I’ve been planning to make a Saison for a while as it’s a style I really enjoy drinking but hadn’t managed to get around to trying to brew one. After doing some research it appears to be a sort of ‘anything goes’ style but not wanting to be too adventurous I decided to go for a fairly basic Malt grist of Pilsner, Munich and Wheat. I had originally thought to go with a more traditional hop but I had some Kazbek kicking around I was keen to experiment with and thought I’d give them a try. Given their Saaz heritage and after reading what little I could find about them I think they might work fairly well in a Saison. As I haven’t tasted a beer with Kazbek before let alone brewed with them, I decided to go fairly big on the late additions to try and get a good idea of their profile.
|Boil length||90 Minutes|
|Batch Size||21.5 Litres|
|Yeast||Mangrove Jack M29 French Saison|
|Fermentable||Color (EBC)||Weight (GRAMS)||Percentage|
|Munich (Best Malz)||15||500||10|
|Malted Wheat (Best Malz)||4||500||10|
|Hops||Type||Alpha Acid||Weight (Grams)||Time||IBU|
I started out by adding 17 Litres of warm tap water to the Grainfather, added a quarter campden tablet and set the controller to 64°c. While the mash water was heating I weighed out my grains and water additions and added sparge water to my buffalo boiler. I tend not to measure my sparge water, basically as I have no easy way of doing so, so simply fill up the boiler and chuck in another quarter campden tablet.
After reaching strike temperature, and just as I was about to put the first scoop of grain into the Grainfather it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t checked if I had fitted the pump filter. Needless to say I had once again left it off and had to pump my mash water into 2 buckets, fit the filter and pour back in. Once back up to temperature I mashed in and left for 90 minutes. I usually do a 60 minute mash but as I’m aiming for as much ferment-ability as possible I decided to go for 90.
After the 90 minutes were up I raised the temperature to 75°c for a mash out and left for another 10 minutes before raising the grain basket and allowing to drain as recommended by Grainfather. For some reason sparging took a long, long time. Best part of an hour. After I hit 28 Litres in the boiler I stopped the sparge and fully removed the grain basket. I really wish there was an easier way to check the level in the boiler while sparging other than lifting the basked off and looking inside, dripping hot wort all over the floor in the process. Anyway, I set to boil and lowered in my hop spider.
After 30 minutes boiling I added my first hop addition of Target. There was no great thought process being bittering with Target other than I wanted to keep all my Kazbek for late in the boil and I had an opened packet of Target lying around. I find with the hop spider, all around it is a rolling boil but inside the Spider is a sea of calm. I am slightly worried about utilisation and how this effects the amount of oils that can get into the wort. Hopefully I’m worring about nothing though.
While the boil was underway I re-hydrated a single packet of Mangrove Jacks M29 French Saison which I believe is a renaming of the old Belgain Ale strain. As per the instructions I poured 100ml of pre-boiled water into a sanitised cup and heated the water in a microwave to 32°c before sprinkling in the yeast. The instructions state that you should stir into a cream for 8 – 12 minutes. I can’t imagine they mean continuously stir (or maybe they do?) so I just let it sit and give it a quick stir every now and again.
Once the boil was finished and I had added my last hop edition I began circulating the wort through the counterflow chiller in order to sterilize it. After a 15 minute hop stand I turned on the cold water to the chiller and started the transfer. I first transfer half the wort into a barrel fermentor and shake the bejeezus out of it in order to get some oxygen into solution. After about a minutes worth of shaking I pour it out into my Coopers fermentor and pour in the re-hydrated yeast before repeating with the 2nd half of the wort. I find this a bit easier on the back than trying to shake a whole fermentor’s worth of wort!
Once transfer was complete I took a Gravity reading and found I was a bit shy of my target coming in at 1.053. No biggie. I’m still working on nailing my efficiency but it looks like I’m getting about 75% with my current grain supplier. I then moved the fermentor into my fridge which had been preset to a temperature of 26°c. I haven’t fermented this high before and wasn’t even sure If my heater would manage it but it did so easily. I’m not sure if M29 is a true Saison strain and if it is susceptible to a stalled fermentation as some wet Saison strains seem to be but just in case I intend to increase the temperature to 28°c over the next 2 days to help fermentation along and dry out the beer.
The yeast went of like a rocket and 2 days later it was down to 1.003 and looking done. That’s fast! Hoping I don’t get too much alcohol flavours. I plan to leave it on the yeast at 28°c for 10 days and then either keg or bottle.
I have been drinking this a lot recently and as such only have a few bottles left. It’s a damn tasty beer. Very fruity, Mostly citrus with a little banana (which I wasn’t expecting) and some pepper and spice. Will definitely use Kazbek again, love it. This beer, while not placing, scored a respectable 40 at the UK National Homebrewing Competition which I am delighted with.