Dark Saison (Split with Brett)

This idea was admittedly inspired by The Mad Fermentationist, where he adds all sorts of different stuff from spices, to herbs, to fruit, to Brett. I opted to just add Brett, and just to one out of two fermenters I have for this…for now.

I really like splitting batches when I can because I love experimenting, and this was only a 2 gallon batch split into two different 1 gallon jugs, so if anything went wrong, I really had nothing to lose. I went into this thinking I might add different spices, possible dry hops, or fruit, and as I write this over a month later, I still can’t decide if I want to add anything (mainly to the non-Brett one).

Unlike most other styles, the Saison style really doesn’t have any parameters as much as others, to the point where you can nearly make it any color, nearly any abv, nearly hoppy levels, or add anything and still call it a Saison. To be respectful, commercial breweries might brand it as a Dark Belgian, but it’s more grabbing I think when the work “dark” is associated with a Saison because dark Saison’s themselves you don’t really see that much in the commercial market.

Aside from the dark color, everything else about this was very standard as far as the other specs go. I will say though that I am starting to not becoming a fan of WLP653 Brettanomyces Lambicus and WLP650 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, at least combined. Some of the beers I’ve been making using them have been a bit on the harsh Band-Aid side of things. For me they seem to work better separated, or in a primary, but in a secondary I may start trying other Brett strains to see if can get less medicinal flavors that I’ve been getting.

Recipe:

Batch Size: 2 Gallons (split in half)
OG: 1.065
SRM: 19
Est ABV: 7%-ish
IBUs: 21
Boil Time: 60 Min

Malt:
2.75 lbs (73.3%) – Maris Otter
6.5 oz (10.8%) – Flaked Oats
4 oz (6.7%) – Acid Malt
2.5 oz (4%) – Caramunich Malt
2.0 oz (3.3%) – Special B
1.0 oz (1.2%) – Carafa III (added after mash conversion)

Mash:
60 Min @ 152F

Hops:
Boil
.25 oz (18.5 IBUs) Sterling (7% AA) @ 60 Min
.25 oz (2.5 IBUs) Saaz (2.6% AA) @ 10 Min

Yeast:
Wyeast 3711
WLP653 Brettanomyces Lambicus
WLP650 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 3/12/17

I don’t really treat my water anymore for most styles (aside from cutting my mash water in half with distilled water, and sometimes adding some Calcium Chloride back into the mash). Split into two different fermenters, one got just Wyeast 3711, and the other one got Wyeast 3711 along with WLP653 and WLP650 (pitched all at the same time).

3/15/17: Fermentation has slowed.

4/6/17: Gravity at 1.010 for both. I could bottle the non-Brett one, but it tastes a little odd…almost slightly oxidized. It could just need to clean up. The Brett one I’m going to let sit longer to make sure the gravity is stable before bottling. It has a harsher sort of Band-Aid thing going on, so hopefully that mellows, but I think once it’s in there, it’s there to stay.

5/14/17: Bottled the one without Brett.

5/28/17 Tasting notes:

The non-Brett is solid. It almost has a green apple thing going on, but not acetaldehyde green apple. It’s very dry, which I like. It’s also not very phenolic, which I also like.

I think having this sit around for a while before bottling helped clean some off flavors up, and really helped with clearing the beer out. It’s one of my clearer non-kegged beers in a while.

I was going to dump the Brett version of this as it was super rubbery and Band-Aid-esque, but that oddly went away and it’s almost kind of tart now. I did leave it for over a week without an airlock on it (as I was going to dump it anyway), so maybe something got in?

Video of me tasting it:

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