Office Brew: Farmhouse Style Saison
Words: Rob Brown Photographs: Richard Croasdale
Friday 16 June 2017
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Having watched several of my colleagues take on theGrainfather, it seemed pretty straightforward. Warm up some water, stick in the grain, wait for it to beep, pour in some more water, boil with hops, wait for another beep, cool and add yeast. “Why not make this interesting,” I thought to myself. “Why not ask Reddit for a crowdsourced recipe? What could go wrong?” [Rob has clearly never watched Snakes on a Plane - Ed]
Reddit hosts r/Homebrewing, one of the most active homebrewing communities online, with thousands of members all over the world, and thankfully there was lots of interest in my little brew.
After some heated debate and outlandish suggestions, user ‘Anti- Rog’ scooped up most upvotes for his amazing recipe submission, as well as his sheer enthusiasm to contribute, share and create...
“Oh boy you’ve opened the kitchen to a lot of cooks here!” he said. “Saisons are tons of fun and are open to lots of interpretations, I think partly due to the muddled history of their original recipes.
“Sounds like a fun idea, I brew a lot of saisons and prefer them very dry and light bodied with a nice phenolic yeast that can withstand higher temps (78-80 F) without fear of fusels.”
With no experience of brewing saisons, it was always going to be a big ask. I popped in to Brewstore in Edinburgh - whose efforts to save us from ourselves have been correct 100% of the time, in every brew we’ve attempted – to pick up the ingredients. Our trusty brew friend Theo asked what style we were going for and, naturally, I was excited to tell him. “We’re going for a saison this time,” I said, “but like Tank 7 so with that big yeasty farmhouse thing going on. I can’t wait.”
The look I got back was one of pure horror. “The thing with saisons is they can be quite tricky, particularly getting consistency from your yeast. You’ve chosen a difficult one to start with,” he said, diplomatically.
At that stage, I admit I had a few second thoughts about the whole thing. I’m all for spending time making beer, as long as it’s going to be drinkable. I probably should have tried something a bit more simple, but got carried away in the excitement of it all. Plus I’d already made the post and we had recipes coming out of our ears, so there was no turning back. The internet demanded a funky saison, so a funky saison it would get.
Fast forward to brew day, and it’s fair to say I was a little surprised how much work it took just to make a small batch of beer, but it was good fun. We were at it for about five hours all in all, but learned a hell of a lot. Special thanks to Richard for helping keep me right at every step of the way, and also to Matthew Link over in the US as the main contributor (besides a few tweaks) to this farmhouse saison recipe. A copy of Ferment is on its way to you!
The beer has now been fermenting for over two weeks and it’s almost ready for bottling. I’m happy and slightly astonished to report it doesn’t taste like shit – quite the opposite in fact – so much so that I’ve noticed most of the team here in the office have their eyes on it! I think it’s called Beer Envy? I’ll be watching you guys.Cheers!
Volume: 19 Litres Boil Volume: 22 Litres Original Gravity: 1.070
Boil Gravity: 1.061
Final Gravity: 1.015
Colour: 8.5 EBC / 4.29 SRM
Bitterness: 27.55 IBM
Wheat Malt (UK): 2.1kg Lager Malt (UK): 3.1kg Flaked Wheat: 1.1kg
Rice Hulls: 0.83kg (Mix well to avoid clumping)
Total Malt: 7.03kg
Mashing Programme: 65%
For 60 Minutes
Hallertau Mitterlfruh: 40g (Boil) - Time: 60min Galaxy: 20g (Boil) - Time: 10min
Galaxy: 30g (Boil) - Time: 0min End Of Boil
Yeast: White Labs American Farmhouse Blend WLP670 (2 x vialls)
Optimum Pitching: 20 - 22°C
Last Month's Brew
Beer52 co-founder Fraser Doherty, gives his verdict on last month’s brew: Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast...
Having just returned from Mikkeller’s Copenhagen Beer Celebration, it seemed like the perfect welcome home to open up a bottle of my Dad and I’s Beer Geek Breakfast Stout.
Having been spoiled tasting dozens of world-class beers over the weekend at the festival, my taste buds had high expectations for this imitation of the No. 1 rated stout in the world.
I already had a clue that it might turn out great, having anxiously sampled a few measures from the carboy during fermentation. Now that the beer had enjoyed a secondary fermentation in the bottle, it poured beautifully, revealing an effervescent carbonation and producing a respectable head.
The beer itself was deliciously thick, thanks no doubt to its incredible malt bill, consisting of a plethora of different malts. As for the aroma, it is also pleasingly complex, giving chocolate, coffee and roasted malts – unsurprisingly, the taste itself was great.
Remarkably, we managed to brew a bloody good beer. Cheers to Mikkel Borg Bjergsø for the recipe!
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