Taking the Plunge


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Jul 16, 2012
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I have a fermenter in the garage bubbling away where it's, wait for it, around 90° most of the time. Yes, I'm taking the Saison challenge, the recommended fermentation temperature of the yeast is from 70° to 90°, so I'm taking a walk on the warm side with a 1.084 - monster! Intent is to let it ferment down in the garage to about 3/4 of final gravity, then bring it in and pitch dry champagne yeast to finish.

Something weird about shooting for 90° fermentation when I'm usually employing the "redneck swamp cooler" to keep them below my basement temp!
Brave man. Let us know how it turns out. I bet it ferments fast.
wow yes do, my yeast smells like a dog in heat at 80 I'm really interested in this lol
So far the blown-off beer smells really good. I'm looking for peppery-spicy so the heat should help. The data sheet for the Belgian Saison yeast lists the optimum temps as 70° - 90° so we'll see....
Yeast has blown through 25 points in two days. I'm liking this!
Brave man keep us posted. :mrgreen:
Yeast has slowed dramatically at about 1.050, as predicted by Wyeast. I always taste my gravity samples so I can say the beer tastes great, if sweet (at this point). It's currently producing about 2 bubbles per minute and the summer monsoon has reduced my garage temps into the low 80s. What I already know: I underpitched dramatically for a beer of this magnitude - a quart starter would have been far more effective. The yeast likes heat but, as Wyeast says, it tends to stall. So, if it's not working a bit more vigorously this evening (supposed to be warmer than yesterday), in goes the package of champagne yeast to finish the beer - it's already more than half-way to predicted final gravity (although for a Saison, dryer is better).
An update - the monsoon has really cooled it off here! So much, in fact, that I now have an electric blanket wrapped around the carboy in an effort to speed fermentation. I'm currently getting about five bubbles per minute, up from two just this afternoon. The beer is delicious - I tasted the gravity sample and I'm getting all the things that make Saison great - it's just stalled about 35 points too high! Rules for using Wyeast Belgian Saison:

Make a starter. A honking big starter, especially for a really big beer (like this one).
Ferment hot. I mean in the upper 80's.
Have a backup plan, unless you are very patient.

Can't wait to hear how it turns out.

How big of a starter did you make, and what is your target pitch rate?
I didn't, which is my lesson-learned this batch.

If it isn't a bit more active in a couple days, the champagne yeast goes in.
The champagne yeast went in. Hoping for some drying over the next few days....
Now getting slow but steady fermentation after wrapping the fermenter in an electric blanket. It still has 35 points to burn through before it's as dry as I'd like, but still smells wonderful!

Next brew is a Wit. Got the oranges and coriander today, will pick up everything else tonight.
I'll be interested to know what the champagne yeast does to it. Will the FG be 1.00?
At the rate this is going, it might get there, sometime next year! Dang, even in the 80's, this is a slow beer!
I actually want the beer the Belgian Saison strain produces.... This is from what I can read normal behavior for this yeast. It's still bubbling away and I'm down from 1.085 to 1.040, a bit over half-way there! Wrapping a heating blanket around a carboy just seems wrong but I like the taste of the gravity samples so.... We'll see! As I said elsewhere, worst case I'm out $45 for ingredients and am at least that much wiser....
My attempt at a session with my triple orange wit recipe is shaping up nicely. Using WLP565 I hit 85.7% attenuation in 4 week at 78 degrees. My OG was only 1.042 (that was a completely another issue, was going for 1.063), but getting down to 1.006 was a plus. All in all it is turning into a very drinkable beer, and being able to ferment in the closet in the middle of the summer was a nice plus. 1 more week to carb up and then into the fridge for some cold conditioning. Its to bad that this nice summer beer will be ready just in time for fall.
I'm going for over-the-top Belgian character - think Tank 7 Saison. Nothing is to be subtle about this guy, it's big, it's lots of alcohol and spice and, if it ever ferments out all the way, I'll report on it. The Belgian bug seems to have bitten - I did a Witbier this weekend with lots of citrus, chamomile and coriander. Next brew is a Dogfish Head Theobroma-inspired monster, 9.5% (after addition of 2# pasteurized honey to the fermenter) with cocoa in the mash, annatto in the boil and anchos in the secondary. Saint Arnold, protect us....

Yep, something seems to have snapped. I think it's this: I've mastered the subtle. I can do just about anything I want "straight" and get a subtle, balanced, drinkable, high-quality beer. I must be off my meds: My current lineup is the Theobroma, followed by a Pfeffernuesse-Spiced doppelbock, then another off-my-meds idea, a Schwarzwald Porter, Porter with cocoa, a touch of vanilla, cherry, maybe a bit of lactose....

Just don't get to aggressive and put your meds into the brew!