Thursday, August 11, 2011

Experimental Beer: Dark Saison

This is my third and final brew in my Saison Series this summer. I gradually increased the starting gravity for each of these brews. For this batch I was aiming for a very big Saison and something similar to Saison Speciale De Noel from Fantome. I also stole ideas from a Black Saison thread on the Babblebelt and as always, I compared to what the Mad Fermentationist has tried. The plan is not really to have this beer to drink in the Summer, but to be ready for the cool (not cold) San Diego Winter Nights.

One of my favorite beer flavors is the dark fruit flavor. For me, it is pretty hard to go over the top. I even tried to put figs in my Belgian Dubbel last year with mild success. A small portion of this one will probably be secondaried with sun dried figs (homemade of course). But to give me a base of dark fruit flavors I used some Special B and more of my favorite Black Treacle (which tastes like super sweet raisins and prunes).

I am also going away from Pilsner malt because with a malty beer like this the Pilsner won't really show up. Plus I would prefer a bit more biscuit flavor from just Belgian Pale Malt. To really boost that malt flavor (which I did by adding only Munich to my Black California Common) I added a large percentage of Vienna Malt. Then to make sure this beer gets dark enough and has a bit of roast (reported to help the aging process too) by the time its ready to drink I added some Carafa II. Oh and some Flaked Barley to help with head retention.

Recipe: Dark Saison
O.G.-1.073  F.G.-1.004   IBU-25 Size -6 gal
SRM-27  ABV-9%  

Grain Bill (77% Efficiency):
7 lb Vienna Malt (44%)
6 lb Belgian Pale Malt (38%)
12 oz Flaked Barley (5%)
8 oz Carafa II (3%) 
8 oz Special B (3%)

1 lb Black Treacle (6%) - Added Day 3


.75 oz Amarillo, 9.5%, pellet, 90 min, 25 IBU

250 mL Wyeast 3711: French Saison and Dupont dregs Slurry

Brew Day:
Brewed: 6/4/11
Kegged: 7/9/11

(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: 6 gal (3 gal of soft water)
Sparge Temp/Time: 170F

Boil Details:
Boil Volume: 7.5 gal
Boil Time: 90min
Post Boil Volume: 6 gal

Ferment Details:
O.G.: 1.073
Ferment Temp: Day 1- 70F (ramped up 1F/day up to 78F)
Primary Length: 21 days (more laziness than necessity)

For this beer I will do several tasting and see how it changes with time. I also did a 1 gal batch with Fantome Speciale de Noel  dregs that I will post about soon.

Update - Tasting 10.20.11


  1. Hi jeffrey, Can you tell me if I have to pasteurize the Black Treackle or not?

  2. I don't see a need if you are using a commercially sealed container. The manufacturer should take care of that part, so they have a shelf stable product. Plus the sugar content is so high, it would be difficult for many organisms to survive.

    1. Thank you Jeffrey. I thought so, too, but I ask to you because in some discussions on the internet I had read that someone was pasteurizing it.


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