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Tell me I'm crazy

…but would a Saison be a good base for a blueberry beer? I realize most recipes call for either a wheat or a cream ale, but it seems to me the tanginess of a Saison would compliment the fruitiness/sweetness of the blueberry flavor. Thoughts?

I don’t think you’re crazy. I do think that a cleaner beer is suggested so that you create a blank page for whatever you’re planning to add to the beer whether it be fruit, spice or other flavoring. If you have too many flavors in the beer, it gets tough for your tastebuds to distinguish those individual flavors. But in this case, it’s possible that everyone could play nicely. The complex flavors that you get from the Saison yeast (… and btw, I’m not into Belgian beers so take it for what it’s worth) could work well with blueberries. Maybe ferment the beer a little cooler to hold back some of the complexity of the yeast, give the fruit a chance to stand out. Good beers would never be discovered if it weren’t for people experimenting. Good luck.

you’re breaking my heart, Ken.

you’re breaking my heart, Ken.[/quote]
Why am I breaking your heart? They’re just not my thing. I have had some that I thought were pretty nice but I wouldn’t want to have 5 gallons of them around because I think it would take a long time to get rid of it. I have looked into making a Saison of some sort and I have asked people about various strains of yeast that are a little more subdued. But I usually get a response like, “If you don’t like complex flavor in your beer, this yeast is not for you…”. If there was a more restrained Belgian yeast meant for Saison production, this blueberry experiment would be the place to use it, IMO. Cheers!

I say go for it. I personally like to experiment and I think it would be worth a try. I know they usually say to use a light beer for fruit beers but I think if it’s done well you can use a more complex or darker beer. I made a pomegranate brown ale that came out great. The malty flavor of the brown ale complemented the tart flavor of the fermented pomegranates well. I like to use fresh fruit juice for priming with a beer like this because it helps bring that flavor and aroma back. Just be careful how much you add if you use that.

I don’t think I would go for a saison, unless it was a really sweet saison (which, then, would not really be a saison anymore!). Any kind of fruit, including blueberries, is going to tend to dry out your beer considerably, and along with the dryness comes a lot of tartness. When fruit is fermented, it doesn’t taste sweet anymore! With any fruit beer, you actually want to shoot for a higher final gravity to balance the dryness and tartness. For example: As a general rule, I hate Carapils and think it doesn’t have much use in any beer recipe. HOWEVER, when I make my apple ale, I actually use some to bring up the sweetness and body without adding a lot of caramel flavor (although a caramel apple ale doesn’t sound like such a bad thing either!). I also usually add lactose to my apple ale, based on how tart it is at the end. I could also play around with mash temperatures, purposely mashing at 155 F or higher, etc. And it’s a similar story with my hard apple ciders (not beer, but just cider). They usually finish so effing dry and tart that I have to add lactose or something to bring the sweetness and body back up to where you’ll actually want to drink it and enjoy it, without it being so puckering to where it sucks all the moisture out of your mouth with every sip.

Mark my words. You want to aim HIGH on final gravity, not low, to balance the tartness especially. So… you can use a saison yeast, and it might taste great, but… I think it will be better if you sweeten it up somehow and don’t call it a saison unless you really like both dryness and tartness.

If you’re still not sure, just ferment it out as planned without any fancy maneuvers and see how it tastes. If it’s too puckering at the end, you can always add lactose, or maltodextrin, which I’ve never used but should work the same as lactose. Those sugars won’t ferment but will help considerably in taking the edge off if it doesn’t turn out to your liking.

Thank you Ken, Quincy and Friar Tuck. I appreciate the advice and the encouragement. Normally, I would use fresh fruit as I prefer to be as authentic in my recipes as possible, but for this one I think I’d use the flavored extract… Especially given Friar Tuck’s comments re dryness. Also, I can brew a straight Saison and titrate the flavoring to taste. And I don’t want the beer to come out blue! …or do I? :slight_smile:

Gosh… the thought didn’t even occur to me to use blueberry extract. I don’t use extracts anymore because to me they taste a little too artificial. However, I think if done right they can taste pretty good. And in that case, you can go ahead and use the extract in a regular saison and it will probably taste pretty good.

As for blue color… I could be wrong, but I think it might turn out green! Might be nice for St. Patty’s Day, but otherwise it might look odd, since yellow beer plus blue coloring might give it more of a green tint.

[quote=“Ken Lenard”]
Why am I breaking your heart? They’re just not my thing. I have had some that I thought were pretty nice but I wouldn’t want to have 5 gallons of them around because I think it would take a long time to get rid of it. I have looked into making a Saison of some sort and I have asked people about various strains of yeast that are a little more subdued. But I usually get a response like, “If you don’t like complex flavor in your beer, this yeast is not for you…”. If there was a more restrained Belgian yeast meant for Saison production, this blueberry experiment would be the place to use it, IMO. Cheers![/quote]
personal taste is one of the greatest things about homebrewing. I should have added this guy " :idea:

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