Monday, December 19, 2016

Loral-Hopped Funky Saison

Plate chillers means lots of cold break in the fermentor.From the breeder who brought us Citra and Mosaic... now comes Loral (HBC 291)! It's amazing and weird that we've gotten to the point where hop breeders are being hyped! With a family tree that includes Glacier and Nugget, I'm glad Loral isn't pushing the tropical, melon, and fruit-punch flavors so many new varieties exhibit. It is nice to have a bit more subtlety in beers where some herbal, spicy, and (f)loral, flavors enhance a characterful yeast.

I fluctuate between using new ingredients in simple and complex recipes. Is it better to evaluate a hop against a blank canvas, or blended with complementary flavors? I decided to put the sample of Loral (courtesy of Yakima Valley Hops) to work in a saison fermented with my house culture (started two years ago as a blend of two saison strains, a wild Saccharomyces, and Lambic-sourced Brettanomyces). A couple months ago I sent slurry to Jeff Mello at Bootleg Biology for isolation and propagation. I've got a couple test batches showing promise with a prospective blend, hoping for a release early 2017!

The base for is maltier than I usually aim for in a saison that isn't roasty. Munich and Golden Naked Oats contribute a richer base more appropriate for the fall hopefully without being too distracting from the hops and yeast.

Twenty minutes into the boil I cast-out half of the un-hopped wort for a gose with smoked sea salt, fermented with the Lactic-culture from Right Proper Brewing Co. (harvested from my quinoa-grapefruit beer). I'll tap that once the saison kicks, freeing my kegerator's lone sour tap.

Loral Funky Saison Tasting

Smell – Really bright fruit aroma (pear and generic citrus). There is a deeper herbal-hop and honey complexity rarely found in “new” American varieties - reminiscent of Sterling or Crystal, but more potent. Pleasant interplay between the mildly phenolic yeast, earthy Brett, and the bright hops.
Golden saison on a gray afternoon.
Appearance – Golden body with a slight haze still after a month on tap. Nice long-lasting tight white head. Good looking saison!

Taste – Tame peppery yeast to start. Mid-palate is fresh orange-lemon, faint tartness. Pleasing balance of present bitterness and lively acidity. The golden naked oats and Munich add a toasty flavor in the finish as it warms that is walking the line on distracting given the dryness.

Mouthfeel – Carbonation is a little low, always a trick when you run three beers off of one regulator. The oats make it a little fuller than previous hoppy house saisons despite the low final gravity.

Drinkability & Notes – A more subdued (less bitter/aromatic) riff on the hoppy saisons I've fermented with this culture. Loral is a good choice for a modern saison. Fruity without dominating, and adding some traditionally European attributes. In the same family with Crystal (which I also enjoy in saison).

Changes for Next Time – To mellow the toastiness, I’d walk the GNO back under 5% (where I've had good results for saisons before) and the Munich to 20%. Plus a bit more carbonation. Otherwise really nice! I could see Loral working in a hoppy pale later, or even a dry hopped sour!


Batch Size: 6.0 gal
SRM: 5.3
IBU: 23.9
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.005
ABV: 6.3%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74%
Boil Time: 40 min

65.9 % - 7.5 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
27.5 % - 3.13 lbs Weyermann Munich I
6.6 % - .75 lbs Simpsons Golden Naked Oats

Saccharification - 30 min @ 152 F

2.00 oz Loral (Pellet, 9.2% AA) @ 20 min
2.00 oz Loral (Pellet, 9.2% AA) @ Whilrpool/Hop-Stand: 20 min
2.00 oz Loral (Pellet, 9.2% AA) @ Primary Dry Hop

0.50 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 min

House Brett Saison Blend

Brewed 10/10/16

Malt/water adjusted to make a single beer (i.e., saison recipe can be brewed as is). Half of wort was diverted pre-hopping for a gose.

Filtered DC tap water dosed with 2 g of gypsum and 1.5 g of calcium chloride pre-mash.

Chilled to 75F with plate chiller, pitched House Brett Saison stepped up to 1 L on a stir-plate 24 hours prior. Splashing aeration only.

10/23/16 Dry hopped in primary, loose.

11/12/16 Kegged, better late than never. No extra dry hops. Harvested a bottle of house culture. FG = 1.005.

Links to Love2Brew support the blog.


CRUSADER1612 said...

Hi Mike,
I have a question, I've been having some minor issues with my funky Saisons (WLP670) I primary ferment for 3 months before dryhopping and kegging currently.
I haven't been making starters for 1.050 beers, and I've started to notice some banana flavours creeping in. I assume due to an underpitch at this stage.
I'm about to run version 4, and go back to basics, but figure out if I'm under pitching, I'm usingthe Saison brett blend from TYb and WLP648 together (i'll make a 500ml starter for 648, and then a 500ml starter and blend it all together the day before brewing.

