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Seanywonton (Sean White)
04/12/08 02:21 PM  
All-malt saison and fermentability
To this day I am still inspired by Saison Dupont Vielle Provision and I would like to try an all-malt (no sugar) saison much in the same style, not quite a clone.

My question is for those of you who have experience with Wyeast 3724 and how much this will actually dry out a beer.

What are the keys to get this sucker to go from an O.G of 1.054 and ending up around 1.004? Here is what I'm thinking:

- A half-gallon starter

- Pilsner malt with maybe a pound of wheat and a quarter pound of aromatic.

- A long, low mash temp, like 2 hours at 145, followed by a mash-out

- A warm fermentation, starting at 70 and ramping to 85 or thereabouts. Aging for at least 6 weeks before bottling.

- My normal aeration, 30 minutes with an aquarium pump and diffusion stone.

Will I make my f.g.? It's really important to me that this beer is super dry. Thanks

04/13/08 11:10 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
YMMV. I think if you poke around in the archives you can find a bunch of info on this topic. Here's my own most recent experience:

92% Pilsner malt, 8% malted wheat

Yeast: Saison Dupont culture from bottle, pint starter

Mash: 2 hours at 142-144 deg. F

Aeration: 2 hours with s.s. aquarium stone

Primary: 2 weeks at 82-84 deg. F

Secondary: 3 weeks at 76-81 deg. F

OG: 1.058

FG: 1.008 (86% apparent attenuation)

Probably dropped another point or so in the bottle over the last 6 months, judging from the nicely increased carbonation. I know this isn't exactly on track as you are evaluating WY3724, but I thought you would find it of interest. OTOH, this was the first runnings of a parti-gyle session, and here's the second beer:

80% Pilsner malt, 10% malted wheat, 10% raw wheat

Yeast: WY3724 Activator pack, no starter

Mash: 1.75 hours at 142-144 deg. F

Aeration: 1 hour with s.s. aquarium stone

Primary: 4 weeks at 76-83 deg. F

Secondary: 1 week at 77 deg. F

OG: 1.049

FG: 1.004 (92% apparent attenuation)

So, there's another data point for you, anyhow.

Seanywonton (Sean White)
04/14/08 03:03 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Hey, those are pretty good attenuation numbers. I think I'll try it with the mash at 144. Thanks.
04/14/08 10:41 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
FWIW, according to a fairly recent congress mash study (see John Palmer's How to Brew), 148 - 149*F will provide the highest level of attenuation achievable. 90 minutes will do it.
04/15/08 10:42 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
I haven't seen what Palmer actually says so I can't comment on it (is this passage available on his web version?). But I have to say, that result is probably dependent on malt modification, mash thickness, and especially coarseness of grind (with the optimum temp probably going down as the grist gets coarser). A congress mash is done with flour and so the beta amylase has access to lots of the starch right away before it gets denatured.

In the coarser mash used in homebrewing and most breweries, a little lower temp may (probably will, in my view) be more favorable for attenuation because the starch is not available at first and so you have to conserve beta amylase by keeping the temp down. For instance supposedly Bud Light's extreme attenuation is produced with a 3 hour mash at 140, with no need for additional additions of purified enzymes or what have you. Granted they are using a different grist.

Grinding finer, and engaging in protein/beta-glucan rests, will make starch more accessible so that when you jump to beta temps you'll get more of the fine beta chopping before all of the beta amylase is gone. I think this is why they mess around with all those low temps in the mash at Dupont.

04/15/08 11:07 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
I use 136F and step up to 146F then you can mash out at 169F for a quick three step mash that will give you great conversion and fermentability.
Seanywonton (Sean White)
04/15/08 12:24 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Any idea how long it takes beta amylase to denature at 145ish?
04/15/08 01:32 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
I too have been employing a short protein/beta-glucan rest in the 136-140F range for 15 minutes. I follow this with around 144-146F for 30 minutes (for saisons, for abbey/trappist I'll be closer to 149 for this middle step). I follow the beta rest with an alpha rest between 158-162F for 15-30 minutes. I normally mash out at 172F.
04/15/08 03:01 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
I have a chart for how long it takes beta amylase to denature at different temps in a "normal" mash. (From "Brewing" by Michael Lewis--and you might be able to find the chart in the preview in google books or amazon.)It's about an hour (or a bit less) at 150F, so it's more than that at 145 but I don't have the table with me right now.


Unless I'm much mistaken, you can get full conversion of an entire mash in a very short time (~15 minutes) at about 160F, or for that matter with a mash temp of 170F (wort will of course be unfermentable, but you won't run out of alpha amylase before it's all converted). So if you want to shave a bit of time off your brewday, given that you already did a good beta rest, you might just combine your mashout and alpha rest into a single mashout/alpha rest at 160-170 for 10 min or so. (I do, and don't notice any problems.)

04/15/08 08:47 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
The information about the congress mash is in Palmer's book, the paper version. I can't reference right all of the details right now as I'm on the road and don't have my book with me. Someone should own a copy on this thread though.
04/15/08 08:51 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
<<But I have to say, that result is probably dependent on malt modification, mash thickness, and especially coarseness of grind (with the optimum temp probably going down as the grist gets coarser). A congress mash is done with flour and so the beta amylase has access to lots of the starch right away before it gets denatured.>>

You may be correct but according to Palmer, these are all secondary considerations.

It matters not to me, I'm a step masher :-)

04/15/08 09:09 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
<<you can get full conversion of an entire mash in a very short time (~15 minutes) at about 160F>>

I agree. While I listed 15-30 minutes in the 158-162 range, typically it is the lower end time wise for saisons. For some reason, I tend to favor 30 minutes for abbey/trappist type ales. Looking at my last three saisons, the mash schedule was:

136F 15 minutes

145F 30 minutes

154F 15 minutes

172F 10 minute mashout

All were step infusion with the final WGR 4:1 (1.9 qt/lb) at the 154F rest stage. I use direct heat to raise the temperature to mashout.

Caped Brewsader
04/16/08 03:49 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
call me lazy but I have gotten great fermentability with a single temp infusion at 2.5 liter per kg ratio. For example my BSG with an FG of 1.002 was mashed at 64C for 90 minutes (cooler mash tun. Temp dropped to 63.5C by the end of the 90 minutes). My Saisons always end around 1.006 with a 66C mash temp and a 60 to 75 min mash. The beers are nice and dry and have great head. Maybe I am just lucky. I stress the fact that you also have to have a great healthy yeast starter.
tripel beam
04/23/08 02:18 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
How do you get the same complexity of a trad. Saison without blending? And how do you control/stop the lactic acid/bacteria? I was wanting to brew a saison soon here (a la D'Erezee if possible), but don't have much experience.
04/23/08 10:46 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Well, I think few/none of the saisons currently brewed in Belgium are blended, or have any lactic component, except from the one place you mention, Fantome.

If you want the lactic stuff I'd just add the Wyeast lactobacillus culture and not worry about getting too much sourness--never heard anyone complain of excessive sourness with that bug, and for me it has produced at most a very light tartness.

As for blending, I don't think it's meaningful unless you're going to age some beer with a bunch of "wild" microbes for a long time. If this is your first saison, you might want to get the base beer down first. Phil Markowski's book "Farmhouse Ales" is a great place to start.

04/24/08 01:26 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Thanks Baums

I ordered Markowski's book.

I noticed High temp. with a long(?) ferment. What does a longer ferment accomplish in the later stages of ferment especially if sugars have all been metabolized? How does Wyeast 3724 compare to Wyeast Lactobacillus?

Thanks again

04/24/08 12:41 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
This high temp, long ferment, is associated with the use of the Dupont yeast (Wyeast 3724 or the White Labs equivalent), which tends to need that kind of treatment in order to actually metabolize all the sugars.

Unless you're a pretty experienced brewer or specifically trying to match Saison Dupont, I would avoid that yeast for your first saison because it's finicky. Other fruity Belgian strains can also make good saison.

Wyeast lactobacillus is ONLY a souring bacteria and you'd only use it as an "additive" in conjunction with a normal pitch of brewing yeast. If you use it, you might not want to re-use plastic equipment for beers that you don't want to infect with lactobacillus.

tripel beam
04/25/08 05:22 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
High temp. to me means short ferment. I'm experienced with hot ferments, but usually fast and furiuos. I'm not an experienced brewer, but I make wine for a living.

It is probably good (and very appropriate) advice, to keep it simple. What are some suggested strains in order to get the kind of esters and complexity I'm looking for?

If I did decide to go with the Wyeast 3724 however, what could I do, to "help" the ferment along and what would I have to worry about?

