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Beer of the Week: Saison!

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June 27, 2014 by fhsteinbart


saison

Saison (pronounced See’-zahn) is a provisional artisanal seasonal beer from the Franco-Belg region called Wallonia. But what does this mean you ask? Good question, especially when you consider that there are 4 season’s in a calendar year, and not surprisingly also 4 different Saison’s as well. Since it’s now officially Summer, we’re going to focus on Saison d’ete’, the Farmhouse beer of Summer. What differentiates the Farmhouse style from others is the use of whatever ingredients that the land provided. This harkens to the French idea of Terrior, in which whatever was left over from the harvest went into  the beer, and it was a primitive venture at best. Today’s Saison’s are uncoupled from agricultural and environmental constraints which bound earlier brewers so we are now able to brew whatever recipe we want, given proper time. Below is a recipe I created to best illustrate the typical Saison as found in most bottle shops and pubs. The only critical conditions are that the beer must be dry, to enhance the perceived bitterness, and also balanced between the residual malt body, and the hop bitterness.

All Grain Ingredients:

  • 10 lbs Belgian Pale Malt
  • 8 oz. Flaked Wheat
  • 8 oz. Flaked Oats
  • 8 oz. Vienna Malt
  • 1 lb. Clear Candi Sugar
  • 2 oz Golding Hops (Bittering, Aroma)
  • ½ oz. Sweet Orange Peel
  • Wyeast 3711

Extract Ingredients:

  • 7 lbs Light or Extra Light LME
  • 8 oz. Flaked Wheat
  • 8 oz. Flaked Oats
  • 8 oz. Vienna Malt
  • 1 lb. Clear Candi Sugar
  • 2 oz Golding Hops (Bittering, Aroma)
  • 1/4 oz. Orange Peel and/or 1/8oz. coriander
  • Wyeast 3711

Instructions:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 155°F
  • Place grains in a steeping bag and steep at 155°F to 165°F for 30 min. Remove grain.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract and Candi sugar, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add 1 oz. bittering hops. (Golding, 60 min)
  • Add 1 oz. Aroma hops (Golding) and Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss with 10 minutes remaining.
  • At 5 minutes add the orange peel, and any other spices.
  • After boil has finished, turn off heat and cool wort by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller.(0 min)
  • Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using non-distilled bottled water or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well)
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 85° F until completed.
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