Brewing Mountain Saison #1

My first batch since April 2018 was a juicy saison recipe that I have brewed 16 times since 2013. It has been the most popular recipe among family and friends (by far) and since I have brewed it more than any other recipe, it will serve as a great calibrator for the new Pico Z1.

With that said, I did make some changes to the recipe for this batch of Mountain Saison #1.

First, this version was brewed exclusively with Mecca Grade Estate Malt. I originally wrote about Mecca Grade in late 2017 but I wanted to revist. Mecca Grade’s estate-grown barley is singularly sourced within a two mile radius of their malthouse which lends its unique taste of the Central Oregon High Desert. They now offer ten “Foundation Malts” – Gateway (Under-modified Wind-Malt), Pelton (Pilsner Style), Lamonta (American Pale), Vanora (Vienna Style), Metolius (Munich Style), Opal 22 (Graham & Cocoa), Opal 44 (Toasted Toffee), Shaniko (White Winter Wheat), Rimrock (Vienna Style Spring Rye) and Wickiup (Hard Red Spring Wheat) – and four “Raw Grains” – Rockland Hard Red Spring Wheat, Mary Soft White Winter Wheat, Full Pint 2-Row Spring Barley and Gazelle Spring Rye. The only thing better than Mecca Grade’s malt is the Klann family themselves – these folks are the salt of the earth.

Second, I applied a couple new techniques that I learned from The New IPA: Scientific Guide to Hop Aroma and Flavor – using mash hops for long-term beer stability and using moderately aged hops to reduce harsh polyphenols. Eventually I will post a recap of The New IPA – it is the best homebrewing book I own.

Third, I used SafAle T-58 Dry Yeast instead of WLP565 Belgian Saison I Ale Liquid Yeast. Believe it or not, this was my first ever batch using dry yeast and was simply done out of convenience (LHBS was out of WLP565).

While I was expecting some hiccoughs on my first Pico batch, it went pretty smoothly. The entire batch took just 4.75 hours – about half of the duration of my previous 10 gallon ebrewery system (#winning). I skipped pH and volume measurements as well as whirlfloc, yeast nutrient and wort oxygenation for this first batch since I was mainly focused on the Pico brewing process itself (and a little distracted with dad duties).

I fermented in a 3-gallon corny keg in my old college mini-fridge with a FermWrap controlled by an Inkbird ITC-308 temperature controller. This is an efficient and inexpensive way for me to ferment year-round in my garage.

Mountain Saison #1 may also be the first I can using my new Oktober SL-1 Homebrew Can Seamer! Stay tuned . . .

Mountain Saison #1

  • Batch size: 2.5 gallons
  • OG: 1.047
  • FG: 1.005
  • Efficiency: 71.4%
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • IBU: 21
  • SRM: 4.3

Ingredients:

  • 34.7% Mecca Grade Pelton Malt @ Mash
  • 34.7% Mecca Grade Lamonta Malt @ Mash
  • 16.7% Mecca Grade Shaniko Malt @ Mash
  • 5.6% Mecca Grade Rimrock Malt @ Mash
  • 8.3% Sucrose @ Day 2
  • 7.5 IBUs Yakima Valley Hops Columbus Pellet Hops @ Mash
  • 8.7 IBUs Yakima Valley Hops Citra Pellet Hops @ Whirlpool
  • 4.8 IBUs Yakima Valley Hops Amarillo Pellet Hops @ Whirlpool
  • 0.3 oz/gal Yakima Valley Hops Amarillo Pellet Hops @ Day 2
  • 0.3 oz/gal Yakima Valley Hops Amarillo Pellet Hops @ Day 2
  • 6 g SafAle T-58 Ale Dry Yeast
  • Saison water profile

Water treatment: 1 g Gypsum, 1.6 g Epsom Salt, 0.6 g Canning Salt, 0.6 g Pickling Lime and 3.2 ml Lactic Acid in DI water (for 3.19 gal of total water volume)
Mash technique: Single infusion @ 148°F for 90 min
Kettle volume: 2.75 gal
Boil duration: 60 min
Whirlpool technique: 30 min @ 185°F
Final volume: 2.5 gal (est)
Fermentation temp: 65°F for 24 hours the raised to 70°F for 7 days. Raised to 75°F for remainder of fermentation
Notes: Brewed solo on 12/7/2019. DI water treated with salts to achieve saison water profile (52 ppm Calcium, 17 ppm Magnesium, 35 ppm Sodium, 107 ppm Sulfate, 20 ppm Chloride, 165 ppm Bicarbonate). No pH readings.

12/7/2019 – Pitched yeast at 65°F.

12/8/2019 – Raised fermentation temperature to 70°F. Healthy krausen – pushed out the airlock. Added sucrose and dry hops.

12/15/2019 – Raised fermentation temperature to 75°F.

12/23/2019 – Cold crashed to 32°F.

12/28/2019 – Transferred to 2.5 gal Slimline Torpedo Keg (brite tank) for carbonation. Carbonated at 30 psi for 48 hours then reduced to 15 psi (target 2.52 volumes at 45°F).

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