1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Favorite Saison Yeast and Recipe

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by FATC1TY, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (860) Georgia Feb 12, 2012 Staff Member

    Whats everyone favorite Saison set up?

    I know it's not the "season" for them, but in my part of the woods, it's not gonna be too far off before my garage is an easy 70, and 80-95 wouldn't be hard to get!

    I have my first Saison that is done now. I know.. a style I hardly drink, and love it every time I do. I finally got around to doing one in the house, with a heating pad.

    I used 3711, as I heard it was a beast. That was an understatement. I mashed at 150, and managed 1.063 all the way to 1.003 with a nice starter of 3711 French Saison. That was in a week.. With it at 68 for 3 days, and then 78 for the remainder of the time.

    Tastes from the hydro sample had it very good. Light clove/pepper spice to it, with the right amount of esters to it.

    Simple recipe, 29 IBU's with Nelson Sauvin and a touch of Belma. Pilsner, White Wheat, and a splash of GNO and some Acid Malt.

    Taste like a fruity White Wine with a little sour grape note and some berries.. Delicious uncarbed. So much foam when I poured the hydro sample.


    So... I know I'm gonna do way more in the future. Whats your favorite yeast, and way to handle it, and maybe some simple recipes? Mines simple and I felt it was perfect so far!
     
    antlerwrestler19 likes this.
  2. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (715) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    5.5 gal, OG 1.050, FG 1.006, est. 28 ibus
    9lbs Castle pils malt
    2 oz cara 20
    8 oz table sugar
    @ 60 min, 0.67 oz saaz, 0.33 oz styrian golding, 0.33 oz tradition
    @5 min 1.33 oz saaz, 0.67 oz styrian golding, 0.67 oz tradition
    WY 3724,

    Mashed at 148 for 90 min, Fermented in the 70s, but apparently not high enough to develop all the phenolics to make bjcp judges happy. But the late hops were really nice, and I could notice the phenolics.
     
  3. Rye Saison - brewed from a recipe I found on Home Brew Talk that someone posted as a Denny Conn recipe. I know that sounds far removed but I did brew this and it turned out incredible.

    5.5gal, OG 1.063, FG 1.008, est. 28 ibu
    9lbs 2row Rahr Premium Pilsner Malt
    3lbs Rye malt
    0.5 Flaked Malt
    0.5 Rice Hulls
    1lbs Candi Sugar, Amber
    @60min 1.5oz Styrian Golding
    WY3711

    Mashed at 152 for 60min. Fermented at 72. The WY3711 is amazing and ate everything after my efficiency was higher than expected and still got my FG a few points below the estimated OG. I had an OG of 1.070 and an FG or 1.006. This turned out delicious and I'm looking to brew it again this spring.
     
  4. A basic saison approach is 5-10% each munich and wheat and the rest as a base malt, either pilsner or pale malt. No need to overthink the beer with a glut of specialty malts. From there you can produce a lot of different beers swapping out different hops, hop schedules, yeasts and fermentation temperatures. Of course, you can also change the grain bill, add spices, add fruit, etc. I really like saisons with some adjunct grains thrown in. I think it adds some rustic character. I like rye and spelt saisons but I've enjoyed saisons with corn, rice, emmer, buckwheat, etc. Not really a fan of oats in saisons.

    The hops are a big part of the saison flavor (although not in all saisons) -- particularly very late hops. It's easy to overdo the hops and turn your saison into a Belgian IPA. There needs to be bitterness to make a very balanced beer but also those late hops play well with saison yeast. Some brewers are too heavy handed with the hops (e.g. Jester King). Light hopping can help make way for a lot of spices if that's your thing.

    Yeast is obviously a big factor. If using a saison strain, heat definitely brings out the best in it although you have to prepare the strain for that environment or risk getting a beer with fusels and other high temp flaws. Pitch appropriate numbers, aerate better than you would for any other beer and give it some yeast nutrient. That is especially true for any Dupont variant. I don't like Dupont at sub-80 temperatures. I find that flavor unpleasant. It is great at warm temperatures but must be treated well to develop good flavor and complete attenuation. 3711 is pretty much the standard saison strain these days because it is easier to work with and personally I think it has better flavors than the Dupont strain at both lower (60s-70s) and higher (80 and above) temperatures.
     
  5. MrOH

    MrOH Savant (490) Maryland Jul 5, 2010

    This guy right here:
    http://hopville.com/recipe/1489347
    Pretty close to being a Belgian IPA. 3726 is an interesting yeast to use. It throws off a bubblegum ester that will age out, and also accentuates wheaty, doughy flavors. Worked really well in this one, though.
     
  6. White Labs 565. I've got 10 gallons of a new recipe saison in my conical right now:

    -14lbs Pilsner
    -4lbs Red Wheat
    -8oz Honey Malt
    -1oz each of Amarillo & Nelson Sauvin @ 15minutes - 100 minute boil.
    -Citrus addition @ whirlpool 170F of 13 grams each of both Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Orange zest as well as 8oz each of Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Orange juice (juiced & strained).

    Let the yeast free rise which jumped from pitching temp of 70F to 80F in no time. Gravity dropped quickly to 1.010 and has slowed substantially. Going on the 9th day now and while fermentation is extremely slow I am remaining patient as I've experienced this same "stall out" with this yeast before. I have since upped the temp and have been keeping it at 85F and will do so until fermentation is complete. The yeast characteristic is excellent so far and the citrusy punch of the fruit additions is shining through nicely. I predict it will be another 2 weeks before I get where I want and can cold crash. I'm excited to finish this one off, half of it is going into a wine barrel that has been soaking with Grand Marnier for the last month.
     
    AlCaponeJunior and Thorpe429 like this.
  7. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (305) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    I try to keep it simple. Mostly Pils, with some wheat or oats and a character malt. Sometimes munich or vienna sometimes none.

    Hops I'm all over the board like most of the other posters. I've used everything from Citra to Styrian's. I'd say my favorite is a mix of earthy/floral hops.

    Yeast is pretty polarizing for me. I like 3711 in beers with more crystal, like a winter warmer ala. Thirez, but not in a pale beer like a saison. To me it is too one dimensional. I prefer the DuPont strain, it is richer in flavor profile and isn't all that difficult if you just set it and forget it. It stalls but will fire back off given time and finishes dry without the perception of thin beer. Now throw some special b in there with some dark candy syrup and I like the 3711. But I mash it really high and use a large amount of crystal...so not a saison at all.
     
  8. udubdawg

    udubdawg Advocate (550) Kansas Dec 11, 2006

    interesting, and looks tasty. I really like 3726, and have won BPA and even cider medals with it, but haven't gotten enough phenolics from this fruity strain to make me attempt a saison. I'm going to give your recipe a shot the next time this yeast comes in season.

    cheers--
    --Michael
     
  9. MrOH

    MrOH Savant (490) Maryland Jul 5, 2010

    You really have to put some heat to it to get the phenols, and even then, its not really in your face.
     
  10. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (615) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    Anyone used wlp670 yet? American farmhouse strain I believe?
    Planning on doind an american take on the belgian classic this spring using that strain, a traditional malt bill with maybe the usual suspect noble hops but a tiny bit of citra at whirlpoool to bring out some citrus and mango to the party. I also had a dream that I was drinking a bottle of "brett stout-son" the other night. Now I may have to brew it...
     
  11. I had good luck with 670 in a dark saison with Zante currants and wine-soaked oak. I really like the combo of Brett and citrusy hops, but as it make take awhile to be ready to bottle, I'd save the Citra fro dry hopping.

    I’ve got a saison keg-conditioning now with pils/pale, flaked wheat, and corn. Plenty of Saaz, fermented with 3711. I really enjoyed White Labs Saison III as well, easy to work with, and a bit less fruity than several of the other strains.
     
    Thorpe429 likes this.
  12. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (615) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    Thats the plan exactly. Did the brett come through on that strain pretty well?
     
  13. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Champion (895) Illinois Aug 18, 2008

    I've been messing around with various saisons for the past few months, and I finally decided to do a big batch of straight saison, and then break up into 9 different gallon jugs to test out different strains. From this, I'm hoping to develop a "house" saison recipe after really getting a feel for each blend. I used:

    WLP565 Saison I
    WLP566 Saison II
    WLP568 Belgian Style Saison Ale Blend
    WLP670 American Farmhouse Blend
    WY3711 French Saison
    WY3724 Belgian Saison
    WY3725 Biere de Garde
    Hill Farmstead Saison Dregs
    Tired Hands HandFarm Dregs

    Base was four-grain saison with pilsner, torrified red wheat, flaked wheat, flaked rye, and oats. 100% Calypso hops.

