Another hoppy saison recipe from a blog about hoppy saisons…at least they are good! This a slight departure and a sign of things to come: this is not a single hop saison (all right, none of them have been single hop saisons but they all showcased one particular hop). This beer has late additions of both Simcoe and Mosaic. This was for a few reasons; first, the practical: I had some leftover Simcoe and Mosaic and wanted to use it. Second, pairing these two hops made sense to me. Mosaic hops are a cross between Simcoe and Nugget hop plants. The result being a hop that is slightly less bitter than either of those but just as fruity, possibly more so. And finally, one of the most popular beers we’ve brewed recently was Recipe #07: Mosaic Saison…and this is an attempt at a redo / elaboration of that recipe.
I have done a lot of beers in the past with complicated hop profiles and I am definitely headed back that way. One of my earliest beers was 7 Cs IPA, where I used seven different hops that started with “C” (cascade, chinook, columbus, centennial, cluster, comet, crystal … there was no citra at the time). A silly thing to do but there it is. I was a novice; as I recall that beer turned out fine. I doubt I’ll do anything that diverse for a while but there is a lot to be said for a complicated hop profile. Greg Koch, the co-founder of Stone Brewing Company, said once that Stone uses a variety of hops so that in case of hop shortages, they can adjust the levels of the other hops to hit their target. Interesting idea, that a complex mixture of hops gives a large brewery greater control. I’m not Stone though, so I don’t have to rely on the muddling of hop flavors together to cover up small variations in hop crop availability (also I imagine Stone gets the choice of each year’s hop harvest in the US).
Batch # 2014.06
5 Gallon Batch
Brew date: April 12th, 2014
ABV: 6.5 % (estimated)
SRM: 2.5 (estimated)
IBU: 65 (calculated)
12 lbs 2-row
2 lbs white wheat
Grain was mashed with about 1.5 qts per pound of grain for a relatively thin mash. 152 F for 75 minutes. Grain was sparged at 165 F with about 5 gallons of water, almost 9 gallons was collected altogether.
Beer was brought to a boil quickly and held there for almost 70 minutes. A well behaved beer if there ever was one.
1 ounces of Columbus @ 60 minutes
2 ounces of Simcoe @ 10 minutes
2 ounces of Mosaic @ 10 minutes
2.5 ounces of Mosaic dry-hopped in keg
This beer was fermented with the yeast cake from the Experimental Pine Fruit Saison. Fermentation started only a few hours after pitching the yeast; krausen fell after about a week. The beer sat in the fermenter longer than it should have but I got busy and couldn’t find time to rack it. This was an error. 2.5 ounces of mosaic hops were added at kegging in a hop bag. Beer was carbonated at 30 PSI for 4 days at room temperature.
Nothing strange about this beer at all.
Turned out good. This beer definitely plays second fiddle to the original Mosaic beer, but this is a good beer in its own right. Beer is yellow with a haze, soft white head, slightly under-carbonated, nice retention. I want to get the carbonation up on these saisons a little higher.
Aroma is dead on: great mosaic hop aroma coming through, strong, slightly dank, piny, fruity beer. The yeast cuts through as well — great esters and mild pepper.
Beer is light in body, a little dry on the back end, drier than it should be. Moderately bitter but not overwhelming, even on the dry back palate. Beer has this fruity sweetness to the front that I really enjoy. Yeast is great in the front with this mild peppery sense and some good esters, no aftertaste, no bubblegum esters, just a mild fruitiness and great hop profile.
Ultimately a great beer, it is a repeat beer for me, for sure. I’ve gotten some great feedback about this beer. From, “I like it but it is a little too dry and bitter for me” to “This is the best one of these saisons I’ve had so far from you” to “This beer restores my faith in the hoppy saison” — mostly positive notes.
Possible improvements (for future batches):
These saisons are turning out pretty well. I guess I should look into my process for hoppy beers a little bit to see if I can protect them a bit better. I think I might mess with my house yeast, find a less peppery profiled yeast to see if that helps the hops come through a bit better. That in addition to using more cautious hop handling techniques hopefully will increase the stability of these beers and help bring the hops more forward. But overall, this is a great beer and I’ll brew something similar, if not identical, to this in the future.
Upcoming brews and posts:
I sat down and started thinking about all the brews that I want to get done this year and the list got pretty long. There will be several more saisons like this in the coming months but there will also be a hefeweizen, a Russian imperial stout, and some gruits. In the fermenter currently is a Hibiscus Brett saison, paradoxus ale (which fermentation stalled on it — more on that in the dedicated post about that beer) and the third of six experimental hop saisons. A lemon basil saison is on the docket but I’d like my own basil to go into that beer so I have to give the garden some time to catch up. I will be posting a few yeast care tips for those that would like to take better care of your yeast (things like how to wash yeast to reuse them, how to isolate yeast from bottles, and so on), so look for those. I’m also off to Chicago for a brew day and some beer tourism. Hoping to hit a few breweries while I’m there. I’m really looking forward to that.
“I recommend..bread, meat, vegetables, and beer.” – Sophocles