The saison style originated in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium. It was traditionally brewed for farm workers as a refreshing beverage to accompany the hard harvest labor in the fall. Typically it had to be strong enough to last throughout the summer, but still be easy to drink and keep the workers relatively sober. Often hops played a part in allowing the lower alcohol beer to last throughout the summer.
Due to the history of being brewed in farmhouses, there tends to be incredible variations in the saison style. With the amount of variability, the main defining characteristic is in the yeast and the spiciness it imparts on the end product. I have taken aspects of several saison recipes I have used in the past to created this saison mead recipe. As a nod to its farmhouse beginnings, I give you “Welcome This Is a Farmhouse” saison mead recipe (cluster flies not included):
Recipe makes 3 gallons
- 3 gal water
- 6 lbs Orange Blossom Honey
- 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- Wyeast 3711 French Saison Yeast
- 1 Lemon
- 2 oz Saaz Pellet Hops
- 3/4 cup Corn Sugar
- In a large brew pot, boil 3 gallons of water.
- With the pot removed from the burner, add 2 lbs honey. Make sure to stir the water so the honey dissolves completely and doesn’t burn on the botttom of the pot. When the honey fully dissolved, return the pot to the burner.
- As the liquid starts boiling again, add 1/2 0z Saaz pellet hops, boil for 15 minutes then add another ½ oz Saaz hops for another 15 min.
- At the end of the boil, remove the pot from the burner and let cool to about 90 degrees fahrenheit. Add and dissolve the remaining 4 lbs of honey along with the juice of one lemon.
- Add the must to a primary fermenter, aerate the heck out of it, and pitch the yeast.
- Seal fermentor with airlock and store in a dark place at a temperature of about 70 degrees.
- After 2 weeks, with a siphon, re-rack the mead into a sanitized 3 gallon carboy.
- Add the remaining 1 oz of hops in a muslin bag to the secondary.
- After 2 weeks, re-rack, then let age for 4 months (age through the summer).
- Dissolve the corn sugar in 1 cup warm water and add to carboy.
- Fill sanitized bottles and let age for another 2 weeks.
- Drink chilled in a mason at harvest time!
…For added interest:
I like to split my three gallon batches into individual 1 gal carboys for varied aging techniques. For this, I made one gallon as the recipe states above, the second with orange peel, and the third with orange peel and French Oak Cubes. All three came out great!
Just found this recipe. I use NZ Pacifica, Sorachi Ace in staggered timing in the boil, and tried hallertau in secondary. I didn’t use a saison yeast, but tried to make up for using D47 by adding coriander to boil and by hops selection. Maybe mine is more like a Wit. But I am glad to see that I am not the only one trying to make a farmhouse mead.
That sounds like a pretty solid recipe – I’d love to know how it comes out.
Thanks for sharing!
How low was your final gravity before bottling? I have this recipe going in the carboy and I am currently at .996 gravity. Did you need to add any yeast for the sugar at bottling? Thanks.
Unfortunately I did not get the FG before bottling.
I didn’t need to add anymore yeast before bottling. There is enough residual yeast to ferment the priming sugar.
How much of the wyeast 3711 French saison yeast do I put in during process? A fraction of it or the whole bag? And I’m assuming you put in this yeast as well as the nutritional yeast both at the same time?
How was the flavor profile in this? Anything you’d change if you did it again? Looking to try a Farmhouse Saison Cyser from this recipe.
The flavors were great and only got better with age. After trying another bottle a couple days ago – I would recommend adding more hops to the boil and potentially some peppercorns and orange peels to the secondary to add some more powerful spice and citrus… Really depends on what your looking to have shine in the beverage. With your cyser, i assume the apple flavors will start hiding some of the citrus flavor from the honey, so the orange peels would probably help bring that back up.
I finally got a chance to put this together tonight.
