Saison du Sauvin, recipe

It has been a while since I put up a new recipe. I am fairly excited about this one for a couple of reasons. I wanted to stretch my legs on a big beer, and  test my new water system and knowledge, as well as feature a hop that I have been wanting to use. I love saisons, but have given up on them for the most part as the Dupont yeast strain (my favorite) is so finicky. So two new items in the arsenal are Danstar’s Belle Saison yeast and Nelson Sauvin hops. I found a few recipes online using Nelson in saisons… the verdict seems very positive. I also decided to push the edges here going over 9% abv in a very dry beer.

Using R/O, I added very moderate amounts of gypsum and calcium chloride to bring the calcium levels up a bit. Finished profile target was very close to the Achouffe profile in Bru’n Water. Still very soft and low alkalinity. I also added some acid malt, really for a slight flavor contribution. A little slaked lime helped to bring mash pH back up where it belonged.

Here’s the recipe from Beer Smith in BeerXML format:

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 60 min 45.7 IBUs 9.8 SRM 1.077 1.009 9.0 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Saison 16 C 1.048 - 1.065 1.002 - 1.012 20 - 35 5 - 14 2.3 - 2.9 5 - 7 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pilsen Malt 2-Row (Briess) 22 lbs 76.26
Rye, Flaked (Briess) 2 lbs 6.93
Aromatic Malt 1 lbs 3.47
Acid Malt 8 oz 1.73
Special B Malt 5.6 oz 1.21
Brown Sugar, Dark 1 lbs 3.47
Sugar, Table (Sucrose) 2 lbs 6.93

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Nelson Sauvin 40 g 60 min First Wort Pellet 12
Tettnang 30 g 15 min Boil Leaf 4.5
Nelson Sauvin 18 g 20 min Aroma Pellet 12
Tettnang 18 g 20 min Aroma Leaf 4.5

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Whirlfloc Tablet 2.20 Items 15 min Boil Fining
Yeast Nutrient 2.20 tsp 3 days Primary Other

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Belle Saison Danstar 80% 63°F - 77°F

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Strike 142°F 30 min
Sac Rest 152°F 30 min
Mash Out 168°F 40 min

Fermentation

Step Time Temperature
Primary 14 days 67°F
Aging 30 days 65°F

Notes

Big Beer, 93% apparent attenuation of Belle Saison. Amazing.

The brew day went very well, despite a few hitches with a stuck re-circulation. That was fixed with a generous dose of rice hulls, a short infusion of sparge water and some serious stirring. After that frustration, the wort quickly clarified. Hit a mash pH initially of 5.2 (from the acid malt) but it rose back to 5.3/5.4 within about 20 minutes. Mashed at 142F for 45 minutes, then raised temp to 152F. No Mash Out.

Seemed to be very little hot break in the kettle. Nelson Sauvin smells unlike any other hop I have used. While it has a relatively high AA rating, the hop aromas were very soft, almost noble, a bit earthy. I can see where the wine and gooseberry descriptions come from. A lot in an APA would be pretty amazing. Paired with Tettnang, I am hoping this remains recognizable as a saison. I am considering dry hopping later with NS as well and perhaps a tiny bit of Tett for a better aroma profile.

This is going into the third week of fermentation. I was amazed by the blow off from this yeast, probably helped by the gooey rye, but the chugging could be heard all over the house. Within the first 4 days, we were at 1.010, and today, I measured at 1.006. It is still going, and happy to see this go bone dry. I don’t detect any heat or fusels in the samples. I also plan to give this some additional time in the primary, perhaps another week or so, before dry hopping – to replace the aromas that were blown off with fermentation. I will try to remove some of the trub in the next day or so.

I have pretty high hopes that this will be a very drinkable saison, despite the gravity. I cannot quite figure out the hops flavor at this point – still a lot of yeast in suspension. I do want a bit of white wine character to show through at the end. I have a cold right now – so my senses are a bit wonky.