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Arctic Vortex Winter Saison

Brewed: 01/14/2024   Kegged: 01/25/2024

forWebSite.jpgIn the winter (but almost Spring) of 2014, I had never brewed a Saison. I had been meaning to brew one for a long time. I did want to do something a little different for winter. I thought since the sun is not up as long in the winter, a winter Saison would be much darker than a regular one.

I also decided to stay away from any spices, letting the yeast and hop character carry the beer. It uses a fair amount of Saaz Hops. The flavor should come through in the First Wort as well as a flavor and aroma addition, but the beer is not very bitter at all, coming in less than .5 on the BU:GU scale. Hoping it will finish dry enough that the beer does not come across as overly sweet.

I am calling my new beer, "Arctic Vortex Winter Saison". I had never heard of the Arctic Vortex before the winter of 2013, and the name fascinated me enough that I decided to use it to name a beer. When I first thought of the name, I didn't see any other beers on untappd using "Arctic Vortex". By the time I brewed it, however, there are a couple. Hopefully no one comes after me in a trademark dispute. We'll see.

The beer turned out fantastic, and very unique. Its aroma is slightly lemony with the signature farm-house pepper and funk of a saison. There is a noticeable saaz hop aroma.

Its flavor is complex. A bit of chocolate subdues the saison farm-house flavor pushing it into the blackground. A bit of pepper tries to come out in the beginning, but quickly comes across as more tart lemony flavor. Then a deep berry flavor replaces that ... sort of reminds me of maybe a combination of blackberry and blueberry. The balance starts off tart, goes a little sweet, and finishes off dry with some significant hop spiciness.


I honestly love this beer.

Batch 2 was brewed in the winter of 2014 with no changes to the recipe. It was brewed much earlier in the winter so that it might possibly be consumed before Spring.

Batch 3 was going to be the same recipe except the water salts were modified slightly to add more calcium and maybe accentuate hops more. However, the LHBS was out of 3711 and the manager suggested I try INIS-291 Saison : Farmhouse. Then, I noticed that I had gotten Spalt hops instead of Saaz. I had some Goldings to use up, so I decided to throw those in.

In Batch 4, I went back to WY3711, and this year I added about half a pound of table sugar in hopes that the beer would dry out just a bit. 

Batch 5, I added in just a touch more of the mid-night wheat to make it a little darker in color.

For batch 6, I increased the batch size just a touch to 6.25 gallons.

Batch 8 was tweaked to be brewed on the Anvil Foundry.

On untappd: Arctic Vortex Winter Saison

For more about SheppyBrew's Seasonal Saisons on my blog see Sheppy's Blog: Seasonal Saisons.

If you would like to read more about this beer, check out Sheppy's Blog: Arctic Vortex.


Arctic Vortex Winter Saison --- Batch 11 (349)

Style Saison Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   6.60 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   68.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.058 SG Estimated FG 1.009 SG
Recipe Bitterness 27.6 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 6.4 %
BU : GU   0.478        
Recipe Color 31.3 SRM
Measured OG:   1.057    Measured FG:   1.004 
ADF:   92.7    Measured ABV:   7.0% 


Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
7.97 gal Denver, Colorado Water 1 - -
8.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash) Water Agent 2 - -
3.00 g Calcium Chloride (Mash) Water Agent 3 - -
7 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 4 56.6 % 0.55 gal
2 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 5 16.2 % 0.16 gal
2 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 6 16.1 % 0.16 gal
14.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 7 7.1 % 0.07 gal
8.0 oz Cane (Beet) Sugar [Boil] (0.0 SRM) Sugar 8 4.0 % 0.04 gal
2.250 oz Spent Hops [7.20 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 9 22.1 IBUs -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 10 - -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 11 - -
2.000 oz Saaz [2.40 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 12 3.9 IBUs -
1.000 oz Saaz [2.40 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 13 1.6 IBUs -
1.0 pkg French Saison Ale (White Labs #WLP590) Yeast 14 - -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification Add 31.88 qt of water at 156.6 F 150.0 F 240 min

