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Arctic Vortex Winter Saison

Brewed: 01/01/2021   Kegged: 01/09/2021

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.

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 8 (277)

Style Saison Batch Size 6.00 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   7.09 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   68.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.053 SG Estimated FG 1.009 SG
Recipe Bitterness 27.4 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 5.9 %
BU : GU   0.518        
Recipe Color 30.2 SRM
Measured OG:   1.055    Measured FG:   1.002 
ADF:   96    Measured ABV:  


Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
8.49 gal Denver, Colorado Water 1 - -
7.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash) Water Agent 2 - -
3.00 g Chalk (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
0.250 oz Magnum [12.80 %] - First Wort 60.0 min Hop 8 13.7 IBUs -
8.0 oz Cane (Beet) Sugar [Boil] (0.0 SRM) Sugar 9 4.0 % 0.04 gal
0.250 oz Magnum [12.80 %] - Boil 25.0 min Hop 10 5.0 IBUs -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 11 - -
1.000 oz Saaz [2.80 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 12 2.9 IBUs -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 13 - -
1.000 oz Saaz [2.80 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 14 2.2 IBUs -
2.000 oz Saaz [2.80 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 15 3.6 IBUs -
1.0 pkg French Saison Ale (White Labs #WLP590) Yeast 16 - -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification Add 31.85 qt of water at 156.6 F 150.0 F 45 min
Heat Heat to 156.0 F over 10 min 156.0 F 20 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.
Gypsum and chalk 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   (1.047 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (7.09 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
12/27/2020 esheppy
Getting this recipe ready for the Anvil Foundry.
12/31/2020 esheppy
Bought the ingredients today. The Brew Hut didn't have WY3741 and so we are substituting WLP590 this time.
01/01/2021 esheppy
Started mash a little before midnight. Going to bed now.
01/01/2021 esheppy
Up at 6:30 using pump to help bring up to mash out. Collected 2 cups for a vitality starter.
01/01/2021 esheppy
Brew day went well. Starting the mash last night didn't really buy me much time today. OG a bit high at 1.055. Got transferred to fermentor at about 80, then went for family hike. Got back and pitched.
01/02/2021 esheppy
Bubbling hard. Tilt says 1.049 at 71.
01/03/2021 esheppy
Tilt says 1.030 at 71. Still going strong.
01/04/2021 esheppy
Tilt says 1.011 at 70. Still bubbling away.
01/05/2021 esheppy
Tilt says 1.006 at 68 degrees. Still bubbling. I expect I'll get another 2 to 3 points of attenuation.
01/07/2021 esheppy
Tilts says 1.003 at 67 degrees. Not much bubbling. Ready to keg? Maybe. Don't have an empty one yet but maybe soon.
01/09/2021 esheppy
Kegged. Measured FG at 1.002, which is right at the tilt measurement. Flavor exactly what the black saison should be. Chilling on my back patio.
01/13/2021 esheppy
Delicious beer. Beautiful black color. Carbonation pretty good, but not perfect yet.
01/22/2021 esheppy
Carbonation is perfect now 😋 Such a delicious beer. I might have to think about reducing the abv next year to make it healthier to drink in quantity.
02/12/2021 esheppy
Keg blew. Now I can keg Boo Berry Wheat. It was a delicious beer.
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