Petite saisons are gaining more traction in the home brewing community as well as the craft beer community. The thought behind this “small” versions has several motivations that could be taken separately or grouped:
- A sessionable beer that happens to be a Saison – straight forward reasoning, just a Belgian beer that can be drank all day, especially after mowing the lawn
- Low alcohol beer with flavor – more of a “beat your chest” reason for brewing, some take small beer brewing as a challenge to make a high quality beer surrounded by low alcohol
- Historical factors – there are those that want to recreate something close to what was made back on the farm house. It had to be a very low (< 3.0%) alcohol beer as to allow the workers to refresh themselves while working all day without side affects. The beer would also be brewed with items around the farm, therefore non-traditional fermentables would also be game: types of straight sugar, corn, etc. Spices would also be added to the beer. These spices could be used to make the beer more interesting or possibly hide off flavors (contamination). The last piece, at least that I am aware, would be adding at least Brett to the beer. Sanitation on the farm had to be lacking at best.
My goal, at least the first time around, was three fold: make a nice low alcohol Saison, with flavor, while using hops from the yard. The low alcohol was the easy part, just use less grain overall. Since the grain was low I stayed away from any “straight” sugars to allow for as much flavor as possible. In order to get more flavor and a twist, I went with Maris Otter for the majority of the base malt. Not historical but different, hopefully adding some interest. I used all my wet hops for the season: 15 ounces of mostly Cascade, sprinkled with Mt. Hood (1 ounce).
On brew day I harvested the hops, weighed them, and split them into three groups of 5 ounces. Since I had so many hops I pushed the mash temperature up to leave more sweetness in the beer, allowing to combat the bitterness from all the hops even though they are late additions.
This was my first after work on a Friday brew day. I thought it would be painful but it actually turned out great. I had brewed, racked, cleaned and completely finished brewing by 11:00pm. The weekend had barely begun and I already had yeast working. I am going to have to look at Friday brewing more as it seems to leave the rest of the weekend in front of you. Enjoy!
Brew Date: Friday, August 23, 2013
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: ECY08 Saison Brasserie
Yeast Starter: 2 liter
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.50
Original Gravity: 1.037
Color: 3.4 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Mash Time (Minutes): 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%
Alcohol by Volume: 4.0%
Fermentation: 21 days @68*F, 7 days @60*F
5.00# Maris Otter
0.35 ounces Warrior @60 minutes
5.00 ounces wet hops (mostly Cacscade but a nugget or two of Mt. Hood) @20 minutes
5.00 ounces wet hops (mostly Cacscade but a nugget or two of Mt. Hood) @10 minutes
5.00 ounces wet hops (mostly Cacscade but a nugget or two of Mt. Hood) @1 minute
1.0 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
- 2013-09-29: Bottled with 4.0 ounces priming sugar, 2.0 cups of water. 24, 22.0oz bottles. Final gravity: 1.002
Useless Fact: If you attempted to count the stars in a galaxy at a rate of one every second it would take around 3,000 years to count them all.