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%

Advertisements

Spruce Campbell — 100% Spruce tip Saison

Spruce Campbell 01The second of our beers to include spruce tips, Spruce Campbell, is a nod to our favorite Bruce (Campbell’s cheesiness is intentional, especially by the time of Army of Darkness, Springsteen’s isn’t — though we love him as well), thus in its epic nature it did not include any hops.  Instead of hops, Gregory and I decided to make spruce additions throughout the boil, using two different species of spruce tips that Eric the Barter/Forager foraged for us.

The first of these varieties (used in Spruce Springsteen) offers notes of citrus akin to grapefruit and tangerine, whereas the second is reminiscent of pine and earth.  The resulting beer features a massive 22.55 oz. of spruce tips total and utilizes blonde Belgian candi sugar to help dry out the body in the absence of hops’ balancing bittering properties.  Check out the recipe and tasting notes below:

Spruce Campbell 02Spruce Campbell — 100% Spruce tip Saison

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 12.00
Anticipated OG: 1.062
Anticipated SRM: 3.0
Anticipated IBU: 0.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

83% – 10.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
08% – 1.00 Lbs. Blonde Belgian Candi Sugar
04% – 0.50 Lbs. Carapils
04% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt

Hops

None

Extras

1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
Spruce Tips — 2.0 oz. @ 60 min.
Spruce Tips — 4.0 oz. @ 30 min.
Spruce Tips — 5.0 oz. @ 15 min.
Spruce Tips — 5.0 oz. @ 1 min.
Spruce Tips — 6.55 oz. @ 8 days (dry spruce)

Yeast

Wyeast 3711 – French Saison

Water Profile

Seattle
0.20 tsp Calcium Chloride
0.30 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 60 min @ 151F

Notes

05.19.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Wyeast 3711 packet.  Brewtoad suggests 236 billion cells to ferment 5.5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 05.21.15 with Gregory

05.21.15 — Chilled wort to 70F and pitched the French Saison yeast, put the fermentor onto the brewbelt

05.23.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

06.01.15 — Transferred into secondary after 10 day primary fermentation, added 6.55 oz. spruce tips, and took off the brewbelt

06.08.15 — Kegged and began carbonating

Tasting Notes — 07. 07.15

An explosion of Belgian yeast esters and tropical fruitiness on the nose with a hint of banana in the background.  Palate leans on the sweet side at the start, despite the Belgian candi sugar, with massive fruit notes reminiscent of Fruit Stripes bubble gum and blueberries.  Some Belgian yeast spiciness enters the picture and helps to dry out the finish which lingers with notes of ripe mango and a slight boozy warmth.

Calculated OG: 1.056
Calculated FG: 1.004
Approx. ABV: 6.8%