Author Topic: Open fermenting a Saison  (Read 2001 times)

Offline brewmasternpb

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Open fermenting a Saison
« on: April 04, 2011, 08:23:42 PM »
I was thinking about using open fermentation with a Saison in June.  The main reason for using open fermentation is that it increases esters and phenols correct?  Can anyone think of any reason that open fermenting a Saison would be undesireable?
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

Offline ryang

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 07:47:41 AM »
As long as you are working in a clean area, there's no reason not to go for it.


Offline jeffy

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011, 07:54:16 AM »
I was thinking about using open fermentation with a Saison in June.  The main reason for using open fermentation is that it increases esters and phenols correct?  Can anyone think of any reason that open fermenting a Saison would be undesireable?
Why would you think that an open fermentation would promote esters and phenols?  I'm thinking it would only do two things, first there would be no head pressure from the activity which wouldn't make much difference on a homebrew scale and second it would make the wort more susceptible to contamination.
Or am I missing something?
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Offline ryang

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 08:00:12 AM »
He may be referencing a BrewingTV where they did a side by side of an ale (a wheat?  can't remember for sure) that was open fermented and one with a lid.  In their tasting notes, they seemed to believe that the open fermented one was more estery/phenolic.

I was slightly skeptical, but haven't tried side by side.

Offline jackson1

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011, 08:02:39 AM »
I recently brewed a Saison using Wyeast 3724 and my understanding was if you boost the fermenting temp that would boost the Esters and phenols.  I built a cardboard box, put a small electric heater in front of it and raised and held the temp at right around 85°F - 90°F.  I know this seems stupid high but the beer turned out excellent.  This was all done in a 6.5 Gal Carboy with a blowoff tube.

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2011, 08:06:36 AM »
This is not 'stupid high' for saison yeast. They need the high temps to perform well.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2011, 08:08:26 AM »
What sort of attenuation did you get at that temp?

I have a very hard time getting this yeast to fully attenuate even when I raise the temp into the 70s.  I'm actually thinking about not using this yeast again, just cuz it was such a pain.
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Offline jackson1

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 09:06:17 AM »
Mine finished around 1.008 from what I remember (I don't have access to my notes at the moment).  The higher temp seemed to work out just fine.  I was very hesitant to run it at that temp (I usually ferment at around 65°F)  but I was very happy with the results.  We'll see what the judges think (I sent a bottle to the NHC).  I read that that yeast like to stop before it is complete but that certainly wasn't my experience.

Offline euge

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 10:26:08 AM »
I was thinking about using open fermentation with a Saison in June.  The main reason for using open fermentation is that it increases esters and phenols correct?  Can anyone think of any reason that open fermenting a Saison would be undesireable?

I do it because it's easier. But, it's just laying the lid on the bucket during the attenuative phase. Once that is past I'll snap the lid down if not transferring immediately to some other vessel. With a carboy one could just cover the mouth and neck with a piece of foil.

As a caveat, you don't want to leave your fermenter "uncovered" generally. I ferment in chambers so the buckets are still protected from ambient air movement. Leaving one out with the lid off will almost certainly result in contamination.

I read years ago about pressure affecting the esters and whatnot. Doesn't seem to matter at the homebrew level, though had a saison's krausen drop immediately one time when I pressed hard on the lid of the fermenter. Despite that the beer was fine.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline denny

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 11:14:17 AM »
The main reason for using open fermentation is that it increases esters and phenols correct?

Boy, not that I noticed the few times I tried it.  I'm hard pressed to think of a reason why it would.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 12:11:16 PM »
The main reason for using open fermentation is that it increases esters and phenols correct?

Boy, not that I noticed the few times I tried it.  I'm hard pressed to think of a reason why it would.
It could because of the reduced pressure and the extra O2 would allow more yeast growth, giving more byproducts.  It seems unlikely to be a noticeable effect though.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 02:08:12 PM »
You can also manipulate the ester profile using fermenter geometry.  Fermenting in something shallow will give more esters.  Works for the Belgians...
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Offline denny

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 02:11:18 PM »
It could because of the reduced pressure and the extra O2 would allow more yeast growth, giving more byproducts.  It seems unlikely to be a noticeable effect though.

Or, if you believe Clayton Cone, more yeast growth will give you less esters.
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Offline denny

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 02:11:45 PM »
You can also manipulate the ester profile using fermenter geometry.  Fermenting in something shallow will give more esters.  Works for the Belgians...

Gordon, any idea why it works like that? 
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Offline johnf

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Re: Open fermenting a Saison
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 02:14:18 PM »
You can also manipulate the ester profile using fermenter geometry.  Fermenting in something shallow will give more esters.  Works for the Belgians...

Gordon, any idea why it works like that? 

Lower hydrostatic pressure is the typical explanation.

I listed to the Anchor interview on TBN from a few weeks back recently. It is sort of amazing that they ferment Steam in fermentors 12-18" deep. That is less deep than a carboy.