As a disclaimer from the start, I want to categorically state that I did not use this yeast for fermentation. This yeast was used at bottling and for the conditioning of my Saison. So, if you are looking for performance of this yeast strain of normal fermentation cycles, then perhaps this will not be that useful to you. If you want a review of a Saison yeast strain refer to my review of White Labs 568. However, bottle conditioning is an important part of the process for a Saison, so I thought I would spell out the end result of the this particular yeast’s performance in the bottle.
As stated in my review of 568, the final attenuation of the strain went to the 1.018-1.020 mark. Perhaps this isn’t quite as dry as a typical Saison, but I also had 10% ABV, which certainly isn’t typical. That being said, some residual sweetness was desirable for two reasons. One, balancing out the ABV is necessary in a 10%ABV Saison, so a touch of sweetness accomplishes that goal. Second, a touch of sugar with a fresh yeast addition creates the bright carbonation necessary for authenticity in the style. The carbonation also aids in the perceived mouth-feel and is an additional boost to, perceptively speaking, keeping the ABV in check. I’m happy to say that it worked brilliantly.
I primed to the tune of a 5/8 cup dextrose for 5 gallons. Many of you will spot that this is between 1/2 and 3/4 a cup. Normally, priming at 3/4 a cup for a brighter beer would make sense, but I did have some sugar left, and I didn’t want to make this beer a gushing monster. At any rate, it seems to have worked out very well. I’m happy to report that the beer is bright, has a nicely retained head, and tastes great.
But here is what most of us would come here looking for: what flavor impact did the yeast have? I put my Saison into the bottle with a fairly clovey, lesser banana, and semi-prominent bubble gummy quality. I expected the French Saison yeast to finish the beer to be a bit drier, which it did, and to create some more citrus, peppery, and overall spicy elements.
When I tasted the first bottle of the conditioned beer, it was still somewhat hefe in it qualities. After about 4 weeks, the qualities of the French Saison started to shine through. The bubble-gum and clove elements were retained but to a much lesser extent. The spicy tones began to have an impact. The hops aromas began to come into play (I used a very small amount in the last few minutes of the boil). Overall, the beer began to have a richer spiciness. I would expect this strain to behave that way if used in primary fermentation as well.
I have to say that I plan on using this strain for primary next time and will report back. However, if you want a good strain for a spicy and less estery finish on your Saison, perhaps this is a good choice.
As always, I hope this was helpful, and I’d love some feedback.
Mike, at what point did you add the yeast? Did you add into fermenter a couple days before bottling or right before when you added the dextrose? Side comment on the Siason yeast you used for primary (least I think you used i I read the intro right) it does tend to stall out. I’ve always had to finish my saisons with 05 safe yeast to dry them out.
I added at bottling. I knew the yeast would stall out. I’ve read that if you give it long enough at warm enough temps that it would finish out. However, I was totally content with the residual sweetness due to the higher ABV. Of course, you know that 10% ABV is big for a Saison, so it was a pretty good thing this yeast stalls out. Plus, 10% is the upper limit of the yeast anyway…I did hit the right attenuation rate.