Thoughts on Saison/Farmhouse Yeast

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pharaohpierre

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Hey everyone,
I have a few years of brewing under my belt, but I have never tried to brew a saison and I love that style of beer. I was thinking of doing a dry, slightly peppery and citrus version with maybe some hop presence to it as well since I am a hop head. Either way, it doesn't have to be hoppy. The real question I have though is the yeast. I see in the market that Wyeast and white labs have saison yeast but I also see that Safale has one too, the Safale BE-134. Has anyone used this yeast, if so I would love some feedback. I tried searching the forum, but didn't get the answers I was hoping for. Also, what is the communities thoughts on which yeast to use. I usually pitch 2 packets of Safale s-04 and that never lets me down, which is why I was so curious about the BE-134. Thanks.
 

mashpaddled

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I don't have experience with BE-134 but Wyeast 3711 or 3726 (or their many counterparts) are good options without fussiness of some saison strains (e.g. WY3724) and good flavor.

I am not the biggest IPA drinker but I drink and brew a lot of saison and think it is a style that benefits from a moderate bitterness and some hop flavor/aroma. I know a lot of people feel like the yeast is complex enough to just do a bittering charge but I find those types of saisons flabby and underwhelming.
 

mcmeador

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I used BE-134 on my first saison, which I still have on tap. It was the Northern Brewer Lemondrop Saison. I am very pleased with how it turned out. It seems to be a perfectly suitable saison yeast. I only rehydrated one pack of dry yeast for a 5-gallon batch, but I did notice a slight sulfury smell to the beer in earlier pours which could have been due to under-pitching.
 

Snuffy

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Danstar Belle Saison works well. I use a single pack and rehydrate so it will kick off faster. Usually stick with Saaz hops. That’s the source of your spicy, peppery quality. Yeast gives the fruity citrusy complexity and will go very dry. I’ve had batches finish below 1.000 per Tilt. This stuff loves warm temps and is perfect for brewing at room temp and allowing to free rise w/o sweating temp control. Packet says up to 95f. Optimal range 69-74.
 
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hotbeer

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I'm trying to understand the differences in different yeasts too. So from what I'm currently understanding about how SafAle shows characteristics for their different varieties. BE-134 has a lower number of superior alcohols and a lower number of residual sugars than does S-04.

Lower superior alcohols probably will leave you with less alcoholy taste taste.
Lower residual sugars will probably leave you with a drier taste less sweet taste.

So that's probably why SafAle mentions that BE-134 is "recommended for Belgian Saison-style beers." And S-04 is recommended for "a large range of ales and specially adapted to cask-conditioned ones".

I'm thinking you already knew that, so if you are just needing support for change, I'd go with BE-134 for this new batch of Saison, if you are ready for change.
 

mcmeador

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Usually stick with Saaz hops. That’s the source of your spicy, peppery quality.
Saaz hops might enhance the flavor, but saison yeast is known for producing spicy and/or peppery flavors itself.

I'm trying to understand the differences in different yeasts too. So from what I'm currently understanding about how SafAle shows characteristics for their different varieties. BE-134 has a lower number of superior alcohols and a lower number of residual sugars than does S-04.

Lower superior alcohols probably will leave you with less alcoholy taste taste.
Lower residual sugars will probably leave you with a drier taste less sweet taste.

So that's probably why SafAle mentions that BE-134 is "recommended for Belgian Saison-style beers." And S-04 is recommended for "a large range of ales and specially adapted to cask-conditioned ones".

I'm thinking you already knew that, so if you are just needing support for change, I'd go with BE-134 for this new batch of Saison, if you are ready for change.
You will need a saison yeast to make a proper saison. That’s where the characteristic flavors and dryness come from.
 

Snuffy

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Saaz hops might enhance the flavor, but saison yeast is known for producing spicy and/or peppery flavors itself.
I've never tried Belle Saison w/o Saaz in there somewhere so I can't vouch for where the flavors of one stops and the other starts. I have used Saaz with other yeasts and I can say that similar spicy and peppery notes are in there. Maybe it's been the yeast all along.
 
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pharaohpierre

pharaohpierre

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I totally forgot about Danstar yeast, I'll look into that too. I definitely want to use the saison yeast. I will also use Saaz hops as well. It's getting warm now in Michigan so fermenting in my basement should be around 70f starting. I'll keep my eye on the temp obviously during fermentation to see how high it gets before I got to put it into my temperature control chest freezer, but if you say that 90f is tolerable I don't have to do anything. I plan on brewing this in about 2 weeks, as I have an English bitter brewing now. I will post updates on my recipe and how it all goes.
 

