Friday, February 25, 2011


In the past, when deciding what to brew, I fought against an urge to brew what I really wanted (IPA! DRY-HOPPED PALE ALE! PILSNER! PILSNER! IPA!) to try other styles. For example, the beer that became 2Wicky (a French-style Black Saison with Star Anise, Grains of Paradise and molasses) started out as a standard Saison with just 2 oz of Apricot flavoring so you'd think "Huh? What was that?" The grains weren't very traditional. Only 21% Pilsner malt was used, and instead I went with Marris Otter as the primary base malt (at 55%).

In an enclosed hotel rooftop swimming pool in downtown Indianapolis, I started thinking about the base recipe of the 2Wicky as a simpler Saison. There were posters around the swimming pool that appeared to be some kind of old-timey vacation ads for places in France. I noticed how "Maison", meaning "house" or probably "home" was one letter away from "Saison". I thought that if I made a Saison beer, I would call it "Saison de Maison". As I decided what beers to make this year, the names were made simpler, into one or two-word titles, and "Maison" was born.

I brewed this beer on my birthday in 2010, opting to try another open-fermented, late-sugar addition beer. My buddy, John Hayes, bought me the ingredients for this one.

5.5 gallon batch
OG: 1.069
SRM: 4.9
IBU: 49.6

90 minute boil

5.0 lbs 2-Row Malt
5.0 lbs Pilsner Malt
0.5 lbs CaraVienne Malt
2.0 lbs Demerara sugar

1.5 oz Perle (8.25%AA) @ 60 min.
2.0 oz Strisselspalt (2.6%AA) @ 5 min.
2.0 oz Mt. Hood (4.6%AA) Dry Hop

Wyeast 3711 French Saison

I do a 75 minute infusion mash at 149-150 degrees Fahrenheit. Batch sparge. I made a 2-quart starter for the yeast. This beer spent 2 weeks in primary fermentation, and then 3 weeks in secondary because I went to Florida over the Thanksgiving holiday, and didn't bottle it until the very first week of December. The sugar was added after 48 hours of fermentation via 1 quart of water and all 2 pounds added to that, boiled, chilled and added with the lid placed on the fermenter. The beer finished with an OG of 1.006.

As of February, I think the beer is good. It might improve over the next few months, but I figured about an 8.3% ABV for this one, so it's very likely it will become more estery. It's definitely free of fusel alcohols, though, and ended up a bit darker (I think due to the Demerara sugar) than calculated by promash.

No comments: