Back To My Roots: Brewing Beer: The Rye Saison

This is my first post of my new “Back To My Roots: Brewing Beer” series. In these posts I will explain the styles of beer I plan on brewing at the Cool Luckett Brewery as well as provide information on brewing techniques. Hope you enjoy! Don’t worry, relax, have a homebrew!

The Story..

It has been several months since I last brewed a beer. I sometimes get to the point where I am brewing so much that it starts to almost become a burden to me. When this happens I take a step back and take a few months off knowing that the itch will return rather quickly.

The past few weeks I had been craving a brew day. I was missing that beautiful smell of crushed barley, the pungent aromas of hops, and the sounds of boiling wort.

The question was, what should I brew? I thought about it for a while and decided I wanted to try brewing a beer using rye malt. Rye malt imparts an interesting grainy, slightly spicy characteristic to the beer. One style of beer that many microbreweries create is called a Saison(fruity, spicy, semi-dry, belgian style beer), and naturally they have produced saison recipes including the use of rye malt. I had made a saison before, but wasn’t too pleased with it so I decided to give it another shot since it has recently become a very sought-after beer of mine.

Some commercial Saisons to seek out: Ommegang Hennepin, Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace, Saison Rue by the Bruery

The Recipe:

Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.00 lb Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM) Dry Extract 44.44 %
2.50 lb Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain 27.78 %
2.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 22.22 %
0.50 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 5.56 %
1.50 oz Pearle [8.00 %] (60 min) Hops 40.6 IBU
1.00 oz Pearle [8.00 %] (15 min) Hops 13.4 IBU
1 Pkgs Belgian Ale (White Labs #WLP550) Yeast-Ale

So as you can see it really is a quite simple recipe. I decided to keep the grain bill pretty simple mainly to let the rye malt shine through as well as to keep the color as light as possible. I am still brewing partial mash beers, hence the continuation of extract use. Decided to use Pearle hops to hopefully increases that spiciness characteristic of a saison. I chose to just use WLP550 yeast mainly because it was the only Belgian Ale yeast my local homebrew store carried, but also because I really don’t think I need a specific saison yeast to get the same characteristics I’m hoping for.

The estimated gravities, alcohol by volume, IBU(International Bitterness Units), color, are all listed below. Note:These are just estimated calculations by the program BeerSmith, they are not the actual statistics. I need to stop being lazy and start measuring gravity….

Est Original Gravity: 1.059 SG

Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG

Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.90 %

Bitterness: 54.0 IBU Calories: 43 cal/pint

Est Color: 4.9 SRM

The Brew Day:

The brew day went relatively well. I was using a burner for the first time in a while and ended up mashing a little too high(I wanted to mash around 150 degrees for a lighter body, ended up mashing around 160-165…). The only other flaw to the brew day was my roomates gas tank ran out with 10 minutes left in the boil. I just decided to cool it down. Only thing that may happen is the bitterness may be less, but that is fine.

I have really high hopes for this beer and I hope it turns out great. Letting it ferment for 4 weeks and then kegging it as soon as I return to school at the end of August! Come on by the brewery and try some!

Next Brew:

I am brewing my first nut brown ale on Tuesday. Very, very excited to make this beer! I will post pictures of the brew in my next post!

Until then,

Enjoy some beautiful music from reggae legend Don Carlos!


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