Smoky Cat Saison

My first saison – a French farmhouse ale. As with so may of these French/Belgiany beers, it’s the yeast that makes all the difference. I used a White Labs liquid yeast for this one. I used my technique of just not bothering to add the extra sugar, keeping this beer down below 6% abv. Just the thing for a thirsty farm-hand’s lunch.

This recipe won the MarchFest home-brew competition 2016, so my recipe was scaled up to 1100 litres, brewed at Moa Brewery and released at the 2017 MarchFest as ‘Old MacDonald Farmhouse Ale’

Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.051 SG
Original Gravity: 1.051 SG (my volumes were low so I added 2L water)
Final Gravity: 1.009 SG
ABV: 5.5%
Actual IBU: 31.0 IBU
Colour: 15 EBC
BU:GU Ratio: 0.63

Mash water: 22L
Sparge water: 12.5L

Grain (total: 5.8kg):
Gladfield Pilsner Malt 5.350 kg (90.4%)
German Wheat Malt 390 g (6.6%)
Gladfield Medium Crystal (110 EBC) 80 g (1.4%) – the crystal/supernova malts could be combined as CaraMunich or similar
Gladfield Supernova 70g (1.2%)
Carafa Special II 30g (0.5%) – just to darken it a bit. Fully optional.

50g Styrian Goldings 3.7% (25IBU) @ 60 mins
10g Styrian Goldings @ 30 mins
40g Styrian Goldings @ 5 mins

Mash at 62°C for 20 mins, raise to 69°C and rest for a further 40mins.

Sparge and boil for 60 mins.

Pitch @ 18°C with White Labs WLP-565. Hold at 18°C for 24 hours then slowly raise the temp over 7 days to 28°C. Cold crash to 1°C. Add 1 tsp gelatine as the temp passes 10°C. Bottle/keg after 3 days.

This beer benefits from some ageing at room temperature. Don’t rush into drinking it before it’s ready.

9 Responses to “Smoky Cat Saison”

  1. Ryan

    Hi Karl,

    Just wondering what your process is for fining with gelatine? I’ve been pasteurizing mine in about 2/3 cup of water and then adding at 2°C.

    Any tips? 🙂

    • Karl

      I add 1 tsp gelatine, dissolved in 100ml or so of boiling water from the kettle. I chuck it in as the temp comes down past 10 degrees C. The heat from 100ml or water doesn’t raise the temp of the batch measurably. It works for me, but your process should work too. Are you having any particular issues?

  2. Shane

    Hi, Karl… just checking that Carafa special amount… should that be 30g rather than 300g? Cheers!

  3. Tim

    Hi Karl, going to give this a

    “Mash at 62°C for 20 mins, raise to 69°C and rest for a further 40mins.
    Sparge and boil for 60 mins.”

    • Tim

      …sorry, my 1 year old daughter hit enter before I could finish this post…

      Hi Karl, going to give this a go this week, but I have a couple of questions re: the following instructions (I’m using the Grainfather and have never had a go at a belgiumy style beer)…

      “Mash at 62°C for 20 mins, raise to 69°C and rest for a further 40mins.
      Sparge and boil for 60 mins.”

      1.) RE: rest – once raised to 69°C do you?
      a.) just kill the element and let it cool & rest for 40mins or
      b.) do you maintain the temperature at 69°C and turn the circulation off
      c.) maintain the temperature at 69°C and carry on circulating

      2.) Any mash out? and at what temperature if so?

      3.) Sparge at 69°C or 75°C

      Many thanks

      • Karl

        Hi Tim,

        You need to maintain the temp and the keep the pump going. Technically the bit where you hold the mash at a set temp for a set time is called the “mash rest”. Mashout is a good idea. I normally do 77°C for 10 mins, but I’m not super-fussy about sparge temp (honestly, I just grab it out of the hot tap). Cooler is less efficient, but I normally get close to my numbers anyway. Very hot water would be a problem, but it’s mostly at about 65°C in the hot tap anyway, so I’m safe there. You can technically sparge with cold water if you want, but you get less sugar from the grain and it takes longer to heat up back up to boil temp – not saying you should do that, just that sparge temp isn’t as important as it’s often made out to be.

        Good luck with the saison!


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