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Swap Belgian pilsner with maris otter as base malt?

Thinking about making a saison. What happens if I swap 6 lb. of belgian pilsner for 6 lb. of maris otter and hit it with some wyeast 3711? There are other ingredients, but I’m primarily concerned with this swap.

Probably more appropriate to use pilsner than MO. Should have a less biscuity flavor and crisper/lighter flavor, much better for a saison IME.

Yeah, if you do that it’s going to come out REALLY malty. Which, mind you, doesn’t mean it will be BAD, just quite different. I wouldn’t use more than 1-2lbs of MO, if that much.

My saisons are 50% continental pils malt, and 50% Maris Otter. I used to use 100% pils malt, but a judge at a BJCP comp said it was too pale. The guidelines say it can have a slightly orange hue, and several commercial examples do. The MO gives my saison a bit of color and I like the flavor a lot better than the Munich and Aromatic malts I also experimented with. The toastiness of those malts does not seem to work with the citrus character of the yeast and hops. I have won lots of awards with my saisons so this is a proven winner when it comes to the malt bill. I did make a strong saison with 100% MO as a Christmas beer one year. It was 1.070 and it still finished out at 1.006 with WL 565 yeast. It was tasty, but I don’t think I entered it in any competitions.

I do brew my saison for myself, it is just that it also fits nicely into the BJCP style guidelines as well. The style I brew is definitely more Dupont than Pipaix.

[quote=“SA Brew”]My saisons are 50% continental pils malt, and 50% Maris Otter. I used to use 100% pils malt, but a judge at a BJCP comp said it was too pale. The guidelines say it can have a slightly orange hue, and several commercial examples do. The MO gives my saison a bit of color and I like the flavor a lot better than the Munich and Aromatic malts I also experimented with. The toastiness of those malts does not seem to work with the citrus character of the yeast and hops. I have won lots of awards with my saisons so this is a proven winner when it comes to the malt bill. I did make a strong saison with 100% MO as a Christmas beer one year. It was 1.070 and it still finished out at 1.006 with WL 565 yeast. It was tasty, but I don’t think I entered it in any competitions.

I do brew my saison for myself, it is just that it also fits nicely into the BJCP style guidelines as well. The style I brew is definitely more Dupont than Pipaix.[/quote]

Wow, that’s good information… Have a recipe (ie hops)?

Was thinking of doing an all-brett saison soon.

Mad Fermentationist is really a proponent of moving beyond noble and grassy hops. I did a great saison with a good bit of galaxy hops last summer.

[quote=“SA Brew”]My saisons are 50% continental pils malt, and 50% Maris Otter. I used to use 100% pils malt, but a judge at a BJCP comp said it was too pale. The guidelines say it can have a slightly orange hue, and several commercial examples do. The MO gives my saison a bit of color and I like the flavor a lot better than the Munich and Aromatic malts I also experimented with. The toastiness of those malts does not seem to work with the citrus character of the yeast and hops. I have won lots of awards with my saisons so this is a proven winner when it comes to the malt bill. I did make a strong saison with 100% MO as a Christmas beer one year. It was 1.070 and it still finished out at 1.006 with WL 565 yeast. It was tasty, but I don’t think I entered it in any competitions.

I do brew my saison for myself, it is just that it also fits nicely into the BJCP style guidelines as well. The style I brew is definitely more Dupont than Pipaix.[/quote]

A little maris otter won’t hurt, not my thing in a saison but it is such a wide category go for it.

Touting lots of award doesn’t mean much unless you can show where it is from, I just recently had a few people bring me beers of their “award winning beer”, it was ok nothing great, and gave my feedback. I asked about the comps and looked at the results and yeah they won awards but they won awards in a few categories with maybe 5 entries, not tough to do at all. There are tons of small homebrew comps that it is not tough to win at just by sheer enteries

The rest of the recipe is about 30 IBU of East Kent Goldings and Styrian Goldings for flavor and aroma. O.G. is 1.052-54. Ferment cool (65-68) for a couple of days and then let the temp rise. I usually split my batch between two yeasts. I let the WL 565 rise to 90 in the garage. I let the 530 rise to 78 in the house. Both make great beers that are slightly different. The 530 usually finishes within 10 days and drops to 1.004-1.006. I use two carboys for this yeast because it has a very high krausen. The 565 can be a slow fermenter so I usually just let it sit for a few weeks. It usually finishes from 1.001-1.006. I used the WY 3711 French Saison yeast for the first time last summer, and it came out nice as well. I may have to make a few extra gallons to pitch this yeast too. These 3 yeasts come out with a nice balance of hops, malt, and yeast character/spiciness. I also tried the Biere de Garde yeast that is supposedly from Fantome. It made a nice beer, but it was not as spicy or complex as the others.

I agree. All contests are crap shoots, but they are fun when you win. I do think you have to have a high quality product in order to compete, but I have had excellent scores many times and my beer has not placed. This recipe took a first place in the Bluebonnet Brew Off in Dallas a few years ago and there were probably 35-45 category 16 entries and that contest has 1500 total entries. I boosted the gravity of that one to 1.060 and entered the 565 version. This year I got second place with the 530 version at a gravity of 1.052. This recipe has also placed at our local comp with 20 or so entries in cat. 16 and at Dixie Cup in Houston where they have so many entries they often split the category even farther. You are still usually competing against 15-20 Saisons. The biggest compliment comes when I bring it to our various, local home brew club meetings. I get many compliments and folks asking advice on how I brewed it.

I have not experimented with using American hops. Most of my recipe ideas come from reading Michael Jackson’s many books so I try to do what works. I also have not tried brewing saisons like Pipaix with brett or 1900 which has a sweet start and a dry finish. Those are nice beers, but the Dupont line is my favorite so i stick with trying to brew something in that style. I was lucky enough to have a taste of 10 year old Saison Pipaix, and it was amazing but I don’t think I could brew anything like that successfully.

I think when most people hear the word “saison” they mentally default to Saison Dupont but there are a lot of saisons from Hainault which are amber to light orange in color and could conceivably benefit from something less pale than pilsner malt.

I could see MO in something like Saison d’Epeautre or La Moneuse,from Brasserie de Blaugies, for just two examples. Not saying Blaugies uses it, just that you could create the same sort of “feel” with it.

(I think Brasserie de Blaugies actually uses spelt and buckwheat to achieve that sort of flavor profile, but I’m just sayin’)

Great conversation. Thanks for the replies. My initial query came from a lazy/cheap motive. I have the big bag of MO and didn’t want to bother buying the belgian pilsner the recipe calls for. I love NB’s saison d’ete and would be bummed if it didn’t turn out close to that. I guess I needed to weigh my tastes/values. Perhaps I’ll toss in a pound of MO and pull a pound of belgian pils out. I love what MO brings to beers I make with it.

Saison is an interesting style. I love to hear/read whatever people have to say about it so thanks again for your thoughts.

I often throw 1 to 1.5 lbs of MO into my belgian pils-based beers, it does add a nice little bit of maltiness to it, similar, but more mild than, if you did the same thing with Light Munich.

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