With one base recipe, you can create many distinct saisons just by manipulating the hopping. Here we’ve used Fuggle and Styrian Goldings to create a saison with a gentle floral, earthy, and spicy hops flavor and aroma.
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
8 lb (3.63 kg) Pilsner malt
1 lb (0.45 kg) Vienna malt
8 oz (227 g) wheat malt
2 oz (57 g) Caramunich malt
1 oz (28 g) Fuggle [5% AA] at 30 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Styrian Goldings [5.5% AA] at 10 minutes
Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison
Mill the grains and mix with 3.5 gallons (13.25 l) of 162°F (72°C) strike water to reach a mash temperature of 150°F (65°C). Hold this temperature for 60 minutes.
Vorlauf until your runnings are clear. Sparge the grains with 3.1 gallons (11.7 l) and top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 l) of wort. Boil for 75 minutes, adding hops following the hops schedule.
After the boil, turn off the heat and whirlpool for 10 minutes. Then chill the wort to slightly below fermentation temperature, about 68°F (20°C). Aerate the wort with pure oxygen or filtered air and pitch the yeast.
Ferment at 69°F (20°C) for 6 days, then increase the temperature to 72°F (21°C) and hold there for 4 more days. Once the beer reaches terminal gravity, bottle or keg the beer and carbonate to about 2.5 volumes of CO2. You may want to cold crash the beer to 35°F (2°C) for 48 hours before packaging to improve clarity.
Replace the Pilsner malt with 6 pounds (2.72 kg) of Pilsner liquid malt extract. Bring 5.6 gallons (21.2 l) of water to about 162°F (72°C) and hold there. Steep the crushed Vienna, wheat, and Caramunich malts in grain bags in the hot water for 15 minutes. Remove the grain bags and let them drain fully. Stir in the liquid malt extract and stir until completely dissolved. Top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 l) of wort. Boil for 75 minutes, following the hops schedule. Continue as directed above.
This grist will give you a beer that is slightly on the paler end of the spectrum and uses relatively small amounts of character malts (Vienna, wheat, Caramunich) just to provide some nice grain/malt background. I like Vienna rather than Munich to avoid any “heavy” maltiness and give an increased perception of attenuation. Be sure to give this one time to ferment out fully—saison should be a dry beer!
PHOTO: MATT GRAVES