SaiSon of a Bitch
Recent tastings of Harriet Brewing’s first Belgian IPA batch and Lift Bridge’s Farm Girl Saison (also a Belgo-French style) inspired me to follow suit on brew day Saturday and go Belgian as well. Here’s the Saison recipe I went with as well a few pictures:
Base: 6 lbs domestic pilsner, 5 lbs white wheat malt
Specialty: 8 oz cara-20, 8 oz unmalted wheat
Hops: 1 oz Saaz (60″), 2 oz domestic Goldings (30″ and 2″)
Extras: 1 lb clear candi sugar (60″), 1/4 tsp grains of paradise mixed with 1/2 oz whole coriander (15″), 1 oz bitter orange peel (15″)
Yeast = White Labs Belgian Wit Ale Yeast WLP400
Target OG = 1.055-1.058
My pre-boil OG = 1.050 (12.5 Brix)
My post-boil OG = 1.048 (12 Brix) after adding 1.5 gal. of spring water to bring the wort volume up
The sparge took about two hours, and I actually ended up doing a partial decoction mash for the first time (more detail on decoction mashing here). Following the recipe, I mashed at about 122* for 15 min. and then thought I could bring up the temp to 152* for the rest of the mash time just by adding boiling water. I added a few gallons and still only got up to 140* so instead of continuing to add even more volume, I took maybe 1/2 gal. of the mash water off the top and brought it just barely up to boiling on the stove. After adding that back into the full volume, I got right up to 152* and was able to keep the cooler at that temp for most of the rest of the mash.
I’ve had problems maintaining mash temps on past brew days. This time I held the temp pretty well just by putting styrofoam peanuts in the small spaces around the cooler top (where you could insert a cord for pulling the cooler, I guess). That, and I covered the cooler with a more substantial blanket this time, as opposed to the last time when I just used a few cheap/thin Snuggies (Aren’t they all cheap?).
Already 5 hrs. into this brew day, things got a little crazy near the end of the sparge when I decided to try something I’d never done before: parti gyle. Details to follow.