Brew Days

Brewing an all grain cottage house saison

Belgian Saison
Saison is an interesting beer to brew and to drink. In an article from Esquire back in 2014, the author suggests that saisons are meant to be 'Challenging' to drink. They certainly do require an acquired taste. But this funky farmhouse ale has plenty to love.
Born in the Wallonia region of Belgium, saison was brewed in the winter months and kept until summer. It was a thirst quencher that let farm hands refresh themselves after a day out in the fields. It was low in alcohol, around 3 to 3.5% ABV, making it easy, but most importantly, safe to drink. The seasonal workers were called 'saisonniers' in French, where the beer takes it's name. Saison falls into a category known as 'Farmhouse Ales' due to this history.

As with most ales at the time, it fermented open, relying on the natural bacteria in the air. This lead to an ale that had notes often described as 'funky'. These can be spicy notes of pepper and coriander, as well as hay and orange zest. The hops are present, but the yeast drives the flavour here.

The modern version of saison packs a bit more of a punch with an average ABV of 5 to 8%. Even though traditional saison was made in the winder, modern yeasts like to ferment warm. The yeast I'm using for this, Mangrove Jacks Saison, suggests fermentation temperatures of 26c to 32c.


I thought, given the time time of year, it would be nice to have this brewed and bottled and ready for summer. This will also be the first beer I've brewed in over 5 years, so brewing a style I love is perfect.

The recipe I'm using comes from Homebrew Talk

Cottage House Saison

Full credit goes to the athour Azscoob who created this.

I've made some small modifications based on what was available at my home brew shop and my house.


3.85 Kg. Weyerman Pilsner
0.68 Kg. White Wheat
225 g. CaraMunich Malt
225 g. Flaked Oats
225 g. White sugar


15 g. Sorachi Ace, 10.50%aa @FWH.
15 g. Fuggle, 4.75%aa @FWH.
15 g. Fuggle, 4.75%aa @30 min.
15 g. Fuggle, 4.75%aa @15 min.

1.5 tsp Black pepper, Fresh ground @5 min.

I ended up with an OG of 1.055, which is lower than the recepie origionaly suggested. But, it makes sense given the original recepie called for a greater volume of sugar (honey).

The mash is a straight-forward one step mash with a saccharification rest at 65c for 60 minutes. 

Once the boil was completed, and I chilled down to 20c I pitched the yeast. This is my first time using a Mangrove Jack dry yeast. The recommended temperature is 26c to 32c. 

It made me a bit nervous to ferment that high, but I tried to keep it around 28c for the main part of Fermentation. Unfortunately I managed to switch off the brew belt for a night and the temperature dropped down to 20 for about a day.

Saison Fermentation

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