Batch 32: Saison Dorée

Brewed:  Jan 22, 2017    Bottled:  Feb 15, 2017

OG:  1.044     IBU: 22     FG: 1.005   ABV: 5.1%


[May 17, 2017 Update]  This beer won gold at the 2017 Vanbrewer Awards in Belgian strong ale category! Very happy with that! 

I’ve been particularly interested in focusing on farmhouse style beers since I started homebrewing, but in the past few months my interest in crafting the best saison I can has continued to increase. It’s fueled partly by the fact that BC could really use a brewery that focuses on farmhouse styles and does them well (Dageraad is closest to the mark with their Belgian focus), so of course I have a pipe-dream of opening said brewery.

This is a recipe that would serve as the primary mainstay beer in this imaginary brewery, which I plan to tinker with and re-brew throughout 2017. It should be dry with lots of citrus-fruit esters and balanced phenols. It will be quite pale but with some subtle grain complexity, and the hop character should be up-front but not overbearing with citrus and white wine characters and a little bit of spice. I have debated how bitter the beer should be, but based on some notable commercial examples I have decided this beer shall be on the low end of bitterness for the style. Brettanomyces will be introduced to this beer in a later batch but for now I am opting for a clean fermentation with Imperial Yeast’s B56 “Rustic” strain which is comparable to the WY3726PC strain I have wanted to get my hands on for some time.


The following is for a 5-gallon batch, brewed on the Grainfather system (70-72% efficiency)


75%   Bohemian Pilsner malt  (7.5 lb)
10%   Vienna malt  (1.0 lb)
8%    Flaked wheat  (0.8lb)
5%   Dextrose  (0.5 lb)
2%   Acid malt (0.2 lb)

Hopping Schedule:

0.25 oz  Nelson Sauvin @ 60 min (11 AAU)
0.50 oz Motueka @ 15 min (11 AAU)
1.00 oz Motueka, 0.25 oz Nelson, 0.5 oz Willamette @ flame-out


Imperial Organic Yeast – B56 Rustic   Fermented at 72F

Mash Schedule:

45 minutes at 146F
20 minutes at 152F
20 minutes at 157F
Mash-out at 170F


Brew Day Notes:

Brewed Sunday, Jan 22 2017.  Brewed on the Grainfather. 4.25 gallons of mash water with 1/2 tsp of Gypsum added. Sparged with 4.25 gallons of 169F water heated on the stove-top with 1/2 – 3/4 tsp of CaCl added. Boiled 145 minutes, first hops added at 75 minutes. Topped up the Pommebic 3-gal glass carboy with about 0.4 gals, topped up the petite saison with about 0.7 gals. At this point added the whirlpool hops (202F) and let stand for 10 minutes. Remainder into the 7-gallon Brew Bucket. Collected almost exactly 5 gallons. Pitched B-56 yeast at around 78F, moved bucket to cool spot in the bedroom (ambient about 67F).

Fermentation picked up around 7-8 hours in and was very active at 10 hrs. At 16 hrs wort temp was 72F. Settled down to 68F after 4 days, moved to warmer room to finish out.


Tasting Notes:

Jan 28, 2017 – A week in, SG down to 1.009. Huge bubblegum nose with berries. Strange tingly sensation that I can’t quite figure out. Not a lot of phenolics but the esters are heavy on the berry fruit side. Interested to see where this goes!

Feb 15, 2017 – Bottled today. SG down to 1.005, nose is really peppery but flavour is much more balanced with mild spice, gooseberry, and lemon-water.

Feb 25, 2017 – Popped open a low-fill bottle to see how carb’s doing. Decent carb, and tastes great. Yeast character is shining right now – citrus and stone fruit in equal measure, nice and dry with a moderate spice of clove and pepper. It’s still young so we’ll see where it goes but very happy thus far.

May 7, 2017 – A sulphur note cropped up around 3-4 weeks in bottle and is still there presently. It does dissipate though, and underneath is quite a nice beer. Not a ton of malt character – might up the vienna next go, or switch to floor malted pilsner. Hop profile is gentle but nice, could use some tweaking. Yeast is only a little spicy with fruity esters most prominent.

June 10, 2017 – That sulphur note has since disappeared. Those fruity esters and hop character have dropped but a nice dry soft mineral character has picked up. Drinking nicely. Dead clear at this point as well.