Cliché and significant understatement incoming – life has been BUSY. I know this is usual for this time of life – move around the country (three times), move house (four times – thank you, awful landlord), have a baby (yay for new life!), complete final examinations etc etc… Please don’t take this as complaining at all, as life is currently very sweet indeed. Being back with our people in a city we love is grand.
During our time away, I learned how to distil and even completed a distilling qualification. I love the occasional cocktail (particularly when I have a bottle of Campari in the cupboard or fresh limes on the tree as we do currently), but I do not believe this is my true passion. Brewing keeps calling me back. I have, however, learned three things:
– Distillers are, on the whole, grumpy bastards
– Whisky is hard to produce to a reasonable standard as a home-distiller
– Gin is the Queen of cocktails, and makes distilling worthwhile
Returning home, we decided to reduce the footprint of the brewery, whilst retaining brewing capabilities. I acquired a Brewzilla 65 at a very good price, and have been very pleased with its performance and simplicity. At this stage, to reduce time and complexity on brew day, I’m carrying out no-sparge with a 60 minute mash and 60 minute boil.
Having trialled a Pilsner on the new system, I attempted another favourite recipe – a saison. Hoping to add some funk to the equation, I chose to co-pitch WP644 and the familiar Belle Saison.
With a 6-month-old crawling himself into chaos around the home, I no longer have time to wax lyrical in these posts – I suspect you’re all pleased. Here follows a brief summary of the brew day, fermentation, and tasting notes. This is as much a record for me as it is a guide for readers, so apologies for extraneous details!
22nd May 2022:
– 70 minute mash (10 mins to allow rise to mash temp)
– Mash-out at 75 °C
– Neglected to kill power to the element despite turning on cooling water to immersion coil, until wort reached 87 °C. Hence, predicted slight increased IBU (verified on tasting)
– OG 1.045
– Pitched 400mL of Saccharomyces Bruxellensis Trois slurry and one packet of Belle Saison at 19.2 °C approx. 2.5hrs later. Fermenter set to 20 °C.
– 23.5 1900hrs 1.032 (Tilt hydrometer reading)
– 26.5 1.013 (Tilt hydrometer). Bumped chamber to 22 °C
– 27.5 reading 1.011, increased chamber to 24 °C
– 31.5 1700hrs 1.005 for > 72hrs hence dropped to 10C then 5C
– 3.6 DH 28 g Galaxy pellets at 3 °C whilst blowing CO2 through drainage port
– 6.6 kegged at 1.006
Final ABV = 5.27% – perfection!
Tasting Notes 24.6.22
Glowing golden haze, typical for Gladfield Pilsner malt.
The canned fruit salad of the WLP644 is tempered by the lemon, clove, peppery saison character of the Belle Saison.
Initially mango, guava, and canned fruit salad, then a thirst quenching spice and citrus more typical of a saison. The bitterness is a little more than I’d aimed for, though consistent with the longer whirlpool than planned. Is there a degree of acidity from the WLP644? Possibly, but certainly no funk to be found.
Bone-dry and refreshing.
Drinkability and notes
Outstandingly sessionable, though with room to improve in terms of being slightly above target IBU. Suggestions for next time? I’d bottle-condition with Brett. claussenii for a more rustic charm.
What have I learnt from this brew? WLP644 brings zero funk to the party. Perhaps I’d misunderstood previous posts about this yeast, but I’m happy to learn from (delicious) mistakes. That being said, WLP644 would certainly make a beautiful soft IPA or NEIPA, and contributed excellent fruity esters to this saison.