Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: yso191 on March 16, 2013, 09:18:47 PM

Title: Belma Saison follow-up
Post by: yso191 on March 16, 2013, 09:18:47 PM
I recently brewed a Saison using Belma hops exclusively.  My goal was to test Belma hops in a beer that I thought would complement them nicely.  Here is the recipe for 5 gallons:

3.5 lbs Belgian 2 row
3 lbs Belgian Wheat malt
.5 lb. Munich
.25 oz. Caramunich (56 SRM)
.75 lbs. Orange Blossom Honey
1 oz. Belma in the mash
.25 oz. Belma 60 min.
.25 oz. Belma 10 min.
1 oz. Belma 5 min.
1 oz. Belma hopstand for ~10 min.
No dry hopping
Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast

This resulted in, according to BeerSmith:
5.4% ABV
24 IBU
5.4 SRM

This is my first attempt at brewing a Saison, and I have little experience drinking them too, so I am mainly going off of the BJCP style guidelines for evaluation. 

The beer turned out good, but there is very little Belma flavor discernable.  Next time I would seriously increase the hop additions (while eliminating the mash addition).  So given that this was an experiment to test Belma hops the one thing I learned is that they are very light in flavor - which I had heard - but since I was brewing a Saison, I figured it would show through... but no.

I would also ferment a little warmer, as I got very little of the phenolic character from the yeast that I was hoping for.  I fermented at 66*, then ramped up to 73* as I saw primary fermentation ending.  I think I'd ferment at 69* next time.

So not a waste.  It still is a pleasant, maybe even a good, light-tasting beer.  Perhaps a good gateway homebrew for BMC drinkers.
Title: Re: Belma Saison follow-up
Post by: reverseapachemaster on March 19, 2013, 03:13:27 PM
That's what I'm reading pretty much everywhere and even in dryhopping the results are pretty mild to virtually non-existent. Some people seem to have good results using them in a blend with other hops but they still aren't getting a lot of character from the Belma hops. I've also read a few people say they used them for bittering but didn't seem to get a lot of bitterness out of it, although I'm not sure exactly how alpha acids can be milder in one hop but not in all others.

I'm sitting on a couple pounds in my freezer myself so I plan on doing a little experimenting and if I am getting the same results as everybody else I guess I will continue to use them for bittering until somebody smarter about hops than I figures out a better use.
Title: Re: Belma Saison follow-up
Post by: yso191 on March 19, 2013, 04:44:09 PM
I agree - especially about the alpha acid point.  Belma's 9.8% AA should be the same as any other 9.8% AA. 

I came across a blog post that convinced me to try Belma (http://www.bear-flavored.com/2012/12/recipe-and-tasting-notes-belma-single.html).  Just a quick quote to give an idea of the direction of the post:

"I guess it was a good idea to brew this with Conan yeast, then, because the two together created one of the most intensely fruity IPAs I've ever had in my life. I have never encountered a beer that smelled (and tasted) so much like strawberries — I mean, this smells more like strawberries than beers I've had which were actually brewed with strawberries. It's absolutely bonkers."

I sure would love to get some Conan yeast... 

So I am thinking / wondering if it isn't some yeasty magic that occurs to bring the flavor to the foreground.  I want to keep playing with Belma.  Mainly because of the unique flavors, but also it is a very inexpensive hop at $5.25 / lb.!  Unfortunately I don't know anyone in Vermont, so I guess no Heady Topper for me.  Hopefully there is a different yeast that can pull some goodies out of Belma!
Title: Re: Belma Saison follow-up
Post by: erockrph on March 19, 2013, 05:00:01 PM
Thanks for the follow up. I don't remember seeing any oil specs on the Belma hops, but I can't help wondering if that is the issue here. I'm due for doing another batch on single-hopped brews soon, and Belma is on the list. Sounds like you really need to push the late additions if you want to get a lot of character out of this one, though.
Title: Re: Belma Saison follow-up
Post by: yso191 on March 19, 2013, 05:14:25 PM
What suprised me is that he (the blogger) used a fairly light hop schedule:

70 IBU
0.5 oz Belma @FWH
1.0 oz Belma @10
1.0 oz Belma @5
0.5 oz Belma @2
3 oz Belma  dry hopped 7 days

I left a message at Puterbaugh Farms asking about the oil content.  I'll post it if/when they call back.