Table Saison Achillea (Barrel Fermented)

yarrow-rosemaryGregory and I recently brewed two more saisons utilizing the remaining foraged yarrow we had vacuum sealed and stored in the freezer over a year ago.  This is the first of those saisons, which underwent primary fermentation in the small American oak Parliament Whiskey barrel we’ve used in the past (which is almost neutral at this point).  We decided to make this one hopless, as we’ve done in the past with our Saison Achillea, but we left out the lavender and added some fresh rosemary this time.  We also decided to brew this one to session, or table strength, which is a fancy way of saying it’s low in alcohol content.

barrel-yarrowWe used Imperial Yeast’s F08 Sour Batch Kidz strain which is a blend of Belgian saison yeasts, Lactobacillus, and two Brettanomyces strains.  We let in condition in glass for over two months and bottled it with additional Brettanomyces Bruxellensis.

Our process and tasting notes follow:

Barrel Fermented Table Yarrow Saison

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.75
Anticipated OG: 1.035
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

38.71% — 3.00 Lbs. Red Wheat
38.71% — 3.00 Lbs. Vienna
12.90% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
06.45% — 0.50 Lbs. CaraVienne
03.23% — 0.25 Lbs. Crystal 40L

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
2.00 oz. Yarrow @ 60 min. (first wort)
2.00 oz. Yarrow @ 60 min.
3.00 oz. Yarrow @ 5 min.
0.60 oz. Rosemary @ 5 min.
2.00 oz. Yarrow @ 0 min.

Yeast

Imperial Yeast F08 — Sour Batch Kidz
Used barrel terroir
White Labs WLP650 — Brettanomyces Bruxellensis (bottle conditioning)

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 156F
Mash out — 10 min @ 170F

Notes

Brewed on 11.03.16 with Gregory

11.03.16 — Chilled wort to 70F & pitched the yeast into the oak barrel

11.05.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity

11.12.16 — After 9 day primary, transferred to glass secondary

01.24.17 — Bottled 5.5 gallons @ 3.2 volumes of CO2 with corn sugar and Brett. Brux.

barrel-table-yarrowTasting Notes — 02.26.16 (bottle pour)

Orange in color with a slight haze.  Thin white head stand which persists throughout drinking.  Sweet-herbal yarrow dominates the nose with a hint of honey in the background.  Sweet-tart yarrow is front and center on the palate and hits the sides of the tongue with a puckering tartness.  Faint hint of oak on the dry, crisp, quick finish.  Thirst quenching and simple.

Calculated OG: 1.035
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 3.3%

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Spring Saisons

Flower Saison 02This post will detail two recent saisons that we brewed for and/or during spring here in the PNW.  The first is a version of our pink peppercorn saison that we added wisteria and lilac flowers to and heavily hopped with Chinook (we had a bunch laying around and had to use them up).  The second is a fir tip table saison we brewed using fir tips Gregory foraged in Leavenworth, WA.

I’ve wanted to use lilac in a beer for a while now and figured it would marry well with the floral peppercorns and Chinook’s earthy-spicy notes.  While Nate, a longtime friend of mine, was visiting I brought this up to him and he recalled that he had success using wisteria in a saison.  In West Seattle both lilac and wisteria grow abundantly and were available early as we’ve had a very warm season, so I decided to use them both.

FlowersGregory and I wanted to experiment with ester and phenol production as they relate to fermentation temperature with our go-to saison yeast — we usually use the brewbelt with Wyeast’s French Saison strain, which sometimes produces more bubblegum/banana notes than we desire — so we opted to let the yeast “free-rise.”  We used the same grain bill as our previously brewed pink peppercorn petite saison, but got better mash efficiency and attenuation so we ended up with a higher ABV and a drier beer.  The absence of the brewbelt almost eliminated the esters/phenols associated with saisons, resulting in a beer that is more akin to a pale ale than a saison.

For the fir tip table saison, we wanted something very light, dry, and easy-drinking.  We simplified both the grain bill and the hop additions, using classic European hop varietals.  Knowing we usually get better efficiency/attenuation than what Brewtoad calculates for session beers, we crafted a recipe that they determined would only be about 2.9% ABV to arrive at our desired 3.5% ABV.  We used White Labs’ Belgian Style Saison Blend and used the brewbelt for a shorter amount of time than we normally do (3 days as opposed to a week) to continue experimenting with ester/phenol production.  We added the fir tips from Leavenworth twice in the boil.