But I've been wondering about my fermentation times etc. I realise with yeasts like this especially when co-pitching, that longer aging times will be beneficial to bring out some ofthose super funky flavors. but is it worth it to transfer to secondary after the main fermentation is done (3 weeks or so) and then age from there.

Something else I'd like your advice on is adding hops at 0min or as a hopstand, when your going to be long term aging, then dryhopping (heavily) is it worth the hops or am i just wasting them when I'm sitting on the yeast cake for 3 months. (maybe that could be where the banana is coming from)

what you you reckon? advice and thought appreciated.

Trevor said...

Short for time that day with the short mash and short boil?

Splash aeration of the starter to emphasize Brett?

IowaBrew said...

Awesome timing of this post! I ordered a pound of these a few weeks back based on the description which I later realized is the exact same as Mosaic on their site. Based on that (and little other web info) I went with NE IPA. Lots of flaked malts obviously. Loral, Mosaic, Citra. Dry hopped with YVH hop hash. Split batch between 1318 and Funk Weapon #2, also from Mr.Mello. They are carbing up now and smell great.
Appreciate all the info you provide!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Crusader: Harvesting from primary after 3 months could be pretty rough on the Saccharomyces, a small starter isn't a bad idea. Brett typically cleans up isoamyl acetate, but maybe your strain in changing. Ideally I'd move to keg and condition under pressure, that often seems to expedite the Brett character. Haven't done much aging with aroma hops in the boil, usually I wait for dry hopping if I am planning to age.

Trevor: Nothing in particular, 30 min mash is pretty typical for me these days. Shaking is pretty effective for getting O2 into solution for anything but big beers and lagers, and boiling my stone is a pain.

Iowa: I think Loral will do well in an IPA blend, but then I think Hallertau would probably make a good IPA with Citra and Mosaic!

Trevor said...

Mike: do you have a generally preferred IBU for these Funky-Hoppy-Saisons?

CRUSADER1612 said...

Its almost like the brettanomyces hasn't taken hold at all. hence the banana flavor. But hopefully New years will deal to that keg for me.
I've never done bulk aging in the keg under pressure. can you offer any tips on what/ how to go about it?
I think your right regarding the aroma hops as well.
I'll remove and adjust my bittering regime.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Bitterness depends on the beer, with this culture 25-35 is my standard range.

I just rack to the purged keg with a few ounces of sugar. Pressurize to ensure the lid seats. Good luck!

Joe Nagy said...

Hey Mike!

I hope this doesn't come across as bashing, because I really am curious. In a saison, usually the yeast is the star when it comes to funk, spice, fruitiness, etc. If you are trying out a new hop, wouldn't something with a cleaner yeast profile be a better choice? I know the world doesn't necessarily need another IPA, but I just don't think of hops when I hear saison.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It is impossible to talk about saison as a single thing. There are lots of dry hopped saisons out there. I'd suggest reading Farmhouse Ales and drinking Saison Dupont Cuvée Dry Hopping, Firestone Walker Opal, Boulevard Tank 7, Fantome Brise-BonBon, Hill Farmstead Dry Hopped Arthur etc.!

The character of a beer isn't a simple additive equation. There are interesting yeast-hop interactions (biotransformation, freed glycosides etc.). There are also aromatic synergies, having multiple compounds individually below threshold can create above-threshold sensory experiences.

All that is to say that I can judge the aroma of the raw hop by rubbing it between my hands. What I can't judge is how that hop will interact in a characterful beer. As I mentioned in the second paragraph, I vacillate in my approach to new ingredients. As a homebrewer I get to brew whatever I want without regard for marketability, marketing, or economics. I don't brew for the blog, the blog is a record of what I brew.

Mike said...

Wow Mike! I just discovered your blog and site. great content. I especially like how you judge and describe your beer. I'd like to learn to do the same. May I ask how you learned to recognize the flavor notes? My beer vocab is caveman-like. Beer good or ugh beer bad. How do I take the next steps? Thanks, Mike

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I think the three best things you can do for your ability to critically evaluate beers are:

1. Practice. For a couple years I wrote reviews on BeerAdvocate when I had time to drink a beer and think about it. The more you do something, the better you'll get at it.

2. Drink with people who have good palates. This can be a tasting group, at a BJCP judging session, or just reading some notes from a reviewer while you drink the same beer. The disadvantage of reading reviews is that beers aren't always consistent, so sharing a bottle is best.

3. Expanding your palate by doing similar things for other foods, drinks, not to mention brewing ingredients. I'm always picking leaves and crushing them to smell, tasting samples at farmer's markets, drinking interesting teas/wines/meads/ciders/cocktails etc.

There are all sorts of other things you can do along the way (blind tastings, off-flavor kits, reading etc.), but I'll be doing the three I listed for the rest of my life!

Mike said...

Thanks Mike. Great advice!