Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recipe #60: Where The Wild Things Are: Alexander (Saison turned Belgian Dubbel turned Flander's Red)

The time has changed, the temperatures are slowly rising, the sun comes out to say "Hi!" every so often, there is fresh green growth on many plants that were once shriveled and lifeless, trees are blooming, and our allergies are going crazy.  Spring is here.  So when I considering brewing the Beer Advocate Crowd Sourced American Stout for St. Patty's Day, I was torn as I also wanted to get a Saison going with the 3 month old packet of WY3726 Farmhouse Ale in the fridge.  As I looked at the base grains for the stout recipe: Pale Malt, Munich, Toasted Oats, and medium Crystal, they jumped out as great components for a Spring Saison, a little bigger and darker than I normally would do, with maybe a little sweetness.  All I had to do was double these grains and leave the dark grains from the Stout out of the mash.

I also had quite a bit of Tardif de Bourgenone hops from harvest last year that I really wanted to use, so of course I had to use them as the sole hop in this recipe.  This should impart a light fruitiness with spice and herbs, just right for a good Saison, and I used Calypso as a FW hop for a touch of apple and pear if anything carried through.  Layering this atop the malty, toasty, toffee malts seemed like a great place to showcase the complexity of the Farmhouse's fruity and spicy character.  This beer should be right near the edge of the  for the style, toasty, fruity, spicy, light Noble like hops, malt complexity and a middle ABV should've helped offset the still cool nights of the next few months.  Then the FG stopped at 1.012, too sweet for a Saison.  The hops weren't nearly as expressive as they should be in a Saison either.  I started thinking, it kind of tastes like a Dubbel, maybe I'll just go with that.  Then I just said forget it, I'll steep some Special B, boil it to a syrup, add oak, and hit it with a bunch of sour blends and dregs to make it into a pseudo-Flander's Red, especially since I have wanted to make one for a long time and haven't.  I've got enough beer in the pipeline that I don't need this one, and I want to reuse the yeast cake and do an Americanized Saison soon anyways.


Gallons: 5.25
OG: 1.065 (1.062 pre-Special B)
FG: 1.005 (Est, 1.012 pre-sour)
ABV: 7.9% (Est.)
IBUs: 31
SRM: 8
Efficiency: 81%
 7.75# Pale Malt (Great Western) (62.2%)
 1.85# Munich I (Weyermann) (14.9%)
 0.90# Oatmeal, Toasted (7.2%)
 0.65# British Dark Crystal - 75/85L (5.2%)
Mash 10 hours @ 154 (with same grains from Stout recipe) 
1.0# Special B (steeped and boiled after primary as a syrup)
Boil 75 mins
FW 0.80 oz Calypso 12.8% AA
25 1.00 oz Tardif de Bourgenone 4.30% AA
WP 10 2.00 oz Tardif de Bourgenone 4.30% AA
DH 1.00 oz Tardif de Bourgenone 4.30% AA
Kettle Additions:
Gypsum - Mash 1/2 tsp, Boil 3/8 tsp
Epsom Salts - Mash 3/8 tsp, Boil 1/4 tsp
Calcium Chloride - Mash 7/16 tsp, Boil 3/8 tsp
Pickling Lime - Mash 1/4 tsp
Yeast Nutrient 2 taps
Whirfloc 1 each
Cooled to: 58*F
WY 3726 PC Farmhouse Ale
70*F 3 days
72*F 4 days
76*F 3 days
80*F 7 days
40*F 11 days
Transferred to 5 gallon Better Bottle to age
at ambient temps in garage and sour.


2/25 Toasted oatmeal at 350*F for 40 minutes stirring a few times. Came out golden brown. Made a 1.5L starter and set on stir plate.

2/28 Mashed in all the grains for both batches together (less the dark grains for the stout) at 154*F with 38qts of water. Wrapped in heating blanket set on high and a sleeping bag for the night.

3/1 Mash had dropped to 144*F by 7:30am. Ran off entire first runnings together then sparged to a total of 14.5 gallons. Split runnings equally. Started to boil with FW hops then the propane kicked about 10 minutes in and had to get more leaving the kettle to sit for 30 mins. Proceeded with the remaining boil per recipe. Chilled to 54*F and transferred to fermentation fridge at 11:30pm, decanted flask and pitched the slurry. Set fridge to 70*F and wrapped both fermenters with heating blanket. Krausen forming by 5pm, this yeast is a beast.

3/4-3/5 Krausen dropped. Increased temp to 72*F to keep it rocking.

3/8 Took sample, FG at 1.017, much higher than the 1.008 I was looking for. Fruity and spicy nose, too sweet, nice and malty, faint herbal hops. Rocked the Better Bottle to get the yeast back up into suspension and increased the temp to 76*F.

3/11 Another sampling, down to 1.014, still too sweet on the finish.  Upped a few more degrees to finish.

3/ 15 Down to 1.012, left alone for a few days then cooled to 40*F to encourage yeast to drop out of supsension.

4/1 Still at 1.012.  Steeped 1# Special B and reduced to a syrup.  Added to 5 gallon Better Bottle and racked beer onto it, added French Oak and starter of sour dregs (Carol, Crooked Stave, Boon).  Left at ambient temps in garage to sour.

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