The Belgian Saison
Traditionally brewed by farmers in Wallonia, French speaking Belgium, Saison was brewed for field workers. This characteristic style of beer has seen some revival in popularity in recent years.
A typical traditional Saison was brewed on farms during winter to be consumed in the next harvest season by workers. Because of this, Saison is also known as ‘Farmhouse Ale’. Nowadays the style is famous for its’ characteristics of being refreshing, very dry on the tongue due to high attenuation, fruity and peppery in aroma with a yeast forward taste. A typical example of the style is the ‘Mother of Saisons’ Dupont.
Modern brewers experiment with the Saison style by adding spices and flavors that boost the fruity aromas, further fermentation using Brett strains or anything else that works really. The most important thing for a Saison is the refreshing quality of the beer.
Brewing Our Own
Intrigued by the strange properties of the Belgian Saison yeast my brewing buddy J and I decided we wanted to try our hands at brewing a Saison. You see, Saison yeast doesn’t quite behave like any other beer yeast. She has her little diva characteristics. She likes warm temperatures, like up to and including 33°C for fermentation. This is also where a lot of the flavor profile comes from.
It’s also said that this strain of Saison yeast in particular (Wyeast 3724) has a tendency to stall it’s fermentation after a rapid start. One theory on how to deal with the stall is to ferment without an airlock or blow-off, so we decided to test this.
Brewday went amazingly well, after a couple of brews together J and I are really starting to work well as a team. We hit an amazing 85% brew-house efficiency by using a new mash filter. A little higher than we were aiming so I guess this will be a strong Saison.
Fermentation never really kicked off with a big foamy Kraüsen head, it just gently chugged along for two weeks. After this it quieted down but surely there was attenuation of the beer still, as proven by SG readings.
Today we are bottling the brew so it has been fermenting for exactly 25 days. The full recipe can be found in the recipe section!
- OG: 1075
- Day 8 SG: 1020
- Day 15 SG: 1010
- Final Gravity: 1008
- Attenuation: 89%
- Primed SG: 1012
- ABV: 9,3%