The thing that gets me about "additive/infection" bacteria such as lacto bacteria or brett, is control. As you state in not wanting to use plastic fermenters, How do I maximize control and predictibilty? (Why I suggested blend)

When I bottle wine "UNFILTERED" the citeria is;

<10 ppm Malates

<35 Free SO2

<20 ntu's +turbidity

Sugars? (never a problem, every things goes dry, knock on wood).

we also send out for Brett (4 ethyl phenol/ Gluo...phenol, pedio, and sometimes a sulfide panel.

So to me...Brewers seem overly sanitary and keen to the fact that they have higher pH, lower alcohol, ect. Why then put beer to bottle unfined, unfiltered, unstable.

Don't get me wrong I think the best beer/wine is made by competetition through-out the ferment. I just have to get the ball rolling, To be willing to ferment some potentially bad lots in order to acheive the "greater good".

Thanks again.

tripel beam



04/25/08 10:55 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
On the high temp ferment: you might be very interested in Markowski's discussion of fermentation at Brasserie Dupont (with, of course, the Dupont strain) which he likens to red wine fermentation. I'd like to hear what you as a pro wine maker have to say about that analogy once you've read it.

Anyway, basically the Dupont yeast can be very slow to finish off the last sugars (but paradoxically it also seems able to metabolize MORE sugars than other yeast strains, eventually). The high temp speeds things up and shortens the ferment, but I still called it a "high temp, long ferment" because even at high temps it can take a while (2-3 weeks). And if you can't keep the beer real warm (like 85F or so) it may take a VERY long time.

If you can easily hold the beer at 85F, and can pitch a very large starter (i.e. at something like 1 billion cells/liter/Plato) then maybe Dupont is a good idea. Otherwise I'd suggest a different strain for this first one.

"What are some suggested strains in order to get the kind of esters and complexity I'm looking for?"

Others will have suggestions too, but I think WY3522 is the most foolproof Belgian strain that I've tried (flocculent, strong, fast, etc). I don't use it much lately because there are other strains that just match my personal taste better. But it's such a nice, easy to use yeast, that you might want to at least try it for your first beer and see how you like it. It's the la Chouffe yeast.

When it comes to control and stability, with pure culture beers the idea is simple: add the one organism you desire, and make sure you don't infect the beer with anything else. But the idea of controlling mixed cultures is so broad (so many bugs, so many variables) that I think it's hard to say anything meaningful about it in general. To be confident that your beer will continue to taste good once it's in the bottle, you need to either

a. kill the bugs (by pasteurizing)

b. choose bugs that you know will not continue to affect the beer after a certain point (this was my suggestion with the Wyeast lactobacillus)

c. choose bugs that, if they change the beer, will probably do so in an acceptable (or even desirable) way. (One example is the Orval brett. Eventually its character CAN become overpowering, but depending on who you are it might be many years before you find its character objectionable)

plus there is option (d), throw some stuff in and take whatever risk is there.

Examples of all four approaches can be found commercially, and among the homebrewing experience of people on this board. So if you have a question or idea, ask away...

04/25/08 11:02 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Also you said "So to me...Brewers seem overly sanitary and keen to the fact that they have higher pH, lower alcohol, ect. Why then put beer to bottle unfined, unfiltered, unstable."

I think it's all that "over-sanitation" up front that ALLOWS the brewer to later on get away with bottling unfined and unfiltered beer, and still have some good stability in the bottle.

tripel beam
04/25/08 03:40 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Thanks. Points well taken.

I think I might try a little post-primary innoc. with a witbeer that's just about 8 days old and has been racked into secondary. Prior to bottling, I might do a controlled experiment with some Orval dregs for a portion of the batch. Or would it be a better mesh to do the Wyeast Lactobacillus as a bottle conditioning culture? Or do I not want to mess with either of these in association with a witbeer?

I'd like to increase my learning curve for dealing with non-sacharomyces bacteria.

Despite my paranoia of unfiltered "surprises" I do not regard pasteurization very highly (unless it is a neccesity). I prefer prevention and passive intervention.

04/25/08 04:02 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
I think bugs can go wonderfully in a witbier. I have some going right now that is going to have some WY Lambicus put in secondary for 6 months or so.

What I would do if you want to experiment with is to fill a 1 gallon jug (you know, a wine jug :-P) with wit and inoculate with whatever bugs you see fit. Orval dregs would be a good place to start. Then let that age for a couple/few months and bottle.

04/25/08 04:32 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Agreed with tankdeer. Also I wouldn't expect that lacto to do much in the bottle. And I'd be scared with pedio in the bottle breaking down dexrins and creating the potential for grenades.

