Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Saison de Posey

Saison de' Posey; Dandelion Saison Split Batch

One of the things I absolutely love about brewing the same beer multiple times is that I am able to play with certain aspects of the beer in order to get it just where I want it.  I fell in love with this particular recipe a couple of years ago and brew it whenever the weather is right or a limited edition yeast is available that may spice things up a bit with it.  

The day seemed like the perfect day to brew a saison.  The dandelion heads were up, the sun was beating down on us, I had just finished building my own cornhole set, and our friends wanted to come over and hang out during the brew day.  My close friend Don is another avid brewer and we frequently brew together and keep the other company during brew days. My wife was also repotting our house plants and repotting the tomatoes and onions from our grow light area in the house.  216 onions and 75 tomato plants!  As you can see, it was a busy day.

As this was a split batch I had some yeast decisions to make as to what would happen to the two 3 gallon batches. I decided to go with WLP 550 Belgian Ale Yeast strain for the primary on the entire 6 gallons.  I have used this strain for a couple of different brews and have always been very happy with it.  This particular beer does very well with numerous strains but b/c of the projected temperature and my desire to not have a completely bone dry saison I went with it instead of the Wyeast 3711 strain.  Both are great I just wanted to have a slightly less fruity profile on the beer at the end of primary fermentation and also leave a bit of something for the Brett to chew on in secondary.  3711's apparent attenuation is slightly higher when I can get it to act properly.

The other decision I made was to add dandelions to the boil.  This was in part due to not being able to go to Hill Farmstead and help pick dandelions like I had previously planned on doing for Vera Mae, his dandelion saison.  (Shaun's are added during the mash I believe)  Not being too familiar with adding dandelions I just really wanted to add them more ceremoniously than anything else.  I hoped that they would add a bit to the color and potentially to the aroma/taste as I added them at 0 minutes and during the chill while whirlpooling.  The one thing I did not see coming was how much of a pain it would be to transfer into the carboy since I did not bag the dandelion addition.  I have a 1/2 inch valve but it still clogged up a few times and I ended up with 6-10 errant dandelion heads in the fermenter.  My wife said they added character...what kind of character?  Just plain ol character.  Something that I tend to forget exists.

A note on the corn hole match.  Don and I completely destroyed my wife and his fiancĂ©.  Granted, we may have taken it more seriously and made up rules as we played...but hey...it just adds character right?

Recipe, Details, & Notes

 Grain Bill:
9 lbs Belgian Pilsner Malt
.5 lbs Golden Naked Oats
.5 lbs Acidulated Malt
.75 Belgian Aromatic

1.5 qts per gallon for mash
Sacch rest: 146 F for 60 min
No mash out rest.

.5 oz Styrian Goldings as First Wort Hop
.5 oz Columbus at 60 min
1.5 oz Styrian Goldings at 0 min

Yeast and Adjuncts:
Primary fermentation of batch was done with 1.5 liter starter of WLP 550; Belgian Ale Yeast

6 quarts dandelion heads added @ 3qts @ 0 min & 3qts during chill @ approx 180 degrees.

3 gallons were racked into secondary with 1 vial of WLP644 Brett Brux Trois.

8 ounces of fresh cloudberry honey from New Foundland was added into the 3 gallons with brett.

Dregs from Jolly Pumpkin Saison Baudelaire iO added to 3 gallon batch with brett & honey

Brewed on 5/19/12 with Don.

5/18 & 19/12- Gathered lots of dandelions from the yard.  I got big ones, small ones, and medium ones.  Some that were beginning to bud and some that were at their peak.  I did not get any that seemed old or wilty as they were more bitter.  Cut the stems off as close to the heads as possible as the stems and leaves are quite bitter. 

5/22/12- Did an initial tasting and testing to see how things were progressing.  My aim was to not only taste it but to see how much work the yeast had done already as my other vial of WLP644 needed something to go on.  The yeast had done a surprising amount of work.  It was already down to about 1.009 after three vigorous days of fermentation. Decided to add the cloudberry honey along the way at some point once split due to the low gravity already.

Color also was lighter than usual with this beer.  Dandelion contribution due to pollen and the heads?  Poor color utilization?  Could tell that the flavor they imparted was lightly bitter and also a tad grassy.  Not really vegetal but light and grassy.  Fun flavor for sure that played well with spicy yeast characteristics.

5/27/12- Racked 3 gallons into 3 gallon carboy along with vial of WLP644 and racked the remainder into keg.  Gravity was at 1.009.

5/28/12-  Added 8 ounces of the cloudberry honey.  Did not take another gravity reading post addition.

6/10/12- Fermentation has been going on for a couple of days.  Lots of tight bubbles from the brett, no krausen or pellicle formed.

6/24/12- Added dregs from Jolly Pumpkin Saison Baudelaire iO.  That was a hibiscus, rose petal, and rose hip saison that was open fermented and had some wonderful bretty/funky things happening with it....let's hope for the best with this.

7/2/12- Gravity at 1.004.  No more BIG honey on the front end in either the nose or taste.  Spicy and slight honey hint on the nose.  Peppery.  Acidic, slight funk, and very dry.  Clearing up quite amazingly.  Pellicle on surface; very thin.

7/23/12- Still at 1.004.  Pellicle still present, still thin however.  Hints of alcohol in the back end of the taste.  Very sweet floral on the nose;  ripe fruit.  Mango and pineapple in the nose.  Crystal clear.

Talked with the guys over at Surly on a whim via Facebook and they recommended leaving it on the brett for 6-8 months.  I won't likely taste this one again as there isn't a lot and every ounce counts!

Kegged Version was also quite good.  The dandelion-esque flavor I perceived quickly faded and I was left with 3 gallons of a great standby Saison that quickly was kicked.

8/6/2012- Added dregs from Russian River Sanctification

8/25/2012- Gravity at 1.004.  Bottled with priming sugar...1.8 ounces.  Aroma very much reminded me of yellow fruit or juicy fruit.  There was a bit of spice in there as well.  Hints of alcohol as this is a pretty strong beer.  The beers is a beautiful golden yellow.  It is only slightly cloudy.  Taste is tart on the cheeks at first but quickly leaves.  Dry beer. Has a nice warm brett finish. get lots of fruit; mango, peach, and juicy fruit.  Do not really get much of the cloudberry honey anymore.  Very excited to see how this beer turns out when carbonated.

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