Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Saison Series: Spelt Saison

The Summer of Saison continues and is unlikely to stop, even going into this Fall. (I'm planning another Dark Saison, but this year's will be more focused on spice and roast versus last year's on dark fruit.) My other goal this year with brewing Saisons is to try different grains. In the Table Saison, I used rolled oats (tasting notes coming soon), this more American-strength version has spelt and the Dark Saison will have rye. Now, spelt is nothing new, actually it is one of the oldest forms of grain and is a hearty type of wheat. It was grown in the Saison producing regions of France and Belgium, so it was historically used. There is even a commercial sample that are pretty easy to find, Blaugies Saison d’Epeautre.

For the spelt, I found it at my local Whole Foods in the raw - unmalted form. The spelt cost $2/lb which is about standard. I still needed to crush the spelt so I put it through my grain mill along with the barely. The one thing that I noticed is that it is a much harder kernel and was difficult for the mill to process. However, it is about the same size of barley so if I mixed them together the grain ran pretty smoothly. I was a bit concerned about the quality of the crush, but I hit my numbers so that is what counts. Also I have read that some brewers have used a cereal mash, but that doesn't seem necessary since the gelatation temperature is about the same as wheat (since it is a type of wheat). I had no problem with conversion and next time I will probably do a more tradition Saison step mash with a protein rest. The protein scum on top of the mash was crazy thick and during the boil there was huge protein chunks floating around.

The malt bill and hop schedule were kept pretty traditional. The water profile is also higher in Sulfates to help with the drying impression and still kept on the lower mineral side. The only unique part is that I tried to get all my color from the boil. I slowly ran-off the wort from my mash tun and tried to get as much kettle carmelization as I could. And then did a 90 minute boil.

As for yeast, I picked my 2 favorite strains from the Great Saison Experiment I did a couple months ago. These are at least my favorite strains so far, I also picked ones that were pure cultures because I will be adding different Brett strains at bottling.

Recipe: Traditional Spelt Saison

Batch Size 12.0 gal        O.G.-1.060                                                             F.G.-TBD
IBU-32                             SRM-4 (but should be higher with long boil)    ABV-TBD

Grain Bill (77% Efficiency):
20 lb Pilsner Malt (80%)
4 lb Raw Spelt (16%)
1 lb Acid Malt (4%)

1.75 oz Super Styrian, 9.5%, pellet, 90 min 32 IBU
2 oz Styrian Goldings, 4.5%, pellet, Whirlpool

Re-used Cultured Dupont dregs - 5 gal batch
Re-used ECY08 - 5 gal batch
Re-used Brett Drie - divided in 2 - 1 gal batches

Brew Day:
Brewed: 8/5/12

50/50 Blend of San Diego tap water and Distilled

Mash Details:
H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.25 qt/lb
Sacc Rest. Temp/Time: 148F @ 60min
Sparge Temp/Time: 170F

Boil Details:
Boil Time: 90min + a slow sparge from the mash where the first runnings were boiled rapidly

Ferment Details:
Ferment Temp: pitched at 70 then used an electric blanket to help increase temps. 82 by Day 2, 85 Day 3 and then held around 85 for a week.

So with these 12 gallons of beer I'm going to make a lot of different variations. The 5 gal batches will be split with 2.5 gallons of each getting dry-hopped to create a "Farmhouse IPA". The other 2.5 gallons (.5 gal each) will get split with different Brett strains at bottling:
  • Logsdon Brett Strains
  • Brett Drie
  • ECY03 Brett Strains
  • Allagash House Brett Strain
 I'll have a follow-up post about the Brett Drie Experiment I did with this batch.


  1. Your recipe and grain bill don't seem to mention any spelt. How much did you use?

    1. Thanks Ano,
      I copied an old recipe template and forgot to change the name from Munich to Spelt. So I used 4 lbs of raw spelt. I also added a new paragraph to explain more about using spelt.


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