Friday, October 5, 2012

Homebrew Tasting: Great Saison Experiment + Extra

The Great Saison Experiment (Part 1, Part 2) went marginally. I'm not having the best of luck with my experiments lately (The Great Wood Experiment was crashed by Brett). The positive spin is that I'm learning more about experimentation. The Saison Experiment's problem was that I tried too many new things in one test. Mainly, I used a huge dose of oats in the beer. Also the lower starting gravity of the beer and high percentage of simple sugars resulted in flat tasting beer. These 3 things are my only explanation as to why these beers don't have much flavor  And without much flavor it is difficult to pick out differences in yeast. So next year, I'm going to stick with a more straight forward and tested recipe to use as the canvas for these yeasts.

There were some subtle differences, but not nearly what I was expecting from this experiment. Therefore I'm going to hold off another month on an official tasting to see if I can get some more flavor development and a greater spread between each sample. As a result of not being all that excited about the results, I ended up splitting these batches even more. Below is a list of all the beers made from this single 20 gal brew session:

  1. French Saison Wyeast 3711 - harvested from last year's French Saison - 5 gal batch
    1. Plain (1 gal) - bottled
    2. Farmhouse Pale Ale #1 (2.5 gal) - Dry-hopped with 1 oz Citra - brought to QUAFF
    3. Farmhouse Pale Ale #2 (1.5 gal) - Dry - hopped with 1 oz Chillindamos' Centennial hops
  2. Saison Dupont - harvested - 5 gal batch
    1. Plain (1 gal) - bottled
    2. Farmhouse Pale Ale #3 (2.5 gal) - Dry-hopped with 2 oz Saaz Whole leaf - drank during the Barrel Project
    3. Farmhouse Pale Ale #4 (1.5 gal) - Dry - hopped with 1 oz Chillindamos' Centennial hops
  3. Brett Drie - used yeast cake from ESBrett - 5 gal btach
    1. Plain (1 gal) - bottled
    2. Pink Version (1 gal) - 1 liter of homemade Prickly Pear syrup, 1 oz Hibiscus flowers - bottled
    3. Go-Go Juice (1 gal) - 1 lb dates, 1 lb figs - carmelized
    4. Farmhouse Pale Ale #5 (2 gal) - Dry - hopped with 2 oz HBC 342 - weak, added 1 oz Calypso - currently on tap (10/5/12)
  4. ECY03 - 1/2 vial - 1 gal batch - bottled
  5. ECY08 -  1/2 vial - 1 gal batch -  bottled
  6. Lost Abbey Red Barn - harvested -  1 gal batch -  bottled
  7. Southampton Saison Deluxe - harvested -  1 gal batch - bottled
  8. Logsdon Seizon Bretta - harvested -  1 gal batch -  bottled

Farmhouse Pale Ale
This might be my new summer beer. This is going to be brewed every year. I have never gone through kegs that fast and had so much great feedback. I took Farmhouse Pale Ale #3 (Dupont-Saaz) to our Chardonnay Barrel Project brew session and it went over very well. So well, that there was only a super cloudy pint went I got back home. Farmhouse #1 (3711-Citra) was taken to my monthly QUAFF homebrew club meeting and seem to be well liked by most. We usually don't get too much feedback about beers because the meeting is so big, but multiple people asked about it after the meeting. Then #2 and #4 were just a showcase for Sean's (Chillindamos) homegrown Centennial hops. These hops were so aromatic with a great blend of piney and lemon citrus falvors. The yeast character on the 3711 version boosted that lemon character even more.

Right now I'm working on my Farmhouse IPAs which are dry-hopped versions of my Spelt Saison.

I do have one formal tasting sheet filled out on my Brett Drie Table Saison with Prickly Pear and Hibiscus.

I'll be tasting all 8 plain versions side by side in the next month. Contact me if you are interested in participating.


  1. that prickly pear hibiscus looks amazing. I've never had hibiscus in a beer...nor prickly pear.

    1. The color really is amazing, but the flavors didn't really work with this beer.

      I still have a lb of the hibiscus that we brought back from our Africa trip, so it will make its way into more beer.

      I also have one more liter of prickly pear syrup in the freezer, but I'm wanting to use it in a Berliner Weiss.


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