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Batch 46: Saison Dorée / Dorée Reserve

Brew Date:  September 30, 2018

Another iteration of my “house golden saison” brewed, with only minor tweaks to the recipe but two new yeast blends. This batch is being split between the 7-gal Brew Bucket and a 3-gal glass carboy.  The former will receive Bootleg Biology’s “Mad Fermentationist” blend by Michael Tonsmere, while the latter will receive WYeast 3726 saison yeast and a pack of Bootleg’s “Funk Weapon 3”. So this time, neither half will be a ‘clean’ beer.

Grain bill and mash / boil details remain the same as the previous few batches, but the flameout hops are updated from Nelson Sauvin to Hallertau Blanc for this batch. Future batches will likely go back to Nelson.

Details below for 8.2 gallons:

70% Bohemian Pilsner (4.20 kg)
15% Vienna malt (0.90 kg)
8% Flaked wheat (0.48 kg)
5% Table sugar (0.30 kg)
2% Acid malt (0.12 kg)

100 ppm Ca, 130 ppm SO4, 75 ppm Cl (7.5g Gypsum, 5g CaCl)

Mash 145F for 45 mins
Mash 152F for 45 mins
Mash 170F for 10 mins

Mash volume 4.2 gallons
Sparge volume 4.0 gallons
Top-up water approx. 2 gallons

Boil 120 minutes

65g Willamette (3.2% AA) at 60 mins
22g Motueka (unknown AA) at 20 mins
28g Hallertau Blanc (8.8% AA) at 0 mins

Chill to 72F

2.6 gallons collected in glass carboy, innoculated with WY3726 + BB Funk Weapon 3
4.1 gallons collected in brew bucket, innoculated with BB Mad Fermentationist blend + BB Funk Weapon 3.

Both received ~ 15 seconds pure O2 before yeast pitch.

Batch 44: Dorée du Printemps

Brew date: April 21, 2018
Bottling date: May 13, 2018


This batch was a product of the yeast and hop inventory in my fridge/freezer. I need to reduce the inventory of hops, and I had Omega Saisonstein on hand gifted by a friend. I decided to brew what has become my most-brewed recipe to date, Dorée, but effectively double the hopping, both in bittering and flavour / aroma additions. This beer was inspired by very bitter (yet enjoyable) examples of saison I’ve had in the past, such as Dunham’s Saison Reserve and Saison du Pinacle.

The only modification to my typical grist was to use wildflower honey in place of plain white sugar, as I had purchased some at a good price.

70% Floor-malted Bohemian Pilsner (7.00 lbs)
15% Vienna malt (1.50 lbs)
8% Wheat malt (0.80 lbs)
5% Wildflower honey (0.50 lbs) – added at flameout
2% Acidulated malt (0.20 lbs)

I bumped up the gravity a little to balance the additional hop presence:

OG 1.056
FG 1.002
IBU 45
ABV 6.5%

Hopping was as follows:

6g Cascade @ 60 min
18g Azacca @ 60 min
14g Nelson Sauvin @ 15 min
20g Azacca whirlpool
30g Motueka whirlpool
50g Nelson Sauvin whirlpool

Brew Day Notes:

Mashed in at 10:15am at strike temp of 145F on the Grainfather (it quickly equalizes once grain is added, so no need for separate strike temp). Added 1/2 tsp of Calcium Chloride and 1/2 tsp of Gypsum before the grain. Mash water volume 4.1 gallons. Increased temp to 152F at 11:00 am. Mashed out at 11:45 am at 170F, started sparge at 12:00. 3.7 gallons of sparge water at 170F used.

Boil started at 12:40 pm, with 6.5 gallons of 1.036 wort. After a two hour boil (and sugar added at flameout), OG recorded at 1.056 and 4.5 gallons were collected into the fermentor.

Bottled May 13 with 145g of dextrose for 3.0 vols of CO2.

Tasting Notes:

[Sept 9, 2018] This beer turned out well, as expected it is pushing the limits of bitterness for a bone dry beer but it is still drinkable. The hop character was a unique combination of lemon, gooseberry, and white grape which suited the style very well. At this point the hop character has largely diminished but the bracing bitterness remains, and enough character playfully integrates with the yeast character to keep the beer interesting. Carbonation is spot-on, with foamy pours and slow gushing but not overly so.

Batch 42: Oxford Ale + Woodstock

It’s been a good while since I brewed a barleywine, and I’d like to make this an annual tradition. To get further mileage out of the brew day, half was fermented clean as a barleywine while the other half received a mixed brett culture as well and aged as an old ale. Depending on how things go, the old ale may become a solera or packaged in full.