    Dual stage control in a chest freezer is keeping ambient between 70 and 75.

    Full recipe and notes here: http://spontaneousfunk.blogspot.com/2013/02/ambrosia-namur-recipe.html
     
    skivtjerry and Travisurfin247 like this.
  14. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (615) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    I WISH I had the foresight to have saved the dregs from the lone bottle of juicy I had.
     
  15. mrjimcat

    mrjimcat Aficionado (220) New York Nov 22, 2002

    I brewed this in Nov 2011, bottled on Jan 1 2012.

    6.50 lbs. Pilsener
    1.50 lbs. Munich Malt
    1.50 lbs. Wheat Malt
    0.94 lbs. Flaked Oats cause I didn't have a pound
    0.31 lbs. Crystal 55L
    0.25 lbs. Demerara Sugar
    I know I used some orange peel but didnt note how much...
    1.75 oz Goldings 5.2% alpha for 75 minutes
    Wyeast 3711

    I was amazed at how this turned out. I still have 4 champagne bottles left. The beer has lost a small step and I need to finish them off.
    The beer over the months has mellowed nicely and is a very clear light amber in the glass. The carbonation reminds me of champagne a bit. The next saison I make will be this same one - just to see if this was just a fluke...
     
  16. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (585) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    I have a 'house' saison strain I've developed over the last couple of years. It's a blend of Dupont Foret, Dupont Avril and Blaugies Saison d'Epeautre dregs, used for several generations. The Dupont strain used in their lesser known beers is not subject to the production pressure of the flagship and this makes the yeast better behaved. Further, after several generations, it has adapted to the cooler conditions in my basement (I still have to use a heating pad; this is Vermont) without losing the desirable character. I'm currently drinking a rye saison that reached a maximum temperature of 70F during its fermentation and reduced a 1.056 OG to 1.006. It tastes good, has the Juicy Fruit aromatics, pepper flavor notes and super dry finish. I have also grown Foret dregs up to pitching volume for a local brewpub and the beers have turned out very well. To simplify things, I'd recommend just stepping up Avril dregs.

    I really like a little rye in saisons. 5-10% is a good starting point. Otherwise, all pils is the program, maybe with some sugar for stronger versions.

    OP: Your climate is ideal for 'table' saisons for 6-8 months of the year: 2.5-3.5% ABV beers, full of flavor and super refreshing in the heat, without knocking anyone out. Dupont Avril is a decent reference but you can make more flavorful versions of comparable strength at home. These low ABV beers also ferment fast. Grain to glass in a week is fairly normal if you keg. I always have something like this on in the summer. At parties, it is generally the first keg to kick, even with an abundance of Bud Light drinkers.
     
    Thorpe429 likes this.
  17. Has anyone tried the new Belle Saison dry yeast? I saw some online and was interested in the attenuation and flavor characteristics.
     
  18. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (585) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    Very cool experiment, and nice blog. Just be aware that the Hill Farmstead dregs contain brett, which will become dominant after a few generations. Not a bad thing, IMO.
     
  19. PortLargo

    PortLargo Advocate (515) Florida Oct 19, 2012

    My next session is a Saison and I plan on using harvested yeast from Saison DuPont. For ferm temp, maybe start at 80 and let it rise to 90. Is this too aggressive? Your thoughts?
     
  20. You really think Dupont uses more than one yeast strain? Seems very unlikely to me as most Belgian brewers use a single strain and their beers certainly all have the same character.
     
  21. Right or wrong, I was under the impression that they do. Or there are more than one used in concert. I may have filed in my own blanks but I was under the impression 565/3724 were isolated single strains from dupont and ECY had isolated yet another.
     
  22. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (585) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    It's the same strain, or mix of strains (also, Blaugies obtained their yeast from Dupont when starting out). But Saison Dupont faces a lot of production pressure and gets fermented hotter than their other beers to speed things up. Avril and Foret certainly contain the same yeast, just less abused.

    edit: The seemingly reliable gossip is that the Dupont yeast consists of 4 strains. One of them is sometimes rumored to be brett but I don't think this is the case.
     
    grassrootsVT and Thorpe429 like this.
  23. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (715) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    I have a batch in bottles - 83% pilsner malt, 17% raw spelt, Willamette in the boil and Styrian Goldings dry hopped. It's enjoyable. Not tremendously funky but the brett is there.
     
