Recipe: Rye Saison

The first time I made this recipe was last summer during our, uh, unplanned hiatus. It was getting to be warm out, and we wanted a good summer beer after making some heavier fare. We were tossing around different styles, and eventually settled on a Saison.

A  classic Saison is very simple: pils malt, sugar, light hops, and the yeast. The most important ingredient by far is the yeast. We used Wyeast 3711, and I would recommend holding off on brewing this until you can get your hands on that yeast. It is a workhorse that has great attenuation and provides great flavor when fermented in the mid 70s. Some people may balk at using sugar instead of all malt in a beer, but this is the method used by Trappist and other abbey brewers in Belgium to get beers with higher alcohol but still a light, “digestible” body.

When we brewed it last year, it was the first time we had a chance to use our wort chiller. I don’t want to sound like I’m exaggerating, but the combination of doing a full all-grain, full boil and crash cooling it made this the best to style beer I’ve ever made. It ended up with just a little cloudiness from the yeast, light, crisp with great yeast aromas and tastes.

Mash

  • 8.68lbs Belgian Pils
  • 3.12lbs Rye Malt

We did a single step mash at about 155º F for 60 minutes with about 1.25qt of water for every pound of grain. We fly sparged to get up 6.25 gallons for the boil.

Boil

  • 2oz Styrian Goldings (5.4% AA) at 60 minutes
  • 1lb dark candi sugar1 at 15 minutes

Fermentation

  • Wyeast 3711 French Saison Yeast
  • 3 weeks in primary in a basement during the summer, so around 72-75 F
  • 5 weeks in secondary at the same rough temp
  • 2 weeks of bottle conditioning

Notes

  1. The first time we used the standard dark rock sugar that you find at most homebrew shops. I’ve read that this is basically only used in the US by homebrewers. For the second iteration we’re using this 90L candi syrup which more approximates what’s used in Europe.

Related Posts: