Carb volumes for my Saison

Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:55 am

It's bottling day, and my FG ended up just a bit lower than anticipated. 1.062 down to 1.009. Expected was 1.011, so not that far off. That was with two vials of WLP 566, no starter.

Anyway, it tastes great...in fact, it tastes a little too clean somehow for a saison. I did dry hop 2 oz of willamette, so maybe that has somethig to do with it? It does not have the usual funkiness of a saison, just some of the spiciness.
I'm not entering in competitions or anything, but I think this has the best bottling day flavor of anything I'v brewed so far.
BJCP says 1.9-2.4 volumes for this style. What I'm curious about, is when is it appropriate to carb to the low side vs. the high side? Would that be driven by residual sugars/dryness, ABV level, maltiness, bitterness, etc...?
At this point, I would say the taste is dry, and on the thin side. I'm thinking a higher level of carb would compliment this one better than lower, but that's just a gut feeling. I bottle in 12 oz's so I wouldn't want to press my luck with anything higher than 3 volumes. I was thinking 2.7 might do the trick.

What do yall think?
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Duzdisluk Infektid
 
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Re: Carb volumes for my Saison

Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:13 pm

Lower carbonation emphasizes the malt flavor and tends to make a beer seem heavier. For example when you get Guinness the nitrogen gets out of solution pretty quick and you are left with a beer carbonated to about 1.3 volumes. High carbonation can give a beer kind of a bite from the carbonic acid that is formed when you dissolve co2 in a liquid.

My personal preference is a higher carbonation on most Belgian styles, especially saison. I bet it will come alive with flavor once it is properly carbonated. I made a peach saison one time and went up to 4 volumes and it wasn't a problem. I think you could definitely get away with 3 and it would be excellent. If it ends up too high you can always give it a stir after you pour it in your glass to get some of the carbonation out.
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Re: Carb volumes for my Saison

Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:26 am

Thanks for the input Zig. I went for 2.7 volumes. I'll update the thread when it's ready and let you all know what I think.

On a side note, never again will I dry hop in a bag in a glass carboy. What a PITA getting that back out of there, and not much hop aroma came through with 2 oz of whole leaf. It's not that it's hard to do, but it does require some awkward cradling of the carboy. Too much risk of slipping/breaking IMO. Next time I'll rack to a secondary on a bed of hops and siphon out with a filtered racking cane. I may just try a better bottle for that.
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Re: Carb volumes for my Saison

Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:28 am

Also, give it time. All young beer is going to be rather 'simple' in taste. That could mean bland, neutral or even that you're tasting several flavors separately. With a bit of aging time those funky flavors will develop, the beer will start to become more complex and individual flavors will start to meld also gaining in complexity. Stick those bottles in a dark 68-ish corner and try to forget about them for the next 4-6 weeks. You may be pleasantly surprised. After that, just check out a bottle every month or so. Not only do you have the advantage of discovering when that beer's at it's peak to your palette, but also you may learn quite a bit on how it ages. If you do decide to brew for a special event such as a comp or a wedding, that sort of information is gold. Nothing quite like enjoying the look on people's faces while you're pouring your perfectly aged beer at a reception. I got my best compliment ever doing just that. The father of the bride (scotch drinker who doesn't drink beer "because it's boring") walked up to me, we discussed the different flavors going on and he just took a long pause, another sip, "You, sir, are truly a master of your craft." Little did he know that that beer was bland & boring just a couple weeks earlier.
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Re: Carb volumes for my Saison

Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:37 pm

The volume figures you cite are very low for the carbonation levels specified in the style guidelines. To go for "very high carbonation", I've found that 3 - 3.25 volumes is appropriate.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Alcohol level can be medium to medium-high, though the warming character is low to medium. No hot alcohol or solventy character. Very high carbonation with an effervescent quality. There is enough prickly acidity on the tongue to balance the very dry finish. A low to moderate tart character may be present but should be refreshing and not to the point of puckering.



HTH-
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Re: Carb volumes for my Saison

Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:09 pm

BDawg wrote:The volume figures you cite are very low for the carbonation levels specified in the style guidelines. To go for "very high carbonation", I've found that 3 - 3.25 volumes is appropriate.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Alcohol level can be medium to medium-high, though the warming character is low to medium. No hot alcohol or solventy character. Very high carbonation with an effervescent quality. There is enough prickly acidity on the tongue to balance the very dry finish. A low to moderate tart character may be present but should be refreshing and not to the point of puckering.



HTH-


Thanks bro. Best I could do with bottles though. Not kegging yet.
I actually cracked one open today (4 days post bottling) and its good. The first time I brewed this recipe it peaked at week three, so I'll let em rest a bit more.
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