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Monday, August 5, 2013

Sour Citra Saison - Same Grain Same Style Different Brewers No.1

The OG beer signal 
A few months back Steve J and Daniel F came up with the idea for "a different kind of 'collaboration'". One that involved brewing the same style of beer and the same grist percentages.  After that, every other aspect (gravity, hops, yeast/bugs, spices etc) was up each brewer. The style for what I am assuming/hoping will be the first of many rounds was determined to saisons. The grist percentages were set at 86% Belgian Pilsner, 11% Spelt and 3% Rye As I've mentioned before saisons aren't my favorite style as they tend to have a wide range of flavor and aroma profiles considered to be "in style" however certain saisons, such as Fifth Element from Squatters, are among my favorite all time beers.

I knew right away that I wanted to team up with Shawn O on this one.  My idea for how I wanted to collaborate with Shawn was pretty simple, 1 mash and 2 kettles.  Basically do the mash for around 11 gallons of wort production and split it into two kettles.  This would allow each of us total control on hops, spices etc.   Initially I figured that he would brew a clean to version while I would sour it in some way.  It quickly became apparent that he also wanted to play around with some bugs, which I was in no way surprised by.  

After a couple of weeks of swapping ideas between each other over various conversations, calls, texts and emails we settled on plan of attack.  Each of us would do our own sour starter which we would combine and add to the mash when we got together.  I would take 6 gallons of wort and add 1.5 gallons of RO with a 60 minute boil targeting a 1.048 SG. Shawn would take the balance adding slightly more RO and do a 90 minute boil looking have 1.037/8 SG.

If you are going to brew a sour saison...
To prep for brewday I made a gallon starter with pilsner DME which I split between two vessels.  The first vessel was a quart mason jar with a half a cup of raw unmilled grain. This became my sour starter as lactobacillus is naturally present on the hulls of grain.  I tried my best to keep it at 120°F using an old Polystat Constant Temperature Circular I had rescued from the trash at work.  Unfortunately the reason it was tossed was that it couldn't cool, which at the time I wasn't concerned about, however as I learned this meant that it would continue to drift up over time.  I was able to remedy this by setting an upper limit which shut it off if it was above, this was accompanied however with a nice alarm. The remaining gallon became the start for an old pitch of ECY04 Brett Blend #1
ECY04 Brett Blend #1 - Three individual Brettanomyces isolates from lambic producers combined to give an aggressive brett presence in any beer. Vigorous, funky, and acid-tolerant, the blend can be added at any stage of fermentation and is excellent for priming or re-yeasting. Contains B. anomala, B. clausenii and B. anomulus
A new saison that I approve of
For the hops I decided I wanted a BIG Citra presence so I planned to hop burst with a good amount of at 20 and 0 while keeping the IBUs contrained (more pale ale level than IPA).  For the bittering hop I decided to go with some Cascade given it's dual use potential.

Brewday itself was a blast.  I headed over very early to find the mash water almost at temp and Shawn waiting for me to mill.  After getting everything set to go we tasted and tested our sour starters.  Both had a pleasant sour bite and combined for a 3.63 pH so we tossed the liquid into the mash.  My brother Ryan (who recently moved to Cali from MN) soon arrived to hangout and help me brew.

In the end we both beat our target gravity with me coming in at 1.051.  It was great to brew with Shawn again as every time I do I learn so much.  The beer is currently fermenting in a poor-man fridge and smells absolutely incredible, I can't wait!



Sour Citra Saison (SGSSDB)
Type: All Grain Date: 7/28/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.74 gal
Brewer: Scott Bennett
Asst Brewer: Ryan Bennett
Boil Size: 7.49 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
Equipment: SNB Keggle
End of Boil Volume 6.24 gal

Beer Profile
Measured Original Gravity: 1.051 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.4 %
Bitterness: 51.7 IBUs
Est Color: 3.1 SRM
Calories: 168.6 kcal/12oz


7.56 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) - 86.0%
1.06 lb Spelt, Flaked (1.7 SRM) - 11.0%
0.18 lb Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM) - 3.0%

0.74 oz Cascade [6.80 %] - First Wort 60.0 min
1.11 oz Citra [13.50 %] - Boil 20.0 min
2.00 oz Citra [13.50 %] - Boil 0.0 min

6.0 pt Starter Brett Blend #1 (East Coast Yeast #ECY04)

1.10 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
2.20 tbsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins)

Mash Profile
Mash In Add 3.00 gal of water at 163.8 F 153.0 F 60 min
Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 5.80 gal water at 168.0 F

Sour starter
In the end it worked
The Brett Blend #1
Shawn milling the grain
Our sour starters meeting for
the first time
pH meter... 
What an early morning brewday looks like
Do you even triple beam balance your hops?
Adjustments for AA% and oz to gr
Hop additions
Left - fill
Right - Vorlof
First wort hops
The setup
Measuring the sugar content pre-boil
Knockout hops
Shawn's cooling setup
Adding some O2
As seen on Brewnundrum
Positive pressure


  1. Great post. Looking forward to some great beer. You forgot to mention that the grain bill - type and percentage - was reviewed and approved by Dany Prignon of Brasserie Fantôme.

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