I'm a huge fan of Belgian beers, in particular, the farmhouse ales. Both Saison's and Bier de garde are amazing beers in my opinion. Saison's being more hoppy, and yeasty and many times spiced, and Bier de garde's tending toward the malty side with a typical 90 minute boil to give it it's signiture caramel characteristic. I decided to do an experiment with a split batch. It's a great Saison recipe from Northern Brewer and I had done it in extract and loved it last summer. I fermented it last year at upwards to 78-80 degrees and the French Saison yeast is amazing at this temperature with fruit and peppery spice flavors. This year I'm going to let the yeast hang back a little bit by fermenting it at the lower temperatures to see how that effects the Belgian yeast flavors. Start at around 65 for the first couple days and then slowly bring it up to 70 is what I'm thinking. My two yeasts are the Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast, and Safbrew T-58 (6 gallons split into 3 gallon batch's). The safbrew Belgian ale is one that I got for free from NB at the AHA Surly event. I figured I'd split the batch and taste the difference. I did a long boil, 90 minutes. I'm a big malt head and love the caramel, malty flavors in Bier de garde style, and I typically boil my first runnings when I'm sparging anyways. This tends toward the bier de garde, but since this is a nicely hopped Saison, a malty backbone should work well, hopefully. These will be tasty, and very sessionable summer ales!
The grain bill is Belgian Pilsner, Vienna, and Torrified Wheat.
The hops consist of East Kent Goldings, Styrian Goldings, and Saaz.
I mashed at 150 for an hour
Boiled my first runnings while sparging
Sparged at 165 for 45 minutes
With the very last of the runnings, I boiled a gallon of that down until it was practically a caramel and lightly poured that back into the main boil.
Full 90 minute boil.
Pitched the yeast at 70 degrees and both had nice vigorous fermentation's. I'll let them sit for a couple weeks and then bottle in big bottles!
Fermentation and tasting results of this Yeast experiment