New Slang Saison, pt. 1
I had a post started almost a week ago that I just haven’t had time to finish. Then, I decided to brew last night, leaving me with no time to write a proper post. So, what you get instead is part 1 of my brewing process. It’s only extract, so nothing super professional-looking will happen. Also, it’s a style that’s nothing like I’ve done before. I’ve gotten pretty good at the extract brew, but a Saison with herbs and whatnot is something new.
The recipe is here and what happened is below…
First, I assembled the ingredients: 0.5 lbs. Briess Caramel 20L (specialty grain), 7 lbs. light dry malt extract, 1 oz. Amarillo hop pellets, 1 oz. Sorachi Ace hop pellets, zest of one lemon, a sprig of rosemary, Wyeast Biere De Garde 3725 yeast
I steeped the specialty grain for about 20 minutes. It was actually when the water reached 170 degrees Farenheit. This usually adds some character – particularly in terms of color – to the beer.
Once the specialty grains were removed, I brought the water to a boil, threw in the extract, removed it from the heat (so as not to boil over), stirred until the extract was dissolved, and returned it to boil. Once the boil started up again, I added the Amarillo. While waiting, I put some cold water in the carboy and made sure the rest of my equipment was properly sanitized.
With 15 minutes to go, I added the Sorachi Ace hops. These hops are pretty new. They were developed by Sapporo and produce a lemony sent and flavor. I’ve had a beer by Brooklyn Brewery once that used the hop exclusively. It was a good beer and thought that this might add something unique to my Saison. Between that hop addition and the end of the boil, I prepped some honey by putting the bottle in warm water so as to liquify the stuff before dumping it into the wort. At the end of the boil, I tossed in the lemon zest and Rosemary, baby.
Now, comes the worst part of my process: cooling the wort. Since it was storming out, I didn’t have my typical option of chilling it outside, in this giant laundry tub, with cold water running constantly from my hose outside the pot. Instead, I had to resort to the old way of sticking it in an ice bath in the sink. Luckily, this doesn’t take that long if you consider that the ice bath is only part of the cooling process. After the ice bath, I add the wort to cold water in the carboy. That usually puts it over the top if the aeration doesn’t.
Now, the real wait begins. My hope is that the beer ferments in a week. That way I can rack it to the secondary for four or so weeks. Part of that time, we’ll be out of town. The beer will be ready to bottle shortly after I return from my travels. I’ll let you know how the rest goes in future posts.
So far, preliminary smells suggest the lemon will be pretty prominent. In fact, before I pitched the yeast, the wort smelled like an Arnold Palmer. The drink. Arnold Palmer the golfer smelled of cigarettes, sweaty polyester, and women’s perfume. The wort smelled like the drink made out of lemonade and iced tea. Herbally, lemony goodness. However, I know a little Rosemary goes a long way. So, that may come out as things settle. It will be fun to see.
Update: There’s a little action going on. I’ve never used this yeast, but I seem to remember that everyone I’ve known who’s used Belgian strains have had slow starts. I should see more bubbling by tomorrow.
Update 2: Despite what I thought and some have suggested, fermentation has been active throughout the day. I’m thinking we’re in the clear, but I’ll wait for a final gravity in the 1.012 to 1.015 range before I make any bold predictions.
Update 3: So far, so good. The beer fermented all weekend long. It’s supposed to be done in a week. Since getting a proper hydrometer (long story), I will be able to take an accurate final gravity reading. If it comes up short, I might have to hunt down some champaign yeast to finish it off. I’ll post a part 3 to this story either Friday or Monday the 23rd.