Saison back on the agenda

by EJ

I’ve got the bits and pieces for an ale ready to go this Saturday but my mind is now set on cracking out a nice, refreshing summer Saison. It’s one of my favorite styles but I haven’t tried making my own yet. Looking at a few different recipes it seems the popular base is Pilsen malt with hallertau and saaz hops and one of the many types of Saison yeasts. Another hop breed which is apparently a great match for the style is Sorachi Ace. On the yeast front there is a dry one from Danstar which is pretty cheap. Given my lack of ability to properly control fermentation temperature I tend not to go for the more expensive slap packs or liquid yeasts. Also, given that I’m still using kits I don’t think the extra expense is really needed.

I’m looking to replicating the recipe for Summer Saison from the Briess Malt website which comes out to about $60. That’s expensive so I’m turning to a few others to see if I can cut any corners without compromising too much on flavor. For example there’s one recipe which uses only pilsner malt, Sorachi Ace hops and table sugar. This brings me to a point that I wanted to feature in my Saison; the sugar. A while ago I got some black sugar from Okinawa. Unfortunately the weather turned against ale brewing and I ended up drinking most of the sugar in coffee and tea. Then I got some more black sugar which was bought at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo but that turned out to be from Europe somewhere and wasn’t even Japanese! On the other hand considering the stuff was bought in Tsukiji but made in Europe all my desired bases for this brew are actually covered.

The point is that I wanted to use inverted sugar made from a Japanese product to go with the Japanese hops. Sorachi Ace was developed by Sapporo Breweries so I liked the strong Japanese angle to this recipe. I’ll try to get some more of the Okinawan sugar sent over and hopefully get it done for summer (or use the Tsukiji sourced European stuff!).

Watch this space. I’m blogging it to keep it firmly on my brewing radar. Here is a bit of a write up about Saison in Australia.

Post script: I dug the bag of sugar from Tsukiji out of the kitchen cupboard and found the country of origin on the label; Bolivia! I’m in the process of finding out how to use this properly in the Saison.