Author Topic: Low gravity saison  (Read 2536 times)

Offline erockrph

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Low gravity saison
« on: March 05, 2013, 08:43:34 AM »
I'm planning on brewing a low-gravity saison to prop up a pitch of 3711 for a Biere de Mars. Any tips? In particular, I'm wondering what mash temp I'd want to use. My gut tells me to mash low, but if I'm only starting out at 1.040ish for my OG is there a risk that I may end up with a brew that ends up too thin-bodied?

Here's what I was thinking of:

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Table Saison

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Saison
Boil Time: 90 min
Batch Size: 3 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3.5 gallons
Efficiency: 85% (brew house)

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.039
Final Gravity: 1.008
ABV (standard): 4.08%
IBU (tinseth): 27.36
SRM (morey): 5.86

FERMENTABLES:
3 lb - German - Bohemian Pilsner (82.8%)
4 oz - American - Wheat (6.9%)
4 oz - German - Munich Light (6.9%)
2 oz - Belgian - Special B (3.4%)

HOPS:
0.75 oz - Ultra, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: First Wort (AA 9, IBU: 27.36)
1 oz - Ultra for 0 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil (AA 9)

MASH STEPS:
1) Infusion, Temp: 149 F, Time: 90 min, Amount: 16 qt, Sacc rest

YEAST:
Wyeast - French Saison 3711

NOTES:
Pitch at 66F, hold for a day, then let free rise.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline svejk

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 09:15:30 AM »
I think you'll find that 3711 will have no trouble taking a 1.039 beer all the way down to 1.000, so I wouldn't hesitate to raise the mash temp to 154 to see if you could leave a couple points on the hydrometer.  From a recipe standpoint, I would probably throw in 4 oz of acidulated malt, because my belief is that it adds a little bit of a twang in the finish that really works well in the style.  I'm not sure whether I'd go with the Special B myself, maybe a bit of aromatic or special roast to add complexity.

Good luck with the brew!  I'm a big fan of making small saisons to build up my yeast, and I would be very interested in reading a followup posted to this thread once you know how it turns out.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 12:01:12 PM »
I think you'll find that 3711 will have no trouble taking a 1.039 beer all the way down to 1.000, so I wouldn't hesitate to raise the mash temp to 154 to see if you could leave a couple points on the hydrometer.  From a recipe standpoint, I would probably throw in 4 oz of acidulated malt, because my belief is that it adds a little bit of a twang in the finish that really works well in the style.  I'm not sure whether I'd go with the Special B myself, maybe a bit of aromatic or special roast to add complexity.

Good luck with the brew!  I'm a big fan of making small saisons to build up my yeast, and I would be very interested in reading a followup posted to this thread once you know how it turns out.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll probably shoot for the mid-150's for my mash temp, then. Aromatic sounds like a good addition - I may end up adding a few ounces of that here. The Special B is partly because I want a touch of crystal malt here to keep it from drying out completely, and partly because I'm just a big fan of Special B (especially in most Belgian styles). I don't necessarily want a big crystal malt flavor, but I've had some Saisons with a considerable amount of crystal malt and they have worked surprisingly well.

I prefer lactic acid to acidulated malt for repeatability purposes, but I agree about the twang. I'm lucky to have low sodium in my brewing water, so I may even add some extra baking soda so I can get a little extra lactic acid in there and still keep my mash pH in the 5.3-5.4 range.
Eric B.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 12:06:18 PM »
I think you'll find that 3711 will have no trouble taking a 1.039 beer all the way down to 1.000, so I wouldn't hesitate to raise the mash temp to 154 to see if you could leave a couple points on the hydrometer.  From a recipe standpoint, I would probably throw in 4 oz of acidulated malt, because my belief is that it adds a little bit of a twang in the finish that really works well in the style.  I'm not sure whether I'd go with the Special B myself, maybe a bit of aromatic or special roast to add complexity.

Good luck with the brew!  I'm a big fan of making small saisons to build up my yeast, and I would be very interested in reading a followup posted to this thread once you know how it turns out.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll probably shoot for the mid-150's for my mash temp, then. Aromatic sounds like a good addition - I may end up adding a few ounces of that here. The Special B is partly because I want a touch of crystal malt here to keep it from drying out completely, and partly because I'm just a big fan of Special B (especially in most Belgian styles). I don't necessarily want a big crystal malt flavor, but I've had some Saisons with a considerable amount of crystal malt and they have worked surprisingly well.

