Monday, May 12, 2008

Saison #1 2008


Well I was out of town for a while. Clarissa and I went to Costa Rica for 9 days and it was awesome. We had a lot of nature time, saw some great wildlife (all kinds of monkeys, scarlett macaws, poison dart frogs, crabs, coatis, to name a few).

From a craft beer lover's perspective it was a bit of a blackout...Imperial is like Central American PBR. I don't even have any pictures of me drinking it! But I did...drink it. Very cold if possible.

I was jonesing for a good brew session and finally got it this weekend, with the first saison of the season. And we got to work on Clarissa's new bike, which is an 80's Vitus aluminum French road frame. We already repainted it and spent a little time putting the headset, cranks, forks and handlebars back on. And we bought all the parts we need to complete it.

Saison Dupont is still probably my all-time favorite beer, if I was pressed to name one. And my beer is meant to lean heavily on that framework: all-malt, bone dry, a firm bitter flavor and earthyness from the Goldings hops. Of course I couldn't make a clone though! I threw in the spelt because I was out of wheat, but I wanted something to kick in some head retention. I went for a super-long, low step mash and a 90 minute boil to decrease DMS.

I decided to name this one after one of the species of wildlife we saw, the green and black poison dart frog. Hopefully this beer
will be nowhere as dangerous as that little animal.


Rana Verde Saison
6 gallons recipe, all grain. O.G. 1.055 IBU's 30

9.5 lb. Weyerrman Bohemian Pilsner malt.5 lb. raw spelt
.25 lb Belgian Aromatic malt.

7 gr. German Magnum pellets 14.9% AA 60 min
14 gr. East Kent Goldings pellets 5.5% AA 60 min
14 gr. Styrian Goldings pellets 3.5% AA 15 min
16 gr. Styrian Goldings pellets 3.5% AA 0 min
18 gr. East Kent Goldings pellets 5.5% AA o min

Whirlfoc at 15 min
1/2 tsp Wyeast nutrient at 10 min.

.5 gallon starter of Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison yeast, activator pack. (decanted 1 qt. and pitched 1 qt. slurry)

Mash: 3.5 gallons H2O + 1 tsp. gypsum to 138.
Mashed in to 132. Added .5 ml lactic acid. held for 15 minutes, temp dropped to 130.
Heated to 146 over 10 min. Held 90 minutes, temp fell to 142.
Heated over 14 minutes to 160. Held 10 minutes and started the sparge.

Sparge: 4.9 gallons of water + .25 ml lactic acid.
180 degrees ( I let the temp fall to 170 and held it there)

Collect 6.9 gallons at 1.047. Efficiency = 84%

Boiled 90 minutes, additions as noted. Boiled down to about 6 gallons.
Chilled to 68 degrees and whirlpooled. Collected 5+ gallons. Aerated with aquarium pump and stone for 30 min.

Using a strategically placed heating pad on the side of the carboy, I took the primary fermentation through the following ramp:

Start temp: 68 degrees. Fermentation within 10 hours.
Day 1: Started at 70 degrees, applied heat that evening.
Day 2: 82 degrees.
Day 3: 82 degrees. Applied more heat to raise temp to 86 degrees.
Day 4: 86. degrees.
Day 5: let fall back to 82
Day 6: 82
Day 7: turned off heat and letting fall back to room temp ferment, about 76 degrees.

6/4/08 Racked to secondary. Tastes very promising. Very estery, more so than Dupont I'd say. Still at 1.020 but there is still a slow fermentation going on. It's tempting to try to warm up the carboy, or pitch more yeast to dry it up more quickly, but I want to see where this one goes on it's own, and only repitch if necessary. It's supposed to get up to 90 degrees this weekend, so I don't think I'll need to worry about heating it up.