Going back to one of my favorite combinations: saison with rye malt in the mash and Brett in the fermentor! My friend Nate and I were both furloughed from our federal government jobs for a few weeks in October, during that time we decided to enjoy a sunny afternoon drinking beer, eating fried fish, and brewing. A couple years ago, we brewed a similar batch, that we wanted to refine. Young it was enjoyable, but it became obnoxiously horsey/rough/funky as it aged. That character could have been the result of several things, but I suspect it was simply the strains we pitched.
We split this batch three ways to try three different Brett blends, each with the same combination of saison ale yeasts. The Brett we pitched came from bottle dregs (from the abovementioned drinking), and a couple isolates that Bootleg-Biology Jeff dropped off a few weeks prior.
As with hops, sugar, and other ingredients, split batches are a great way to learn about microbes. This is especially handy with mixed-fermentation beers as the feedback loop is so long. If a batch takes a year or longer to be “ready,” the tweak and re-brew method could take a decade to arrive at the ideal formulation and process. As fun as the single-strain Brett experiments that I’ve done in the past have been, mixing strains is where things tend to start getting interesting!
Brett'd Saison - Furlough Edition
Batch Size (Gal): 10.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 21.40
Anticipated OG: 1.055
Anticipated SRM: 4.0
Anticipated IBU: 30.2
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes
42.1% - 9.00 lbs. German Pilsener
28.0% - 6.00 lbs. American Pale Malt
18.7% - 4.00 lbs. Rye Malt
9.3% - 2.00 lbs. Wheat Malt
1.9% - 0.40 lbs. Sauer(acid) Malt
5 ml HopShot (Extract) @ 45 min.
4.00 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 2.80% AA) @ 10 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
White Labs WLP585 Belgian Saison III
White Labs WLP568 Belgian Style Saison Ale Yeast Blend
Profile: Washington, DC
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 147 F
Stir-plate starter made the morning of, 2L with two Saison III and one Saison Blend.
4 g of CaCl to 8 gallons of pre-boil filtered DC water.
Mash pH measured 5.6 initially, so we added 2% acid malt. Should drop it to 5.4 at room temperature.
Added 4 g of CaCl and 1.5 tsp of phosphoric acid to 8 gallons of filtered DC water for the sparge.
Chilled to 78 F and pitched the starter. Very clear wort, left a gallon or so with the trub behind.
Pitched a half bottle each of 100% Brett Nanus and Naardenensis into one third of the batch, two Bootleg Biology Pithos isolates into another third, and dregs from a Dark Saison IV into the final third.
Placed at 68 F to begin fermenting.
12/2/13 Still sitting in primary, ambient is upper 50s F.
12/7/13 Racked to three 3 gallon secondaries.
8/7/14 Bottled each aiming for 2.8 volumes of CO2. 2 7/8 oz table sugar n DS4, 2.75 in Nanus/Naardenensis, and 2.3 oz in Pithos.
5/12/15 Tasting notes on all three versions.
The DS4 version ended up being one of my favorite batches of funky saison!