Saison Found

Between professional exams and writing a book, it has been a very busy month for us. Unfortunately the blog had to suffer through a bit of silence, but we are still here and brewing.

In our last post we talked about wanting to use a yeast we had lost, White Lab's Saison III. Since that post, we have made a miraculous discovery! What once was lost was found. During a trip to Lisa's parents' house Memorial Day weekend, we were fortunate to discover the last remaining bottle of our Pumpkin Saison from the previous season. This was the last beer we made with Saison III before our unfortunate yeast bank accident. We lucked out as the beer was forgotten about in a fridge, awaiting our return. 

A note about our Pumpkin Saison: For our October 2014 pumpkin beer, we drastically changed our pumpkin beer recipe for an experiment of sorts. Typically, we would make a dark ale with the standard spice blend that people have come to expect in pumpkin beers. But after reading an article which questioned whether "pumpkin" beer was a misnomer, when the tastes of most pumpkin beers are so focused on the cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice/clove/mace/cardamom/ginger/brown sugar/vanilla flavor profiles, we decided to go a different route. We came up with a pumpkin beer recipe designed to enhance the flavor of the pumpkin. We decided a saison would be appropriate, due to the clean yeast character. We went with dark Belgian and chocolate malts for the base to give the beer a rich character without adding the brown sugar, vanilla or spices. The resulting beer was not entirely successfully. When we mashed initially, the resulting wort smelled delicious, like pumpkin muffins, and we were really excited. But when we took it a step further and added more pumpkin during the boil, it got weird. The resulting beer was a bit too starchy and did not have a long shelf life. Next time we will probably nix the pumpkin addition during the boil to see if we can get a resulting beer that tastes as good as the wort initially smelled. 

Pumpkin Saison (2014)

  • 6.8lbs munich
  • 1lb pale chocolate
  • .5lb special b
  • .5lb aromatic
  • .5lb caramunich
  • 1lb biscuit
  • 1lb crystal 60
  • .5lb flaked oats (quaker)
  • 1oz Czech Saaz 3.6%AA 60
  • 1oz German Tettnang 2.4%AA 30

Mashed around 154 for an hour with 3 cans (45oz) pumpkin, use rice hulls or expect a stuck sparge

Adding 29 oz (large can) pumpkin last 15 of boil

OG: 1.049 FG: 1.008
ABV: 5.4

With great excitement over our discovery, we packaged the bottle with care and transported it safely back to our house, where we started culturing up the dregs of yeast on the stir plate. Starting with around 500ml of 1.030 wort, we later stepped it up to a little over 1L after seeing solid activity about 36 hours after pitching. After chilling and decanting the yeast, we banked three separate tubes of saison III. Success! 

As we continue on into summer and saison brewing season, Lisa has been tending our garden between studying and running around. This year is the first year we have tried our hand at a container garden on the patio. We picked a number of herbs and spices for the garden that will be great in cocktails, particularly lavender. Since our tiny garden is booming, we decided we should probably brew something with it. Why not a lavender saison?! This will also be an interesting brew, because it will be our first time brewing with a tincture. 

Saison Found

  • 8 lbs Pilsner
  • 2 lbs Wheat
  • 1 lb 2 row/munich
  • 1oz Magnum/apollo for 60
  • .5oz Cascade for 20
  • 1oz Cascade for 5
  • Lavender tincture