I have heard very good things about White Labs Saison III offering; specifically, that it's pretty low on the spice profile while putting off quite a bit of fruit and just a bit of tartness. I finally grabbed two vials from Northern Brewer earlier this month. Unfortunately, since it's a summer platinum strain, the vials were a bit dated. I ended up doing a 2L starter for each vial, based on the output from MrMalty's pitching calculator.
The first time I brewed Namur, it was a test of a variety of saison strains, including some strains pulled from bottle dregs. Unfortunately, I forgot to adjust the mash pH during that brewday, and ended up pulling far too many tannins for the mash, making the beer unpleasant. I plan to retry the experiment sometime in the near future.
Batch Number: 72
Brew Date: November 9, 2013
Batch Size: 5 Gallon
Fermentation Temperature: 68 F
IBU: 29 (Tinseth)
ABV: 7.4% (est.)
Mash: Single infusion for 90 minutes at 151 F (targeted 150).
Boil: 90 minute
12.0 lb Dingeman's Belgian Pilsner
0.44 lb Acid Malt
Salts & Water
6.5g Calcium Chloride (all into the kettle)
3g Gypsum (all into the kettle)
5.5g Baking Soda (all into the kettle)
The acid malt was used to adjust the mash pH.
Resulting water profile is as follows:
Mash pH (est.): 5.47
Chloride / Sulfate Ratio: 1.37
3mL HopShot at 90 minutes
1.0 oz. Citra (12.9 AA) at flameout
1.0 tsp. Wyeast Yeast Nutrient at 10 minutes (double the normal amount to provide extra FAN, per the suggestion in Phil Markowski's Farmhouse Ales)
1.0 ea. Whirlfloc tablet at 10 minutes
WLP585 (2 older vials build up via 2L starters two days in advance)
11.09.2013: Gave 45 seconds of pure oxygen prior to pitching the yeast. Fermenting in a 6-gallon bucket in the main unfinished portion of the basement, closer to the boiler to provide a bit of extra heat.
11.14.2013: Beer has never developed a thick krausen, but is still going along. Measured fermentation temperature this morning is 72 F.
11.23.2013: Beer at 1.010. In general, the phenol to ester balance was a bit too high for me, so I decided to add Brett and white wine-soaked oak cubes to this portion of the batch, letting the Brett work with the phenols. I'll use this cake to make another batch, fermenting at a higher temperature, and also provide less oxygen and some simple sugars. According to White and Zainasheff's Yeast (pp. 12, 35), lower oxygen levels and increased simple sugars should provide more esters than I achieved this time around.
Given my plans, I racked to a purged keg that included 1 ounce of Verdejo-soaked Hungarian oak cubes, which were boiled prior to being soaked in the Verdejo. They had been soaking since March 2013. I also added a vial of White Labs Brett Brux Trois.