  24. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Champion (895) Illinois Aug 18, 2008

    Thanks on the blog!

    And, yes, absolutely on the HF. I've been making a run of them so far, and I'm curious where the strain goes. This beer is the third go at it for the portion of the cake that was used. I've been getting great results from the blend I used, which was originally grown up from Arthur, Clara, and Vera Mae dregs. So far I've also done:

    Repeating Numbers - saison with coriander and orange peel. This was a take on Stone's 02.02.02 clone recipe, but I didn't want a big wit. (1st generation use)
    Demeter Auran - saison with clementine zest, rose hips, and fermented atop white wine soaked oak cubes (2nd generation use)
    Demeter Sinis - dark saison with lavender, black cardamom, and fermented atop red wine soaked oak cubes (also 3rd generation use; taken from Demeter Auran while Auran was still fermenting)

    Thanks for the reminder on the generations. I need to add those to my notes where I don't already have it in there.
     
    bauermj likes this.

  25. Where's your source for a hotter fermentation for their flagship? This also seems odd to me. Farmhouse Ales described a 6-week bottle maturation period, and it seems like cutting that (among many other brewery-related ways to get more beer out) would be a much better way to speed beer out of the door. Now if they fermented hotter for the specific flavor of that beer compared to others, I might buy it, but would still be skeptical.
     
  26. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (585) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    Fermenter space is a lot more precious than bottle storage. They want to get it into bottles fast. The other beers are probably smaller batches (anyone been there? Did you see anything that might support this idea?) done 'when they can' since they sell a lot less of them. And the Foret is organic, therefore probably handled on a separate system. And of course, Belgian brewers have been known to fib a bit to curious American beer geeks... I'm making a semi-educated guess that seems plausible from a production standpoint and from tasting the various beers. Finally, I do think Avril is fermented cooler for a milder flavor and less attenuation. My speculation seems to work in practice. Stepped up dregs from Avril or Foret behave much more predictably than Saison Dupont dregs (one fermentation sticking at 1.025 made a big impression on me).
     
  27. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (585) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    Wow Holy Shit. I might be down in Silver Spring in May... wanna trade for some Heady?
     
    Thorpe429 likes this.
  28. I can appreciate your experience of working with the dregs, but your theory here doesn't really have any substance to it. If fermentor space is more constrained (not necessarily the case at all), it doesn't matter what beer is taking up the space. Every day longer Avril sits in a tank is another day any other beer can't be brewed into it, not just Avril. As far as a milder flavor in Avril, lower gravity wort is one of the main influences in ester content in finished beer, so it isn't surprising that a much smaller beer would have a milder flavor, completely independent of fermentation temperature. Also, organic beers do not need to be brewed on a separate system, there just needs to be a cleaning inbetween brews.

    I just can't see them fermenting hotter to save time on one beer. Do they ferment hot partly to save time on all of their beers? This definitely could be the case as many brewers do this (Pretty much all macro-lager for starters). It just doesn't seem to follow that they change their fermentation program for one beer like that. Sorry if it seems like I'm busting your balls here but my experience in production brewing just leads me to believe otherwise.
     
  29. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (585) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    I can't really argue with what you're saying unless someone who has been in the brewery chimes in... just a hunch. Avril is certainly less attenuated than the other beers but that could be the grain bill.
     
  30. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Champion (895) Illinois Aug 18, 2008

    Haha, thanks, and absolutely! Would love to share a few homebrews. I'll also be up in Vermont Memorial Day weekend for the Hill Farmstead anniversary celebration. I'm headed up there next Thursday as well, though the Auran and Sinis aren't full carbonated yet.
     
  31. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Advocate (585) Vermont Mar 10, 2006

    I hope to be at the 3rd anniversary as well. Hang on to those saisons till they're ready... I read some more of your blog and saw how few of each you had. I'll try to gather some harder to find VT stuff to share if we meet up (no guarantee of quality, but it will be rare!).
     
  32. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Champion (895) Illinois Aug 18, 2008

    Sounds good, looking forward to it!
     
  33. drewbage

    drewbage Advocate (695) California Mar 15, 2003

    Don't recall anything especially weird at the brewery. Not a lot of fermentation space from what I remember. Primary fermentation at least was done in old fashioned square tanks and I only remember seeing 2. Of course, I was also running back and forth to their beer tent, trying everything I could get my hands on, so my memory may not be reliable.