When I tell people that Modern Times will be canning our four year-round beers, the one they invariably get most excited about is Lomaland. The availability of a reasonably priced, ~5% ABV saison in that format is really appealing. 16 oz seems like the ideal serving size for a refreshing beer with peppery yeast, and firm complementary hopping. We're going for a crisp beer, one that calls back to the half-imagined pastoral history of saison as a quenching restorative beverage brewed on Belgian farms (even if our methods and equipment are a bit more modern).
This recipe is pretty similar to the first version. Tastings determined that the flaked spelt added to the original wasn't worth the added effort and expense of obtaining it for us, so we swapped it for flaked wheat. We also doubled the corn to make it's flavor a more prominent feature.
Neither the White Labs Saison 2 nor Saison 3 that we split the first batch between was a slam-dunk choice for yeast. I preferred the Saison 3, while Jacob and several tasting panels (sign up for the newsletter to get in on one) leaned towards the Saison 2. For this batch we selected Wyeast 3711 French Saison. It's a very easy strain to work with, fermenting quickly and completely even without pushing the temperature toward 90 F. It produces a higher level of tropical fruit esters than most other saison strains, but it does really well with hops and spices. Jacob and members of the brewing team recently brewed a test-batch of their own, using a variety of yeast strains. Jacob will be bringing a number of bottles when he visits DC for the Craft Brewers Conference in March for us to compare.
Currently on BeerAdvocate, out of the top-50 rated saisons, only three are under 6% ABV (i.e., Upright Flora Rustica, Tired Hands HandFarm, and Hill Farmstead Flora). Stiff competition to say the least! The latter two are barrel-aged and mixed-fermented, putting them out of the range of what we'll be able to do for the standard version of this beer. They are special variants of Farmhands and Florence respectively, we're already talking about getting Lomaland into barrels with bugs as soon as possible. Upright's Flora Rustica was infused with yarrow and calendula; spices/herbs would be much easier for us to accomplish on a large scale.
I'll be producing a number of infusions to mix on a small scale with the finished beer to begin felling-out which flavors might add to the character without obscuring the yeast. Currently we're planning on trying chamomile, pepper/ginger, rooibos, and a few others. With the fruitiness of the yeast, I think peppery/earthy flavors will be more valuable. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment! Half of the batch will be aged with a few unique species of Brettanomyces, but more on that in a future post.
Batch Size (Gal): 10.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 18.00
Anticipated OG: 1.045
Anticipated SRM: 4.4
Anticipated IBU: 31.5
Brewhouse Efficiency: 69 %
Wort Boil Time: 95 Minutes
58.3% - 10.50 lbs. German Pilsener
19.4% - 3.50 lbs. CMC Superior 2-Row
16.7% - 3.00 lbs. Flaked Wheat
5.6% - 1.00 lbs. Flaked Corn (Maize)
3.50 oz. Hallertau Hersbrucker (Pellet, 3.00% AA) @ 60 min.
2.00 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.50% AA) @ 15 min.
2.00 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.50% AA) @ 2 min.
2.00 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.50% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 5 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 5 min.
WYeast 3711 French Saison
Profile: San Diego
Sacch Rest 75 min @ 149 F
1/31/13 Made a 1.75 L starter with a pack that had slightly frozen on the way to my house. Started right up quickly on the stir-plate.
2/3/13 Brewed by myself
7.5 gallons of mash water treated as if San Diego with .4 g/gallon of CaCl.
With DC this means .8 g gypsum, 2.4 g kosher salt, 2.4 g Epsom salt, 2.2 g CaCl, and 1 g baking soda.
Similar treatment for the sparge water, which was heated to 182 F.
Added the last dose of hops and let them sit for 10 minutes before starting the chiller.
Chilled to 75 F, adding 1 gallon of distilled water to raise the volume and drop the gravity. Racked 5.25 clean gallons to a bucket for the clean half. The rest ~4.5 gallons along with some hops were transferred to a 6 gallon BetterBottle (will receive Brett eventually).
Shook to aerate, pitched 1 L of the starter into the bucket, and the rest into the BetterBottle. Left at 64 F to ferment for 18 hours. Then placed near a radiator, the bucket also got a heating pad set to low.
36 hours after pitching, measured the actual temperature in the bucket at 76F.
2/11/13 Turned the heating pad off, fermentation appears finished.
2/16/13 Down to 1.006. Nice fruity yeast character, solid hops.
2/17/13 Racked half to a keg with 2.5 oz of table sugar to carbonate. The bucket had slightly too much beer for the keg, so I topped off the BetterBottle with the remainder.
2/28/13 Bottled the remaining 4.5 gallons with 3 3/8 oz of table sugar. Aiming for a safe 2.5 volumes of CO2. Left some plain, but the rest was dosed in bottles with a small amount of B. custerianus, B. nanus, and B. naardenensis.
4/18/13 Tasting of the kegged/clean half. Nice expression of saison yeast character without being too fruity. Clean, bright, and refreshing.
9/25/13 Tasting notes for the B. custerianus portion. Terrific aroma, loads of fruit and pepper, but the flavors clash. I preferred the beer fermented with the same strain alone.
9/30/13 Tasting notes for the B. naardenensis portion. Makes the saison yeast saison-ier, spicier, fruitier, more interesting.
10/9/13 Tasting notes for the B. nanus portion. Not too aggressive, some fruitiness and light funk. Interested to see if the funk continues to increase with time.