Brings All The Boys to the Yard IPA / Saison

My homebrew club does a a intra-club competition that we call the Makeshift Mashout. We have everyone put ingredients into 3 hats: a brewing ingredient, a hop, and a yeast. I believe I entered oats, mosaic hops, and Vermont Ale  yeast because I’m kind of on a New England IPA kick, yes, I’m brewing with the trends these days, excuse me there. The three ingredients that were selected were oats (WOOT!), CTZ hops, and saison yeast. I started on my journey of formulating a recipe. Where do I go to none other than The Mad Fermentationist Blog. I found a recipe of his using Columbus hops and oats. I used his Softer, Juicier, and Uglier APA recipe as the basis for this beer.  I didn’t have any Nelson Sauvin hops and me being me, I didn’t want to buy a pound of them. I ordered 8 ounces of El Dorado hops. The descriptors of these hops were pear, watermelon, and stone fruit. This is exactly what I’m looking for in this IPA. I had some Amarillo stashed away in the freezer and ordered some CTZ hops with the El Dorados and now I’m about ready to fire up the kettle.

My grain bill was missing malts that would drop the mash pH in the effective range, this is why the initial grain bill called for acidulated malt. If you’re wondering no, I don’t have a reliable pH meter, I’m going all on gut instinct, which, well probably isn’t the best method. A reliable pH meter is on my wish list which will happen sooner than later. The acidulated malt I had in stock was overrun with weevils. It was disconcerting the amount of bugsthat had taken over the malt. I ditched them out in the yard and went onto something else. Since it was just for lowering mash pH, I added phosphoric acid to my mash water. At least this was a quick fix. Have I mentioned I need to go ahead and buy a reliable pH meter?

Harvester of Aqua

Also to note, I harvested my water from a spring that is 20 miles south of where I live. The water is very pure tasting and it has made some fantastic beers. I would love to get my hands on the analysis report. I do have a Total Dissolved Solids meter and it read 13 PPM. Pretty pure if you were to ask me. I built up a small water profile by using a 2:1 ration sulfites to chloride. Why the small numbers in these? Well I only had 6.6 grams of gypsum, so there you go. I wanted to use 2 grams of gypsum per gallon of water used, that didn’t happen as you see. No problem though, at the end I’ll still have beer.

Now onto my fermentation, this thing was super active which made me a happy brewer. The saison yeast was a few months past the prime, but I did a yeast starter and both yeasts were happily fermenting.

NE IPA and the “saison” fermenting away nicely. #homebrew

A video posted by wickdawg (@wickdawg) on

I can’t wait to write up some tasting notes on this bad boy. When I open the chest freezer to check on my babies in there, it smells glorious. I hope that transpires into what I am about to enjoy.

This beer has had a lot of life so far. There is a local artisan bakery in town. I sent him a text the morning of my brew day and told him this was a little different grain bill than usual and he was interested in what I had. He came by a few hours later to pick up my spent grains and he made some lovely loafs of bread. If you ever want to know what a brew day smells like, this bread delivered those aromas to his customers. It smelled of sweet grains and wort to boot. It was mighty tasty bread. I believe it might have been my favorite bread to come out of his bakery.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 60 min 56.5 IBUs 3.9 SRM 1.061 1.012 6.4 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 21 A 1.056 - 1.07 1.008 - 1.014 40 - 70 6 - 14 2.4 - 2.9 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 14 lbs 56
Oats, Flaked (Briess) 5 lbs 20
Wheat Malt, Bel 5 lbs 20
Carafoam (Weyermann) 1 lbs 4

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Columbus (Tomahawk) 2 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 17.8
El Dorado 3 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 13.9
Amarillo 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 7.2
Columbus (Tomahawk) 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 17.8

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 6.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 3.30 g 60 min Mash Water Agent

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend (WLP564) White Labs 78% 64°F - 90°F
London Ale III (1318) Wyeast Labs 73% 64°F - 74°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min

Notes

Heated 8 gallons of water in the BK to mash. Doughed in with 170 degree water. Initial mash temperature was ~142 degrees. Boiled ~1 gallon of water to add to mash to raise the mash temperature. Added to the mash, the mash was inconsistent as far as temperature, but was averaging around 152 degrees. Added 1/2 tsp of phosporic acid to mash water to help lower pH. I do not have a pH meter, just blindly did this.

Heating 8.5 gallons of water in the HLT with my immersion circulating heater covered with foil to keep heat in.

Anvil FIAK
—————
Wyeast 1318 London Ale III
12 hours after pitch - 1 ounce El Dorado Hops
1 ounce El Dorado - 14 Days
1 ounce Amarillo - 14 days
.5 ounce Columbus - 14 Days
1 ounce El Dorado - 7 Days
1 ounce Amarillo - 7 Days
.5 ounce Columbus - 7 Days

6 Gallon Glass Carboy
———————————
WLP564 Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend
1 ounce El Dorado - 14 Days
1 ounce Amarillo - 14 Days
1 ounce Columbus - 14 Days


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 %

Fermentables

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

Hops

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

Miscs

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

Yeast

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

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 148°F 75 min

Notes

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.