Tuesday, December 10, 2013

“Polar Vortex" Saison

Brew date: Nov. 23, 2013
#21 - 6.25 gal

With temps hovering in the low 20's and the wife away, it was time to brew all afternoon. Make that two beers. It may have been biting off more than I could chew, but it was fun, even in my cold garage.

I had decided on a dark saison long ago after seeing the AHA's Saison d'Hiver recipe. My intention is to split the batch into two 3-gallon carboys to secondary for about a month. One will be left to its self, while the other is added to about one pound of wild black cap berries picked from my parents property earlier this summer and frozen.

Brewing went smoothly enough, especially after adding a large piece of steel pegboard to the top of my brew stand to act as a table top. It sits between burners and finally provides a place to rest utensils and other tools during the brew day. I also hooked up a 1/4 horsepower utility pump to my wort chiller and recycled cold water from a tub containing frozen water jugs. It definitely sped up the chilling process, but I need to get some fasteners for my tubing and steelhead pump to recycle the wort while chilling to get a true whirlpool effect.

In the future, I should prepare 2-3 tubs of cold water for the chilling process. The first helps to reduce the temperature of the wort to about 160 'F, while the other one or two can be used to bring it down to pitching temp.

The only thing I think I would change about the recipe and schedule would be to add some Irish moss to the end of the boil to better clarify the wort. Even now two weeks later, it still has a milk chocolate opaqueness. Also, since I was a little short of my target gravity, I decided to spike the end of the boil with another quarter pound of brown sugar.

  • 12 lb Belgian Pale Ale Malt (Dingemans)
  • 1 lb Caramel 120L
  • 1.25 Munich Malt
  • 0.75 lb Vienna Malt
  • 0.5 lb Red Wheat Malt
  • 0.3 lb Debittered Black Malt
  • 0.2 lb Dark Chocolate Malt (Briess)
  • 0.5 oz Brewers Gold (10.5% A, pellet) (60 min)
  • 0.5 oz Willamette (5.7% A, leaf) (60 min)
  • 0.5 oz Saaz (3% A, pellet) (15 min)
  • 1 lb Dark Belgian Candi (5 min)
  • 0.5 lb Dark Brown Sugar (5 min)
  • Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast starter (11/21)
Target OG: 1.077
Target FG: 1.019
Target ABV: 7.6 %
Target IBU: 26.5

  • Mash in 6 gal. water @ 160 'F
  • Sac rest @ 149 'F (60 min)
  • Mash out @ 168 'F (10 min)
  • Sparge 4 gal. water @ 168 'F
  • Boil 60 min
  • Chill and ferment @ 70-76 'F
  • First runnings: 3.3 gal. @ 1.070
  • Sparge: 4 gal. @ 1.030
  • Pre-boil: 1.046
  • End-boil: 1.070
  • Added 4 oz brown sugar to spike gravity to near 1.077

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