If steeping, remove grains, and prepare to boil wort

Recipe Notes
Make a small starter of the yeast the day before brew day to make sure it is active going into fermentation.
Water salts to get the water Calcium up above 100 ppm.
From Denver water, this puts my water at:
Keep the mash on the low side. Err on the side of lower temp. Let the mash go at least 1.5 hours. Ok longer.
For 3711:
Yeast url:
Optimum Temp range for yeast: 65 - 77
For INIS-291:
Optimum Temp range for yeast: 70 - 95
Pitch a little below 65 degrees. Let rise as it wants after that.
Carbonate high.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:   Strike Temp:  
Mash Temps:  
Pre-boil OG   (1.053 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (6.60 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
12/31/2023 esheppy
Time to get this brewed. I collected spent hops from the dry hop when I made Shoddy IPA, and am going to use them in this beer. I averaged the AA's on the hops, then multiplied by 60%. Not sure how accurate that will be. I guess we'll see.
01/11/2024 esheppy
Bought ingredients at Tom's Brew Shop.
01/13/2024 esheppy
Made starter. Hope to get this brewed tomorrow.
01/14/2024 esheppy
Brew day today. Note to self, 0 degrees F is really too cold to expect to get any cooling water out of the outdoor faucet. Other than cooling, everything went well. Right now, the hot wort is sitting in the stainless fermenter outside waiting to cool down to pitching temp.
01/14/2024 esheppy
2:45 before I felt the temperature was low enough to pitch. Tilt said 76 at that point.
01/15/2024 esheppy
Fermentation took off strong overnight. Put in a blow-off tube. Tilt says 1.045 at 71 degrees. Nice to see the starter worked.
01/15/2024 esheppy
In the brewery's secret liaison, A black Saison, a unique creation. Dark as the night, With flavors just right, A brewing masterpiece, a toast's proclamation!
01/16/2024 esheppy
Tilt says 1.025 at 68 degrees. Not nearly as vigorous as it was yesterday morning, but still going strong. Ended up not needing blow-off tube. We are back to the airlock.
01/17/2024 esheppy
Tilt is down to 1.011 at 68 degrees. Still a very thick krausen and some movement, but certainly slowing down.
01/19/2024 esheppy
Still a fair amount of krausen, but the movement of the yeast seems to have stopped and the clarity is pretty high. Tilt still says 1.011. 67 degrees. Not kegging for another week, so we'll see how much attenuation I get in the next few days. Generally, this yeast does tend to get 5 or 6 points even when it seems to be done.
01/22/2024 esheppy
seems to done. Tilt says 1.009 at 64 degrees.
01/25/2024 esheppy
Decided to keg today. The tilt said 1.008. Hydrometer 1.004. Seems like more hoppy than I remember previous batches. OMG the sample was sooooooooo guuud. I am not harvesting this yeast, so the Spring Saison will be a fresh pitch. Can't wait to drink this "for real".
01/29/2024 esheppy
Was away for a few days, so this got to chill. It's not very carbonated, but man this tastes fantastic!
02/01/2024 esheppy
Wow! I love this. I think the spent hops give it a really hoppy flavor that really works well in this beer. Carbonation probably not quite right yet, but omg this is delicious. 😋
02/03/2024 esheppy
Carbonation perfect now. Perfect beer.
02/09/2024 esheppy
Yes, I really love this beer. The spent hops gave it a really unique extra layer of flavor. Combined with the wonderful beer it has always been ... man this is great.
02/22/2024 esheppy
My son stopped by last night with a few friends. His friends sampled the beers I have on tap, and said they liked them. This was one of those beers.
02/29/2024 esheppy
Checked into untappd today. Great French Saison flavor made unique by the black malt base and the fruity hop flavor. Wonderful beer. Think the keg is about half empty.
03/15/2024 esheppy
Nice clarity, although it is too black to actually see through. Nice ruby highlights when held up to the light. Wonderful French saison flavor blended with the black malt and fruity hops. Such a wonderful beer.
03/21/2024 esheppy
Such a uniquely delicious beer. Won't last much longer, but I'll enjoy it while I can.
03/30/2024 esheppy
Killed the keg. Wonderful beer while it lasted. Makes room for GPT Wheat.
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