Elizabeth Burgess–AHA Member and Indian Peaks Alers Vice President–shares one of her favorite recipes: a saison from Brewers Publications book Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew.
Why did you pick this homebrew recipe?
My husband, Matt, and I got into homebrewing in 2007. We bought Brewing Classic Stylesbased on the recommendation from the American Brewmaster homebrew shop, which helped us brew a few solid batches of extract beer.
I was still learning about beer and styles, so when I picked my first recipe, I based it on what I knew I liked at the time: wheat beers, Belgian-style whites, etc. In reading the book’s description of the saison recipe, I thought, “sure, why not!”
The finished product was delicious. I was sold on saison.
I remember it being refreshing, with flavors I had never experienced. There was a touch of spice balanced sweet. And it definitely was not like those offensive IPAs I had no desire for (at the time!).
This saison recipe made me fall in love with brewing, homebrewing, and beer.
Tell us about your homebrew club!
After relocating from North Carolina to beautiful Longmont, Colorado, I needed a way to make some new friends. I discovered Left Hand Brewing’s (Longmont, CO) Ales4Females program and went to a talk in December 2013 on beer tasting. The speaker–BJCP exam director Don Blake–mentioned he was a member of Longmont’s Indian Peak Alers homebrew club. My husband and I went to our first meeting in January 2014 and haven’t looked back since! Our homebrew club members are some of our dearest friends, becoming our family away from family.
I also brought my love of organizing and process improvement to the homebrew club. In 2016 I was elected Treasurer and ran our club’s annual homebrew competition, Peak-to-Peak Pro-Am. As I attended more events in the beer community, I looked for more opportunities to talk about beer, homebrewing, and our club. This love for community, connection, and diversity helped get me elected as Vice President of the Indian Peak Alers and then again in 2022 for 2 more years.
I am currently working on a project for Ales4Females where I interview women in the brewing industry in our club’s area of Boulder County to help advocate for more diversity in brewing. I want to make beer and brewing approachable to women and other marginalized folks.
Did we hear you have a portable brew rig?
Yes! I like to advocate that anyone can make beer at home. To help with this, I built a portable, brew-in-a-bag setup that I can take anywhere and brew. I just need access to freshwater!
I started doing homebrewing demonstrations at Longmont’s annual Oktoberfest to show how easy it is. If this little 5-foot tall woman can shlep all this equipment around and make beer under poor weather conditions (sometimes in the rain), anyone can do it!
The system comprises a converted keg, banjo burner, two 6-gallon buckets (one for fermentation), and a 50-foot copper immersion chiller. It all fits nicely into a wagon for easy transport from my vehicle to the demonstration site.
We still haven’t gotten our home brewery and walk-in cooler rebuilt in our new house, but I hope to host an inclusive brew day event with other marginalized folks in a driveway or patio soon!
- 7.7 lb Pilsener LME (liquid malt extract)
- 1.0 lb Cane Sugar
- 0.75 lb Wheat LME
- 0.5 lb Munich (9 L) LME
- 2.0 oz CaraMunich malt
- 1.7 oz Hallertau hops, 4% a.a (60 min)
- 0.75 oz Hallertau hops, 4% a.a (0 min)
- Yeast: White Labs WLP565 Saison Ale or Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison
Yield: 5 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.060
Final Gravity: 1.008
Place the specialty grains in a steeping bag. Bring your brewing water (~6-7 gallons) to 170° F. Turn off the heat and steep the grains for 30 minutes. Remove steeping grains. Stir in the malt extract, taking care that it fully dissolves and does not collect on the bottom where it can burn. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil. Once the 60 minute boil begins, start adding the hops per the schedule in the ingredients. Ferment at 68° F and ramp-up temperature to 80° F over the course of fermentation.
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