The story of this homebrewed hoppy rye saison started when I went to Brooklyn Homebrew with my older brother as his “guide” in purchasing his first batch of homebrewing equipment aka the store’s “Essentials Equipment Kit” with a few add-ons, including a 5 gallon brewing kettle (pot). In turn, we decided that the first two beers that we’d brew on the new equipment would be the test batch and “official batch” of a saison for my pre and post wedding celebrations with friends and family. The beer’s name comes from the 7 blessings recited during and after an orthodox Jewish wedding ceremony.
Once all the equipment was organized and set aside; we decided that the test batch would consist of a partial mash kit that Brooklyn Homebrew put together with Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. called Spring Turning Rye Saison . Then to make it “ours” we swapped out the US Goldings hops for Styrian Goldings and chose Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison instead of Wyeast 3711 French Saison, which the brewery recommends for this kit. Our first brew day together went pretty smooth all factors being considered and we let the wort ferment for 3.5 weeks.
Upon opening the first bottles some gushed and some didn’t. Thankfully, an infection wasn’t to blame for the gushing bottles. But before we asked some of our fellow homebrewers for advice we chalked the issue up to using too much priming sugar (used enough for 5 gallons with just over 4 gallons of beer). By the time we found out what the primary cause was we had already brewed the “official batch”, which was tweaked by adding another 1/2 lb of Rye Malt (click here for the recipe) and dry hopping with an ounce each of Cascade and Mt Hood hops. That primary cause which I will now keep in mind whenever I brew a Belgian beer style, was that both batches didn’t ferment long enough and at a high enough temperature to allow the beer to finish fermenting. This led to gushing bottles with more alcohol heft in the taste.
Overall, both batches tasted great and were enjoyed by friends and family during and after my wedding celebrations. The primary flavors that I picked up were tart lemon, orange, spiciness from the Rye Malt and yeast, sweet breadiness, and a big dose of phenols (typical of Belgian beers). If I do brew this recipe again I’ll make sure to let it ferment for longer and at a higher temperature in order to prevent gushing bottles and to taste the full potential of Seven Blessings Saison.