Brew Day: Saison Été

Brew Day: Saison Été

After the prickly pear jelly-making experience, we came home with about a gallon of prickly pear juice. I thought a saison might be nice as a base beer. The prickly pear juice by itself is actually not that tasty—the addition of sugar and/or lemon helps a lot—so the citrus and spice elements of the saison seemed like they’d be a nice complement.

In researching a saison recipe, I found that many of my homebrewing reference books were lacking in information on this particular style. Finally, I read through the article A Saison for All Seasons. The description of the Saison Été seemed like a solid choice.

The classic Saison, the quaff of the farmhands, inspires this recipe…Brisk, but not overwhelming, bitterness sweeps the bone-dry beer from the palate. The bare additions of kettle spices round out the flavor without overriding the characteristic yeast bite.


  • 9 lb Belgian pilsner
  • 3 lb German wheat
  • .5 lb Vienna
  • .25 lb Acidulated
  • 1.75 oz Styrian Golding @60
  • 2 oz Saaz @5
  • Other 5 minute additions: .25 tsp coriander, .25 tsp black pepper, .5 oz sweet orange peel, 1 lb candi sugar
  • WLP 565

I followed the recipe calling for coriander, black pepper, and orange peel for the brew day, but I’m still contemplating different flavor additions for secondary. The prickly pear juice will need to be reduced down, and since it’s a little bland on its own, my thought is to add some lime leaves and ginger root to this “tea” also.

I understand the philosophy behind brewing simple, clean beers so you can fully experience the character of the grains and yeast. But homebrewing is a hobby and it’s supposed to be fun. So if I want to throw 18 ingredients in my beer, I feel okay about that. After all, I’m the one that has to drink 5 gallons of it (with Matty’s help, of course).

Brew Day Notes

Starter: The ingredients arrived on Saturday, so I made a simple starter and let it sit on the stir plate for a day. 150g wheat DME, 1.5L water, OG 1.048.


Mash: Using a ratio of 1.2qt/lb, added about 1.5 tsp gypsum to the filtered water. Came in a little low on both mash temp targets. 115ºF for 20 min then raised to 143ºF for 90 min.

Sparge: 5 gal at 170ºF, filtered water, no treatment.


Boil: 60 min with additions as listed above. Except I forgot about the candi sugar still sitting on the kitchen counter, so I had to add that in after the other 5 min additions and let it go a few minutes longer.


Cool to 68ºF and pitch starter. Kept at 68º for the first couple days, then started raising temperature 1-2 degrees each day.


A week later, it’s now inside with a ferm wrap and sitting at about 79ºF.

OG: 1.064