The undrunk homebrew: Joie de Vivre Saison

The temptation of all those full, shiny bottles

I brewed 5 gallons of beer for my wife’s birthday. Her saison, Joi de Vivre, is ready to go, but we can’t drink it until December.

Pregnant with our first child, Jodie obviously can’t drink… but it is also her birthday beer. Even though I brewed it, I can’t have any until after the baby is born. Such are the sacrifices you make when your wife is pregnant.

Though don’t be surprised if our delivery go-bag clinks when I pick it up.

The joy of life is the joy of saison

I’m a sucker for saison. More and more I find myself agreeing with Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery. As he confesses in The Brewmaster’s Table, “If I were forced to choose one style to drink with every meal for the rest of my life, saison would have to be it.”

The style is incomparable. Refreshing, often on the dry side with hints of wild yeast-induced funk, these beers go with any food, any mood, any season. I’ve been wanting to brew a saison for ages, and Jodie’s 2011 birthday beer was the perfect occasion.

What’s in a name?

Part of the fun of brewing Jodie’s birthday beer is picking the right name. Since her name is Jodie, I have a rule/challenge that the beer’s name must include the letter “j”.

Naming her saison was not easy. I brainstormed, made reams of crossed-out notes, and racked my brain for the right name.

Then we learned we were pregnant. Then I began reflecting on how saisons come from Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium. French. Pregnancy. Saison has so much going on it’s practically alive. And we’re creating a new life. Jodie’s birthday. These are all occasions for joy… and then there’s the French thing…

Aha! Joie de Vivre — the joy of life and living.

I’ll drink to that. Eventually, anyway.

Homebrew recipe: Joie de Vivre Saison

Also included are all my notes and research for this and future saisons. I also live-tweeted the saison’s homebrew session, and the live tweets are included after the recipe.

Source/Based off Flying Fish Baby Saison Farmhouse Ale. Papazian, Charlie, Microbrewed Adventures: A Lupulin-Filled Journey to the Heart and Flavor of the World’s Craft Beers. p. 295-297, p. 74-75. Collins, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.


  • Brew Date: Sat., Apr. 2, 2011
  • Initial Gravity Reading (O.G.): 1.052
  • Bottling Date: Sun., May 1, 2011
  • Final Gravity Reading (F.G.): 1.052
  • Alcohol: 4.0%
  • Open Date: TBDBB (To Be Determined By Baby)

Bottling counts

  • 22 oz.: 11
  • Flip-top: 1
  • 12 oz.: 25

Approximate target values

Per original recipe

  • Target Original Gravity: 1.046 (11.5 B)
  • Approx. Final Gravity: 1.010 (2.5 B)
  • IBU: Approx. 14
  • Approx. Color: 4 SRM (8 EBC)
  • Alcohol: % by Volume: 4.8%


  • 1.5 lbs. 2-row pale malt
  • 8 oz. Briess Carapils malt (dextrin malt)
  • 6 oz. German sauer malt (acidulated malt)
  • 2.4 lbs. extra light DME
  • 1.5 lbs. wheat LME
  • @75 minute boil, .25 oz. Styrian Goldings hops 4% alpha (1 HBU/28 MBU)
  • @75 minute boil, 3/8 oz. Willamette hops 5.2% alpha
  • @30 minute boil, .50 oz. Styrian Goldings hops 4% alpha (2 HBU/56 MBU)
  • @15 minute 1/2 tsp. Irish moss
  • @5 minute boil, .50 oz. Styrian Goldings hops 4% alpha (2 HBU/56 MBU)
  • Wyeast British Ale Yeast 1098
  • @ bottling: 1-1/4c. dried malt extract

Brewing & Fermentation

Heat 2.5 quarts water to 172ºF water and add crushed grains. Stir well. Temperature should stabilize at 155ºF. Steep 45 minutes. Strain out and sparge with ~2 quarts hot water. Add more water to total 2.5 gallons liquid. Bring to a boil, while adding malt extract and 75-minute hops.

