I am auditioning additional saison yeasts for my house blend. I’ve been trying different home brews by people I trust with different blends and harvesting yeast, or getting yeast, from different brewers in order to expand my options. I have a few promising leads for future beers but the first two I wanted to check out were a yeast from Blaugies (write up on that one next week) and the Dupont strain that I’ve been using over and over again.
The Dupont strain has served me well. I haven’t had the problems others report with it stalling out. I overpitch slightly and it rocks through my saison worts in a matter of days. I just brewed a brown saison with cascade (write up on that in a few weeks as well) and it burned through 90% of the gravity is 6 days…SIX DAYS!!! I’ve had discussions with other brewers about using Dupont yeast for these hoppier beers and some have suggested that I didn’t pick the best yeast. There is an experiment that is being published out of White Labs about different yeast strains and the effect they have on the final IBU (they are actually measuring the IBUs pre- and post-fermentation and finding that they are changing based on the yeast strain and that most yeast strains reduce the IBUs overall…). So maybe the Dupont strain isn’t the best saison yeast to use for these experiments. In order to do this, I decided to branch out and use a strain given to me by the owner / operator of a local brewery DOG in Westminster, Maryland. He swears by the yeast so I thought I’d give it a go. In order to have something to compare it to, I brewed with the Dupont strain. This post is about the Dupont strain beer, the next post will be on the Blaugies strain.
One last small change to this beer, I brewed a collaboration beer with Ambrosia ales while I was in Chicago in May and we used flaked rice in the grist bill. I decided to start using this in some of my saisons after that meeting. I’ll go into this later in this post.
Batch # 2014.15
5 Gallon Batch
Brew date: June 29th, 2014
Kegging date: July 20th, 2014
ABV: 6% (estimated)
SRM: 4 (estimated)
IBU: 40 (estimated)
80% Pilsner Malt
10% Flaked Rice
Grain was mashed at 152 with almost 5 gallons of water with a pH stabilizer added (5.2). Mash proceded for 60 minutes. Wort was vorlaufed for about a gallon until the wort ran clear of debris. 5 gallons of sparge water was added and the mash was stirred. The grain was allowed to settle for about 15 minutes and the runoff was vorlaufed again for about a gallon, or until the debris was not present in the run off.
Wort was brought to a boil in about 15 minutes and held there for 75 minutes total. Wort was chilled by immersion chiller for about 35 minutes and drained into a fermenter out of the side port on the pot, the pot has a mesh screen to prevent the transfer of hop debris and hot break. Just over 5 gallons was recovered.
2 ounces of Galaxy at 10 minutes
2 ounces of Galaxy at flame out
2 ounces of Galaxy dry hopped in keg
A big change this time around from previous batches that used Dupont saison strain, I’m thinking about switching house yeasts (it happens every few years) to the yeast used by Brasserie de Blaugies..
Beer was vorlaufed a lot but the sparge vorlauf never got clearer.
Fermentation took off immediately and was kegged two weeks later. Hops were added in a hop bag weighted by a shot glass and force carbonated at room temperature for three days before being transferred to the kegorator. Nothing too odd or special about this beer.
Overall, this is a fine beer. The yeast character and the hop character come through and they are pretty complementary. The yeast is a little more aggressive than the hops in this particular beer and I wish htat was reversed. The beer is light in body and quite effervescent.
Beer is yellow in color and very hazy (more hazy than expected). It is appropriately carbonated but with a lot of keg carbonated beer the carbonation doesn’t seem completely dissolved in the beer. The head is stiff and white, about two fingers, good retention.
Aroma is yeasty, peppery, spicy, and has a nice fruitness to it from the hops. Mango and passionfruit mostly.
Beer is really light and soft on the palate and fortunately does not end too dry. The yeast and hops are a good combination on the palate but the yeast does seem to slightly overpower the hops. It is a flavorful and complete beer. The finish is wet…maybe slightly drying but no one would describe this beer as dry.
I really like this beer and it will likely become a daily drinker for me. I’ve been planning to dial in a recipe on one of these hoppy saisons and I think it is going to be this one. I am going to brew this a few more times in rapid succession, trying a couple of different yeasts and a couple of different specialty grains. I love this beer. 4 out of 5 stars…maybe 4.5. I’m going to go get that last star now.
Possible improvements (for future batches):
This beer is one I’m going to dial in and make this a standardized recipe. I need to get a water report for my area and do the water chemistry for this beer. I think I should add gypsum to this beer the next time I brew it. I’m also thinking of doubling the late galaxy additions and changing the way I dry hop (do it in a keg). I also need to shield my hoppy beers from the light better in general, although this was not skunked. There will be small changes to this beer but I will brew it probably half a dozen more times this year…sorry about that. I will likely roll them into a single post coming up. I want to try a few different specialty grains in the mash including naked golden oats and some acidulated malt. The acidulated malt variant will be one of the next beers made. I would also like to slightly improve the clarity of this beer…I was expecting it to be cloudy but not this cloudy. I will start adding whirlfloc tablets to the boil. This is the first beer (well I guess THIRD technically but the other two haven’t been posted yet) that I’m using the flaked rice. I know this is the source of a lot of my haziness, I am hoping to push it back to a little clearer. Maybe reduce it by half? I’ll look into it.
This beer was brewed again, nearly identical, using Blaugies yeast. That will be posted next week and will include a side-by-side comparison of the two yeast strains. I brewed a brown saison which got cascade hops and Dupont yeast as well. I rebrewed (sort of) my Chinook Belgian IPA but added more chinook this time. Posts about the dandelion saisons will be up shortly, it is currently bottle conditioning.
“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”- George Bernard Shaw