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Homebrew – It’s Saison Season!

Well, perhaps the title “It’s Belgian Farmhouse Ale Season” would be more apropos. You see, the word “saison” is french for “season”. So, the title “It’s Season Season” makes little sense. But, I digress…

The saison is by far one of my favorite beers to drink in the summer time. It’s light and crisp with a dominant fruity/citrus aroma. It’s pale yellow to orange in color with a snow white head that hangs around for a bit and should lace the glass. It has a light to medium body with a dry finish and high carbonation. It is a pleasure to drink especially on those hot summer days.

The saison is an ale that was originally brewed in the farmhouses in the French speaking regions of Belgium as a refreshing beer to serve the farmhands. It was generally low in ABV at about 3.5% which was a direct effort to keep the farmhands productive. Today’s saisons are a bit higher in the 6% to 7% range. Hmmm… I wonder what that says about today’s workers?  Another interesting little tidbit of info is the fermentation of the yeast. (Most) Saisons use a yeast strain that ferments at a much higher temperature than other ale yeasts. It likes fermenting around around 85 degrees which produces spicy & fruity esters.

It’s a neighborhood favorite and frequently occupies my kegerator. But, not for very long 😉 I happen to be sipping on one as I write this post.

Here are a few commercial examples all of which are very good.

Saison Dupont – Side note: Voted Best Beer in the World in 2005 By Men’s Journal magazine

Hennepin Farmhouse Ale

Colette Farmhouse Ale

Below is an all grain recipe for an eleven gallon batch.

Un Chien Blanc

11 Gal.
All Grain
OG: 1.060
Fg: 1.010
ABV: 6.6%
SRM: 6.7

21 lbs Pilsner Malt (Bel)
2.25 lbs Wheat Malt
1.1 lbs Vienna Malt
2.0 lbs Belgian Candi Sugar
2.75 oz Styrian Goldings (90 min)
1.65 oz East Kent Goldings (15 min)
0.55 oz East Kent Goldings (5 min)
1.0 oz Bitter Orange Peel (15 min)
1 pkg WLP 565 Belgian Saison Yeast

Mash at 152 for 90 minutes. Ferment at 72 degrees for 14 days then ramp up to 85 degrees for 7 days.

I have found that this beer peaks at about 2.5 – 3 months from brew day. Check it out and let me know what you think. Leave questions and comments below.

Happy Brewing!


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2 Responses to Homebrew – It’s Saison Season!

  1. what was the measure of bitter orange peel/tsp tbl oz? was it packaged or fresh, Thanks Jim

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