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Author Topic: Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat  (Read 14575 times)

Offline 202brew

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Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat
« on: March 01, 2012, 07:37:16 am »
Howdy folks, first-time/long-time

On Valentines Day, my special lady friend and I brewed up a Saison based roughly on JZ's recipe in Brewing Classic Styles. (Working name: "Eros Myth Dream On Saison") I used Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale as the yeast. Jamil's directions suggested gradually raising the temperature to 80F over the course of the fermentation. I ordered a fermwrap, but a took a while to get here. In the meantime I moved it from colder to warmer parts of the house getting it from around 67 up to 73.  On Sunday, I transferred to secondary and was really pleased with the attenuation so far: OG=1.056/ gravity at transfer=1.006. And its been kicking out a few bubble a minute since Sunday. My fermwrap finally arrived last night.

Is it still worth using the fermwrap to raise to 80? Is the main reason to raise the temperature attenuation or is it to get esters that contribute different flavor notes? I'm hoping to get some complexity in this guy and would be inclined to heat if it will contribute flavors. Otherwise I'm inclined not to mess with a good thing.

Much obliged for any advice.

Offline Mark G

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Re: Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 08:29:59 am »
First of all, I've never used this particular strain before, so take my advice with a grain of salt. The elevated temps for a saison are used to both increase yeast-derived flavors, and ensure high attenuation. If you want the higher temps to have the yeast give you more character, it needs to be early in the fermentation. Most of those flavors are created in the first few days. Slowly ramping temps up, or letting the yeast free rise over the course of the ferment also ensures that the yeast finishes, which is important with some of the more finicky saison strains, like Dupont.

Keep in mind that most saison strains still give you plenty of yeast character at lower temps, it's just going to be different than at higher temps. Experiment to see which you prefer. Lately I've been using the Wyeast French Saison, pitched in the upper 60's, and ramped up to the mid 70's over the course of 10 days or so, and have been very pleased.

In your case, I would suggest warming the beer up maybe 5 degrees since you now have the means, to see of the FG will get any lower. Don't be surprised if it's done though.
Mark Gres

Offline 202brew

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Re: Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2012, 06:37:10 pm »
That makes a lot of sense. Thanks very much.

Offline s rails

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Re: Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 09:43:58 pm »
I've brewed quite a few Saisons.  I think your FG indicates the yeast is done working.  I usually ferment Saisons in Spring, Summer, or Fall where I live. I cool the wort to 65F, pitch whatever strain of yeast I'm using and start raising the temp in my temperature controlled chest freezer about a degree every 8 to 12 hours.  When I hit 70F in day or two I pull the carboy out and bring it in the house.  I then just let the temp free rise.  I have also had success just pitching the yeast with a wort below 68F and then letting it freerise as long as the air temp isn't more then 75F or 80F.  Some of my best flavored Saisons have resulted from the freerise technique. 

Saison yeasts seem to get stuck.  Be patient and let the yeast finish and the gravity is below 1.010.  The lower the better.

I would agree that most of the "Saison" flavors will develop in the beginning of the ferment.

This style needs to be dry.  The way I make sure I have a dry beer is to mash between 146F and 148F.  In JZ's recipe he calls for 1lb of sugar.  I add it later.  I boil a quart or so of water with a 1lb of sugar or honey.  I will add some yeast nutrients like Fermaid-K and DAP to this as well.  I add the sugar/honey water around the 3rd or 4th day when the fermatation tends to slow down. I also will rock the carboy to get the yeast in suspension about once or twice a day starting on the 3rd or 4th day when fermentation is not so vigorous.  These are a few of the tricks I have used for Saisons. 
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 11:26:15 pm by s rails »
Sean Railing
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Offline andyjr

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Re: Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 11:09:14 pm »
When I first went to make a saison, my homebrew store told me to let it ferment like normal for a couple of days, then on the third bring it out someplace nice and warm and it will give you that saison "funky" flavor you look for.  Luckily, I had no AC so that meant moving from an interior closet to the middle of the living room.  I wanna say I was at 74 for the first two days and then 82 for the rest.  And it was a great taste!

I also read in Zymurgy something about manually raising the temps.  I want to say it was the saison for every region article?  Anyways, he did an experiment with adding heat through a heat wrap and it came out "medicinal" and not really good.  I've never tried that way, but I have always felt that in the spirit of farmhouse ales, letting God do your heating made it more authentic (but that's mostly me being nostalgic and dumb I think)!

I'd read that article if possible first!  Good Luck!

Offline rbowers

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Re: Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 06:54:37 pm »
Just brewed up my second saison attempt 2 weeks ago using white labs American farmhouse blend which has Brett in it.  I emailed white labs regarding the narrow temp range posted on the vial 68-72.  Theyre reply was that specifically with saisons the increased temp can certainly contribute to flavor and attenuation.  The temp controller went a little haywire (probable user error on my part) and after a few days of warming up to 84 I came down one morning to find the temp resting at a smoking 91F!  I have since cooled it back down to the 84-85 range for the last week.  After 2 weeks I'm at 1.010, tastes a bit strange not quite funky yet.  I guess my point is while the high temps yielded some nice attenuation (and still bubbling every 25 sec or so) the flavor at least for now seems a bit off what I wanted.  My prior attempt kept in the mid to low 70s was quite tasty and in the future I may shy away from going anywhere above 80.  But we will ride this one through and see how it ends after hopefully letting the Brett clean up whatever is left.

Offline nateo

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Re: Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2012, 10:29:19 am »
In looking at different resources for mead making (which involves wine yeast) I came across a thread talking about how saison yeasts (probably derived from wine yeasts) could excessively lower pH during fermentation. This could be a reason why saisons can plow through fermentation quickly up to a point, then take a long time to finish.

So if you have a pH meter, I'd check. The closer the pH is to 3 the slower the ferment will be. I made a pre-soured Berliner Weisse pitched onto a whole yeast cake that only got about 50% apparent attenuation, because the pH was under 3.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline 202brew

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Re: Saison temperature advice. To Heat or Not To Heat
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2012, 05:34:50 pm »
Thanks all for the good advice. I'm a big fan of Saisons and will certainly have a chance to try out these tips on future batches. I ended up putting on the fermwrap, but my apartment has been unseasonably warm (high 70s) so it hasn't kicked on much. I plan to bottle later this week and will post an update then.