Friday, June 17, 2011

Traditional French Saison - Big Brew Day

This was my first Big Brew Day and it sure won't be my last. Our homebrew club QUAFF had over 30 brewers and 100 attendees throughout the day. I started pretty early because I had to go camping afterward, which was quite interesting to get everything packed into one car. I sure was glad that I have such a simple and portable system. If you are ever debating attending a Big Brew day you must go. It is easily the best way to get feedback on your brewing, meet fellow homebrewers and get a few new ideas.

On to my beer.

I was really digging the flavor profile from the Wyeast 3711 French Saison. But it was time to step up the gravity and try the yeast with a much more traditional grain bill. I also thought that the yeast was a bit lacking in some of the traditional spice/phenols expected in a Saison. I decided to cold crash my 1 gallon experiment with the Dupont dregs and add those in addition to this batch. I am going to compromise my fermentation temperature because I liked the French Saison in the mid 70s (see the tasting between the 2 batches) and Dupont (tasting coming soon) likes it ramped up into the 80s. So I'll start it in the low 70s and let it naturally ramp up toward 80 by the end of the first week of fermentation.

Recipe: Traditional French Saison
O.G.-1.058  F.G.-1.008   IBU-21 Size -7 gal
SRM-4   ABV-6.6%  

Grain Bill (76% Efficiency):
12 lb Belgian Pilsner (81%)
2.5 lbs Wheat Malt (17%)
4 oz Acid Malt (2%)

1 oz Saaz, 3.2%, pellet, First Wort 3.8 IBU
.5 oz Amarillo, 9.5%, pellet, 90 min, 15.5 IBU
1 oz Saaz, 3.2%, pellet, 8 min 1.9 IBU

150 mL Wyeast 3711: French Saison and Dupont dregs Slurry

Brew Day:
Brewed: 5/7/11
Kegged: 6/6/11

5 gal North Park Water Lady (very soft)
Chlorine Filtered Carlsbad Tap Water
Mash Adjustment: 1 g of CaCl2 
Sparge Adjustment: 2 g of CaCl2
(see water profile)

Mash Details:
H2O/Grain Ratio: 1 qt/lb
Mash Volume: 3.5 gal(2 gal of soft water)
Sacc Rest. Temp/Time: 148F @ 60min
Strike Temp: 164F
Sparge Volume: 7 gal (3 gal of soft water)
Sparge Temp/Time: 170F

Boil Details:
Boil Volume: 8.5 gal
Boil Time: 90min
Post Boil Volume: 7 gal

Ferment Details:
O.G.: 1.058
Ferment Temp: Day 1- 70F (ramped up 1F/day up to 78F)

Primary Length: 21 days (more laziness than necessity)

Stay tuned because I did 2 - 1 gallon batches off this brew. Graciously, White Labs provided all the brewers for Big Brew with a free vial of yeast. I had the French Saison yeast already built up for this batch, but I was very curious about trying a Brett C Only Saison. I will probably bottle half the Brett C version straight and blend the other half with the main batch. Also I wanted to build up the Brett C for a big batch of a Homegrown "BIPA" - (Brett IPA). The other gallon was pitched with the dregs from The Bruery's Saison De Lente.

Tasting - 07.29.11


  1. Nice post. I'm brewing a saison this weekend and was going to use 3711 again for its attenuation properties, but I really like your idea of tossing in some Dupont dregs for complexity. I don't use starters because I brew 2.25gal batches and low-mid gravity beers so they're generally not needed. My question is, can I just toss in the dregs straight from the bottle alongside the wyeast package? Thanks!

    1. In my opinion the DuPont dregs won't do much of anything because the cell count is so low in the bottle. Plus 3711 is such a quick fermenter so there will not be enough time for growth. You could however pull off some wort and add the dregs and then blend.

      Good luck and let me know how it works for you


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