Now that summer is finally here it's the perfect time to brew up a Saison and to experiment around with some of the warmer temperature preferring yeast strains. One of my favorite summertime yeast strains is the French Saison Yeast strain. This is a very versatile yeast strain that can handle the summer heat. In fact it loves it!
The warmer the fermentation temperature, the more aromatic fruity and spicy esters are produced. Wyeast recommends a fermentation temperature range of 65- 77 Degrees, however I have fermented this strain at temps as high as 85 degrees and have had great success. One of the most important things when working with strains at higher temps is to check the specific gravity of the beer every day. At these temperatures things can change really quickly especially with this highly attenuative yeast strain. Once you have reached your desired level of attenuation it is important to immediately transfer the beer out of the primary fermenter and into a conditioning vessel. We recommend using our Uni Fermenters for fermentation and conditioning as you can transfer the beer under co2 pressure keeping it from contacting oxygen and other contaminants. If you decide to wait until it is convenient to transfer or just forget you may wind up with a beer that is way too tart, dry or funky for your liking. Once transferred it is a good idea to find a cooler place such as a temperature controlled fridge or cellar to encourage this low flocculating yeast to drop out of solution for kegging or bottling.
The French Saison Yeast strain has a high alcohol tolerance and can handle a ABV as high as 12% This makes it ideal for many styles of Belgian type ales including Saison's, Blond Ale, Belgian Strong, Golden, Bière de Garde and other specialty type ales. This yeast strain can also be used to help finish out stuck fermentations.
Always remember that even if you have (or want) one of our top of the line brewing systems, that the yeast is what makes the beer and that keeping your yeast happy and healthy by following procedure and maintaining correct temperatures should always be top priority. Proper yeast management is what separates your average or bad beers from the exceptional ones!
Cheers to the miracle of fermentation!