Wednesday, March 23, 2016

First Day of Spring Brew Day

March 20th was the first day of Spring and I wanted to celebrate by brewing a Wheat Saison.  I know what most people are saying, "Isn't it just a Saison if it has wheat?"  Well that is definitely a regular ingredient in Saison recipes, yes.  But this time I wanted to kick it up to at least 30% of the total grain bill.  For this recipe it's just over 30%.  I'm using malted and raw wheat and fermenting with a Saison/Brett blend that I've been wanting to use for a while now, Omega Yeast Labs C2C American Farmhouse.  I've heard a ton of great things from this blend so I'm excited to see how it turns out.  I've heard that in 6-8 weeks you can get a great beer with apparent brettanomyces notes as well as Saison characteristics.

Inspiration from this beer comes from some of the beers I've had and read about.  Hill Farmstead Florence is one of my favorite beers I've had from their brewery.  It's also way up in the top of my list for favorite Saisons overall.  Saison du Blé from Side Project is also a very prominent example of a wheat Saison.  While I have no idea of the recipes of either of these beers, I'm taking a stab at it with the below recipe for a beer I'm calling Fluffy.

Recipe:  Fluffy
Brewer:  Gus
Batch:  10
Date:  3-20-16

Batch Size:  6.00 gal
Boil Size:  9.26 gal
Post Boil Volume:  6.63 gal  (Ended up with right at 7 gallons)
Estimated OG:  1.050
Actual OG:  1.047
Estimated Color:  10.8 SRM
Estimated IBU:  30.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  70.00%
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.4 %
Boil Time:  75 Minutes

69.6%  Pilsen Malt (Avangard Malz)
23.9%  Red Wheat (Briess)
6.5% Raw Wheat

17.1 IBUs of EKG @ 60 min
9.5 IBUs of Amarillo @ 20 min
3.4 IBUs of Pacifa @ 10 min

Omega Yeast Labs C2C American Farmhouse

I added about a half pound of rice hulls to my mash just to help with the lautering of such a high percentage of wheat malt.  I definitely think this is a good idea even with my false bottom.  I've had some issues before at lower percentages so it definitely won't hurt.  I mashed for just over 60 minutes at 149F for this batch.  I did not do a mash out.

Rice hulls are a must.

I designed this beer to really play up the wheat in the Saison and give a great mouthfeel and just feel more delicate than other beers.  Going forward I may dial it back to a smaller beer but we will see.  I definitely have some ideas for blends with this beer.  I recently acquired a couple sanke kegs to use for blending and bottling as well as fermentation of larger batches.  I have a big idea in my head of pulling some Saison from the solera barrel and blending with different Batches of Kathleen and Fluffy to create different beers.  This will also lead to blending on different fruits I'm sure.  Lots of projects for the future!

It grows!  Hot break like crazy.

After the boil I ran the wort through the chiller into the other new Speidel fermentor and pitched the starter of the C2C.  The next morning I decided to pull it out of the fermentation freezer and just let it sit ambient in my dining room.  It was very active by that afternoon.  I haven't decided whether or not I'll dry hop this.  I'll have time to think in the 6-8 weeks it sits.

Hop additions:  EKG @ 60, Amarillo @ 20, Pacifica @ 10

I'm still coming up short on my efficiency with this new brew system.  The last few brews I've dialed back the boil to be less vigorous and as a result, I'm not hitting the target volume or the starting gravity.  I could have boiled longer on all of those brews but then I would have skewed the hops and IBUs to maybe a more bitter beer than I'm looking for.  I may also adjust my batch size to 6.5 gallons.  With the heat exchanger and hoses, there is significant loss off wort.  So if I were to up my batch size, I would make up for that.  All of this is part of dialing in my system.  It's much more complicated than the pot and cooler system I was used to.  In the mean time I have some pretty good brews to drink while I get everything figured out!

Edit:  In playing with the equipment profiles in Beersmith, I think that is my biggest issue.  I changed the parameters to match more of what my system does instead of using one of the standards and in doing that, my efficiency went up to around 77%.  So that's what I really need to do.  I've adjusted the boil off rate so that now I can dial back the boil and maybe be closer to my numbers without having to boil off up to 3 gallons at a time.  New recipes will reflect this going forward.

Always take good notes while brewing.  It also helps to drink a good beer
when possible.

Nothing too noteworthy in this post and nothing out of the ordinary.  Just wanted to brew with this blend and brew a beer I've been wanting to for a while.  I'll have some tasting notes on the, somewhat new, blend soon!!

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
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