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Belgian Super Saison
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9511
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, English IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison

Working on: Kölsch


PostLink    Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 8:16 pm    Post subject: Belgian Super Saison Reply with quote


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Enjoying a Belgian Super Saison in the sunroom. Image (c) TheElectricBrewery.com

They say that to be considered a 'real' craft brewer, one that beer geeks will take seriously, there are two styles of beer that absolutely must be included in your regular line-up. The first one should be obvious to most: A hoppy American IPA, the top selling craft beer style in America for many years now (and showing no signs of ever slowing down). The second style may come as a surprise to some: A Saison.

Saison (sometimes referred to as Farmhouse Ale) began as a crisp, quenching pale ale brewed in the cooler, less active months in farmhouses in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium. Before refrigeration, brewing was restricted to the cooler months before flowering crops released wild yeasts into the air and brewers could no longer control their fermentations.

At harvest time farmers required teams of field workers who in return required plenty of beer, for refreshment and energy. Saisons provided the answer: Beers which could be brewed during the winter and stored for consumption during the summer harvest. "Saison" is French for "season" and the beer style evolved to meet this specific requirement.

These farmhouse beers traditionally were lower in alcohol content, typically around 3 to 3.5% ABV on average, as they were served to farm workers. With typical allotments in the range of 4-5 liters per worker per day, lower alcohol was very important if productive work was expected. Wink As the style became more popular for pleasurable drinking than for farmworker survival, brewers began making them stronger. Today, most Saisons are in the 5 to 8% ABV range. Because of the wide variety of strengths, three classifications exist:

Table Saison: 3.5 – 5.0% ABV
Standard Saison: 5.0 – 7.0% ABV
Super Saison: 7.0 – 9.5% ABV

Our recipe here at 7.9% is well into the 'Super' Saison range. Feel free to make a lower alcohol version if you like by reducing the amount of grain and table sugar, but keep the relative percentages the same. The hopping rate should also be reduced, keeping the gravity to IBU ratio close to the same as our original recipe.

Saison has gained enormous popularity over recent years, possibly due to the magazine Men's Journal naming Saison Dupont "the Best Beer in the World" in 2005.


Saison Dupont. The definitive example of this beer style. Image (c) growlermag.com

Saison is certainly a popular style amongst craft beer aficionados including Garrett Oliver (gastronome and brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery) who in his 2010 book The Brewmaster's Table concludes "If I were forced to choose one style to drink with every meal for the rest of my life, saison would have to be it. At any given time there is at least one case of saison in my cellar. Saison is not just versatile – it’s downright promiscuous. It seems to go with almost everything. The combination of dynamic bitterness, scouring carbonation, bright aromatics, spicy flavors, pepper notes, dark earthy underpinnings, and racy acidity gives these beers a hook to hang their hat on for a wide range of dishes.”

According to the 2015 BJCP style guidelines, Saison is a wide and varied style that can not only include low to high alcohol content but also run from pale to dark brown in colour (5 to 22 SRM) and include flavours such as: Fruity, citric, spicy, earthy, musty, grainy, peppery, hoppy, herbal, bitter, tart, prickly (due to high carbonation), and perhaps even funky or slightly sour if some non-Saccharomyces wild yeast is also used.



What makes a Saison a Saison?

