Saisons and starters, Tim Etter rocks, and Rufus the suspect farmhouse ale

Hi my brewing brothers & sisters!

First thing up is yesterday’s Saison experiment with White Labs 585 Belgian Saison III. I ended up getting 7 gallons of wort and topping up with 2 gallons of purified water to make two 4.5 gallon batches. Same starting gravity, same amount, etc. Then on Saison De Starter I pitched the 585 that had been on the stir plate for 36 hours. On Saison De Vial I just dumped in a 585 vial. (Side note: the starter ‘beer’ I decanted had a fruity pear & clove nose with a light spice in the finish.)

As you can see they’re rocking out together now at an ambient temp of 70-74 all day. They’re on the 2nd level of my ever-expanding beer bucket tower behind the couch. Oddly enough the love of my life supports this placement and is even encouraging a chest freezer for controlling fermentation temps!ImageThere were no big issues with the brew day other than getting 66% efficiency. I usually lose a little efficiency if I do a larger batch, but was expecting a few more points.

Regardless, it should be a nice & session-friendly American farmhouse type of beer. The beer gods may have saved me from myself. Here’s the recipe for anyone interested:Image

I was originally going to use the Columbus for bittering but my latest acquisition from Farmhouse Brewing Supply was too fruity (with its usual dank) to waste. I won’t do any dry hopping to try to leave a cleaner look at the differences in starter vs vial. Truthfully, I had planned to use my starter of WLP650 Brett B on half of the batch but the yeast were still throwing a party and I prefer to decant my starters as best I can.

If you know me you know I crank out overly US & NZ hopped saison beers all the time. However, I did make sure to listen to Jamil’s Saison show & even though his info on using WLP565 was a little dated, there was good info & Chris White (of White Labs) stops in towards the end.

I wanted to start De Starter & De Vial lower and let them ramp up (as Jamil advises), but I quickly found my ground water here in Vegas is coming out around 82 degrees and I was fresh out of ice. At any rate, both are chugging along nicely now. The CO2 coming out of the airlocks smells wonderful. Starter batch was rolling when I got home 8 hours after pitching & the vial batch wasn’t far behind, albeit a little more slowly in the all important airlock bubbling department. 😛

Wrapping things up, I want to thank my co-brewer on this batch. She slept in my computer chair the whole time. While this may seem rather trivial, it forced me to not to sit down and resulted in everything being sanitized on time etc.Image

For any locals reading this: I want you to know (if you don’t already) that Tim Etter has to be one of the nicest guys in town. I rolled up to his establishment yesterday (TenayaCreek) for a party and didn’t recognize him at first because we’ve only crossed paths a couple times & he was wearing a hat. The first thing I asked him was “what guest taps do THEY have on?” Tim didn’t miss a beat. He rattled off the 5 or 6 guest taps and reported the Firestone Walker Double Jack I’d had 3 weeks ago was most certainly a thing of the past. He could have said “You asshole. Who walks up to the owner of a brewery and asks what guest taps are on when you’ve arrived for a party to celebrate the brewery’s success?” Anyway, I felt like a jerk and I plan to buy Tim a beer upon our next meeting. If he’s not wearing a hat. lol

But seriously, buy the nicest guy in town a beer if you run into him.

Now we’ll worry about possible issues not resulting from my ability to be a social bull inside a china shop. One of my latest farmhouse ales Rufus, a Goose Island Sofie-esque attempt, might be going wild on me. I checked on all the other beers. The only wildness is intentionally wild.Image

I wanted to post this for the same reason I let people try my beer even if it’s mediocre. I’m not afraid of looking like an idiot. There are a million new brewers posting threads full of panic every time their yeast do their thing. Krausen looks pretty crazy. Hell, I transferred to secondary in the middle of krausen with one of my first batches. However, I brewed Rufus on 6/28. Hard to believe krausen from a fairly reliable saison yeast is still floating around 3 weeks later.

At any rate, I’d be awfully surprised if Rufus went rogue on me. I used a new (and well-cleaned) bucket, I brewed it at Ton Brewhouse (so I had access to a wort chiller & freezer for cooling), & the WLP566 Saison II yeast does not contain any bugs. I’ve treated beers in the past much more shabbily and they’ve turned out fine. Even damn good on occasion.

I’m factoring in that this was my first time using irish moss so maybe it made crap stick together and that floated up. I don’t know. The pic is from yesterday and since then some seems to have settled out, so fingers crossed all is well. Relax and have a homebrew is usually the advice you get to a panic thread and it’s definitely applicable here.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m getting up early and brewing a beer on White Labs new 670 American Farmhouse Blend. As per usual it’ll get big fruity hops to the max the style will allow. The other ideas rattling around in my head are an Avery Hog Heaven clone, a single hopped pale ale with Pacifica (my favorite little orangey hop), a new version of my trophy-winning (pickle added later) Tripel IPA, and coming up with something to put on the WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale yeast I got today.

Ingredients for 2 versions of English IPA are in the mail! I’ll update fully on those soon. I’ll likely try to brew them at Ton Brewhouse since I don’t have a mill.

That might be all I have to report. I leave you with a picture of my WLP645 Brett C starter. I think it’s gorgeous!Image


2 thoughts on “Saisons and starters, Tim Etter rocks, and Rufus the suspect farmhouse ale

  1. Pingback: I Love Brett and Recipes For Good Saisons and Session IPA | BJCP Hero

  2. Pingback: I can be your hero baby! 4 awards + 2nd in Best of Show! | BJCP Hero

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