Clean/sanitize carboy and other equipment during this time. Add 1 gallon cold water to sanitized carboy. After 45 minutes (at 30 minutes remaining mark) mark, add 30 minute hops. After 60 minutes (at 15 minutes remaining mark), add Irish moss. After 70 minutes (at 5 minutes remaining mark), add 5 minute hops. Total boil time: 75 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool wort to 90-100ºF.

Strain wort into carboy, sparging through hops. Add cold water until total amount of liquid in carboy is 5 gallons. Shake to aerate. Take a sample for initial gravity reading.

When wort temperature is between 68-76ºF, pitch yeast. Cap carboy and set in a warm, quiet place.

Ferment at approx. 72ºF for 3-30 days. Bottle with DME solution. Age one month.


Sun., 3/20/11, Will brew this for Jodie’s birthday beer. Reviewing Farmhouse Ales for some ingredients and process mods, such as lacto, spelt, etc.

Sun., 3/20/11, 3/20/11 Homebrew Saison

Sat., 4/2/11, Got ingredients and decided to get this brewed tonight. Had a good talk with Jim about sour malts; the acidulated malt is pre-soured then re-dried. He also noted that Guinness adds some sour malt — giving it that unique tang. The brew session went great, and I am very pleased with this beer, Excellent dusty yellow pale color, and right now the beer is very cloudy. Excited to see how it brews up! Also need to ponder names… what will work as a name, that I can work in a “j”? (The name of Jodie’s birthday beer always must contain the letter “j”. It’s an Anthony rule.)

Sun., 4/3/11, Seeing early signs of fermentation by afternoon. Fermentation definitely underway by evening; temperature throughout the day from 66ºF to 70ºF. By night, about 24 hours after brew, fermentation well underway.

Mon., 4/4/11, Strong beer heartbeat, temperature 72ºF. Thick krausen. Looking good and stormy.

Tue., 4/5/11, Beautiful orange-gold cloudiness. Stormy beer. Temperature went up to 78ºF, now seems to be settling at 76ºF. Odd thing: krausen has cleared already. Fermentation still seems to be going strong though.

5/1/11, Bottle Day! Very pleased with how this has come out. There may be a bit of unattenuated sugar, adding a sweet note, but I’ll just roll with it. Expecting beer to age well. There’s still some nice dryness from the acidulated malt. A good beer. Now to figure out a name worthy of being Jodie’s birthday beer. There’s also some irony here: now that she’s pregnant, she won’t even be able to drink any of this until after the baby comes!

5/29/11 Finally named the beer! Joi de Vivre — Joy of Life. Has a J, so it satisfies the J rule for Jodie birthday beers. Plus, there’s the subtle note to it — the joy of the new life that will be our baby. Though there’s only one downside — Jodie has decreed that we can’t drink any of these until after she’s had the baby! No saison till December…

Possible ingredient and process mods for this and/or future saison brews

JoH p346, sour mashing: use, say, souring for 1/4 for ME and grain? If I do this, it needs 15-24 hours prior to brew day

Review Farmhouse Ales (FA). Drinking Saison and Brewing Saison sections for more ideas. FA:
p136, brings to mind using/working in a touch of lactic sourness
p138, “well attenuated,” “lean and dry” mouthfeel
p138 good hop aromatics, less hop bittering
p138 pale with orange hue
p140 the full mouth feel and more textured, substantial body of some saisons is due to use of spelt (one uses up to 33%) of grain bill. Spelt has higher protein content than wheat, which increases mouthfeel, body, and density and longevity of foam
Get more Saison Dupont
Ideas for 2012 saison, p143-144: 70% pilsener malt, 28% spelt, 2% caramel/Vienna/Munich malt, if wanting to add some orange or red to the color
Note the high primary temperatures: 82ºF p145, 85-95ºF p144

