Cucumber Saison

I have always been intrigued by adding cucumbers to a beer. Either a Kolsch or Saison would work very well. After listening to the Basic Brewing podcast (link to podcast) with Prairie Artisan Ales inspired the grain bill. Also I actually got to use the grains of paradise I bought a few years ago, even though it was just a few grams. Everywhere I researched, just a couple grams in a 5 gallon batch gets enough flavor to come through. I thought the grains of paradise would be a nice touch to the cucumbers and give it a touch of spice that was missing from a pervious batch. I threw in the ounce of citra at the end of the boil to complement the melon aspect of the hop variety. I believe the cucumbers and citra hops will pair well together.

I purchased the yeast from a small yeast company, Boutique Yeast. I found out about him through the Milk the Funk Facebook Group. It is a saison/brett blend yeast. This blend threw a lot of fruit and a little bit of brett funk. I made a saison earlier this summer using this and have throughly enjoyed the yeast character in. Which is why wanted to brew it another batch, but this time spike it with cucumbers. I did not save my yeast cake (like a dummy) from the previous batch so this batch will give me one more shot at saving it this time.The carboy on the right is the brett saison. Brett cider on the left.

I could not find much information any brett saisons with cucumbers. I’m sure a homebrewer has done this before, but a simple google search came up with a few posts asking for information. I have found a couple different ways of handing the cucumber with other people’s experiments. Talking with the owner of Crooked Letter Brewing Company he did a tincture with cucumbers and white rum to spike a keg of their Crooked Heffy which he says turned out quite well and the rum complemented the Heffey. I’m leaning towards making my tincture with vodka. That way I have all of the control of how much flavor actually goes into the keg of beer. The other way is to secondary the beer on top of peeled and seeded cucumbers. But that would mean I would have to try the beer daily to make sure the cucumber flavor did not overwhelm the beer which seems to have been a problem with a lot of other brewer’s attempt at such a beer.

I brewed this beer for the Starkville Arts Council yearly fundraiser, Forks & Corks & Taps. Previously this has just been an exclusive wine pairing with the local restaurants. This year they decided to add a beer element to the event since there are so many breweries popping up in the state of Mississippi. They asked the Golden Triangle Brewers to have a table at the event to represent the homebrew element which I thought is a really good touch and I wanted to bring them something that a local brewery may nor may not bring to the table.

All in all, to do an “experimental” beer for a prestigious event like this in my small little town I guess took a bit of gumption on my part. I’m surprised I just didn’t pull out something that was comfortable. Not this guy.

Following is my recipe and some of the notes I took so far.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 90 min 24.1 IBUs 4.1 SRM 1.049 1.010 5.1 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Saison 16 C 1.048 - 1.065 1.002 - 1.012 20 - 35 5 - 14 2.3 - 2.9 5 - 7 %


Name Amount %
Pilsner (2 Row) Bel 8 lbs 80
White Wheat Malt 1 lbs 10
CBCC Candi- Blonde 1 lbs 10


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Hallertau 2.5 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 2.7
Citra 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 13.9


Name Amount Time Use Type
Grains of Paradise 2.00 g 0 min Boil Spice


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Brett Saison (BY-A) Boutique Yeast 72% 64°F - 69°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 148°F 75 min


Batched sparged at 170 degrees.

Yeast was prepared with a 2000 mL starter for a 5 days prior to brew day. The starter took a few days to take off, but once it did, it went off with a vengeance. I pitched the yeast about 12 hours after high krausen of the yeast starter.The picture in the post shows the beer at high krausen, or what I believe to high krausen. That is when I added the Blond Cascade Beer Candi Syrup. I didn’t do it during the boil because I tend to not stir the sugar good enough to get it off the bottom of the pot and it scorches.I did not use any whirlfloc with this beer also, why it is so murky looking. And my chiller decided to spring a leak. That means this bad boy got racked to the carboy as soon as possible and pitched my yeast the next morning.

August 6, 2015

Kegged the saison today. It was pretty tasty without the cucumbers. I started off with .5mL of cucumber vodka per ounce of beer to sample. The wife and I agreed that it was way too much cucumber. Next sample was .5mL of cucumber vodka to 2 ounces of beer. Was still a strong aroma and flavor. I liked it a lot. So that is what I went with. I spiked the keg with 175mL of the cucumber vodka and am carbing it up to serve at the event August 15th.