for mashing, all grains in the same pot for the full time is the best way. Doesn't matter if you use a bag or not. Let us know if you want more detailed input on the mashing process.
 
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KarmaCitra

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Cool. So all of the grains could potentially go in the same bag together? Didn't know if the grits would cake up and affect the efficiency of the other grains.
 

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As long as you stir well while you're doughing in, I would think they should mash just like your other grains.
 

stpug

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I've never had trouble with grits. They work out pretty easy; not sticky or gooey; no rice hulls used even at 2+ lbs per 5 gallon batch.
 
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KarmaCitra

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And I assume with such a small amount, I won't need to do the double mash on the grits? Seems like that would apply to a more cereal-base recipe.
 

stpug

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And I assume with such a small amount, I won't need to do the double mash on the grits? Seems like that would apply to a more cereal-base recipe.
I bet you mean cereal mash instead of double mash. You can do a cereal mash if you want to, or you can not. If not, then I would recommend a longer mash time (90minutes at 148F) in order for the starches to expand and the enzymes to convert them. Quick grits work great in the regular mash while regular grits could probably use a cereal mash (i.e. cooking them).

I just brewed a cream ale with 25% quick grits and did not do a cereal mash (grits added to mash with all other grains). Everything went great.

Over the winter, I brewed a CAP with 25% regular grits and I did do a cereal mash. The cereal mash basically consisted of cooking the grits in plenty of water until you've reached "serving" consistency (i.e. the consistency you would aim for if you were going to eat them). IIRC, it was 3:1 water:grist ratio; brought to a boil for 5 minutes; then removed from heat and covered for 10 more minutes. After that, it was added to the start of the regular mash.
 
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KarmaCitra

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Yeah, that's what I meant. Ok, well this was all great information. Thanks for the help on my first recipe, I'll post back with results! I'll probably start this brew in a week or two after the other Saison is in bottles!
 
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KarmaCitra

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Report on the final result, sorry it took so long (all of the beer is gone haha). So this recipe ended up with a saison true to style. Funky, dry, champagne-like. Definitely easy drinking on a hot day. Keeping this one for next summer.
 

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