Saisons in the Abyss

Being a bit of a Slayer fan I’ve always wanted to brew a saison and call it “Saisons in the Abyss”, so I’ve finally done it.  Originally it was just going to be a blood orange saison (blood…slayer..geddit?) but then the lovely boys at Chorlton Brewing sent me samples of HS1 and HS2, the bretts they have used in a yet unreleased version of their fantastic Brett Citra Pale (more info here: https://chorltonbrewingcompany.com/cbp/) and after consulting the beer brains of twitter it was deemed necessary for me to plonk HS1 in for primary fermentation.

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Before I could use it I needed to grow it to create a starter. This took approximately 2 weeks to get up to a 1.5l range. I added the sample to 500ml water and 50g of spraymalt (pre-boiled and cooled for sanitation purposes) in a flask and sat this on a stir plate.  My stir plate is American and I had a few plug/voltage issues (ie nearly set my kitchen on fire, whoops) which I managed to resolve but was still suspicious of so I only had the stir plate on when I was in which I don’t think made too much difference, there was definitely brett in there, I could smell it!  The first week it smelt very strongly of pineapples and the second week was full of the classic horse blanket/barnyard whiff.  I topped it up periodically with more pre-boiled water and spraymalt to enable it to grow.

The beer recipe:

2kg of Vienna Malt
2kg of Pilsner malt
1kg of Wheat malt
100g Orange blossom honey
150ml Blood orange juice plus 1.5kg pulp
15g Citra at 60 mins
15g Citra at 5 mins
White Labs Belgian Saison II yeast

I decided to use citra as I have some that need using up and don’t really see why not to be fair.  I assume the main character of this beer will come from the brett anyway not the hops.  I used the Belgian Saison II yeast as, in my experience, it ferments quickly.  The original gravity of this was 1.06 which is around what I was aiming for.  The initial taste is super sweet but I’m sure the brett will soon knock that in to touch.

I added both the brett and the saison yeast in for primary fermentation, I still want that peppery saison taste and after the initial fermentation stage it does have that classic saison taste but with a fruity brett undertone.  Lovely but nowhere near done as you can’t bottle brett too early, it’s a recipe for bottle bombs galore.  You have to kick back and let it do it’s thang, I’m going to kick back until 6 months’ time in October so into the secondary it goes.  I’ve had a taste after a month in the secondary fermenter and the brett is really going for it, it’s all a bit Siren All Bretts are Off tasting at the mo. I’ve got some blood orange puree to add at the end if I feel the blood orange has been lost so we shall see. I’m interested to watch this one evolve.

As for HS2 I’m concocting a bretted imperial cherry stout recipe for that with HS2 going in to secondary.

Next up I make a wit beer using lemon thyme and verbena!

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