Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dark Rye Super Saison

I brewed this beer almost 2 monthes ago before the craziness of the new house started. I thought I posted about this beer, but apparently not. I had a lot of fun with designing the recipe and my fingers are crossed that it tastes good (I still haven't tasted the beer, it's still in Dan's Cellar).

Last year's Dark Saison had a clear focus on dark fruit - by using Special B and treacle for the fruit flavors and a higher kilned base malt to help with the richness. After many months the flavors came together and it's one of my more favorite homebrews. This year however, I wanted to try a much different flavor focus. From reviewing my last few Saisons you can see I'm experimenting with new (to me) adjunct grains. (Oats in Table Saison, Spelt in Traditional Saison). For this beer I wanted to go big on the rye. To be honest, I have a difficult time picking out this flavor in commercial styles I've tried. I read about the "spicy" notes, but it hasn't registered for me. With this beer I wanted to make sure I included plenty of rye, I ended up around 30%. To build on this "spiciness" I also included a decent amount of late hopping with Saaz.
The other big component I wanted in this beer was a distinct roastiness. (Side story: I do a lot of recipe generation in my head while I'm bike riding. A group of us ride each Wednesday night and after these rides, it is our tradition to share homebrews. At the time of this recipe, it was pretty chilly (we are talking 50s in San Diego) and I really just wanted to drink something with a rich roastiness.) What better way to get the roast in this beer than to use a new malt I have been wanting to try - Chocolate Rye from Weyermann. And try a new technique for me - Cold Steeping. Two days before brew day I boiled and cooled 1 gal of water. I added about half to a 1 gal container and then poured in my 2 lbs of Chocolate Rye malt. I topped up the water, gave it a good swirl to make sure all the grain was soaked and left it in the fridge. On brewday, I just poured the 1 gal container into the boil kettle and used a colander to catch the grain. (I took a sample taste of the cold steeped liquid and it was delicious on its own.) I dumped the soaked grain on top of the mash before sparging.
Just like last year's version, I wanted to make this a big beer. With an O.G. at 1.080 I'm hoping to get around 10% ABV. I soured a portion of last year's and the sourness really disguised the alcohol (the dryness helped also). I ended up calling that beer the "Widow Maker" since all the guys drank way too much during Halloween and the wives wanted nothing to do with us. I'll probably end up souring some more this year, but haven't decided on what bug cocktail to use.
As for yeast in this batch, I wanted to continue my split batches. I ended up making starters for ECY 08 and my harvested Dupont yeast. I also did a gal with Brett Drie to test the alcohol threshold of the strain.

Recipe: Dark Rye Super Saison

Batch Size 10.0 gal        O.G.-1.081                       F.G.-TBD
IBU-30                             SRM-24                             ABV-TBD

Grain Bill (77% Efficiency):
22 lb Pilsner Malt (69%)
6 lb Rye Malt (19%)
2 lb Flaked Rye (6%)
2 lb Chocolate Rye Malt (6%) - cold steep

1.5 oz Super Styrian, 9.5%, pellet, 90 min 30 IBU
2 oz Saaz, 4.5%, pellet, Whirlpool

Re-used Cultured Dupont dregs - 5 gal batch
Re-used ECY08 - 5 gal batch
Re-used Brett Drie - 1 gal batch

Brew Day:
Brewed: 9/30/12

50/50 Blend of San Diego tap water and Distilled

Mash Details:
H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.0 qt/lb
Sacc Rest. Temp/Time: 148F @ 60min
Sparge Temp/Time: 170F

Boil Details:
Boil Time: 90min

Ferment Details:
Ferment Temp: pitched at 70 and allowed to free rise. No temperature control. In Dan's cellar.

The Dupont version was off to an explosive start and all the beers seemed to finish up pretty quickly. These beers are sitting in carboys just waiting for an empty keg. I need to start drinking some beer. I should have some tasting notes posted as soon as I have time to get these packaged.


  1. Dark Rye Super Saison is just the sort of thing I've been thinking about lately. I've been experimenting with rye a little bit, but didn't even know that Chocolate Rye existed. My mind has been sufficiently blown. The cold steeping technique reminds of cold pressed coffee which really provides flavor without harshness.

    You mention souring a portion of the beer that you made last year. How much did you sour? What culture(s) did you use?

  2. Go try some chocolate rye. I really liked the flavor, at least of the cold steeped sample.
    The sour portion last year used Jolly pumpkin Bam Noire dregs. They are very aggressive and were able to sour the 10% beer within a couple months

  3. Have you tried the Candela Rye at the Green Flash tasting room?

    I'm like you in that most commercial "rye" beers I'm not picking up anything at all. It's pretty hard to miss in that one, though. I was glad to finally taste rye in a beer.

    1. Actually I had half a sip when it was released at Falling Rock Tap Room during GABF. I don't remember much about it, so I'll need to stop by the tasting room.

  4. Any update on how the Brett Drie did on this strong wort?

    1. Nope. With the move, I have not checked the status of any of these beers. Maybe next weekend.

      I have a data point from an Old Ale I did a couple years back:
      Final Gravity 1.014. Overall beer went from 1.071 + .008(sugar) = 1.079 = 8.6% ABV and 82% Apparent Attenuation


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