Have you heard of the White Labs Vault? It’s a cool little thing worth checking out. Think of it as a kickstarter for yeast. WLP puts up some of their one off, unique stuff that’s normally not in production and when enough pre-orders are accepted, they ship! My first trip into the White Labs Vault was fun. They’re loaded with fresh and unique things. Maybe I’d find something rad?
WLP 564 Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend caught my eye. The yeast was described as such.
A blend developed for our in-house saisons. It was so popular; we decided to make it available to you. Slightly tart. Blend of two of our saison strains and a low phenolic Belgian strain. Approximately 85% attenuation which makes for a dryer saison. Used in the White Labs Tasting Room! (For various Saisons, Dubbels, and Roggenbiers). In beers made in the Tasting Room, the strain proved very versatile, creating spicy, dry and clean beers.
With only 4 more orders needed to release the blend, I decided to pull the trigger. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice saison in the dog days of summer? I’ve been looking for an excuse to brew one and try some new hops.
A few days later, I received an email stating that the yeast has gone into production. A week or so later, I got an email saying the yeast had shipped. The package arrived on the hottest to date day of the year with the ice pack melted into some sort of goo, in my mail box, in the direct sunlight. I thought for sure this yeast was TOAST. I cooled it off and then immediately into a low gravity starter, which was bumped up 4 days later.
WLP564 Leeuwenhoek Saison Blend
Brew day was uneventful. A nice, fruity hop aroma filled my home from the hops coming to temperature on the counter. Not too dank, though, the Warrior isn’t the freshest. I added hops at 60, 0, a 170F hopstand, and dual dry hopping. The wort was cooled to 85F or so, the first half of the dry hops were added, the wort was aerated for 2 minutes using the drill method, and the yeast was pitched.
The Saison sat for two weeks in primary and was then transferred to a keg that had previously been purged of oxygen. FG came in at 1.008 weighing this in at 6.5%abv with an apparent attenuation of 86%! Impressive for the first time using this yeast and considering it’s condition upon arrival. The beer had a smell of cider, which worried me. Keg hops consisting of 2:1 ratio of Motueka:El Dorado were added in a sanitized muslin sack. The keg was hooked up to 20psi, purged headspace several times, and rocked for about 3 minutes. 48 hours later, we’re almost fully carbonated and ready to pour a sample.
The Saison pours a glowing orange with a stark white head. Not too much, but with a few more days under pressure will carbonate more appropriately for a Saison. There is no cider on the nose anymore. That has been replaced with a very light fruit, flower, candy nose with notes of cool berry, under ripe fruit, and a zip of lime. Not too overpowering, but right what I deem desirable for this style.
Given it’s an early pour, I’ll visit it again in a few days to see how this pulls together. The initial taste reminds me of a big glass of dry orange rind. Dry Carbonated orange juice. No sign of booze here. Excuse me while I go find a Tropicana carton and have a wild day at the office. Not literally, but this could get the job done if you woke up in that mood. After a few more I may actually figure out how to properly say the name of this yeast strain.
Going forward, I’d like to work the recipe to work on the orange juice thing that it already has going. What suggestions do you have for making an exceptional Saison? Do you have any ideas how to bring out the orange juice thing? If so, drop me a line. I’d love to hear back.