Adding a little bit of brett when you bottle is a good way to learn stuff fast--just make sure to check the bottles often enough that if they start to overcarbonate you can catch them before they blow up. Next beer I bottle, I plan to add different strains of brett to different bottles...

tripel beam
04/25/08 04:36 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Thanks tankdeer, I'll try that.

What are some sani, guidelines to not cross-contaminate anything that I don't want?

When do I bottle the 1 gallon batch? I understand this could take 3-6 months to become fully ready/integrated once in bottle, but how long in 1 gallon jug? And how best to get the Orval dregs live and kicking? Also as I said this has already been racked into another vessel (that wasn't sparged) and is not blowing off a lot of CO2 right now so do I risk Oxidation?

04/25/08 04:52 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Chemical sanitizers are designed and proven to work on smooth non-porous surfaces like glass and stainless. Such items can be reused without fear as long as you use a good sanitizer as directed.

Plastic items may be porous or non-smooth and there's suspicion they won't sanitize effectively. They are also hard to clean without harming the surface smoothness. To be safe, most people just don't reuse plastic items in "non wild" beers.

Haven't used Orval dregs myself, sorry.

triple beam
04/25/08 05:20 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
No plastic at my brewery except a funnel which I plan to isolate in the case of sours/brett beers and an acrylic racking wand w/vinyl tubing. Ferm locks?

Chem. Sanitizers what do you think of PBW? Currently, I usually hit fermenters with Sterox (Sodium percarb + a detergent) followed by Citric Acid for a nuetralizer. This I've been told is overkill. Is Iodophor sufficient if there is no perceptable solids on the surface of you glass/stainless fermenter? I have also used ethyl alc. for quick sani around rim of fermenters or quick sani on misc. equip. (not acrylic however).

My worry is usually post-ferment airborne bacteria getting into a secondary or in this case to my 1 gallon Orval innoc. batch.

(slightly off-subject...Speaking of lacto infections, hats off to Van Steenberg in handling there lacto problem efficietly and with the integrity and honesty I wish more people in the wine industry had.)

04/28/08 10:12 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
I use different ferm locks for "wild" batches--they're cheap compared to a potential infection.

PWB is a terrific cleaner. Don't know anything about the Sterox but it sounds pretty good.

Any product that meets the legal requirements to be called a "sanitizer" will of course kill the bugs, and iodophor is one of these (and is commonly and successfully used by both pro and home brewers). Five Star's Star San is much more expensive, but is great because there's zero worry that it will impact flavor when used with no rinse. Some people worry about iodophor in that respect (and many others don't); I don't know the answer there.

If citric acid is a true sanitizer (which you didn't say it was) that would be news to me. I don't know what it's purpose is in the context you mention.

Airborne bacteria I wouldn't worry too much about(especially if all surfaces are wet with no-rinse sanitizer as the wort goes in). Unless you're brewing in an area where you expect loads of airborne bugs. Are you?

Van Steenberge had a lacto problem? I'd be interested to hear more...

04/28/08 10:54 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
I've noticed off-flavors from Iodophor before...when I use it now I use a little less than the bottle recommends and let everything dry out as completely as possible, and have not had any problems.

At the brewery we have Zep Iodine (just a commercial chem. company) and it has very little odor at all compared to iodophor, which lends a very leathery smell to everything...if you can look for that kind if you like iodine, maybe they carry it at home depot or lowes.

04/28/08 12:40 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
For my sour carboys, I clean with PBW and then iodophor before using them again for a non sour brew.

I deparately try to not use plastic between sour and notsour, like airlocks, stoppers, racking cane, tubing.


Seanywonton (Sean White)
05/23/08 09:57 PM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
Well, not to flog a dead horse but I did brew up my first saison of the season, all-malt as planned. If any of you want to check out the actual recipe it's here on my blog:

http://seanywonton.blogspot.com/2008/05/beer-bikes-good-weekend.html (Just another shameless plug! sorry...)

I've got high hopes for this one, and 2 more beers planned for the same yeast.

07/22/08 03:05 AM  
Re: All-malt saison and fermentability
On the topic of all-malt saison; I brewed one inadvertently on Friday. I hit my gravity by boiling off some extra wort early. I realized after fermentation started that I had forgotten to add simple sugar to the boil. How many here have added sugar to the fermentation, or better still, can I expect to get decent attenuation without it using WY farmhouse. I plan to pitch Brett on this beer. Sacch. rest was at 147 with a 15 minute recirculation at 163 with full volume.



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