Tart Hoppy Saison

I had ran across an article recently by Mike Tonsmeire where he goes over different methods to make hoppy sour beer. One was a quick sour method where you keep the wort hot (90-100F) for a few days with Lacto, add steeping hops, then cool it down and pitch a Brett strain for fermentation…so I did that. Another method was not quite the quick way with Lacto at a high temp for a few days, then fermenting later with a Brett strain, rather, all the yeast/bacteria is dumped in after a steeping hops at 180F for 20 minutes after the initial boil…so I did that too.

The only issue I was concerned about running into, and it’s mentioned in the article, is that Lacto does not like hops and most have a hard time above 10 IBUs, and even with just a dry hop. The Lacto strain I used was the WLP672 Lactobacillus Brevis (the recipe called for Omega Yeast Labs OYL-605). The White Labs Brevis strain can be more hop tolerant than other Lacto strains, but supposedly still has a pretty big drop in production after 10 IBUs (growth is inhibited to 82% at 5 IBU, and 60% at 10 IBU). This beer I’m estimating is in the 20 IBUs range as it was only a steep and at 180F, but it could be higher as well as 180F is pretty warm still.

The other “experiment” I did this time was a no sparge. I have done those before, but it was always with just the right volume (16 qts mash water) with just the right amount of grain (6.75 lbs) so I wouldn’t go over the high end of 2.4 qts per lb of grain water to grist ratio. If I go lower in beer volume than that then the mash gets too thin, and over then I won’t have enough volume and would be forced to do a sparge. I ran across an article and podcast by Brulosophy where they basically say fuck it and put all the mash and sparge water in at once. The idea is to save time, but supposedly the beer can get more of a better malt backbone as you aren’t risking extracting any tannins with a sparge.

The only draw backs to doing this is that the efficiency does suffer, as much as 10%, and you will have to add more acid malt or have lactic acid at the ready as the pH can climb due to the buffering power getting high with that thin of a ratio. The Brulosophy guys had to add 34.7 mL of 10% phosphoric for a no sparge, where for the regular sparge only 13.1 mL of 10% phosphoric was needed. I bumped up my acid malt by .5%, which as you will see later wasn’t enough (mainly because I forgot to cut my water in half with distilled water. Pro brewer over here).

Video of the brew day:


Batch Size: 1 Gallon
OG: 1.052
SRM: 4
Est ABV: 5%-ish
IBUs: 20?
Boil Time: 75 Min

1.5 Lbs (79.8%) – 2-Row
4.0 oz (13.3%) – Flaked Wheat
2.0 oz (6.9%) – Acid Malt

153F for 70 Minutes

Hops (180F Steep):
.35 oz Galaxy (14%) @ 20 Minute Steep
.35 oz Sorachi Ace (12%) @ 20 Minute Steep

Wyeast 3711 French Saison (slurry)
WLP672 Lactobacillus Brevis (slurry)
WLP648 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois Vrai (slurry)

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 5/21/17

Only cut a little of the full mash volume water (like 5%) with distilled water. Initial pH was at 6.5. Added 1.3 mil of lactic acid and got it to 5.4.

5/23/17: Fermenation is pretty strong.

5/27/17: Activity is about done.

7/3/17: Gravity is at 1.008. I put this out of my temp controlled chest freezer in my 85F-ish garage. I think it’s about done, but Lacto likes heat so why not try and get a little more out of this over the next few days.

7/9/17: Added the dry hops. PH at 4.5.

7/20/17: Bottled.

8/2/17 Tasting:

Pretty solid. Not sour at all, which I expected. Solid nice citrus and Brett flavors, but not overly barnyard. I say it better below:

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