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I'm looking to put together a session saison & can't find much online to start from. I've got this so far, but would like some feedback.

Malts

  • 500g Munich I (steeped)
  • 3kg x-light / pilsner extract

Hops

  • 20g Northern Brewer 9.6% (~25IBU) @ 60min
  • 40g Hallertau at flame-out

Yeast

  • Wyeast 3711 - French Saison (I've already got this so would prefer to keep it in)

Stats

  • ~25-27 IBU
  • ~1.041-1.043 OG
  • ~1.008 FG, 4.5-4.7% ABV

The beer is for a birthday party, so I'd like to aim for "wide appeal", while still keeping it interesting.

I like Dupont's Saison and have read that they use exclusively pilsner malt; is this typical or should I mix it up with some wheat? In the base malt or steeped?

Are spices (e.g. peppercorns, bitter orange, coriander) typical and would they still fit the "mass appeal" goal? Or is it better to keep the recipe simple when using 3711?

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The intent of your post is not clear. You seem to have two questions: "Should I use wheat in a saison, and if so should I mash or steep it?" and "Will spices work well with Wyeast 3711 without overwhelming the flavor?" To fit the format of this site, you should post those two questions separately. You'll get better feedback with focused questions that lead to clear answers. (Having never brewed a saison I have no experience to share on these particular points. But it sounds tasty. I think you'll end up with a good beer any way you go.) –  Galapagos Jim Feb 5 '13 at 2:03
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1 Answer

To answer your first question: "In the base malt or steeped".

Saison Dupont uses a mashing method, they do not used steeped grains because all the specialty grains can be added to the mash to achieve the desired flavor as well as fermentable sugars. I will go out on a limb and say that 99.9% of commercial beers do not use the steeping grain method used in extract brewing.

Recipe suggestions: Ditch the munich, unless you want to do a mini mash. You will get minimal flavor from steeping munich. Steeping darker malts where the flavors are bold and assertive, sweet, etc... come through as where lighter malts have a minimal effect.

Let the yeast make the flavor for you. Ramp up the temp to the 80's and let it run. Making the saison yeast get outside its temp range really makes the peppery, earthy character come through, as well as help with the attenuation that saisons are known for. If you do this, do not add pepper in the spices.

Adding spices will add to mass appeal in my opinion. I have made saisons that everyone loved and had the above spices mentioned.

Add the spices after fermentation, make a tea and add at kegging or bottling.

Hope this helps. Cheers!

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