Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Saison, and Working with Dupont Yeast

Well, I still love saisons. That's no big news. I still love the Dupont yeast profile the best out of any of the commercially available saison strains. It's also a serious bitch to work with! At least in my experience, it takes forever to ferment, as in 6+ weeks even at high temperatures, if you're lucky. On a commercial level, that would be very problematic. I have never used the Dupont yeast in a pro brewery setting, but one day I want to own a brewery that will have a year-round saison offering, and it needs to ferment much quicker than that. I think 3 weeks fermentation (4 weeks to a finished kegged product or 6 weeks for bottle conditioned) would be acceptable, but more than that is really pushing it. Some pro brewers report (relatively) fast results with the Dupont yeast, at least after a few generations to warm up. Others resort to other strategies, like pitching a secondary yeast for attenuation. For now, I still want to see how it performs after a few generations to "warm-up" before resorting to other methods like using a yeast blend, or pitching a secondary yeast.

The following recipe is a first-generation pitch, and yes, the yeast is being it's normal bitchy self. I racked it over from primary after 3 weeks at 80+ degrees (it peaked at 90), and it was still only at 1.026. The flavor sample was great though, it really has that complex fruityness and a sort of earthy aftertaste that I have never really found in the other commercially available saison strains. The beer is currently sitting a secondary/keg with a blowoff, wrapped in a towel and a heating blanket which is keeping it at 85 degrees. It's still creeping along, and if it hasn't dropped substantially in another 2 weeks I'm going to give in and pitch a more attenuative yeast.

I added twice the Wyeast nutrient that I usually do for this batch, and I also gave it an extra 30 seconds of oxygen. I was not able to increase the yeast pitch, because my big Erlinmeyer flask was tied up in another brew, but I did make a 1 quart, stirplate starter. On successive batches I will try pitching more yeast, and maybe even let it get up to 95 degrees, and see if that helps.

House Saison - Beta version
Brewed on 4/29/11
Recipe is for 5.7 gallons, all grain, post-boil volume
O.G. 1.055 F.G. 1.006 ABV 6.5% IBU's 33

9 lb. Weyermann Pilsner malt
8 oz. Munich 10L
8 oz. flaked rye
4 oz. Belgian Aromatic
2 oz. British C 75

24 gr. Sterling pellets 7%AA 90 min
6 gr. Sterling pellets 7%AA 15 min
16 gr. Goldings pellets (U.S. I think) 4.9%AA 15 min
42 gr. Goldings pellets 4.9% 0 min

4 gal H2O + 2 gr. gypsum + 1 gr. CaCl
Mash in to 147, fell to 142 over 40 min
Heated to 149, rest 50 min
total mash time 90 min, no mash-out

Sparge with 5 gal H2O + 2 gr. gypsum (ran out of CaCl or it would have gotten a gram) at 170.
Collect 6.6 gallons at 1.048 = 81% efficiency

Boil 90 minutes, hop additions as noted
1 tsp. Wyeast nutrient & 1/2 whirlfloc tab at 10 min
whirlpool 1 min
rest 15 min
transfer thru plate chiller over 10 min
oxygen 90 seconds
pitched 1 quart stirplate starter of Wyeast 3724 at 70 degrees

Fermentation time/temp, adjusted by heating pad & thermostat combo:
Day 1: Pitch at 70, ramp to 75 that night
Day 2: 80 a.m, 85 evening
Day 3: 87 a.m, 90 evening
Day 4-7: 90
Day 8-23 turn down 1 degree per day til at 80, then hold

Racked to keg on 5/22, 1.026. Sheesh! holding at 85 degrees.
6/15 Still at 1.024...added 1 quart of Ludd Lite at high krausen to try and re-kick off fermentation. That took it to down to 1.017...Christ.
7/24 Added some top-cropped WLP 530 yeast, which took it down to 1.012. Yaaargh...
8/10 Added 1 pint of B. brux infused Dubbel to further attenuation.
9/1 Finally, Finally down to 1.006! The Brett did well, should have added it earlier, but I was trying to get it down with the original yeast. Hasn't aged out long enough to take on characteristic B. Brux aroma profile, which is kind of nice. Chilling, carbing, and preparing to drink.