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Arctic Vortex Winter Saison

Brewed: 01/09/2022   Kegged: 01/28/2022

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 9 (304)

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 26.4 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 5.9 %
BU : GU   0.498        
Recipe Color 30.2 SRM
Measured OG:   1.053    Measured FG:   1.003 
ADF:   94    Measured ABV:   6.6 


Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
8.49 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
0.500 oz Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ) [15.60 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 9 15.5 IBUs -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 10 - -
1.000 oz Saaz [3.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 11 3.6 IBUs -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 12 - -
1.000 oz Saaz [3.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 13 2.7 IBUs -
2.000 oz Saaz [3.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 14 4.5 IBUs -
1.0 pkg French Saison Ale (White Labs #WLP590) Yeast 15 - -

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.
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   (1.047 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (7.09 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
01/07/2022 esheppy
Got grains earlier in the week. Should be making a starter of harvested yeast tomorrow and brewing Sunday.
01/09/2022 esheppy
Brew day went well. Started at 5:30 and had yeast pitched by 8:15. Clean up pretty much done by 9. 1.053 OG... without the sugar. Decided to just leave it out.
01/10/2022 esheppy
Fermentation took off early afternoon. Very active this morning with a thick krausen. Temp strip says 72 degrees.
01/13/2022 esheppy
Fermentation is really slowing down. Krausen is almost gone and the beer is getting more clear. Not a bunch of movement. The temp strip right at 69. Will allow cleanup for at least another week.
01/21/2022 esheppy
Killed X-Mas last night. Can keg this over the weekend.
01/28/2022 esheppy
Kegged. 1.003 FG puts this at 6.6% ABV. To be honest, the flavor tastes a bit oxidized. We'll see how it tastes carbonated. Chilling in the beer fridge.
02/06/2022 esheppy
Beer drinking. I decided that the "oxidized" flavor I detected is actually more likely an infection. The beer is still drinkable, but is certainly the worst of the Seasonal Saisons I've made.
02/15/2022 esheppy
Flavor pretty good now. Really over-carbed. I've been having to pour mostly foam into a bigger glass to pour in the glass I drink from. Now ideal, but working ok. Not sure if I did something to over-carb or if this is just a result of the infection.
02/26/2022 esheppy
Killed the keg. Didn't really last long, especially considering it was my worst saison ever. Ended up ok at the end. Still not great.
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