Brett Saison with Oak-Soaked Tequila Recipe (One Gallon Homebrew Recipe) - Brain Sparging on Brewing


Sour beer, saisons, farmhouse beer, homebrewing, ramblings

August 5, 2019

Brett Saison with Oak-Soaked Tequila Recipe (One Gallon Homebrew Recipe)

This brett saison commemorates ten years of homebrewing for me. It is a couple weeks late for the official ten year anniversary of my first batch of homebrewing but close enough to celebrate. I still remember that first time brewing in my apartment kitchen with a Belgian blonde ale extract kit of an unknown age and waking up the next morning to see the airlock bubbling away. Even a cursory glance at this blog tells you Belgian beer and brewing techniques remain an important part of my homebrewing. I may not brew as many of the Trappist/abbey styles but saisons and Belgian-inspired sour beers definitely remain a consistent part of my brewing. It is fitting then that I celebrate those ten years and reflect on my first beer by brewing another Belgian beer that showcases this decade-long journey of homebrewing.

What is up with this brett saison and tequila

Today's beer is another stab at exploring the mixed fermentation/brett saison culture I have been slowly brewing with over the past few years. (E.g. here, here, here and here.) The last saison tested the saison culture against a high degree of hops. This saison recipe dials back to a more moderate hopping rate and shifts to more gentle hop varieties My goal here is to create a brett saison that retains some hop flavor and aroma but lets through more of the delicate yeast notes. Then I am ruining all of that by slipping in some tequila that I have aged on oak cubes for like five years waiting for a good project. This is not my way of wedging in an obligatory weird ingredient into an otherwise straight up beer. The tequila addition is a nod to Fantome's one time release of a tequila barrel aged saison that I was unfortunate not to get to try. 

This brett saison culture is quirky with strict demands for how it is brewed. It needs a warm fermentation in the mid to upper seventies with a dry, simple grain bill. As a result I am keeping this beer simple with a 90% pils/10% unmalted wheat base. I like this combination as a starting point for any saison-ish beer so no reason to back away from it. I am also continuing to use a moderately mineralized water profile that skews in favor of bitterness to keep dryness in the feel and taste. I like this culture's flavor profile with light minerality in the background. After a firm bittering addition for this 5.5% beer follows a post-boil addition of Aurora and Aramis for a light grassy and citrusy hop flavor. This culture does such a great job retaining hop flavor that I do not worry about dry hopping or overhopping to keep hop flavor and aroma in the beer. 

To add the tequila I am just adding a 1oz/gal addition of this heavily oaked tequila right along with the yeast pitch. I want to emulate the effects of fermenting and aging the beer in a tequila barrel without oppressive tequila flavor. I find this is a good starting point for spirit additions for this purpose but I may add more at bottling if I feel it is too light. The tequila itself is a midrange blanco aged with an absurd amount of oak so it carries over plenty of tannins to give it the feel of a barrel aging rather than pouring a bottle of liquor into beer. As you can see from the picture the tequila has the appearance of a well aged anejo tequila but it is unpalatable on its own with so much oak. 

Brett Saison with Oak-Soaked Tequila Recipe 

Batch Size: 1 gallon
Est. ABV: 5.5%
Est. IBU: 40
Est. OG: 1.054
Est. FG: 1.008 (?)
Est. SRM: 3.6
Expected Efficiency: 72%
Grain BillPoundsOuncesSRMPct. Grist
Pils malt114290.00%
Unmalted wheat031.610.00%
Water Profileppm
Bru'n Water Yellow Bitter
PH: 5.3
Water AdditionsMashSparge
Epsom Salt0.3g0.3g
Canning Salt
Baking Soda
Calcium Chloride0.2g0.2g
Pickling Lime
Lactic Acid0.3ml
Mash ScheduleStep Temp.Step Time
Single infusion mash
Mash volume: 2.56qt
Sparge volume: 0.86 gal
Infuse 2.56qt at 167F15075
Sparge 0.86 gal180
Boil ScheduleVolumeUnitTimeIBU
60 minute boil
Belma [12%] hops 0.18oz6040
Aurora hops0.75ozWhirlpool0
Aramis hops0.25ozWhirlpool0
Fermentation Schedule# DaysTemp.
Yeast: Brett saison culture
Pitch at 70F, free rise to 75F1475
Age at 72F30072
Bottle to 3 volumes

Brew day and fermentation notes

Brewed on 8.3.19.

Preboil volume: 1.3 gallons
Preboil gravity: 1.042
Mash efficiency: 74%
Postboil volume: 1 gallon
Postboil gravity: 1.054
Brewhouse efficiency: 74%

Overall a very normal, successful brew day.

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