I really like saisons. I say I’m passionate about them but others have used the word obsessed… whatever.
Several months ago I decided I wanted to brew a saison but rather than jumping into it and brewing away all willy nilly, I researched saisons like crazy. I drank as many as I could find and made a spreadsheet with notes on color, carbonation, aroma, flavors. Then I took that sheet and I wrote to the brewers of my favorites and told them what I liked about their beers and asked them for tips on brewing mine. As a side note, there are certain breweries that are very friendly and helpful to homebrewers, New Holland Monkey King is one of my favorite saisons and they not only replied to my email but we chatted a bit (via email) to help me fine tune my process. I talked to local commercial brewers and asked for their advice to achieve what I wanted in my beer and I emailed White Labs to ask for tips on the way to best get what I wanted out of the yeast I chose to use (WLP566) and they were glad to share some advice with me. See? Passionate.
After a ton of research I finally found what I wanted to brew and this weekend we brewed it up. I’ve noticed that my favorite saisons seem to be more fruit forward with phenolics in the background, rather than the other way around. It turns out I’m also a fan of wheated saisons, many of my favorites have a touch of wheat in them. My final recipe included Pilsen malt, some white wheat and Belgian candi syrup with Hallertau Hersbrucker, Saaz and my personal favorite hops, Mosaic. We’ve dubbed this one Synesthesia Saison and we were going to use the tagline Taste the Rainbow, but I think that’s being used already.
We mashed the grains at 148° for 75 minutes then did a double batch sparge at 168°, this one had a 2 hour boil to carmelize the sugars a touch for both color and flavor. Hops were added at first wort, 60 minutes and flameout, the Belgian candi syrup was also added at flameout. We put 5 1/2 gallons in the carboy and pitched our yeast starter then capped it up and into the fermentation chamber with it. Within 12 hours this thing was spinning like crazy. A nice, fast, aggressive fermentation. I’m really excited to see how this one turns out.
On a geekier note, after seeing a post on a homebrew forum where someone else did this I added a wireless IP video camera (I got a Tenvis JPT3815W) to the fermentation chamber so I can watch it from the comfort of my easy chair. It’s pretty awesome. Right now I can only view it from my network, since my router is being a pain about letting me have access to my ports, but I plan to get this online where anyone can see it.
In case you’re a saison fan as well, here are my favorites.
Tim D’s Top 5 Saisons
1) New Holland Monkey King
2) Stillwater Cellar Door
3) Goose Island Sofie (2012)
4) Stillwater Stateside Saison
5) Dupont Saison Cuvee Dry Hopping.