‘Tis the Saison. A night with the funky yeast beast.

Keith, aka Yukon Bungholeus, just got back from two weeks trekking around Canada and Alaska, so we decided to celebrate his return by brewing up a batch of High Plains Saison.  This will be our first Saison and our first time using Saison yeast. It was also our first time using oats in addition to Barley.  And it was quite fun.

James and Benjamin direct the final moments of grain steepage.

James (left, age 2) and Benjamin (4) direct the final moments of grain steepage.

Were impressed with how much lighter the wort was after we steeped the grains and could definitely pick up the oat aroma. That oat aroma carried through all the way to the point we added yeast – it’ll be ”
inneresting” to see if that carries through to the final product. We also used Mt. Hood Whole Hops – which just smelled so freakin’ good.

Our challenge here was getting the Wort to cool. We had 4.5 gallons of hot wort, added .5 gallons of cold water, but it took us forever to cool the wort down. I was a given $50  Gift Certificate from a friend last month and ended up spending it on a wort chiller. We’ll use that on the next batch and see how it goes. If anyone has advice on using a wort chiller, please send it our way.

Saison Original Gravity at 1.040

Saison Original Gravity at 1.040, provided I’m finally reading this thing right, that is.

So Saison yeast is pretty cool.  This batch of beer is batch #6 – and in our first five batches we only used dried yeast. This time, we used wet yeast and it came in a package that looked that like this:

Stanky delicious Belgian Saison Yeast

Stanky delicious Belgian Saison Yeast SmackPack

So inside this package are a BILLION yeast cells in liquid and a “nutrient packet: that helps activate them. You smack the pouch, let it sit for a few hours, and watch it inflate like a bag of microwave popcorn. Then, when the wort is at room temperature, you pitch the yeast. When we opened the package, however, the aroma that came out smelled like my oldest son’s sneakers in the middle of summer. Seriously rank. So, naturally, we put it in the beer.

As of today, we have three batches in fermenters (Last Flight Amber Holiday Brown, and the Saison) and the SumoCitrus2 is finishing up in the bottles. We snuck of a taste of SumoCitrus2 last night and, holy hops,  it’s already delicious. It might have to be our first repeat performer.





Filed under Buying Supplies, Making Beer

2 responses to “‘Tis the Saison. A night with the funky yeast beast.

  1. Ian

    Saisons are delicious. I made one in the spring with Wyeast 3725 that featured ginger and toasted sesame seeds (not the best, but ok). A brewing buddy and I just brewed an autumnal rye amber with 3711 French Saison yeast. I’m hoping for deliciousness. The wort chiller is a must – just hook it to the faucet and set up drainage, which can be right down the sink drain. Faster cooling means less contamination risk and better tasting beer. Are you heading in the direction of all grain? Worth it, imo.

    • Nice, Ian. When did you add the ginger and sesame seeds? Did the seeds impart much toasted sesame flavor?

      We weren’t sure exactly what we were going to brew until we got to the homebrew shop and we debated between Belgian Saison yeast and French Saison yeast. Do you have a preference between the two? And yes, we’re heading in the direction of all-grain, but we’re not there, yet. Up next for us is a stout…

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