September Saison

First of the Birra di Primizie of 2012. Kind of a wild-ass Saison; I'm calling it a Saison 'cos of the yeast.


Batch size: 5 gallons

Grain bill:

  • 2.5 kg Munich Malt
  • 2 kg Pilsener malt
  • 0.5 kg Melanoidin malt


  • 1 oz 2012 hops (Cascade and Willamette) FW
  • 2 oz 2012 hops (Cascade and Willamette) @ 60
  • 6 oz 2012 hops (Cascade and Willamette) @ 20 (!)
  • 4 oz 2012 hops (Cascade and Willamette) @ 5

Yeast: Wyeast 3711, French Saison


September 15, 2012: Shopping trip to Bosa Grapes, because I have no base malt, no yeast and no hydrometer. They were out of hydrometers and pale malt (!), so I went with Pilsener and picked up a hydrometer at Save-on-Foods. Mashed overnight; hit 66.7 C / 152 F; a little higher than I was aiming for, but okay.

Brew Day

September 16, 2012: Kind of a jinxed day. I didn't get off to a nice, early (5.30am) start like I usually do, and when I did I ran out of propane (I think; the flame was much lower than usual, despite cranking it up all the way). Left it to sit for about 5 hours on the stove, with a superstitious handful of hops (about 1 oz all told) to keep the bugs away; we'll call that first-wort hopping. Came down to about 40 C (big pot, 5 gallon) and 30 C (small pot, 1.5 gallon) during that time.

OG came in at 1.056, which is not bad. For such a hop bomb, the hydro sample did not really come across that hoppy. Not sure if that's because these are homegrown hops (and thus weaker than commercial) or because I removed the hop bags (20 min and 5 min addition) halfway through chilling.


September 23, 2012: My youngest son helped bottle. FG 1.006, which works out to 6.4% ABV. The coriander and pepper come through, but so does a malty sweetness. THe more I taste the hydro sample, the more I like it. I've filled a 1.5 litre Grolsch bottle; I'll let it carb up and put it in the fridge to save for next year.


October 3, 2012: First taste. Dark like an Oktoberfest, big rocky head; some hop aroma but not much. Lovely saison flavour, but sweeter. The coriander is nice, but not sure I taste the pepper. This has a thicker mouthfeel than I'd expect for the gravity. Sweet like a dubbel as it warms up.

November, 2012: I entered this in my homebrew club's harvest beer contest, and got surprisingly good results: 33/50 and 29/50. Some good suggestions (more fresh hops, please; more aattenuation) and some nice compliments. That was back in October. In the meantime, it's become noticeably less sweet and is better for it.