Sunday, April 29, 2012

Senne Valley Saison Bottled

I despise bottling.  It's labor intensive, messy, time-consuming, and adds weeks to beer gratification.  However, I have to admit that I feel accomplished when it's all done and there are cases of beer capped and poised for carbonation.  The dirty hippie in me also likes the idea of letting the yeast do the carbonating instead of the CO2 tank.  Loosening a bottle cap and hearing the gush release of carbonation has its own special associations, too.

Early this past February I made Senne Valley Saison, a beer that built upon saison recipes that I've brewed in the past, and sought to simplify ingredients and processes for the best possible result.  I focused on Belgian Pilsen malt to provide the main flavor profile, and added complexity with Vienna Malt compromising a full 8% of the grist.  Noble hops and a warm fermentation (mid 70s F) with Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast brought in the desired characteristics of a saison: spicy and fruity yeast character, refreshing dryness and a light body.  When the gravity reached 1.006, I added a vial of White Labs Brettanomyces Bruxellensis.  The Brett brought the final gravity down to .999 and added the distinctive Brett aroma and flavor profile to a very small degree, making the beer just slightly funky.  The marriage between Brett and saison seems like an easy match, with many of the things you look for in a saison being accomplished by Brett in workhorse fashion.  You have to utilize the strengths in your ingredients, and Brett is good at eating every last bit of available -ose.

Senne Valley Saison
The inspiration for this methodology came directly from Green Flash's Rayon Vert which is bottle conditioned with Brett but primarily fermented with an ale yeast strain.  I bottled all five gallons last night using 1/2 cup of table sugar and a package of champagne yeast.  The yield was eighteen 22oz bottles and twelve 12 ounce bottles.


  1. This sounds a lot like my Saison I did last summer. (I added Brett C at bottling)

    It just scored a 41 at NHC, but did not move on. I'd like to taste yours next to mine, maybe when we get together for the wood variety tasting.

    1. You're always one or two (or more) steps ahead of me...

      41 is an awesome score-congratulations! How long did you leave the beer in bottles before drinking it? I'll definitely set a few bottles aside for you and would be excited to taste yours.


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