Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ludd Lite Saison 1.0, and first impressions of Beersmith 2.0

(Above: Typical Oregon summer. You have to dress your carboys up like Kenny from South Park and, use heating pads to keep your saisons warms enough!)

This is a pretty "corny" name for a recipe...I was kind of conceptualizing a product that could be marketed one day, even though in all honesty I will probably never call it Ludd Lite (if I did I would probably get a cease and desist request in the mail from a certain macro-brewer). I have always been interested in a saison using all American ingredients, and more specifically, one brewed 6-row barley and corn. So, this was really just a daydream, but I wanted to see how the beer might actually taste: a low gravity "entry level" craft beer that is actually a saison, but takes significant influence from macro-American-lagers. I guess the real trick is making a beer that is super-drinkable but also substantial enough not to be called "watery". We'll see how it comes out. The "Ludd" part of the name is kind of a jokey reference to Ned Ludd, the legendary leader of the Luddite movement in England which rebelled/rioted against automated machinery in the workplace taking away from skilled human jobs. It seems to fit the saison/farmhouse philosophy of doing things.

I'm still pulling my hair out over this damn Wyeast 3724 (Saison Dupont) yeast. I had my first generation batch (the saison with rye) in the keg/secondary with an airlock, kept warm at 85 degrees for 3 weeks. It was bubbling slowly but constantly, so I was hopeful that it was dropping in gravity...until I pulled a sample yesterday during my brew session. It has only dropped 2 points in that time from 1.026 to 1.024! Damn, that was so frustrating I almost stopped my brew session right there. But I decided to keep going, and it did encourage me to pitch and ferment even hotter this time. So far that seems to be paying off with a visibly more vigorous ferment in the first 24 hours. I will pull about a quart off of the new beer to re-krausen the first saison, and hopefully that will do the trick in getting it going again.

Also, this is my first try at using Beersmith 2.0 for Mac. I have always used Promash in the past, even though I've had to keep a barely-working old IBM Thinkpad PC around to run it. Well, so far my opinion of Beersmith is that it's good, but in some ways incredibly over-engineered. I'm sure part of that is just getting used to a new program and figuring out how to do things, but it seems like it is trying to automate too much of the brewing decision making. For instance it is trying to tell me exactly how much water to use in my mash, when and how to do the mash steps, and I don't really brew like that. It's also trying to tell me how many days days it will take to ferment (if you know this yeast, that is even more of a knee-slapper). From the "Brewsheet" layout, I learned that on 7/29/11, I am supposed to "Drink and Enjoy", at which point I am supposed to self score my beer on a 50 point scale. It seems hard to just ignore these parts of the program, but maybe I can change my preferences or make them go away.

Also, with Promash I always used the mash-in temperature calculator to tell me what temp I should get my mash water to in order to hit my target mash temp, and it worked great within a degree every time. With Beersmith's calculator and I ended up mashing in 4-5 degrees hotter than I wanted (easy fix, just mix in a little extra cold water real fast). It is frustrating for now, but I want to try figure out these hangups before I gripe too much about it.

But...I can copy & paste the recipe reports! (Text in RED is some of the stuff that is just wrong or that I would prefer not to have automated and I don't know how to change yet.) If there's any confusion on numbers, see the "notes". They are correct.

Ludd Lite (6-Row, Corn, Crystal hops)
Belgian Specialty Ale
Type: All GrainDate: 06/15/2011
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.70 galBrewer:
Boil Size: 7.21 galAsst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 minEquipment: 6 gallon - SS mashtun
Final Bottling Volume: 5.20 galBrewhouse Efficiency: 88.00
Fermentation: Ale, Single StageTaste Rating(out of 50): 0.0
Taste Notes:


3 lbs 9.0 ozPale Malt (6 Row) US (1.8 SRM)Grain151.4 %
2 lbsCorn, Flaked (1.3 SRM)Grain228.8 %
1 lbsWhite Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)Grain314.4 %
21.00 gCrystal [4.30 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop512.7 IBUs
21.00 gCrystal [4.30 %] - Boil 20.0 minHop64.3 IBUs
14.00 gCrystal [4.30 %] - Boil 0.0 minHop70.0 IBUs
6.0 ozCara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)Grain45.4 %
1.0 pkgBelgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724) [124.21 ml]Yeast8-

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.039 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.038 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.006 SGMeasured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.3 %Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.3 %
Bitterness: 16.9 IBUsCalories: 0.0 kCal/12 oz
Est Color: 2.5 SRM

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash OutTotal Grain Weight: 6 lbs 15.0 oz
Sparge Water: 5.06 galGrain Temperature: 60.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 FTun Temperature: 155.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUEMash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps
NameDescriptionStep TemperatureStep Time
Mash InAdd 11.94 qt of water at 157.1 F148.0 F75 min
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonation Type: KegVolumes of CO2: 2.7
Pressure/Weight: 17.22 PSICarbonation Used: Keg with 17.22 PSI
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 45.0 FAge for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Single StageStorage Temperature: 65.0 F


Yeast: Generation 2 Saison. Cold stored 4 weeks. 4 Tbsp thick slurry into a 1 quart stirplate starter with a little extra yeast nutrient, 24 hours before pitching.