Some brewers will say that pretty much any beer fermented with a Saison yeast automatically becomes a Saison given how wide and varied the style is, but I think most Saisons share some common traits, including:
  • Dry: The finishing gravity in a Saison must be low and there's no such thing as 'too' low. There should be no residual sweetness. Do what you have to do to dry it out, including swapping out up to 20% of the base pilsner malt with simple sugar if you have to. With 7.6% simple table sugar, mine finished at 1.003 for a whopping 95% attenuation. Doing a multi-temperature step mash as recommended in our recipe (instead of a single temperature infusion mash) also helps ensure high fermentability.
  • Spicy and Earthy: The interesting flavours found in a Saison are yeast derived. Saison is not typically spiced. Most of the spicy, peppery flavours come from the yeast. It's for this reason that the yeast makes or breaks the style. Dozens of speciality Saison yeast are available from various manufacturers, all producing slightly different results. For our recipe we used White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison Yeast which is said to be sourced from Brasserie Dupont, makers of the classic beer that defines the style.
  • Lively: A Saison needs high a higher than normal carbonation level. Around 2.5 to 3.5 volumes of C02 minimum, and possibly as high as 4.5 or even higher. (In his book Brew like a Monk, Stan Hieronymus mentions that Westmalle goes to 4.0, Duvel to 4.25, and Orval as high as 5.0). If bottling, make sure to use thicker bottles rated to higher carbonation levels such as champagne bottles.
Follow our recipe below and brew up your own fruity and spicy Saison. Enjoy!

Photos/videos:


Testing a simple way to boost the temperature in our fermentation fridges beyond room temperature as White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison Yeast likes to ferment as high as 90-95F. A single 23W compact fluorescent bulb was able to take a 5-6 gallons of water up to 90F slowly over a few days which is perfect for our use. Photo (c) TheElectricBrewery.com


Making a White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison Yeast starter. We want about 320 billion cells per 5.5 gallons. See our stirplate/starter article for more information. Video (c) TheElectricBrewery.com


White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison Yeast yeast settling out in the fridge the night before brew day. Photo (c) TheElectricBrewery.com


Measuring out the salt additions. See our water adjustments article for more information. Photo (c) TheElectricBrewery.com


Brew day! Heating up the strike water. Video (c) TheElectricBrewery.com


The WLP565 yeast munching away at 86F (on its way up into the 90's). Video (c) TheElectricBrewery.com


The WLP565 yeast has taken the wort from 1.063 down to 1.005 in exactly 7 days. A few more points to go. Photo (c) TheElectricBrewery.com


Belgian Super Saison. Spicy, crisp, and highly carbonated. Video (c) TheElectricBrewery.com

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Belgian Super Saison (batch #215)

Size: 12.0 gal (post-boil)
Mash Efficiency: 95%
Attenuation: 95%
Calories: 204 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.063 (style range: 1.048 - 1.065)
Terminal Gravity: 1.003 (style range: 1.002 - 1.008)
Colour: 5.4 SRM (style range: 5.0 - 22.0)
Alcohol: 7.9% ABV (style range: 3.5% - 9.5%)
Bitterness: 28 IBU (style range: 20.0 - 35.0)

Ingredients:

18.25 lb Belgian Pilsner Malt* (80.0%)
1.3 lb Pale (or White) Wheat Malt (5.7%)
1.3 lb Munich Malt TYPE II (9L) (5.7%)
3.7 oz Weyermann Caramunich Type III Malt (57L) (1.0%)
1.75 lb Regular White Table Sugar/Sucrose (7.6%) - added during boil, boiled 10 min (sprinkle in slowly over a few minutes)
4.0 oz German Hallertau Hops (4.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min (28.1 IBU)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
1.6 oz German Hallertau Hops (4.5%) - added during boil, boiled 0 min
6 packs White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison liquid yeast (or an appropriate starter from a single pack to make approximately 643 billion cells**)

If you're looking for something more like a traditional 6.5% ABV Saison Dupont, remove all speciality malts (wheat, Munich II, and Caramunich II) and lower the pilsner malt to 17.25 lbs and lower the sugar to 1.6 lbs.

*Can't find Belgian Pilsner malt? German Pilsner malt will make an excellent Saison as well.

**For hints on how to make a starter see Chapter 6 of How to Brew and Appendix A of Brewing Classic Styles. Also see the stirplate/starter equipment I use.

