My christmasy saison experiment

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by simonrfn, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. simonrfn

    simonrfn New Member

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    #1 simonrfn, Oct 19, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    Hi all. I'd like to share this recipe for some feedback. It's based on our local brewing equipment shop's recipe list, but I made a few changes myself.
    The original goes like this:
    OG 1,059
    32 IBU
    3,1 SRM
    ABV 7 - 7,5%

    3,00kg Premium Pilsner
    1,25kg wheat
    0,22kg Vienna
    0,11kg Acidulated
    0,45kg sugar
    16gr Magnum 60min
    42gr Saaz or Mittelfruh 10min
    Belle saison

    Mine goes like

    3kg pilsner
    1kg wheat
    350gr Vienna
    250gr carared
    110gr acidulated
    (haven't decided how much sugar I'm going to use, that comes later)
    20gr willamette 60 min
    15gr saaz 10 min
    25gr orange peel 10 min
    5gr coriander 5 min
    Belle saison

    Mash for 70 minutes, mashout for 10 minutes at 77° and boil for 60 minutes.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Your mods look like they'll work. You're adding some sweetness with the Carared, taking out some bitterness the spices won't compensate.... Yours is going to be a fairly sweet brew, rather heavy bodied (that's why the sugar was in there). My question: What's your reason for modifying the recipe? It looks like you're going for something in the Trappist family and those are generally very simple.
     
  3. simonrfn

    simonrfn New Member

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    what spices could I add for some 'christmas' spirit then, maybe cinnamon or nutmeg instead of the coriander and orange peel?
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I don't have any particular combination of spices that say "Christmas". Cinnamon and nutmeg work just fine. As do coriander and orange peel. For Thanksgiving - I need to make the beer - I use cranberry and orange. I'd make the choice of spices around what you traditionally serve for Christmas dinner, make the beer complement it, for example, if a lot of the dishes are "sweet", you might want to make the beer sour. My observations about your recipe compared to the original come to this: You've sweetened it by adding caramel malt, you've reduced the bitterness which will also increase perception of sweetness, perhaps picking up noble hop flavors in the process, and you've thickened the body by increasing the sugar. You've also added the spices, the 5g coriander being a bit on the low side. Not knowing your objective, it's hard to tell if you'll hit them but your recipe should work and should make an interesting beer.
     
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  5. simonrfn

    simonrfn New Member

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    Okay I'll keep this in mind. Thank you for the feedback, really appreciate it!
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I should have written you've thickened the body by omitting the sugar. Your recipe should make a decent beer but it's definitely not the original.
     
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  7. ^Tony^

    ^Tony^ Active Member

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    How about vanilla as a nice holiday spice? Orange and vanilla is more of a classic combination for the holidays but both do okay in beer. I've never tried vanilla in a saison but, wtfn? I think it would increase the perception of sweetness though so you would have to compensate by either increasing you hop addition (which I personally find increases the harshness in combination with vanilla) or reduce the vienna and carared. And, vanilla can be very potent and might override the yeast contributions if you use too much so go easy on it.
     
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  8. simonrfn

    simonrfn New Member

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    Never used vanilla in a beer before. Do it add it to the fermentation or to the boil?
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I'd go with just enough vanilla to make people think, what's that I'm tasting. Suggestion on vanilla, if you're using extract whether commercial or homemade, is to add it at packaging. You can stir it in gently under a CO2 blanket and stop just when you notice a change in the flavor. The classic phenolic flavors of a Saison need sweetness to balance their harshness or sharp flavors to accentuate them - I used Grains of Paradise in my last one to good effect. To be frank, it sounds like you're fighting yourself attempting to make a Christmas Saison, in my mind the flavors don't blend well. Why not do a Dark Strong or a Dubbel instead? In my opinion, either of those would respond to Christmassy spices better than a Saison. Take your recipe, ferment it with a Trappist strain instead, lose the coriander and spice it with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, perhaps orange or ginger.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    p. s. You can make tinctures of all your spices and add them at packaging. Soak your spices in cheap vodka while your beer ferments. Ferment it out, and start dosing samples with the tinctures. When you get a blend you like, scale up..
     
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  11. ^Tony^

    ^Tony^ Active Member

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    If you can find them, try whole beans cut in half (length wise) as a dry hopped in 5.5 gallons. 1 or 2 whole or even 1/2 a whole bean dry hopped for 3-5 days will likely be very very apparent. Vanilla is both a strong flavor and delicate so use conservatvely as a dry hop. I've never done it but I think adding it to the boil would ruin any flavor contribution. I think extract to be way too easy to over use and kind of harsh as a final product but it will still do the job.

    Even better: as Nosybear says: make a vodka tincture by soaking a single/couple of whole bean in a bottle of cheap vodka (for at least 3 to 5 days) then add a few drops or a shot or two to a pint and see if you like it. It would mean you have to brew a second batch if you scale it up but worst case scenario you have to use up some vanilla flavored vodka over the holidays. ;) I'd even go so far as to say this might be better than a whole 5 gallon batch to the same flavor. If you brew a base recipe, then use as much or as little spices in your pint as you like without committing to a whole batch. I consider this to be the cocktail version of spiced craft beers! Everyone at the party gets to pick their own spices...makes a great party game. Word of warning...this kind of game tends to devolve into adding nasty additions to the glasses to see who gags first!
     
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  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have a Christmas Ale that I brew with cinnamon and ginger, it is a clone (hate that word) of Great Lakes (Ohio) Christmas Ale, it is a beauty
     
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  13. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Keep the sugar, but you can use different types of sugar. Here is Louisiana, I use fresh cane syrup in my saison recipe.

    If you’re in the UK, maybe you could try Lyle’s Golden or some other local treat. It won’t completely change the final taste, but will impart subtle flavors based on the sugar type.
     
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  14. simonrfn

    simonrfn New Member

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    Okay guys, seeing as I had already made the order for the grain bill with it looking kinda sweet. Should I up the hops and/or use spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla for it to bring a little more taste to it and un-sweeten it a bit?
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    What I'd do? Step mash, if possible, something like 144/156 degrees, 40 mins each. It's the dextrines that give the impression of sweetness so you want to reduce as much of them as possible to fermentable sugar. Upping the hops a few IBUs would again remove some of the impression of sweetness. I like the idea of using the spices: This is not going to be a beer for pounding anyway so some sweetness in the glass likely won't be a bad thing. In my "Christmas" beer, I like warming alcohol, spices, enough to suggest whatever target I'm after, some sweetness, an almost oily mouthfeel, in other words, a beer suggestive of a winter cordial.
     
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  16. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    My experience with the Belle Saison yeast is that it attenuates past target regularly. My last batch went 5 points past target, so no problem with residual sweetness.
     
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  17. simonrfn

    simonrfn New Member

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    Just a little update. I ended up with half a tsp cinnamon, 1/3 tsp ginger and 1/7 tsp nutmeg, 1 minute each and upped the hops a bit. Looking forward to the results!
     
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  18. ^Tony^

    ^Tony^ Active Member

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    Love cinnamon and ginger. That sounds like it will be a heck of a Christmas treat!
     
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  19. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Depending on the Saison strain some a diastaticus so they can chew through some of the more complex sugars that most yeast cant that's why they should end up pretty close to 1.000.
    Just my 2c I'd brew with what you've got and see what you get then adjust next run
     
  20. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I kegged up a batch last week that had gone to 1.001. A very tenacious yeast.
     
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