High-Gravity Saison with Chinese White Pepper and Bitter Orange Peel Recipe | Craft Beer & Brewing

High-Gravity Saison with Chinese White Pepper and Bitter Orange Peel Recipe

Here’s a conventionally made saison with the OG kicked up to 1.080 and a good dose of Chinese white pepper and bitter orange peel.

Paul Zocco 2 years ago


Award-winning homebrewer Paul Zocco (Zok) shared this saison recipe, which is one of his favorites. It is a conventionally made saison, but he kicks up the OG to 1.080 and gives it a good dose of Chinese white pepper and bitter orange peel. He keeps the hops presence low to allow the spice from the pepper and the yeast strain to shine. He says that the orange and hot pepper seem to marry well.

This recipe is scaled to 5 gallons (19 liters) with a brewhouse efficiency around 80 percent. Zok recommends using soft, low-mineral water throughout the brewing process.


OG: 1.080
FG: 1.010
IBUs: 25
ABV: 8.6%


15 lb (6.8 kg) Pilsner alt
1 lb (454 g) wheat malt
0.3 oz (9 g) chocolate malt (this gives the beer a slight orange/pink color)


1 oz (28 g) Northern Brewer pellets [6.9% AAU] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) dried bitter orange peel at 60 minutes
0.5 tsp Chinese white pepper at 60 minutes


Pitch Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast. This yeast will attenuate the beer to a very low final gravity, giving it a dry finish.


Mash the crushed grains at 145°F (63°C) for 60 minutes to ensure a dry finish. I use the rate of 1 pound (454 g) of crushed grain per quart (946 ml) of water that is heated to 15°F (8°C) higher than my targeted mash temperature because there will be about a 15°F (8°C) drop in temperature when the grains are added. Mix well and adjust the mash to the chosen temperature with hot or cold water. Mash in an insulated vessel for 60 minutes. Vorlauf until the wort runs clear. Sparge with 168°F (76°C) water until you get 6 gallons (22.7 l), which will be boiled down to 5 gallons (19 l). Boil the wort for 60 minutes following the hops schedule. After chilling the wort to below 80°F (27°C), pitch the yeast. You may want to experiment with various yeast strains. Each has its own characteristic flavors.

Ferment at the recommended temperature for your yeast strain (refer to the yeast lab specs, roughly 65–70°F/18–21°C). Transfer the beer to a secondary fermentor after 10 days of primary fermentation. Continue fermenting at 65–70°F (18–21°C) until all signs of fermentation are gone, usually another 2 weeks. On bottling day, condition with ¾ cup of corn sugar (dextrose) or 1¼ cup of dry malt extract (DME). Rest bottles at 65–70°F (18–21°C) for 10 days until you achieve carbonation. Then enjoy.


Partial-mash brewers can calculate the amount of dry or liquid malt extract (DME or LME) to use in place of the base grain. Though DME is a bit more malt rich, use the same calculation. To get the amount of DME or LME to use, multiply the base grain amount by 0.75. Your OG will be basically equivalent. For a partial-mash brew, mash the wheat and chocolate malts using the method described in “Directions” and simply sparge the runnings into the kettle along with the DME or LME.


From ingredients to equipment, process, and recipes—both extract and all-grain—_The Illustrated Guide to Homebrewing _is a vital resource for those new to homebrewing or those who simply want to brew better beer. Order your copy today.