After a lot of thought and reading i’ve decided to brew a brett saison. I haven’t met one I didn’t like, and am going to try to create my own. After reading “Farmhouse Ales” by Phil Markowski I’ve gained an appreciation for what Saisons and farmhouse ales truly were including for whom and for what purpose they were brewed. Traditionally these ales were brewed on the farm during the fall to be consumed by the farmhands in the following spring and heat of the summer when it was too hot to brew. They were meant to be light and refreshing and not strong enough to hinder work on the farm. Most had some level of funk or sourness due to the conditions of the farm brewhouse. The few that I’ve had that met this description have been those that I’ve enjoyed the most. For this reason I’m going to create a relatively low gravity (1.044 OG) beer with a mixed fermentation including a Saison yeast strain and Brettanomyces for added funk.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll be using 100% pilsener malt for this brew. DuPont uses 100% pilsener for their Vielle Provision, the quintessential beer of the style. I know many farmhouse ales have complex malt bills, and farmers would generally throw in whatever grains they had on hand, but why not start simple? I can always modify the recipe if I don’t feel the Brett had enough to feed on or the malt flavor lacks complexity. With such a simple malt bill I will mash at a high temperature to create longer chain sugars to feed the Brett.
For hops I am going with East Kent Goldings which is very popular for the style. Luckily, another local homebrewer happened to have a lot of EKG on hand and was happy to trade hops for a bottle of homebrew. (Update: on brew day I wasn’t satisfied with the condition of the EKG hops, so I had to pick something else I on hand. I went with Amarillo. Its not traditional, but I don’t think you can go wrong with Amarillo.)
For the Saccharomyces Strain, I decided on the DuPont strain, Wyeast 3724. It will give fruity and spicy notes essential for a farmhouse ale. I’ve also read that it tends to stall at around 1.024 which should give the Brett. A chance to take over and add some funk. For the Brettanomyces strains I decided to split the batch and take two different approaches. One will be inoculated with a starter culture from boulevard Saison-Brett dregs while the other will use Wyeast 5112 Brettanomyces Bruxelensis. I’m hoping to get the classic “horse blanket” funk that I’ve enjoyed in some commercial farmhouse ales.
Efficiency planned: 80%
Mash at 158F for 45 min.
Mash out at 170F for 10 min.
90 min. Boil
18 lb pilsener
1.5 oz Amarillo @ 30 min.
1.5 oz Amarillo @ 15 min.
1.5 oz Amarillo @ 5 min.
1.5 oz Amarillo @ flameout
Ferment at 85F for 10-14 days
Let fermentation continue in the house at about 70 until gravity stabilizes.
Dry hop 3 oz. Amarillo 5 days
Bottle in 750 ml bottles with priming sugar, condition 2 months.
For the bottle dregs starter, I left about 1.5 fingers of beer in the bottle, swirled, and pitched into 1L of 1.036 wort.
For the other starters I made 3L of wort, 2L went into the erlenmeyer for the 3724, 1L for the 5112.
Pics from brewday:
The brew day couldn’t have gone more smoothly, other than the last minute hop substitution. Hit my numbers for 80% efficiency.
I pitched a mixture of 1L of the 3724 starter and 1L 5112 to the carboy to the left and the same ratio mixture with the Saison-Brett starter to the carboy on the right. Left them with the temperature controller set to 29.4 C.
Within less that 10 hrs the carboys were bubbling strong and had formed a 1 inch krausen.
I’ll update with a gravity reading and taste in about two weeks.Thanks for reading!