Monday, 10 November 2014

Coupage: New Hop Saison and Rye Saison

Inspired in part by the techniques described by Yvan de Baets in his essay on historical saisons, I've brewed a few beers recently that have been cut at bottling with the no-boil sour I made over the summer---this brett-fermented wit, for instance, and this hoppy saison.  So far I've been pretty happy with the results.  The sour adds a bit of tartness to the final beer, which seems to gradually increase over time (even when the gravity suggests that there is nothing fermentable left in the beer); and the brettanomcyes strains also start to produce some light funk once the beer has been in the bottle for month or two, presumably thanks to precursors left by the saccharomyces strain used in the base beer.  All things considered, it seems to be a pretty effective way of adding some tartness and complexity to a beer without an extended secondary fermentation.

I have about 1.5 gallons of the no-boil sour left, and I decided to use them all up in two more beers.  The first is essentially a rebrew of the hoppy saison mentioned above.  The original was hopped with newer varieties from Hop House Brewing Supply---Hallertau Blanc and Eldorado---and cut with around 2 litres of the no-boil sour at bottling.  I could do this with confidence because the Wallonian Farmhouse yeast I used to ferment the base beer took it right down to 1.000 (though I did use heavy bottles for half the batch to make sure I could age some safely without worrying about bottle-bombs).

Sticking to the same theme, this time I used some other new hops varieties---Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon---and replaced the Wallonian Farmhouse with Wyeast 3726 from the table beer I brewed a couple of weeks ago.  In my experience this strain usually finishes around 1.002-1.005 with the kind of beers I brew, which is high enough to be a potential concern if I added the brettanomyces at bottling.  To accommodate this I pitched the dregs from my brett-fermented wit into the primary, hoping that this will take the beer down an extra few points before bottling.  If the F.G. still seems a little high, I'll just use heavier bottles and aim for slightly lower carbonation.  I've copied the recipe for this beer at the end of the post.

The second beer I brewed was essentially a stepped-up version of the table beer I brewed a few weeks ago.  I liked how this tasted when I racked it---fruity, but with a slightly lemony kick to it---and I thought it would work pretty well with a bit of tartness behind it.  Rather than just blending three gallons of base beer with a few litres of sour at bottling, with this batch I decided to go for four gallons of base beer (about the maximum I can do on my system), and then blend this with one gallon of sour in a five gallon carboy.  This should help the gravity stabilize before bottling, and also gives me the chance to add a dry-hop if I think that would fit the flavour profile.

I hope these beers turn out well, because I think that this yeast strain really needs some tartness to play off if its going to work in the kind of beers I enjoy.  Its been very fruity in all the beers I've brewed with it---banana at first (which thankfully disappears quickly), but then pears and grapes as it ages---and by itself this fruitiness can be a bit overwhelming.  My hope is that a bit of tartness and light funk will balance this nicely, as they do in the saison I brewed with this strain and ECY20.  Using a no-boil sour to achieve the same result makes for a shorter and only slightly more complicated fermentation.

After this I'll be out of the sour, so its time to think about brewing it again.  I fed my lactobacillus starter last week, and I now need to decide whether to go for an all brett fermentation again, or to brew a more traditional berliner weisse  with sacch and hive off a few gallons for blending.  More on that in a few weeks!


Measured O.G: 1.041
Measured F.G:

Mash: 149°F.


51% Pilsner
34% Pearl
15% Flaked Wheat


Hallertau (US)            60             10.0   IBUs     (12g@4.7%)
Mandarina Bavaria     20             6.9     IBUs     (15g@6.9%)
Huell Melon               20             4.3     IBUs     (10g@6.4%)
Mandarina Bavaria      0              0.0    IBUs      (15g@6.9%)
Huell Melon                0              0.0    IBUs      (10g@6.4%)


Wyeast  3726

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