Read on for recipes, processes, tasting notes, and additional photos:

Kitchen Sink Saison With Pink Peppercorn, Lilac, & Wisteria

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.00
Anticipated OG: 1.039
Anticipated SRM: 2.0
Anticipated IBU: 33
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

50.00% — 4.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
25.00% — 2.00 Lbs. Vienna
12.50% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
12.50% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat

Hops

0.30 oz. Magnum (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 10 min.
0.50 oz. Horizon (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 10 min.
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 01 min.
0.80 oz. Saaz (Pellet, 3.2% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 4 days (dry hop)
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 7 days (dry hop)

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
7.0g Pink Peppercorns (ground) @ 5 min.
1.60 oz. Fresh Lilac Flowers @ 5 days (in keg)
3.15 oz. Fresh Wisteria Flowers @ 5 days (in keg)

Yeast

Wyeast 3711 — French Saison

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 155F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F

Notes

03.31.16 — Made a starter of French Saison

Brewed on 04.12.16 with Gregory

04.12.16 — Chilled wort to 77F & pitched the yeast

04.14.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity

04.16.16 — Added half of the dry hops to primary as fermentation slows

04.20.16 — Transferred to secondary and added remaining dry hop additions

04.27.16 — Split the batch and bottled two gallons with 2 oz. corn sugar for 2.6 volumes CO2, and kegged the remaining three gallons, adding the flowers in the keg for 5 days before removing them.

Flower Saison 01Tasting Notes — 06.08.16 (poured off tap)

Yellow-straw color and clear with a large fluffy white head stand that dissipates slowly and laces thick.  Big floral notes and a hint of peppercorn on the nose.  Hardly any saison esters/phenols detected.  Body is very dry and crisp with the herbal, grassy and spicy notes of Chinook dominating the palate.  Finishes with vivid and lingering earthy bitterness, and some peppercorn spice.

 

Calculated OG: 1.045
Calculated FG: 1.002
Approx. ABV: 5.6%

Fir Tip Table Saison

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 6.00
Anticipated OG: 1.030
Anticipated SRM: 1.0
Anticipated IBU: 22
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

66.67% — 4.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
16.67% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
16.67% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat

Hops

0.75 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 5 min.
1.00 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 1 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.80 oz. Fir Tips @ 5 min.
1.80 oz. Fir Tips @ 1 min.

Yeast

White Labs WLP568 — Belgian Style Saison Yeast Blend

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 70 min @ 154F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F

Notes

Brewed on 05.12.16 with Gregory

05.12.16 — Chilled wort to 70F, pitched the yeast & put onto brewbelt

05.14.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity

05.15.16 — Removed brewbelt

05.22.16 — After 10 day primary, kegged the batch and began force carbonating

Fir Tip Table SaisonTasting Notes — 06.08.16 (poured off tap)

Pale-straw color with large fluffy white head stand that dissipates quickly and laces medium.  Light grainy pils malt and a hint of bubblegum on the nose.  Citrus and pine form the fir is mellow but center stage on the palate.  Light and creamy mouthfeel with a round and smooth bitter flourish on the dry finish.

Calculated OG: 1.030
Calculated FG: 1.004
Approx. ABV: 3.4%

Saison Bretta Prunus — Experimental Fruit Saison

Saison Bretta PrunusI was reading Michael Tonsmeire’s American Sour Beers and I got to thinking we should experiment a little — ie: “what if we reversed the usual brett. beer protocol and pitched the brett. first and the regular yeast afterwards?”  I knew that big pitches of brett. may act as a normal yeast and complete primary fermentation rather quickly (2-3 weeks), and that brett. will eat left over nutrients from dead yeast cells, creating interesting and complex esters.  So we disregarded the fact that the saison yeast would probably have few (if any) sugars left to work with and would probably die, and went ahead with the experiment to see what would happen.

We pitched the saison yeast a week after the brett. and decided to use local foraged plums that Eric picked for us, adding them about a month after a long primary for an additional two month secondary before kegging.   Recipe, process and tasting notes below:

Saison Bretta Prunus

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.50
Anticipated OG: 1.066
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 36
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

66.67% — 9.00 Lbs. Pilsner
14.81% — 2.00 Lbs. Munich Dark 20L
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. White Wheat
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Acidulated Malt
03.70% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt

Hops

1.00 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.0% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Sterling (Pellet, 7.5% AA) @ 30 min.
1.00 oz. Sterling (Pellet, 7.5% AA) @ 5 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
5 Lbs. 5 oz. wild plums (60 days)

Yeast

Wyeast 3711 — French Saison
Wyeast 5112 — Brettanomyces Bruxellensis
White Labs WLP653 — Brettanomyces Lambicus

