Dark Wheat Saison?

Summer doldrums had settled in and the beer fridge was running low. I had already made an IPA but it was sitting on dry hops in the fridge. What should I do next? I had the Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale yeast hanging around from the saison experiment, and I really liked that yeast for its pleasant tartness. My normal saison recipe ends up being fairly high in alcohol (mostly because the French Saison yeast is a beast and always ends up at a terminal gravity, oh, around 1.002), but I wanted something a little more sessionable. And just for fun I wanted to make a black saison.

So I threw out the style guidelines and came up with this:

Grain

Brand

Color (°L)

Percent by Weight

Light Wheat Malt

Briess

2

58

Munich Malt – Dark

Weyermann

9

21

Flaked Wheat

Unknown

2

14

Chocolate Malt

Briess

420

4

Special B

Weyermann

118

3

Hops

% AA

Weight (g)

Boil Time (min)

Galena

13.2

11

60

Palisade

5.6

14

60

East Kent Goldings

6.1

25

5

Original Gravity

10.2°P or 1.041

Final Gravity

1.8°P or 1.007

Estimated IBUs

35

Estimated ABV

4.6%

Estimated Color

18 SRM

Mashed for 81 minutes at 65°C and boiled for 75 minutes.

Yield 17 liters into the fermenter.  Pitched about 125 ml of powdery solids of Wyeast 3726 Farmhouse Ale. The yeast was started from an culture that was split from the
original pack. Added 60 seconds of pure oxygen through a stone. Pitched yeast at 18°C, after 24 hours raised controller and let the temp rise naturally to 23°C.

Amazingly I was drinking this beer out of the tap a mere eight days after pitching the yeast. It only took four days to ferment, and while this yeast can be a little powdery it settles fast enough. I made 10 bottles and put the remaining three gallons or so into a keg. The color and high level of wheat in this beer are consistent with a Weizenbock, but my initial taste impression is a clean beer with a slight sourness not all that different from a good Guinness Stout.  The body is only medium full, but the combination of dark malts gives it both a slight roastiness and slight sweetness.  I am sure the flavor will evolve a bit over the next few weeks, and I will post my further impressions.

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