1 gallon water (boils down to around a half gallon during the half hour hop boil)
2lbs pure Manitoban white clover honey
1oz Centennial hops
1/2 gallon apple juice
1 tsp nutrient
Belle Saison yeast
Dry hopping 1oz cascade or saaz after ferment ends but haven’t decided yet.
Before you start, put apple juice in freezer. Bring 1 gallon water to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1st pound of honey. Return to boil, stirring to be sure honey is mixed thoroughly. Once boiling, add 1/2 oz Centennial hops and set timer to 30 minutes. Add second 1/2oz of hops at 15 minutes. Stir in remaining pound of honey. Be sure to dissolve all of it. Once thoroughly mixed, use half gallon of apple juice to bring temp down to 80.. Pitched Belle Saison
Didn’t end up dry hopping this as there was plenty of hop flavor. Ended up bottling after two weeks and a cold crash. primed this with honey and after 2 weeks of conditioning it is phenomenal. Ended up starting a three gallon batch when I bottled the first batch because I was so impressed. Definitely going to make a batch of this everytime I bottle a batch. Far from being a session brew although I may come up with a lower abv version.
Awesome – Thanks for sharing, glad you like how it came out!
Hey Paul- have you ever just used Wyeast 3711 in a traditional mead? If so, what did you think? I ask because I’m running a yeast experiment using 8 different ale yeasts and 3711 is really looking to be an early winner. It’s a much more clean flavor profile than I expected- not a lot of the spiciness you get when using it for beer, and just enough subtle fruity esters. I’m excited to see how it holds up with a bit more aging, but the early results are promising.
Btw love the site and thanks for the work you do to support mead,
I haven’t used Wyeast 3711 in a traditional mead – but it would be amazing if you could share your results with meadist readers.
let me know – paul(@)meadist.com
I recently made a one gallon test batch of mead using 1L of dark, raw, wild honey (probably similar to Acacia honey), water and Mangrove Jack’s M27 Belgian Ale Yeast. I have been using this dry yeast for all of my Saisons. OG 1.116/FG 1.008 (yeast fully attenuated). I originally got the idea from this thread http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=429241 but I can only get dry yeast where I live. It came out almost the color of sun tea and smells great. I have it sitting for clearing and will be bottling it this week. What is normal way to drink this? Room temp or chilled?
is this an intentional phish reference? if so, i liiiike it 😀
You know it!
(if it wasn’t, that would be an incredible coincident)
Hey nice job ! Do you think that I can swap the corn sugar for maple syrup ? And, if so, what is the equivalent quantity ?
Trying your mead recipe right now. Had to use a Wyeast 3724 due to unavailability 3711. 3724 is also a saison style yeast (Belgian). It is now one day in fermentation. I see no comment as to when the yeast nutrient is to be added. I did not add it when the yeast was pitched. Can I still do this? or will it be detrimental? gas release is about a bubble per 30 sec.
Any comments will be appreciated.
Ok so I am an AG brewer but have about 40kg of honey. I would like to have a go at brewing some mead. I have made a few saisons and Belg style ales. Has anyone tried adding home made Belgian candi or Lactose? I like the idea of a Farmhouse style and would love to have that Belgian/French influence. I was thinking that the lactose (being unfermentable) would give the mead a little bit of body. Cheers,
Nutrient is listed in your ingredients, but I don’t see where/how you added it in your process steps?
Hi. I think its not a good idea to boil hoey, this way you kill it. just warm it to dissolve in water
Thanks for the recipe. It looks like you backsweetened with corn sugar. Do you ever backsweeten with honey? Just curious. I have an apiary and have an abundance of honey.
The corn sugar is most likely to carbonate the mead through bottle conditioning and the residual yeast left that is left. But yes you can use honey for this as well.
Thanks for sharing!
I found this recipe in December and started in early January. I used fireweed honey and so far so good! I bottled it up a couple days ago so we’ll see how it improves after some carbonation and more impatient waiting.