Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saison Dupont "Clone", Blackeyed Blonde tasting

I'm getting a little behind in posting my recipes so I'm just going to put this up with very little introduction. I've done a lot of saisons but I've never tried to clone Saison Dupont exactly. Even this is just close in the malt (they use 100% Dingemans Pilsner) and yeast (this is some sort of isolate from the Dupont culture, but I truly believe they are using a multi-strain yeast. Saison Dupont is one of my favorite beers on the planet, if not my ultimate "desert island" beer. The first time I had it, early on in my homebrewing days, was truly a life changing event.

When this beer is done, it will be fun to a side by side comparison with a bottle of Saison Dupont, even though I doubt it will be close enough to truly call a "clone". I'm going to try and bottle condition at least a six pack of this beer to see if it makes a better saison. I suspect it might, not because of the "increased complexity" from re-fermentation that a lot of people claim, but because the presence of yeast and unfiltered proteins add a lot of mouthfeel to very dry beers. When I keg saisons and they are almost crystal clear after a few weeks, they can be very "unforgiving", with little mouthfeel to bring the other elements together.

Saison DuPont "clone"
Recipe is for 7 gallons pre-boil, 5.9 gallons post-boil, all grain
O.G. 1.051 F.G. 1.007 ABV 5.8% (6.2% after bottling sugar)
28 IBU's (this would be a low estimate as the large flame out addition is not included))

7.5 lb. Great Western Pilsner malt
2 lb. Belgian pale malt

(All hops were 1 year old pellets, in sealed mylar packaging. I did not adjust AA% down)
14 gr. Styrian Goldings 3.5% AA First Wort Hop
28 gr. East Kent Goldings 4.8% AA 90 min
28 gr. East Kent Goldings 4.8% AA 0 min
14 gr. Styrian Goldings 3.5% AA 0 min

Mash: 4.5 gallons water + 4 gr. gypsum + 2 gr. Calcium Chloride
Step mash using bottom heat on stove, total 90 minutes:
126 for 15 minutes
Bring up to 148 over 10 minutes and rest 30 minutes
Bring up to 157 over 10 minutes and rest 10 minutes
Bring up to 170 over 10 minutes and rest 5 minutes, then start lauter.

Sparge with 4.5 gallons at 165
Collect 7 gallons at 1.043 = 84% efficiency
Boil 90 minutes, hops as noted. Wyeast nutrient at 10 minutes
Whirlpool 1 min
Rest 6 minutes while setting up heat exchanger
rack to carboy over 6 minutes, cool to 76
Oxygen for 60 seconds
Pitched a slurry of WLP 566 at 76, ramping to 84 over 5 days. Held steady at 80 until finished.
Bottled / kegged on 2/17/10
Dosed each 12 oz. bottle with 1 tsp priming sugar, each 22 oz bottle with 1.75 tsp.

As part of my "liquid resume" for my job search, I've been dropping off a lot of homebrew samples to the local breweries. As you can see above, I put the whole recipe on the beer label as well as my contact information. The other night I was very pleased to get an email from one of the brewers at Laurelwood that they were very impressed with the "Blackeyed Blonde", which is a Belgian Blond ale. Not only was I happy that the brewers liked it a lot, but I was touched that they actually made it a point to email me and let me know. Thanks, Hans. Ben Love from Hopworks also said he liked it, picking out a nice spicy phenol profile and very subtle alcochol.

Here's my tasting assesment:
Aroma: Big bubblegum / banana character at first, jumping out of the glass. Clove, mixed with a sweet grainy malt. Apple esters, and some warming alcohol is noticeable but not fuselly. Hardly any hop aroma. A discernible "flinty" mineral character in the finish which I think is from the beer, but might possibly be from the glass.
Appearance: Deep gold, crystal clear, medium-high carbonation. Head retention is not very good. Pretty much went away within the first minute.
Flavor: Big mouthful of sweet malt character, bubblegum esters, slight toasty & grainy pils malt quality. Clean bitterness on the end cuts away any sweetness and leaves a subtle noble hop flavor (this is pretty subtle as this beer is 4+ months old and was not incredibly hoppy to begin with). Combo of bitterness, alcohol warmth and CO2 dryness really help to dry out & clean up the finish.
Mouthfeel: Big, round gentle body with mouth expanding CO2 levels. The beer actually expands in your mouth as the CO2 comes out. Some prickly Co2 bite as can be expected. finishes dry and clean with lingering warming alcohols, not hot or harsh.
Overall: The few months keg conditioning and bottle aging have been kind to this beer, cleaning up the burst of sulphur that was apparent when I first kegged it (probably too early as I needed the yeast cake). I'm not a huge fan of the big banana character that the Wyeast 1214 throws off, and I can't say I'm a big fan of that yeast for both performance issues and the incredible amount of banana it creates. Overall this beer has a lot of complexity, and a definitive trappist signature flavor. It's also getting me a bit tipsy and it's not even 1 pm! I hope I can stay productive today...


發財 said...
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thatguy314 said...

That's ambitious!

I've heard people get better results with cultured dupont dregs than they do with the laboratory strains. It might get more of those multi-yeast strain fermentation character that way.

Do you think you're going to get the right orangy color with just pilsener and a 90 minute boil? I know Dupont's light for saison, but I wouldn't be surprised if they used an extended boil or a decoction or something to darken the color a bit.

Seanywonton said...

Yeah, I totally agree that the dregs would be the way to go, I just had the 566 here and it's supposed to be a bottle isolate from Dupont.

They are doing a long step mash and a probably a 2 hour boil at Dupont, but couldn't find that in writing. I think its 6 SRM. Promash told me 3 SRM for this beer but it doesn't account for boil color.

I guess mainly I'm interested in trying to get close to the profile and push myself to ferment hotter than I usually do. Specifically I pitched warmer, about 8 degrees warmer than usual. It could make a fuselly beer, but I'm willing to risk it to see what kind of yeast profile I get.

DA Beers said...

I don't think you'll get any fusels from that strain, I fermented mine higher then that. From what I've read you should be fermenting the entire time around 90 to get the earthy spicy dupont character.

I think the really high temps also might avoid the typical "stuck" ferment that the strains is known for. At only 80 it might take a long while to finish out.

Seanywonton said...

I've had pretty good luck finishing out at 80 personally. The beer seems to be clearing pretty well in its 2nd week. Maybe if this goes well I will take the temp up even higher next time.