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Arctic Vortex Winter Saison

Brewed: 01/12/2020   Bottled: 01/25/2020

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.

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 7

Style Saison Batch Size 6.25 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   8.49 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   70.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.052 SG Estimated FG 1.003 SG
Recipe Bitterness 26.2 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 6.3 %
BU : GU   0.509        
Recipe Color 28.0 SRM
Measured OG:   1.048    Measured FG:    1.003
ADF:   93.7    Measured ABV:    5.9


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
9.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 1 -
5.00 g Chalk (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 2 -
7 lbs 4.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 59.5 %
2 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 4 16.3 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 5 12.3 %
14.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 6 7.2 %
0.250 oz Magnum [12.70 %] - First Wort 60.0 min Hop 7 12.2 IBUs
9.1 oz Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 SRM) Sugar 8 4.7 %
0.250 oz Magnum [12.70 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 9 5.7 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 10 -
1.000 oz Saaz [2.20 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 11 2.0 IBUs
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 12 -
1.000 oz Saaz [3.40 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 13 2.4 IBUs
2.000 oz Saaz [3.40 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 14 4.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg French Saison (Wyeast Labs #3711) [50.28 ml] Yeast 15 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 14.52 qt of water at 155.6 F 145.0 F 90 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (2.01gal, 4.25gal) of 168.0 F water

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   (1.043 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (8.49 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
01/10/2020 esheppy
Bought ingredients.
01/12/2020 esheppy
Starter yesterday. Brew day today.
01/13/2020 esheppy
Brew day went well. Out of sugar. Added some brown sugar instead of cane. OG low at 1.048. Bubbling away today.
01/17/2020 esheppy
1.016 67 degrees. Still lots of kraussen.
01/21/2020 esheppy
Tilt is reading 1.000 65 degrees.
01/25/2020 esheppy
Kegged. Calling the FG 1.003. 5.9% abv. Wonderful flavor.
01/28/2020 esheppy
Been at 20psi for a couple of days. Carbonation is actually pretty good.
02/04/2020 esheppy
Great beer. Happy birthday to me.
03/07/2020 esheppy
Been blending this with peppermint porter. The blend is actually pretty good.
03/14/2020 esheppy
Such a nice beer. Today I realized that the first day of spring is next week. Going to drink more of this 😋
03/16/2020 esheppy
Keg blew over the weekend. I guess I'm not going to drink more of this one. About time to think about the Spring Saison.
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