Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kathleen Round 3 - More Hops!

There have been some recent discussions on the Saison, Bière de Garde, and Farmhouse Facebook groups about head retention in Saisons.  I have been wanting to improve the head retention in my beers and make it more consistent.  One of the things I plan on doing is upping the target CO2 volume to around 3.2+ and changing my process a bit.  That was the suggestion of some of the participants in the discussion.  Another suggestion was to have more hop additions and to dry hop.  This is batch of Kathleen will involve both of those suggestions.

Always take good brewing notes.  ALWAYS.

Recipe:  Kathleen
Brewer:  Gus
Batch:  12
Date:  4-30-16

Batch Size:  6.5 gal
Boil Size:  8.63 gal
Post Boil Volume:  6.76 gal
Estimated OG:  1.048
Estimated Color:  2.6 SRM
Estimated IBU:  32.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  74.6 %
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.6 %
Boil Time:  75 Minutes  (Decreased boil time to save some time.  If any DMS is noticeable, I'll report back.)

72.6%  Pilsner Malt (Avangard)
10.0%  Spelt Malt
10.0%  Raw Wheat
7.4%  Flaked Oats

16.5 IBUs of EKG (or whatever I have on hand now) @ 60 min
9.7 IBUs of Amarillo @ 15 min
3.2 IBUs of EKG @ 5 min
2.5 IBUs of Amarillo @ 5 min
Dry hop with Amarillo and Hallertau Blanc

East Coast Yeast ECY-08 Brasserie Blend
Omega Yeast Labs C2C American Farmhouse
(Trying out blending these two into a house culture)

By increasing the amount of hops in the late additions as well as bumping back the 10 minute addition to 15 mintues, I'm able to get to a higher estimated IBUs.  I'll also be dry hopping after fermentation is completed.  I plan to still blend a portion of mature beer in with the fresh brew but the final gravity of the fresh part will determine if I dry hop before blending or if I blend and then dry hop.  I want the beer to be as dry as possible as not to cause issue with bottling.  I think I'll use a smaller percentage of mature beer but we will see when that time comes.

Waiting for the boil.  That means it's time to start cleaning!

For bottling the Bière de Coupage batch, I'll be using Bob Sylvester's (of St. Somewhere Brewing Company) technique he shared on the Farmhouse Ales FB group.  Bob said for 7 bbl of beer he uses 12# of cane sugar and 250g dry Champagne yeast.  He puts both of these in 3.5 gallons of 108F water and allows the yeast to bloom for 20 minutes or so.  Using his numbers, I came up with the below:

Per gallon:
0.885oz of sugar
1.15g of yeast
2.00oz of water

Bob mentioned to me that the volume of the yeast is less important than the amount of sugar.  You could overshoot the amount of yeast without any ill effects.  He also recommended using Red Star yeast as that was his favorite.  It has become hard to find for him so he has been using Maurivin PDM and Fermentis Safoeno VR 44.  I'll be using this formula for whatever the volume is of the beer after I've blended.  My LHBS has the Red Star Premier Cuveé so I'll be using that.  I'm doing all of this to help with the head production and retention.  Since every one of his beers I've had all have an amazing pillow-y head that seems to stock around forever, I figured I'd give this a try.  It may also shorten the carbonation period as some of my blends can take up to a month to get where I like them.  He stated that the carbonation happens the same day of bottling if done correctly.  He also says to wait 10 days and that's it.  That with time, the initial "rough" carbonation you get in the first couple days will mellow out into the fluffy stuff.  That's exactly what I'm looking for.

Disclaimer:  If anyone plans to do this, make SURE you are using the correct bottles.  The champagne bottles I typically use are rated for up to 5 vol of CO2.  If you don't have some of the thick glass bottles rated for the higher carbonation levels, you WILL get bottle bombs.  It can be dangerous using anything not rated for the higher level of carbonation.  The caps (or corks if you use them) seals are usually much stronger than the glass so when you go to open them, you could have a bottle shatter.  So proceed with caution and use the right equipment.

The Milk the Funk group has added Bob's technique into the Wiki since I have drafted this post.  You can check that out here.

No air lock.  Semi-open fermentation to let the yeast work.

Brew day was very typical.  Rainy out but everything went very smoothly.  I mashed in at 149 and held it there for 75 min.  It fluctuated from 149 to 150F throughout the mash.  I then boiled for 75 min and cooled the wort to 68F and transferred to my FastFerment.  I pitched the yeast and left the beer at room temperature to ferment without any temperature control.  Temps in the house fluctuated from mid 60s to high 70s throughout the fermentation. 

My brewing area.  Still haven't gotten the control panel mounted yet.


5-3-16:  Very nice fermentation action going on.

5-16-16:  Gravity of the beer was 1.002.  This mirrors the FG of the batch of Kathleen done with ECY-08 alone.  This is also where the previous batch with 3726 was after fermentation was completed.

5-23-16:  Racked the beer to secondary to combine with the mature beer and to dry hop for a week before bottling.  The mature portion was 20 months old at this point.  I dry hopped with one ounce of Amarillo and two ounces of Hallertau Blanc.  I used roughly 1 gallon of mature beer and 6 gallons of fresh Saison.  I wanted to get a little less sour and more along the lines of "tart" for this batch.  Really just enough acidity to brighten everything up  With blending the calculated ABV came to about 5.88%.  Very close to the last batch.

5-30-16:  Bottled the beer.  Tasting notes to follow.  Aroma from the dry hops was fantastic!  My sugar amount was 5.65oz for right at 5 gallons of beer.  I'm glad I did a larger batch as the amount lost from dry hopping with 3oz of hops was a good bit.  I used 5g of the dried yeast.  That was a little higher than the formula, but Bob mentioned that the amount of yeast wasn't as much of a concern as the amount of sugar.  If you use too much yeast it won't be a problem.  I would imagine using a little less would not be a problem either.

Tasting notes right here!

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
@aaddkison on Twitter
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  1. Good write-up. I need to get a Facebook account just to follow some of these Facebook-only groups. The information from Bob Sylvester in the wiki about not purging bottles is interesting. One of my earliest blended sour beers turned a little acetic and I've been purging bottles ever since. I guess I need to run an experiment the next time around to see if purging vs. not purging makes a difference.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Tony! I can definitely see both sides to the purging/not purging conversation. I do feel that if you are pitching a healthy yeast at bottling then the amount of O2 left in there won't be an issue. Before I was adding yeast at bottling, I definitely did get some acetic character in a Trois Sacc and Brett C beer I did. So far in the 3 beers I've done adding the Champagne/wine yeast I haven't detected any acetic character.

  2. Thanks Gus! Just used this post to bottle a 2yr old Bug County beer. The Red Star champagne yeast looked pretty happy after I fed it the sucrose solution.

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