Monday, April 24, 2017

Kathleen Round 4 - Split Batch

For the first brew of Kathleen for 2017 I'm trying a lot of things and making a change to the target starting gravity.  With this batch I'm going to brew 11 gallons so that I can pitch two different yeast blends and see how I like them.  I've been meaning to use both of these for a while and decided I wanted to use a familiar beer with them so that I will be able to detect the differences in each of them.  Since I've brewed Kathleen a good many times now, I know the ins and outs of it and what characters it typically brings forth. 

One of the blends I'll be using is a special release from Bootleg Biology called Saison Parfait: New World Saison Blend.  I really love the description on the website of this one.  It sounds like the perfect Saison blend to me as I love the classic peppery esters from the DuPont strains on the market, but I also love the fruity aspects of some other strains like 3726.  It also says this blend will leave a little body and good mouthfeel in the beer.  That's something I really enjoyed when using ECY08 in the beers that I've brewed with that.  At first I wasn't a fan, but after doing these beers for a while now, the added body actually helps give the beers some heft and adds to the drinkablity.  When they end up so dry as mine typically do, if there isn't any body the beers will feel astringent and can actually be a chore to drink at times.

The other blend I'll be fermenting half of this brew with is the Saison Blend II from The Yeast Bay.  I have been eying this one since it was released a while back and just never took the plunge to use it as I had so many things to use on hand. 

"Close your eyes while drinking a beer fermented with this blend, and you'll feel like you're laying on freshly turned earth in an old citrus grove."

Doesn't that sound awesome?  I can't wait to see how this blend works out.  As I stated before, I enjoy a combination of peppery earthiness and some fruity qualities in my Saisons.  I often rely on strains of brettanomyces or new world hops to get the fruity qualities so it will be nice to see what both of these blends will do.

Starters I made a few days before brew day.

Recipe:  Kathleen
Brewer:  Gus
Date:  4-19-17

Batch Size:  11.00 gal  (I use 11 gallons to account for loss in the tubing, heat exchanger and any other places in the system)
Boil Size:  13.33 gal
Post Boil Volume:  11.46 gal
Estimated OG:  1.04(Actual was 1.048.  Efficiency was better than I assumed)
Estimated Color:  2.5 SRM
Estimated IBU:  28.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  74.6 %
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.6 %
Boil Time:  75 Minute

72.6%  Pilsner Malt (Weyermann BARKE)
10.0%  Spelt Malt
10.0%  Raw Wheat
7.4%  Malted Oats (Thomas Fawcett)

17.5 IBUs of EKG (or whatever I have on hand now) @ 60 min
7.4 IBUs of Amarillo @ 15 min
1.7 IBUs of EKG @ 5 min
2.7 IBUs of Amarillo @ 5 min
Dry hop with Amarillo and Hallertau Blanc  (this may change depending on the beers)

Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait: New World Saison Blend
The Yeast Bay Saison Blend II

Mash Schedule:
Temperature mash of 149F for 75 min with no mashout.

You may notice I have slightly modified the recipe to lower the OG.  I am wanting to get Kathleen even more drinkable and shooting for slightly less ABV with this batch.  Hop amounts changed just a bit due to what I had on hand at the time. 

Like them thicky-thicks.

After the mash I began lautering and pulled the 13.3 gallons I needed for the boil.  My preboil gravity was a little higher (1.040) than my target (1.036) but instead of adding water to bring it down, I just went with it.  I boiled for 75 minutes and added my hops per the schedule above.  The SG after the boil was 1.048.  Right around where my original recipe was so I'll have to make a few changes to the grist if I want it to be lower.  My efficiency is getting better with every brew day.  Even this large 10 gallon batch I was better than my target.

Full boil kettle on this batch.

I ran wort through the chiller and divided the 10 gallons the best I could between the two FerMonster XLs.  These are quickly becoming some of my favorite fermentation vessels.  I love my Speidel still but these have a smaller footprint.  Also, you can almost get two of the FerMonsters for the price of one of the Speidels.

The Yeast Bay Saison Blend II on the left and Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait on the right.  This pic was 6-7 hours after pitching.

Both blends will be fermented "semi-open" at room temperature in my dining room.  Right now the area is sitting around 72-74F and should be perfect to test out what these will do.

I pitched the yeast blends from the starters and covered the opening with sanitized tin foil.  I press the tin foil around the top but I don't actually make an effort to seal the lid.  I usually leave the tin foil on the top for 5-7 days or until fermentation signs start to fade.  I've really enjoyed the results the semi-open fermentations.  I do them now with pretty much all my Saison ferments as well as my British ale ferments.

