Author Topic: What makes a good Saison?  (Read 5502 times)

Offline madscientist

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What makes a good Saison?
« on: July 01, 2012, 07:52:20 AM »
I got my hands on some ECY Single Strain Saison yeast, but I admit this is a beer I know little about.  The only one I have had is Ommegang's Hennepin.  I often see terms like light, effervescent, peppery.  Has anyone ever done a Rye saison and how did it turn out?  What hops would you use?  Thanks!
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 08:45:37 AM »
Done a few Rye Saisons.. they've been awesome. A Rye Saison is one of the best second runnings beers I've ever done as well.

I'd starter with 10% as a properly done Saison is going to be very dry and you want to see how much you like the rye character in that profile.

For me, I've usually made my Euro-centric saisons with a neutral bittering base of magnum and then aroma hopped with saaz or styrian goldings.
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Offline cheba420

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2012, 09:42:45 AM »
I just did my first saison and it turned out great. However, I had read Drews articles and some of Jamil's writings on it before I tried. I was worried about delving into belgians but it was really easy and turned out great. You need a lot of yeast, warm temps and patience. Good luck!
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Offline narvin

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2012, 12:11:49 PM »
Rye, wheat, or any raw grains will go well in a Saison.  After all, it is a farmhouse beer, and whatever adjuncts they had around would go in to the beer.

One thing I'd suggest is resist the urge to make this a high gravity beer.  The yeast will dry it out, even without sugar, but you're going to end up with a heavier beer if you have a higher OG.  The classics will start in the 1.050 - 1.060 range and finish at 1.005 or below.  The illusion of body comes from high carbonation, firm bitterness, and lots of yeast flavor.
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Offline roguejim

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2012, 03:28:42 PM »
How many volumes of CO2 is desirable in a saison?

Online morticaixavier

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2012, 09:36:44 PM »
+1 on the don't go high gravity. I am sipping a spur of the moment brew I did a couple weeks ago, 1.036 with pils malt and a touch of caraffa II (Cause I had it and wanted the color) and a couple LB of wheat malt and it's yummy, I really think the yeast is what this style is about to a large extent.

I used the WLP565 (two tubes) and it finished at 1.003 but it has lots of character and I think that's mostly from the yeast although the wheat gives it a little silkyness in the mouthfeel.

On the high temp thing, don't over do that either. I pitched at 68 and let it rise up to 72 by the end but it is a very clean flavour even while having lots of nice aroma and spice.

I split the hops between bravo for bittering and amarillo/hallertaur for flavour and aroma and I am likeing it a lot. I think the point with this style is to do what ever you feel like. it's a very free form beer but the yeast will identify it as a saison.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 05:08:04 AM »
On the high temp thing, don't over do that either. I pitched at 68 and let it rise up to 72 by the end but it is a very clean flavour even while having lots of nice aroma and spice.

This is good to hear. This is the one thing that's been keeping me waffling on doing a saison. I doubt I can get stable ferm temps much higher than the mid-70's even with my brew belt.
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Offline majorvices

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What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 05:40:33 AM »
Certainly rye is a nice addition, but you can go as simple as all pils. Mash long and low and be patient with fermentation. Mainly what you are going for is the yeast character from whatever strain you are using. You will want to experiment with pitching rates, aeration time and temp, but I agree to still keep temp restrained, especially the first couple days. You may try starting off at 64, or 68 or even 72. But I wouldn't ramp up much more that 78-82.

As was mentioned, low gravity is going to be more traditional, but you can some nice 1.080ish saisons as well with second or third gen to put down for a few months. On those I tend to approach more like a tripel and will add some sugar to help with attenuation. Incremental feeding is a technique that can give you some interesting flavors as well and really help dry the beer out.

Saison is like the "Impressionist" equivalent of the beer world. Lots of fun, very colorful and room for lots of experimentation. 
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Offline brewmichigan

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2012, 06:22:35 AM »
I would also add that wyeast is releasing their farmhouse ale yeast this quarter, 3726. If you can wait, I would grab one of these and use it. It's my favorite saison yeast so far. Dry with a nice tart finish and just the right spiciness for me.
Mike --- Flint, Michigan

Online morticaixavier

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2012, 07:39:31 AM »
Saison is like the "Impressionist" equivalent of the beer world. Lots of fun, very colorful and room for lots of experimentation.

I like this characterization a lot major.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline svejk

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2012, 08:04:45 AM »
Great advice so far.  One other thing I'll add is that there is a tendency for some people to think that the spiciness of saisons comes from actual spices.  The best examples I've made have no spices at all.  Non-spiced saisons allow the character of the yeast provide the interesting flavor components.

Offline gmac

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2012, 08:38:35 AM »
Great advice so far.  One other thing I'll add is that there is a tendency for some people to think that the spiciness of saisons comes from actual spices.  The best examples I've made have no spices at all.  Non-spiced saisons allow the character of the yeast provide the interesting flavor components.

+1.  I started off with coriander and peppercorns etc in saison and although I like it very much, most of my more recent saisons have been unspiced.  Just allow the yeast to come through and you'll be amazed at what develops.  No reason not to spice but don't overdue it and don't be afraid not to do it at all.

Offline dbeechum

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2012, 08:39:10 AM »
Yes, please.. I'll usually use a small dose of spices in my winter saison (like vanilla), but otherwise I leave my Saisons alone these days. But that's also predicted on trusting the yeast and sort of kicking it in the teeth a little.

Also, another yeast of note is arriving on the market - WLP585 Saison 3, which out of my talk last year was pretty much tied for first place in terms of preference.
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Offline gmac

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2012, 08:51:16 AM »
Also, another yeast of note is arriving on the market - WLP585 Saison 3, which out of my talk last year was pretty much tied for first place in terms of preference.

Any chance you could summarize the available saison yeasts out there?  I've only ever used WY3711 so far which I love for the ease of use, huge attenuation and apparent lack of temperature sensitivity.  I'm afraid of the Dupont strains for the opposite reasons.  What's this one gonna be like?  Yes, the manufacturers put out descriptions but those are also focused on marketing the yeast and actualy results do sometimes vary.

Offline dbeechum

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Re: What makes a good Saison?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2012, 08:53:13 AM »
Got last Fall's Zymurgy? It's in there. :)

I'll dig up my notes later and post them.
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