giovedì 5 novembre 2015

Belle Saison and high temperature fermentation

Summer always bring high temperatures, and in my cellar is too warm to have nice and clean fermentations. I'm too lazy to build a fermentation chamber,  so I decited to test Lallemand Belle Saison yeast, to ceck if is possible to ferment in a cellar at 22°C, that means 24-25°C in the fermantation tank. I brewed some beers and fermented them in a tank surrounded by four iced water bottled and wrapped in a blanket to insulate it: direct measures on wort, showed that wort temperature was equal to cellar one. That means the heat from fermentation was balanced by my primitive cooling system.
I tried two Saison style beers, slightly different. In the third one I decided to put 10% roasted malts: I got tired of saisons, and wanted something different.

Saison 1
Malts:
  4000 gr German 2-row Pils, 96%;
  150 gr Brown sugar (dark), 4%;
Hops:
  15 gr Aramis, 7,8 %a.a., 60 min;
  20 gr Styrian Goldings, 5,7 %a.a., 60 min;
  38 gr Styrian Goldings, 5,7 %a.a., 20 min;
  30 gr Saaz, 2,3 %a.a., 5 min;
  30 gr Saaz, 2,3 %a.a., 0 min;
Yeast:
  Belle Saison, 1 pack
IBU: 43; EBC: 14
Fermentation:
Wort at 24-25°C for the first two days, then 22°C (cellar temperature).
OG 1052, FG 998

Saison 2
Malts:
  3000 gr German 2-row Pils, 1,038;
  1000 gr Munich Malt(light), 1,034;
  370 gr Oats, Flaked, 1,037;
Hops:
  20 gr Aramis, 7,8 %a.a., 60 min;
  17 gr Styrian Goldings, 5,7 %a.a., 20 min
Yeast:
  Belle Saison yeast cake
IBU: 26; EBC: 15;
Fermentation:
Wort at, 22°C controlled temperature for te whole fermentation.
OG 1056. FG 1004

Black Saison
Malts:
  1300 gr German 2-row Pils, 1,038;
  1300 gr German Light Munich, 1,037;
  150 gr Chocolate Malt, 1,034;
  150 gr Roasted Barley, 1,029;
Hops:
  20 gr Aramis, 7,8 %a.a., 60 min;
  10 gr Aramis, 7,8 %a.a., 20 min;
Yeast:
  Belle Saison yeast cake, third generation
IBU: 21,9; EBC: 64
Fermentation:
Wort at, 22°C controlled temperature for te whole fermentation
OG 1042. FG 1008

Main difference between the two Saison is due to the Munich malt: Saison 2 is darker, with higher body, also thanks to the flaked oats and the lack of sugar, while Saison 1 has an apparent FG of 0.998! If you give simple sugars to Belle, it's a piranha, but don't worry: it won't eat your fermentor nor complex sugars from special grists (mash were identical for the three batches).
Saison 1 has lots of phenols in aroma, and heavy fruity notes covering all hops aromas. Phenols are noticeable also at taste with unpleasant bitterness and high cytric notes .
Better the Saison 2, with esters more evident in aroma, wit notes of pear, grapevine uva and medium phenol (but again a bit unpleasant): lower temperature brings lower off-flavors. In this beer there are noticeable malty notes, from Munich. As always with this yeast, all fermentation notes are evident in the nose, but lighter in the flavour. Malt with a bit of melanoidins is evident but fruity esters are medium-low, distant from classic saison, while the spicy phenols and a citric note are more evident.
Those two beers are not comparable with Black Saison: here roasted malts covered all fermentation aromas, just a hint of ester to the nose: roasted malts worked as concrete to cover in black phenols and off flavors. The only disturbing detail is the citric saison-like acidity that is not suited at all with roasty notese (to have an idea, try to squeeze a slice of lemon in a pint of Guinness if you dare).

In the end, to use Belle Saison at best, better to keep temperatures around 20°C and raise after 4-5 days when strong fermentation is over.

Anyway, phenols will always be there with their bitter and harsh taste in the beer, and a good saison is definitely something far from what you can get with this yeast.

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