I will more than likely dry hop each of these and then package the beer.  Some I'll bottle fresh and unblended so I can see how the yeast blend turns out.  The rest will either be blended with mature beer or maybe even blended together.  I'll see what the beer tells me. 


4-20-17:  6:00AM active fermentation showing on the Saison II Blend.  About 20 minutes layer, visible activity with the Saison Parfait.

4-24-17:  6:00AM activity has slowed down and the krausen is falling on both beers.  I removed the tin foil and added the cap and airlock.

4-30-17:  Activity is very slow.  The Saison Blend II has started to drop clear already.  Saison Parfait is still cloudy and looks to be full of yeast but the airlock is not bubbling.  I'll take a gravity reading this coming week and decide where to go from there.

5-2-17:  TYB Saison Blend II gravity was 1.004 and it was heavy on the phenolics with an undertone of citrus notes.  Saison Parfait was down a bit further to 1.003.  Citrus, little malt character, bit of tropical fruits, and a hint of pepper.  Both really promising.  I'll package when I get back from the Enmbrace the Funk Festival this coming weekend.

6-20-17:  I was out of Blanc hops to dry hop so I'm waiting for those to come in.  When they do I'll package a few bottles of this how they are then dry hop the rest to be blended into batches 4 and 5 of Kathleen.

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
@aaddkison on Twitter
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  1. Following. I have a TYB Saison Blend II split batch going, one with Beersel copitch, 10 days in. No-brett finally doesn't show airlock activity today, and copitch still slooowly going.

    1. Awesome! Keep me posted how it turns out. Yeast is still going in mine for sure.

    2. I just used this yeast blend as well, specifically because of the description. 80/20 Pils/Spelt with Liberty and Sterling finishing hops. Only two weeks in the bottle and it's tasting great. We should compare notes in a month or so.

  2. Hey dude, how do you like the FerMonsters? Do you use the bottom ports at all? Do they give you any cleaning/sanitizing issues?

    1. So far I'm loving them. This is only the second time using them for me. The first was a British Bitter. But I've been using fermentors with ports on them for years now. My Speidel and when I tried out the big mouth bubblers I had ports on them. I've never had an issue with infections and I've used brett in pretty much all of them. None of my hoppy or English beers have shown signs of brett infections and have turned out great.

      The ports are fantastic for getting the beer into blending or bottling vessels. I pretty much don't use an auto siphon at all anymore. Which is good because I've stepped on and broken more of them than hydrometers haha!

    2. Haha yeah... just had to buy two new hydrometers for that reason. Ports sound glorious. Price is right on the FerMonsters as well. Thanks!

  3. Looks amazing as always! I've got another equipment related question... I just recently started using a hop bask with 300 micron stainless mesh similar / identical to what you've got. For longer boils I feel like I'm loosing hop efficiency due to proteins and break material clogging the screen. Do you notice this as well? Do you compensate with additional hops or do you do anything special to clear the screen during the boil?

    1. I've felt the same way about hop utilization with the basket and long boils. I've started using some hop bags in larger additions as well as later additions. Then to help with the build up on the screen I tend to try and stir and scrape off as much as I can. Anything to help!

      I've talked about the same thing to a couple other people too. Seems to be a more common problem with the screens.

  4. Hey Gus, have you sampled these yet? Been interested in the Saison Parfait, curious what your thoughts are, sounds like a good blend of the two classic saison profiles.

    Also when you blend for your biere de coupage, do you let the blend age for a bit because of the new Brett addition or do you package right away?


    1. Hey Matt! I know this is a super late response but I didn't get to do any tasting notes on these unfortunately. I got super busy last year with my wedding and work and posting on the blog was hindered. Personally I enjoyed the Saison Parfait better than TYB Saison Blend II. It had a bit mroe character. More rounded fruits and a nice peppery backbone. The mouthfeel was better and it came off perceived much drier even thought the FGs were really close.

      As for blending biere de coupage, I typically blend then dry hop and take one final reading about 5 days later to make sure they are done. Since both beers are so dry there is typically not much left for brett to work on. I've not seen anything more than a .002 drop in my beers that I package with brett. Even then since I shoot for around 3 vol at carbonation I shouldn't go much more than 3.3-3.5 which is really nice in Saison for me.

      Good luck and cheers!