Notes:
Add 500mg potassium metabisulphite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine/chloramine (as required).
Water treated with brewing salts to: Ca=50, Mg=10, Na=16, Cl=70, S04=70
(Hit minimums on Ca and Mg, keep the Cl:SO4 ratio low and equal).
For complete details on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustments guide.
1.5 qt/lb mash thickness.
Start the mash at 147F for 90 mins (beta rest).
Ramp up to 155F and hold for 30 mins (alpha rest).
Then raise to 168F and hold for 10 mins (mashout).
The lower the temperature the longer it takes for starches to convert to sugars, so the beta rest is held longer than the alpha rest. Mashing at two different conversion temperatures (first at the lower beta amylase temperatures followed by the higher alpha amylase temperature) helps create a highly fermentable wort as we want this beer to finish very dry. If your system does not allow for step mashes, try a single infusion mash at 150F for 90 mins, followed by a mashout to 168F for 10 mins (if possible).
60-90 min fly sparge with ~5.6-5.8 pH water. Collect 14.9 gallons in boil kettle.
Boil for 90 minutes. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately.
Cool wort to 64F and aerate well. Pure oxygen from a tank may be used at a rate of 1 litre per minute for 90 seconds.
Pitch yeast and ferment at 66F for the first 3 days then allow the temperature to rise to 85-90F until complete (raise a few degrees per day). Do not allow temperature to drop. If yeast seems to be stalling, do not be afraid to raise temperature as high as 95F to ensure proper attenuation as this yeast works well at higher temperatures. If the temperature is not raised this way the strain tends to stall out in fermentation at the 75% mark and then sometimes restart as long as two weeks later. Some brewers have had to resort to champagne yeast to finish. Assume fermentation is done if the gravity does not change over ~3 days once near the target final gravity of 1.003. For me it takes approximately 14 days to reach final gravity and being careful to never let the temperature drop means no stalling occurs.
Rack to CO2 purged brite tank (secondary), crash chill to near freezing (if possible, but not critical), add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatin dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and let clear for 2-3 days.
Package as you would normally. Though some will argue that this style of Belgian beer is best when bottled, if I still had to bottle I wouldn't be brewing beer. Wink So I keg and then force carbonate. This beer should be served at higher than normal carbonation, around 2.5 to 3.5 volumes of C02 minimum, and possibly as high as 4.5. If bottling, make sure to use thicker bottles rated to higher carbonation levels such as champagne bottles. The beer will improve greatly if kept near freezing for 4 weeks before serving and will continue to change over time. Sampling is recommended. I use a lagering/conditioning fridge that holds 6 kegs, set to just above freezing that holds a small 5 pound CO2 tank so that the kegs can condition/lager and carbonate at the same time.

For complete brewing instructions, see our Brew Day: Step by Step guide.

Brew yourself a batch today and let us know how you like it! Enjoy!

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SEE OUR OTHER RECIPES »



Kal

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Last edited by kal on Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:08 am; edited 6 times in total
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Tennessee



Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 111
Location: Tennessee


PostLink    Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been looking for something different to brew. Now I have the recipe! Mug
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Kal Clone (30amp),Mash Re-Circulation Manifold, Custom BK Hop Filter.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9511
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, English IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison

Working on: Kölsch


PostLink    Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoy Tennessee! Let us know how it turns out!

Kal

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ghandlin



Joined: 09 Oct 2016
Posts: 96



PostLink    Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saison is one that people love that I make. It's always asked for. I use Crystal @ 60, 30 and 10. I also add bitter orange peel at 10 minutes.
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George Handlin
Hands and Feat Brewing
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silverspoons



Joined: 21 Dec 2010
Posts: 555
Location: Webster NY


PostLink    Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have my annual saison in the fermenter right now. Always refreshing on those hot summer evenings. I add bitter orange peel, black pepper, fresh ginger root and fresh sweet orange peel at the 10 minute mark.

