Brewday 33: Amarillo & Orange Saison

Brewed: 19/02/2016

The January Meet of the Cheshire Brew Crew homebrew club saw the setting of our Spring competition ‘Recipe Roulette’! Each brewer picked a ‘Hop’ and an ‘addition’ from a random selection in a hat, and then had free choice to brew whatever style of beer they felt fitted their ingredients best. The only rules set were ‘The final beer must taste of the two ingredients’. I have to say I got pretty lucky with my picks, amongst the cries of “Fix!” and “Stitch Up!” from the other contestants (and me offering to re-draw I should add) I pulled out Amarillo as a Hop, and Orange Peel as an additive. Both ingredients compliment each other really well, and both fit perfectly to a Saison (which I just happened to be planning to brew next anyway!) – RESULT!!!

Saison is a Belgian style, light in colour and traditionally relatively low in ABV at 3 – 3.5% more modern versions of the beer are usually between 5 – 7%. My version will be aiming for c. 6%

The recipe for the Saison is:

  • 5kg German Pilsner Malt
  • 500g Munich Malt
  • 25g Amarillo hops @ 60 minutes
  • 15g Amarillo hops @ 15 minutes
  • 15g Amarillo hops @ 0 minutes
  • 25g Bitter Orange Peel @ 5 minutes
  • 1l yeast starter White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison Yeast

Saison’s generally ferment at warmer temperatures than regular ales and I plan to put the temperature controlled fridge to good use on this brew by starting fermentation at 20C and gradually increasing this to 24/25C over the course of two weeks. The beer will then be lowered back to 20C to finish for a week before bottling. This may be a little quick as Saison yeasts have a habit of stalling half way through fermentation but hopefully I will be able to get this fermented, bottled and have at least two weeks conditioning time before the competition is judged at the end of March! Fingers crossed!

The brewday went to plan other than a higher than expected boil off rate due to the freezing cold evening brew session and I ended up with 22 litres in the fermenter and an OG of 1.064. If the yeast ferments all the way down to target this will come out at 7% rather than the target of 6%! I could have watered this back to closer to the original planned beer but didn’t think about it until too late so decided to stick with what the beer gods had given me! The beer is now tucked away in the fermenting fridge at 20C and bubbling away contently to itself. I’m looking forward to this one!