Brew Date: Dec 28th 2017

OG: 1.091 (Target 1.100)
FG: TBD (Target 1.025)
IBU: 55
ABV: 10.0%

90% Floor-malted Maris Otter (16.20 lbs)
7.5% Mecca Grade Opal 44 (1.35 lbs)
2.5% Crystal 120 (0.45 lbs)

Hop Extract to 50 IBU @ 90 min (9 g)
1 oz Centennial at 15 min

Oxford Ale (2.3 gals): Fermented with WYeast 1728 (~160B cells)
Woodstock (2.0 gals): Fermented with WYeast 1728 (~100B cells) + Imperial ‘Suburban Brett’ (~160B cells)

Brewday Notes:

Started at 4:00pm, later than I’d like to start on a long-boil brew. Originally I was intended to boil for 2.5 hours, but due to poor efficiency I decided to keep boiling until the gravity got high enough. DME would have been a simpler solution. In the end boiled 4 hours on the nose, got OG up to 1.091, still shy of the 1.100 target. I need to stop expecting near-70% efficiency on big grain bills.

Thanks to a big, 3-stage starter split between the two carboys and a good hit of pure O2 after transfer, activity was underway within 8-10 hours. Fermenters were kept in the beer cellar (air temp 58F).

[Jan 15, 2017] – Gravity check on the Oxford carboy, SG is 1.025 currently for 8.8% ABV. Nose is largely toffee and taste follows (other than the yeast character from being so young).  Not a lot of alcohol coming through, seems good so far though a smaller beer than intended.

[Feb 4, 2017] – Bottling day, SG down to 1.021.

Batch 45: Saison Lune

The maltier of my two ‘base’ saisons that I am developing, this beer uses Vienna as the base malt rather than Pilsner. To ensure it still finishes nice and dry, ~10% of the fermentables (by weight) will be clover/alfalfa honey. To start off simple (and because simple, rustic recipes tend to outperform complicated recipes when it comes to saison), that’s all the fermentables being used. Future iterations are likely to include small amounts of wheat and Munich.

Brew date: May 21, 2018
Packaging date: July 23, 2018

OG: 1.050
FG: 1.004
IBU: 30
ABV: 6.0%

Batch size: 5.5 gal
Mash: 145F for 45 mins, 152F for 45 mins
Mash out: 170F for 10 mins
Boil: 90 minutes


90.5% Vienna malt (3.80 kg)
9.5% Honey (0.40 kg)


1.75 oz Willamette @ 60 min [27 AAU]
1.00 oz Hallertau Blanc @ 10 min [3 AAU]
1.00 oz Hallertau Blanc dry hop


WYeast 3724 – Pkg date May 9th
1L starter of 1.035 wort for 48h
Cell count approx. 175B cells
Fermented at 77F during active fermentation
‘Hollowed’ air lock with cheesecloth on top for 24-48h range.

Pitched at 70F, let free rise to 77F


Despite the

Batch 41: Old Lanes traditional saison

Brew Date: Nov 13, 2017 Bottle Date: Dec 10, 2017

Yet another saison.  I’ve been wanting to do a saison style beer in a more historically-accurate manner for a while:  lower gravity, very simple malt bill, and a higher hopping rate using lower-AA hops.  I would like to take it a step further next time with a proper mixed-culture fermentation but for now I’d like to brew it on my clean equipment, so I’m using the Fantome strain WY3725, as I have a jar of it in the fridge.

In the future I’d like to push this further into historical accuracy with a turbid step mash process and mixed culture fermentation, but wanted a clean version as a baseline. Strength is based on what I want for this beer, which may be a little higher than many historical examples.

The details are as follows:

Batch size: 5.50 gals
Mash: 145F for 45 minutes, 155F for 45 minutes
Boil time: 150 minutes

OG: 1.042
FG: 1.001
IBU: 30
ABV: 5.4%

7.50 lbs Floor-malted Bohemian pilsner (100%)

3.5 oz Saaz (2.3% AA) at 60 minutes
1.0 oz Saaz (2.3% AA) at 10 minutes
1.0 oz Saaz (2.3% AA) dry hop 5 days

Fermented at 70F ambient for 28 days

Brew day Notes:

Pretty smooth brew day, but a few glitches: I forgot salt additions in the mash and sparge water, so just added 1 tsp of CaCl to the boil for yeast health. Meant to make a starter to wake up the old jar of yeast (though there was 175-200B cells, at least), but did not so I just let it warm up to room temp and pitched. Also realized I’m out of O2, so aerated by shaking instead. Underestimated the coldness of our tap water right now and cooled all the way to 58F. Let rise for a couple hours, then pitched and put beside the heater. Only raised to 64F after 24 hours, activity started sometime between that and 36 hours.  Next to a heater, it got up to 72F before major airlock activity and remained at that temp throughout fermentation.

Bottled Dec 10 – 4.5 gallons of finished beer collected, primed with 5.7 oz of dextrose (3.2 vols).