Mash: 2 gr. gypsum, 2 gr. CaCl. Mashed in high: 153ish. Calculation said I would mash in to 149. Adjusted quickly with cold water. Fell to 140 over 45 minutes. Heated over 5 minutes to 154. Rest 20 min and sparge.

Sparge: 3.75 gallons at 170. 2 gr. Gypsum, 2 gr. CaCl.

Collect 5.5 gal at 1.040 = 88% efficiency

Top up with 2.5 qts
Boil 60 min
Wyeast nutrient (1 tsp) and whirlfloc at 10 min
Top up to 6 gallons (hot volume) at end of boil (should be 5.75 cold volume)
Whirlpool and chill thru plate chiller to 80 degrees
Collect 5.5 gallons
Oxygen 90 seconds
Put on heating pad immediately and dialed in to 90 degrees, it was fermenting within a couple hours.

6/16 ramped to 95

6/20 decreased to 93

6/21 decreased by 2 degrees per day, down to 85, and held there.

7/7 Racked to keg, 1.005. Force carbonate.


Darren said...

ah the joys of that bloody saison yeast, all I can add is heat and agitate.

As to brewsmith, I use version 1.4, not really sure what the differences are but it works ok for me. I do recell it being a pain in the arse when I transitioned from using some other calculators to get mash temp etc. but in general I find the pros out weigh the cons. I dont use all the features, like the calendar and inventory stuff but I find the recipe building and calculating bits really good.

Anyway stick with that Saison yeast, its a bueatiful bitch. Wont be having a crack at it again until I get some signs of Summer on the way.

jaymo said...

I've got Beersmith on the PC, and Beer Alchemy on the Mac. Out of the two I love Beer Alchemy. It is very intuitive to use, offers information if I want it, but doesn't impose all sorts of things on the recipe, and still has scaling sliders for various aspects of the recipe as well for easy adjustment.

As for saison yeast, I've taken to using 3711 most of the time. While it doesn't give off the characteristic Dupont profile, the super-dry final gravities and spicy notes have really grown on me as I've used it and tweaked recipes over the last couple years.

Good luck getting those batches to ferment out well!

Seanywonton said...

Yeah, the 3711 is an interesting yeast. Some things I really like about it and some things not so much. It has it's own reasons for being tough to work with commercially too. It doesn't floc out for a crap and it's really hard to harvest. It also doesn't really stop fermenting which according to Alex at Upright makes it really hard to bottle condition to consistent CO2 levels. I have liked it in some saisons (both my homebrew and commercial) but in others I find it can dry the beer out way too much and leave a harsh dry astringency behind. I haven't given up on the idea of blending 3724 and 3711 in a commercial setting, or possibly pitching the 3711 as a secondary to 3724. The profile from the Dupont yeast is what I'm after, even thought the 3711 profile is different and can also be very nice.
If I can source all the yeasts I'd really like to to a huge side-by-side comparison of all the commercially available saison yeasts in the same wort some time. That would be very eye-opening I think.

James said...

BeerSmith does take some getting used to. Here's a Pro-Tip I've learned for the BeerSmith Mash-In temps:

On the recipe screen, make sure you check the "Adjust Mash for Equip" checkbox, then on the "Mash Details" page be sure to estimate the Mash Tun Temperature and Grain Temp.

If you didn't do this last time, try it on your next brew, I'll bet your mash-in temp is much closer to what you want.

Vladimir said...

ProMash has a 'thermal mass' variable for your mash tun which affects the predicted temp of your strike water. Perhaps Beersmith has the same? I haven't made the move over from ProMash yet, but it seems inevitable. But the thought of losing my library of past brews is really disconcerting.

Seanywonton said...

James, thanks for the tip. Checking back I did have all that stuff set up right (I even weighed my mash kettle to set up the equipment profile!). I measured the grain temp too. Funny, I don't think I ever accounted for the mash tun thermal mass when using Promash and it actually seemed to work better for me. I will check back with Promash and see what I had it set for there.

Also: I re-krausened the Rye saison yesterday with a quart of the Ludd Lite. Keeping it very warm and it seems to be taking off again. Maybe this is just something I need to get used to doing for a 1st gen. pitch of Dupont yeast.

Lee said...

+1 on calibrating equipment. I've found Beersmith to be very accurate, but take the type to set up your equipment properly. I.e., weigh the mash tun and set up the correct specific heat (for stainless, aluminum, cooler, etc.,). It'll be pretty accurate once you do that.

I do agree about the overengineered. It's also too much in the display screen for me. I like all the features, and I wish I would have to open a menu for some of them, because I'm hit with too much going on. Right now I still prefer my beersmith 1.4.

Erik L. said...

If you'd like to remove the tasting score from the recipe report, look into creating a custom report. Just copy the original BeerSmith report (look at the help file on custom reports to find it) and then remove the offending line, save the file and set it up as a custom report. I've played with this a bit and the reporting is very flexible.