I prefer lactic acid to acidulated malt for repeatability purposes, but I agree about the twang. I'm lucky to have low sodium in my brewing water, so I may even add some extra baking soda so I can get a little extra lactic acid in there and still keep my mash pH in the 5.3-5.4 range.

If you are adding the lactic for twang and not for pH adjustment why not just add it to the kettle? then you don't have to mess around with adding lime or soda and acid.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 12:12:18 PM »
If you are adding the lactic for twang and not for pH adjustment why not just add it to the kettle? then you don't have to mess around with adding lime or soda and acid.

Good point. I don't know why I didn't think of that. I always pick up good ideas around here.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline denny

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 12:38:55 PM »
If you are adding the lactic for twang and not for pH adjustment why not just add it to the kettle? then you don't have to mess around with adding lime or soda and acid.

Good point. I don't know why I didn't think of that. I always pick up good ideas around here.

You could even add it post fermentation so you can taste to get just the right amount, rather than guessing when you put it in the kettle.
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 12:47:53 PM »
If you are adding the lactic for twang and not for pH adjustment why not just add it to the kettle? then you don't have to mess around with adding lime or soda and acid.

Good point. I don't know why I didn't think of that. I always pick up good ideas around here.

You could even add it post fermentation so you can taste to get just the right amount, rather than guessing when you put it in the kettle.

+1  I have had to make lactic adjustments in the past.  This is what I do.  You can take a smaller sample, doctor it, and scale up from there when you get the flavor profile you are looking for.
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Offline kraftwerk

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 10:32:52 AM »
Sounds quite nice. Just in time for early spring!

I've been on a serious saison kick recently and can't get enough of the 3711. You might find that it is even better in subsequent generations! I've always added acidity with about 4 oz acidulated malt for a 5 gal batch but it's really just guess work. I usually end up with good results. This conversation has inspired me to try adding lactic acid prior to kegging just for fun!

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 01:17:53 PM »
I FWH a saison and thought the smoother bitterness actually left the beer a little lacking. I think you need some of that sharper bitterness for the style although it doesn't need to become an IPA in disguise.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2013, 05:56:25 AM »
So I've been drinking this for the past week now and it came out great. I did decide to drop the Special B. My final grain bill was simply 3lb of Pils, 8 oz of Wheat and 4 oz of Aromatic (boiloff was a bit high, so I only ended up with 2.4 gallons in the fermenter). I mashed at 158F - OG was 1.043, FG was 1.005. I am amazed at how much body the 3711 leaves behind even when it finishes so dry.

The finished beer is dry, spicy and juicy with some nice malt flavor in the finish. It drinks like the beer equivalent of a dry Gewurz or Viogner. I need to get another batch going soon, because this won't last very far into the summer.
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Offline svejk

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2013, 02:03:04 PM »
Great to hear it turned out so well - sounds like the perfect summer beer!

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2013, 02:57:13 PM »
did you end up using the lactic acid at all?

I am amazed at how much mouthfeel and body you can get from the right yeast choice.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2013, 09:27:07 PM »
did you end up using the lactic acid at all?

I am amazed at how much mouthfeel and body you can get from the right yeast choice.

Nope. Targeted 5.3 mash pH and let the yeast do the rest. Amazing how much acidity the 3711 puts out.
Eric B.

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Offline narvin

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2013, 11:31:22 PM »
Lactic acid in a Saison can be good, but not for the reason you think.  Lowering the pH of the wort below the recommended range does not necessarily result in a lower post-fermentation pH.  In fact, a low kettle pH can inhibit fermentation and result in a higher beer pH.  For a light colored Saison where there's little acidity in the grist, many water profiles need some acidity.  However, 2-4% acid malt won't add any noticeable flavor to the beer.  The "twang" you're tasting is probably a result of getting the wort to the proper starting pH and letting the yeast do its job.

If you actually want to add lactic acid for a slightly sour flavor, do it after fermentation or use an acid producing bacteria. 
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Offline nateo

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Re: Low gravity saison
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2013, 08:35:30 AM »
If you actually want to add lactic acid for a slightly sour flavor, do it after fermentation or use an acid producing bacteria.

Or, you could add some sort of acidic must or fruit. I made a killer Saison last year with a bit of grapefruit juice.
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