Brewin’&Qin’

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I am not very good with information as I am waaaay too early in this hobby to know much of any difference between yeast. This being said, I just bottled (after 5 weeks fermenting) my first batch of Saison. For this brew it was recommended I use Omega Saisonmonster yeast. I pitched the yeast straight from the package without creating a starter. The sample I took tasted pretty good before bottling, so fingers crossed.
 
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pharaohpierre

pharaohpierre

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I am not very good with information as I am waaaay too early in this hobby to know much of any difference between yeast. This being said, I just bottled (after 5 weeks fermenting) my first batch of Saison. For this brew it was recommended I use Omega Saisonmonster yeast. I pitched the yeast straight from the package without creating a starter. The sample I took tasted pretty good before bottling, so fingers crossed.
Nice, I've heard of omega yeast but never used them. 5 weeks fermenting seems long, but maybe that yeast requires it. Either way, let us know how it tastes when ready. Cheers!
 

mcmeador

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I totally forgot about Danstar yeast, I'll look into that too. I definitely want to use the saison yeast. I will also use Saaz hops as well. It's getting warm now in Michigan so fermenting in my basement should be around 70f starting. I'll keep my eye on the temp obviously during fermentation to see how high it gets before I got to put it into my temperature control chest freezer, but if you say that 90f is tolerable I don't have to do anything. I plan on brewing this in about 2 weeks, as I have an English bitter brewing now. I will post updates on my recipe and how it all goes.
I would also add that from what I’ve read, lower fermentation temps will give you more spicy and/or peppery flavors, so if that’s what you’re looking for you may consider trying to keep your temp under control.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I have been trying to get into brewing Saisons. The first two batches I brewed were with Omega Saisonmonster and the last two with WLP565 (the Dupont strain that has a reputation for stalling). They both produced very nice beer, especially as they aged a bit. I have not used Fermentis - BE-134 or Lallemand - Belle Saison, but they are on my list to try.

citrus version with maybe some hop presence to it as well since I am a hop head
The first Saison I made had 2 oz of Citra as late boil additions (10 min and 0 min, 5 gal batch), where the next two batches used Hersbrucker. When I did a side by side of the first 3 batches, the Citra one was my favorite, so I went back to that for the last batch. I might not be "traditional", but it is a quite nice beer. I have also tasted a version of the Lemondrop Saison, and it is also quite nice.

My fermentation plan for WLP565 has been to pitch at 68F and let the beer rise in my chamber to the mid-upper 70's, then hold fermentation at 78F to finish. In a side-by-side with Saison Dupont, I was pretty happy with the how yeast character compared.
 

bionicbelly

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I started a Saison yeast finding experiment a couple weekends ago. Four identical batches of beer, four different yeasts. I can only ferment two batches at a time, so it will take some time. I used BE-134, Mangrove Jack M29 Saison, Lallemand saison, and T-52.
Pitched the T-52 and BE134 for the first go-round. T-52 ate everything in like three days. The 134 has been a slower, steady fermentation. Pitched both at 70, they both rose to the low-mid 70's, and I held at 68 for a few days after that. after a week, I've bumped it up to 73, and will let it sit till this weekend.
 

danimal92sport

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I don't have experience with BE-134 but Wyeast 3711 or 3726 (or their many counterparts) are good options without fussiness of some saison strains (e.g. WY3724) and good flavor.

I am not the biggest IPA drinker but I drink and brew a lot of saison and think it is a style that benefits from a moderate bitterness and some hop flavor/aroma. I know a lot of people feel like the yeast is complex enough to just do a bittering charge but I find those types of saisons flabby and underwhelming.
This is also where I am at. For my taste buds, hitting the right level of bitterness and dry hop aroma are key to making these styles delicious. Even with age, I also would describe WY3711 as ‘flabby’ perhaps due in large part to the slickness quality on the tongue? I think 30 IBUs minimum and getting the carbonation in to the 3-3.5 volumes range give the beer a better crispness and a dry hop adds some much needed complexity. But then most folks would tell me that I’m getting in to farmhouse IPA territory at that point.

Dan
 
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