Batch 40: Dorée Batch 2

Brew Date: Sept 10th, 2017
Bottling Date: Oct 12th, 2017 [Clean version]

This new batch of what I intend to be my ‘flagship’ saison recipe is mostly the same as the first batch, with the following changes:  floor malted Bohemian pils in place of Bohemian pils, Nelson fraction of hopping upped to 50%, Willamette addition dropped.  I am also using a different yeast this time – Omega’s Saisonstein strain graciously received from a friend.  I also increased the bitterness from the low 20’s to the low 30’s.

I brewed a bigger batch so that a fraction would be fermented with a mixed culture in the freshly emptied carboy that contained a brett-conditioned biere de garde. This mixed culture consists of Saisonstein, Upright Anniversary 2017 dreg culture, and Le Castor brett saison culture.

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.000
ABV: 6%
IBU: 33


10.5 lbs Bohemian Pilsner, floor malted [70%]
2.25 lbs Vienna malt [15%]
1.20 lbs Flaked wheat [8%]
0.75 lbs Dextrose [5%]
0.30 lbs Acidulated malt [2%]


0.75 oz Nelson @ 45 min
0.75 oz Motueka @ 45 min
0.25 oz Nelson @ 15 min
0.25 oz Motueka @ 15 min
1.50 oz Nelson @ Flame out
1.50 oz Motueka @ Flame out

Mash Schedule:

145F for 45 min
152F for 90 min (had company over)
170F for 15 min

Boiled 105 minutes

Water Additions:

6g Gypsum in mash water (5.5 gal)
2g Gypsum in sparge water (3.5 gal)


Clean half – bottled October 12th with 3.5 oz priming sugar in 0.7 gal water (total vol now 4 gal, 1.048 corrected OG).  FG was 1.000, so I get where the name ‘Saisonstein’s Monster’ comes from now!  I wish I had planned better and used a small dry hop but I did not. Next time.




Commercial Pilot Batch – Saison Dorée

After my golden saison took first place at the Vanbrewer Awards, I was given the opportunity to brew it on Faculty Brewing Co’s pilot system with the intention that it would then become an occasional full-size brew in the rotation at Faculty. This was a great experience and wonderful opportunity.

Batch 39: Récolte

This is my fourth iteration of a bière de garde style ale. Having learned what I like (and don’t like) from the past three versions, I feel confident in this grist, however I am trying a different yeast this batch – WYeast’s bière de garde specific strain, 3725. Previous batches have used WLP515 Antwerp, which worked very well in my opinion, and Imperial’s B51 Workhorse, which didn’t work as well for me.

My first choice of hop is Strisselspalt, but because of spotty availability I have been using Tettnang instead. Tettnang’s flavour profile is well suited to bière de garde and besides, it’s a background role anyway.

Small amounts of rosemary and sage are being added for additional complexity, since this is a fairly “plain” beer. I was fortunate enough to be gifted some of Mecca Grade’s caramel malt, Opal 44, which I am substituting into this recipe in place of Caramunich II.

Brew Date: Aug 6th, 2017
Bottle Date: Sep 2nd, 2017

OG: 1.066
FG: 1.008
ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 23

Batch size: 4.20 gal
Efficiency: 70%

Boil Length: 120 minutes
Mash Profile: 145F for 60 min, 155F for 30 min, 170F for 10 min

The Grist:

35% Bohemian Pilsner malt [1.81 kg]
35% Vienna malt [1.81 kg]
12% Munich II malt [1.00 kg]
8%  Flaked wheat [0.44 kg]
6% Dextrose [0.33 kg]
4% Caramunich II [0.22 kg]


0.5 oz Cascade at 75 min (14 AAU)
0.5 oz Tettnang at 75 min (7 AAU)
0.5 oz Tettnang at 30 min (4 AAU)


WY3725 – Biere de Garde, 68F pitch temp with free rise to 75F.
Pitch Rate 0.7 B cells / L / Deg Plato
1L starter of 1.040 wort w. shaking [Est. 165B cells]
Pitched at 71F, fermented at 78F ambient.


1/2 tsp CaCl in mash water
1/2 tsp Gypsum in sparge water
2 x 10″ branches of rosemary in mash
5x sage leaves at 10 min left in boil

Brew Day Notes:

What I thought was 3 oz of Tettnang was in fact 1 oz, so the first addition was supplemented with Cascade to get up to target IBUs. Otherwise a pretty seamless brew day. Added sugar early (about 40 min left in boil) in order to see where gravity was at. Forgot to add a Whirfloc tablet. Boiled about 130 mins. Mash took a bit longer than usual to clear up (45 min?) due to low temp. Scooped more protein out of the boil than I usually bother with. Chilled to 71F into 7 gallon Brew Bucket, transfer took about 25 min. Used up the last of my O2, hard to say what got in there but definitely some.