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 155F

Notes

08.11.15 — Made a large starter of Brett. B and a normal starter of Brett. L

Brewed on 08.17.15 with Gregory

08.17.15 — Chilled wort to 75F and pitched the brett. starters

08.18.15 — Put onto brewbelt

08.19.15 — Signs of vigorous brett. fermentation activity

08.24.15 — Pitched the French Saison yeast

08.26.15 — Removed the brewbelt

09.14.15 — After long primary fermentation, transferred to secondary (bucket) and added the 5 Lbs. 5 oz. of plums (thawed with their juices)

09.25.15 — Gravity at 1.010

11.13.15 — Gnarly Brett. pellicle & Gravity stable at 1.008

Saison Bretta Prunus PellicleTasting Notes — 02.12.16 (poured off tap) 

A hazy beer despite the long maturation period.  Long lasting head that laces nicely with each sip.  Lush and sweet fruit on the nose akin to over-ripe apricots and nectarines, almost Starburst candy-like, with an underlying funk that reminded me of parmesan cheese when the beer was young.  The plums are front and center on the palate where their sweetness is carried along by the carbonation, and a slow decay into a round tartness occurs, bringing a less saccharine Sweet Tarts candy vibe to mind.  A quick herbal tea note announces itself if you warm the beer in your mouth.  It has a tart and tannic stone fruit-skin finish that lingers, eventually drying the palate.

Calculated OG: 1.061
Calculated FG: 1.008
Approx. ABV: 6.9%

Saison Achillea — Gruitbier inspired saison

Yarrow LifeGregory and I brewed this saison back in June 2015 and we ended up bottling a few gallons and kegging the rest.  Though we thoroughly enjoy hoppy beers, we also love brewing experimental hop-less brews that take their inspiration from historical beer styles and bygone brewing techniques.

The name Saison Achillea is a reference to the binomial name of the flowering plant widely known as common yarrow, Achillea Millefolium.  We used foraged yarrow as well as a small amount of foraged local lavender (another plant traditionally found in gruit) in the production of this beer and pitched our go to saison yeast, Wyeast 3711 French Saison.

Yarrow & LavenderYarrow has a varied history and mythology, including being revered as a healing herb and magical plant in ancient Greece.  In China, the I-Ching is traditionally cast with yarrow stalks which represent the Yin and Yang forces of the universe.  In Native America, yarrow was used as a medicinal herb by tribes across the continent.  In beer, yarrow imparts a sweet floral fragrance but acts as a bittering component and imparts tartness on the palate.  I consider this a sour beer, although we didn’t pitch any bacteria; all the tartness comes from the yarrow.

Check out our recipe and complete tasting notes below:

Saison Achillea

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 12.25
Anticipated OG: 1.059
Anticipated SRM: 9.0
Anticipated IBU: N/A
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

81.63% — 10.00 Lbs. Vienna
08.16% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat Malt
06.12% — 0.75 Lbs. Caravienna
04.08% — 0.50 Lbs. Crystal 40L

Hops

N/A

Extras

6.00 oz. Yarrow @ 60 min.
4.00 oz. Yarrow @ 5 min.
0.50 oz. Lavender @ 5 min.
0.50 oz. Lavender @ 0 min.
0.75 oz. Yarrow @ 0 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.

Yeast

Wyeast 3711 French Saison

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 150F

Notes

06.08.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Wyeast 3711 French Saison smack pack.  Brewtoad suggests 224 billion cells to ferment 5.5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 06.10.15 with Gregory

06.10.15 — Chilled wort to 70F and pitched the French Saison yeast

06.12.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

06.20.15 — Transferred two gallons into bottling bucket after 10 day primary fermentation

06.22.15 — Kegged the rest of the beer and began force carbonating

Tasting Notes — 11. 01.15 (poured from bottle)

This beer is quite clear now that it has had time to bottle condition for over four months.  The aroma is floral and herbal-sweet like tea with a hint of lavender.  Surprisingly, there’s not much in the way of spicy saison yeast phenolics or fruity esters (though I don’t recall if we utilized the brewbelt this time around).  The yarrow dominates the palate, starting as an herbal, sweeter ginger-like note before it melds into the malt backbone which is reminiscent of wild honey.  There is a hint of lavender sweetness before the yarrow returns to dry out the finish with some balancing astringency and acidic tartness that pierces the sides of the tongue and lingers on.

Calculated OG: 1.059
Calculated FG: 1.006
Approx. ABV: 6.9%