Saturday, August 23, 2014

#29 Blackberry Saison - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

Let me start off by saying I don't like saisons.  I think the whole "style" is silly.  Let's take a concept--"Belgian farmhouse ales"--that if you think about it isn't too appetizing to begin with, romanticize it because it's old and Belgian, brew something that's only vaguely related, and then convince ourselves that we like it.  No thanks.  Or maybe I just haven't had many that I liked.  I know there are great beers brewed under this name, and some people really enjoy it, but it's just not for me.  These beers were originally brewed seasonally--in French "saison" means season--so since I have some seasonally available ingredients, I'll bite the bullet and hop on the bandwagon.

Over the last few weeks, we've picked 50 lbs of blackberries for the wine, and I got thinking there must be a way we could use these for beer as well.  I don't want to steal berries from the wine, but after we pull the berry skins from the fermenting wine, it seems like there's still a good amount of flavor left to use.  What that flavor is I have no idea.  My guess is that with most of the sugar and acid dissolved into the must, there will be mostly tannin still in the skins, along with whatever juice is bound up in the mass of berry bits.  That means it will be pretty bitter, and not necessarily add the kind of juicy berry flavor one would expect.

I decided to pair the berries with a saison because saisons (and Belgian beers in general) are amenable to a wide range of fruits and spices.  The low hop bitterness will leave room for the tannic bitterness from the berries, and the fruity/peppery yeast will both compliment and contrast the more juicy berry flavors.  Layer on top of that a healthy dose of Saaz hops, bringing more spice and a squeeze of lemon, and it should be delicious package.  I hope.  This is all a very seat-of-the-pants kind of experiment, so fingers crossed that it works out.

Blackberry Saison
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Estimated ABV: 5.7 %
Estimated OG: 1.053 SG
Estimated FG: 1.010 SG
Estimated Color: 5.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 77.4 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt         Name                                     %/IBU
9 lbs       Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM)            78.3 %
2 lbs       Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM)                17.4 %
8.0 oz      Munich Malt - 30-35L (32.0 SRM)          4.3 %
1.00 oz     Willamette [7.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min      21.9 IBUs
0.50 oz     Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min            3.5 IBUs
1.00 Item   Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)        -
0.50 oz     Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 0.0 min             0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg     French Saison (Wyeast Labs #3711)        -

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion 152F, Mash Out 165F, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 11 lbs 8.0 oz
Estimated Cost: $22.57


  1. how much blackberry was used?

    1. I used the skins from the second batch of blackberry wine, roughly 20 lbs before fermentation.


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