Activity at 12h, never saw really aggressive CO2 activity but remained steady for several days.

Batch 43: Burton Ale

I find it both gratifying and dangerous that as a homebrewer, any beer style that I am able to find some information on and find appropriate ingredients for is something I can brew for myself, including styles I may not be able to find commercial examples of.

Burton ale is one of those historic styles that I find very interesting, and isn’t one that lines store shelves anymore. Like many historic styles, there is a lot of differing opinions of what a classic Burton ale should be, thus I have taken some liberties to define what I want my own version of Burton ale to be: Made with 100% British pale malt, boiled for an extended period and heavily bittered with English hops.

Brewed: January 7th, 2018
Bottled: Feb 12th, 2018

OG: 1.091
FG: 1.027
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 80

Batch size: 5.5 gallons
Mash: 90 min @ 156F, 10 min @ 170F
Boil: 150 minutes

Water Additions:

20 g Gypsum
10 g CaCl
5g chalk


100% No.19 Floor malted Maris Otter (17.5 lbs)


55 AAU Extract at start of boil (0.35 oz)
0.75 oz Nugget at 30 min


Imperial A01 House – 2mo. old package
Created 1.75L starter w. 8 oz light DME
Pure O2 for 20 seconds

Fermented at 66F for 5 days, then ramped up to 72F

Brew Day Notes:

Brew started at 10:00am. Mashed 1.5 hrs to try to help efficiency, knowing it’ll be low with so much grain in the Grainfather. Pitched yeast at 62F and put in the cellar with 60F air temp. Fermentation underway within about 12h, sat around 67F at peak activity. Removed from cellar on day 4 as the airlock activity had slowed considerably.

[Jan 21 Primary pull] – Down to 1.027, bitterness is assertive but not overly powerful.  Further attenuation may bump it up. Nice English yeast character thus far.

[Feb 12 2018]  Bottling / transfer day. Primed the whole batch with 0.5 oz / gal dextrose.  Moved about 0.4 gals into Woodstock to top it up to the neck.  Transferred about 3 gals into glass & pitched Brett C (WLP).  The rest was bottled – 12 x 375mL.  FG was 1.026, taste is pretty sweet, not as bitter as expected, and quite nice.

Batch 38: Alpaca II

Brew Date: July 3, 2017
Bottled:  July 19, 2017
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 35

I’ve brewed two iterations of this recipe previously (the first being simply called “Citra”) and both have worked out extremely well. It is a simple and light hoppy beer where Citra plays a central role. No darker malts are used, instead relying on the rich character of Maris Otter, and a little wheat is used to accentuate the hop flavour. I consider this a “blonde ale” based on the low bitterness though it is more in-line with an IPA in most regards.

The last batch’s dry hop was split between Citra and Galaxy, while the boil was 100% Citra. This iteration employs Motueka instead with a 75/25 split on whirlpool and dry hop additions. Future batches will see some further experimentation on the secondary hop but this beer is built around Citra.

Batch size:        5.75 gallons
OG:    1.048
FG:    1.008

Boil Length: 60 minutes
Mash Profile: 155F for 60 minutes, mash out at 170F for 10 minutes
Brewed on Grainfather system


90% Maris Otter (9.0 lbs)
8% Wheat malt (0.8 lbs)
2% Acidulated malt (0.2 lbs)


25 AAU of Citra at 60 minutes (0.5 oz)
10 AAU of Citra at 10 minutes (0.75 oz)
3 oz Citra – whirlpool
1 oz Motueka – whirlpool
1 oz Citra – dry hop at high krausen
3 oz Citra – dry hop final 5 days
1 oz Motueka – dry hop final 5 days


2.5 g  Calcium chloride added to mash water


Safale US-05 dry yeast, re-hydrated

Brew Day Notes:

Pretty trouble-free brew day. Top screen dropped during mash which let a bit more grain material into the boil than usual (not husks, though). Added 2/3’s of minerals to mash water, remainder in sparge water. Mashed with 4.2 gal, sparged with 3.6 gal of 170F water. Used remainder of 2015 Citra on boil additions and used inherited 2016 Citra and Motueka on whirlpool. Recirc’d to 195F then whirlpooled with the chill water off for a few mins.  Then began chilling while continuing whirlpool. Started transfer after 15 min of whirlpool. Transfer took about 15 min, collected 5.25 gal of 1.048 wort. Aerated with 15-20 sec of pure O2. Pitched US-05 direct onto wort, no re-hydrating. Pitch temp 68F, put into wine cooler set at 61F ambient.

Tasting Notes:

[July 19, 2017]  Bottling day sample. Nice orange-juice like hop flavour with pretty minimal bitterness. Seems on-track.