Saison Deux (Hoodlum)

So I'm giving saison another shot, this time with a new recipe and a few twists.  I've been sampling a lot of Brettanomyces-fermented beers lately, and one I really enjoyed was Wild Devil from Victory, an american IPA fermented entirely with Brett C.  The Burgundian Babble Belt homebrew board is a good resource for wild, spontaneous, and brett fermentations, and an article posted to the board about beers fermented entirely with Brett cultures was particularly interesting.  I really enjoy the tart, dry, tropical flavors of a brett beer done right, and so I decided to try a saison with a Brett C. culture added in the middle of fermentation.  

I formulated a new saison recipe since my last one had a bit too much residual sweetness despite the bone-dry 1.000 finishing gravity.  5 pounds of Belgian pils, a pound of wheat for cloudiness and tang, and a pound of munich I for color and a bit of maltiness.  To really dry it out I added a further pound of table sugar, and just for shits and giggles a pound of honey.  I figure a saison is traditionally a farmhouse beer made with whatever ingredients the brewers had handy, and I can't imagine that honey never made it into a farmhouse beer somewhere in Belgium.  I used a blueberry varietal and added it with 5 minutes left in the boil to keep a bit of the aroma, though I'm guessing most will be scrubbed out during the fermentation.  I also hopped this one a bit more aggressively to a total of about 38 IBUs.  

I used the same saison yeast as last time, Wyeast 3711 French Saison, but I made a 2L starter this time.  The last few batches I've brewed I've used a starter, and I've definitely noticed a difference in the vigor of the fermentations, as well as the length - less than 12 hours after pitching, it was burping away, and by the second day after brew-day, the krausen had fallen back.  I figured that was a good time to pitch the Wyeast Brett C culture (no starter, just straight from the packet), which kicked fermentation back into high gear for another two days.  As I write this, 5 days after brew-day, the gravity is sitting at 1.004 and tasting pretty damn good.  An initial slight sweetness with a hint of honey aroma is followed immediately by a hoppiness, then a tart fruitiness, and finally a long finish of grain and good ol' saison ester.

Overall, I'm very excited for this beer.  Going to bottle this one in 12-oz longnecks, and I really look forward to watching this one change over the coming months.  

Regarding the name - Hoodlum is what I called my first all-grain beer, also a saison, though it finished out more like an imperial saison due to unexpected mash efficiency (I calculated for 65%, but ended up with over 85%!).  To really get high attenuation and that characteristic saison funk, I wrapped it in a black hoodie sweatshirt and set it on the table in the sunny kitchen.  The next morning, after a night of hanging out with some good friends (read: heavy drinking), I walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water (and down some Advil) and nearly crapped my pants when I saw a hooded person standing across the room.  I quickly realized it was my beer, and decided to name it Hoodlum.  So Hoodlum this one is as well - not as strong, but just a little bit wild.  

Recipe: Saison Deux
Style: 16C-Belgian And French Ale-Saison

Recipe Overview

Wort Volume Before Boil: 6.50 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 5.50 US gals
Volume Transferred: 5.00 US gals
Water Added: 0.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 5.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.028 SG
Expected OG: 1.048 SG
Expected FG: 1.003 SG
Expected ABV: 6.0 %
Expected ABW: 4.7 %
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 39.0
Expected Color: 3.4 SRM
Apparent Attenuation: 93.3 %
Mash Efficiency: 70.0 %
Boil Duration: 90.0 mins
Fermentation Temperature: 80 degF

Belgian Pilsen Malt 5.00 lb (55.6 %) In Mash/Steeped
US White Wheat Malt 1.00 lb (11.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
German Munich Malt 1.00 lb (11.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
Sugar - White Sugar/Sucrose 1.00 lb (11.1 %) Start Of Boil
Sugar - Blueberry Honey 1.00 lb (11.1 %) End Of Boil

US Nugget (12.0 % alpha) 0.75 oz Loose Whole Hops used 90 Min From End
German Hallertauer Hersbrucker (2.4 % alpha) 0.50 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 30 Min From End
German Hallertauer Hersbrucker (2.4 % alpha) 0.50 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 5 Min From End

Wyeast 3711-French Saison (2L starter)
Wyeast 5151-Brettanomyces Claussenii (at 2 days after pitching)

Mash Schedule
Mash Type: Full Mash
Schedule Name:Single Step Infusion (147F)
Step: Rest at 147 degF for 75 mins

Recipe Notes

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