Silverpoons
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ghandlin



Joined: 09 Oct 2016
Posts: 96



PostLink    Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you posted your recipe before didn't you silverspoons? Pretty sure I printed it out and want to make that soon too.
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George Handlin
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silverspoons



Joined: 21 Dec 2010
Posts: 555
Location: Webster NY


PostLink    Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'll repost later

silverspoons
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silverspoons



Joined: 21 Dec 2010
Posts: 555
Location: Webster NY


PostLink    Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a PDF of the recipe from my Brewer's Friend account:

remember the step mashing..
i added the sugar at 10 min left in the boil:

silverspoons



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ghandlin



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PostLink    Posted: Thu May 25, 2017 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thx!
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George Handlin
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Kraft Farm Brewing



Joined: 04 Jan 2017
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm brewing this one today. Subbing out the hops with Tet for bittering and Rakau for late additions and dry hopping.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9511
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, English IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison

Working on: Kölsch


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kraft Farm Brewing wrote:
I'm brewing this one today. Subbing out the hops with Tet for bittering and Rakau for late additions and dry hopping.

Good luck with the brew and welcome to the forum!

Kal

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dward4421



Joined: 21 Jan 2016
Posts: 35



PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could I lower the alcohol level to the 6ish range by decreasing the amount of grain while keeping the same percentages?
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9511
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, English IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison

Working on: Kölsch


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup! That'll work.

You may want to lower the 60 min hops too slightly to keep the same bitterness to gravity ratio too, but I don't think it's critical given the reasonably low IBU / clean hops.

Kal

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dward4421



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PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I brewed this about 12 days ago. Mash efficiency on this system keeps improving, up to 88% now. I kept all the percentages the same but lowered the amounts so I could have 6.5% beer. I ferment in a ssbrewtech bucket inside a converted refrigerator/fermentation chamber so I can really keep an eye on the temp during fermentation. Fermentation did start off nicely in the beggining however it's been very slow and sluggish lately. I have slowly increased the temp to about 95. My last gravity readings corrected is 1.018 at 12 days. At what point do you think I might need to add another yeast to fully attenuate it, or should I try to be more patient. If I need to add another yeast, should I lower the temp of the wort down from 95 to the 68-70 range before I pitch it? I have some us-05 or Lalvin ec 1118 ready if needed.
-Dan
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9511
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, English IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison

Working on: Kölsch


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dward4421 wrote:
My last gravity readings corrected is 1.018 at 12 days. At what point do you think I might need to add another yeast to fully attenuate it, or should I try to be more patient.

I'd be more patient myself. If it completely stalls then consider adding a different attenuative yeast like champagne yeast.

Quote:
If I need to add another yeast, should I lower the temp of the wort down from 95 to the 68-70 range before I pitch it?

You'd need to go to whatever is best for the yeast you're adding.

Kal

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Tennessee



Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 111
Location: Tennessee


PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one's going to be nice. Spicy, Dry, and a hint of clove!

4.5 Liter Starter

67F for 3 days > Raised 2 degrees per day for 13 days > Cold Crashed on day 17








Had about an inch of yeasties in the quart jar till I cold crashed. This is what I had the next day!


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Last edited by Tennessee on Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9511
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, English IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison

Working on: Kölsch


PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! That finished dry - nice job!

Kal

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dward4421



Joined: 21 Jan 2016
Posts: 35



PostLink    Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is finally carbonating in a keg now. It took just over 3 weeks to finish at 1.006. I was hoping for a bit more attenuation but the precarbed sample tasted good!
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9511
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, English IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison

Working on: Kölsch


PostLink    Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent! Enjoy! Let us know how it is once carb'ed up.

Kal

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dward4421



Joined: 21 Jan 2016
Posts: 35



PostLink    Posted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just tapped this today. Very tasty! I thought it initially tasted sweet but the FG is 1.005. I retested my hydrometer to make sure my error chart was correct but it's consistent with my previous results. Overall I'm very pleased with it. I had my wife, whom doesn't like beer, sample this recipe and a Dupont and she said they taste very similar so I consider this batch a success!
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