Today we brewed our second saison (Impeach the Bastard was the first one back in March which won a gold medal at the Mid-State fair). This saison features a bit more complexity in the grain bill including some rye, a hint of citrus zest, French oak, and a few dry hops. We used Wyeast 3711 since that was a great fermenter and also added a vial of yeast we grew from the dregs of a Holy Mountain saison named The Seer. This yeast features brettanomyces and may be a pure brett culture, but we’re unsure. Either way, we figure it will add some funk and fruity esters to liven up the 3711 a bit.
- Batch Size: 5.5 gallons
- Mash: 156 F for 60 minutes to keep it from getting too dry, those 3711 are beasts
- Double batch sparge: 168 F at 2.86 and 3 gallons, respectively
- Boil: 60 minutes
- Hops: 30 minute addition of 0.5 oz Sterling
- Whirlpool: 160 F for 15 minutes with 1 oz Citra and 1 oz Mandarina Barvaria
- Fermentor: 5.5 gallons into the fermentor, pitched Wyeast 3711 starter and Holy Mountain Seer dregs straight from the vial
- Primary: 64 F for three days then crank up to 74 F for two weeks
- Secondary: 74 F for four weeks with 1 oz French oak
- Packaging: Cold crash three days and keg at 3.0 volumes CO2
- Brew house efficiency: 86%
Brew Day Thoughts
This brew day went great. We used this day as a second test to see if the larger mill gap would net us some efficiency, we’re still lower than usual by a few points so going forward, we’ll be setting that back to 0.025″.
We hit the temperatures spot on and this thing is an amazing golden color and smells delicious. We added the vial of brett directly instead of using a starter since the idea is that the brett will take longer to ramp up anyway and stressing brett actually produces a lot more of the fruity esters that we’re going for.
One lemon and one orange were zested directly into the end of the boil. The citrus combined with the honey malt and high mash temperature should leave a tiny bit of perceivable sweetness while the brett or 3711 will attenuate well and leave it crisp.
As the first long-term aged beer that we’ve produced, this beer was difficult to wait for, but was well worth it. As it turned out, there was also some pediococcus in there that created a “ropiness” from exopolysaccharides (EPSs), which we had to then wait for the secondary fermentation by the brett to break these down. The flavor was amazing and perfumy, with enough acidity to brighten it up without going overboard. We entered this beer into the California Mid-State fair and it won Best of Show in 2019.
We have since started a solera project which began with a portion of this beer as the seed culture. There will be a write-up in the future of that process.