Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

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.

Belgian candi sugar into the boil

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.


4 responses

  1. Sounds like a hell of a brew day. Im looking forward to hearing how the parti-gyle goes. Are you brewing two saisons, one stronger and one weaker?

    February 8, 2011 at 2:30 am

    • Hey John –
      I didn’t have enough candi, bitter orange or corriander to do a mini-saison with the second runnings, so I decided to just throw whatever I had laying around into the boil for the Mutt batch. I’m not even sure it’s going to taste good, but a fun experiment none-the-less. The starting gravity was so low on the Mutt (1.022) that I’m pretty sure it’s already done fermenting, and it was just brewed this past Saturday. Here’s the full post:

      but the craziest part of this brew session was when I woke up at 5:30am the next morning to find the airlock had shot off in the middle of the night. New post on that just went up this morning:


      February 9, 2011 at 9:55 am

  2. Pingback: NHC 2011, Barking Dog Beer Entries « Barking Dog Beer

  3. Pingback: 1st place! « Barking Dog Beer

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