We finally dive into the tasting portion of our Saison Throwdown. John and I both brewed up some Saisons, taking our own approach and using different ingredients.
John went with a Whitelabs Saison blend of yeast while I went with Lallemand’s Belle Saison, a dry strain.
John followed the path that many brewers take and pitched his yeast in the low 70s and let it free rise up into the lower 80s. Many brewers find it necessary to do this with certain Saison strains to get them to finish out. And perhaps to help develop some of the characteristic flavors of Saison.
I went with a milder regimen. I pitched at 65F and let the yeast churn away for 2 days at the temp. After that I ramped it up to 68F for another couple days. After that I set the thermostat at 74F and decided to see what would happen. I think the beer go up there for a little bit but for most of the remainder of fermentation (2 weeks) it stayed at 72F.
Interestingly, my beer had more characteristic citrus and lemon aroma and taste.
John’s yeast blend and fermentation created more of a mild black pepper and slight clove signature. The beer was more reminiscent of something between German Hefe and a Belgian Pale ale. Not unpleasant, just not really citrus or ester enough to really seem like a great Saison.
We’ll be sure to get both complete recipes up on the site.
Decide for yourself what route is for you. For me I’d definitely like to experiment more with the Belle Saison strain. Play with temperatures and more or less O2 levels.