Malt combos of various saisons (FA):
p142 67% Belgian pilsener, 33% spelt
p145 pilsener and munich
p146 Belgian pale, Munich, Caramel
p148 58% pilsener, 40% Vienna, 2% amber
p149 Pilsener and pale
p150 Dingeman’s pilsener
p152 Pilsener, Caramel What, Melanodin, Special B, Cargill II
p154, “small portion” of kilned malts such as Vienna or Munich often added for that touch of orange color
p155 spelt and rye use common
Kent Goldings and Styrian Goldings very popular hops p156
p158 bottle condition; some do 14-21 days; Dupont, 42-56 days
p158 begins “Practical Formulation Guidelines”
p161 Grist, common grain ratios
p162 Saaz and Halletauer also used
p164 Typical hop additions
p178 yeast chart. Wyeast 3463 and 3522 and contenders
p181-184, Sample Recipes. Look especially at p181, 183
p186 sourcing spelt

Goal: Brew a well-attenuated, yellow-orange saison that’s dry, snappy and refreshing with minor hop bitterness and good yeast spiciness.

Live Tweets from Brew Session, Sat., Apr. 2, 2011

Coffee. Enamel canning pot. Spoon. Thermometer. Lots of bags of malt extract and hops. It must be… time to live tweet a #homebrew session!
Tonight’s beer: saison #homebrew
4 qt water heating to 172ºF. Adding grains to mesh socky bag. And I could really do with a cuppa coffee #homebrew
Also needed: #homebrew music. “Classics” from Ratatat, then “Damn Good Brewing Music” mix CD my sis-in-law gave me
This saison #homebrew is for my wife’s birthday beer (@stringsandyarn)
The saison #homebrew recipe is @CharliePapazian adaption of Flying Fish’s Farmhouse Summer Ale, featured in his book Microbrewed Adventures
I’m brewing the steep-and-extract version. Now steeping for #homebrew are 1.5 lbs 2-row malt, 8 oz. dextrin malt (Briess Carapils), and…
6 oz. “German sauer malt” or, acidulated malt. This soured, lacto-‘ed malt will give some sour tang and tartness. It’ll be fun #homebrew
#homebrew water heated to 172ºF. Grains steeping, temp now coming down to 155ºF, where we’ll hold it for about 30 minutes
Wait, not 30 minutes. 45 minutes is total #homebrew steeping time
While the #homebrew grains steep, will measure out some hops and get out & start sanitizing carboy & equipment
Oooo, I may not be a hophead, but I do love the smell of hops. Oh man. Measuring out some Goldings #homebrew
Ah, good ol steep-and-extract #homebrew. Why I like it: can brew from my kitchen stove, no big pots or propane burner setups required. Easy.
There’s nothing like the scent of steeped malted barley. Screw air fresheners, give me #homebrew!
Stoked to finally be making this saison for my Jodie. Had wanted to brew it during March, but never got to.
Snagged #homebrew ingredients today from in #Eugene. Had a clear Sat night, figured, hey, let’s get it done!
#homebrew malt steep is nearly done. Soon, on to sparge, hops, adding dried malt extracts, and then, boil, baby boil!
Heating sparge water. Letting the #homebrew grains steep a bit longer
Looks like muddy water. Smells like paradise. Go figure the mysteries of in-process #homebrew. Now to add extracts
Adding 2 lbs. 8 oz. light dried malt extract (DME) to #homebrew
#homebrew temperature has climbed from 155ºF to 175ºF
Adding 1 lb. dried wheat malt extract to #homebrew — adds great body
Coffee done. Time for my new #homebrew assistant: Claymore Scotch Ale Wee Heavy, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver CO
#homebrew temperature at 195ºF. C’mon, boil! Adding 1/4 oz. Goldings whole-leaf hops, 5.7 Alpha
Gotta keep close eye on brewpot for next minutes. The hot break stage is perilous #homebrew time — could boil over!
#homebrew temperature at 205ºF. Adding 3/8 oz. Willamette whole-leaf hops (5.2 Alpha). Nearly at boil!
Ladies and gentlemen, the #homebrew is at boil
Most #homebrew boils are for 60 minutes. Saisons often go longer. This one will boil 75 minutes total — adds a bit of caramelization
Caramelization in #homebrew adds flavor depth and richness, plus some color
Setting kitchen timer for 45 minutes, at which time, adding more hops to #homebrew
Beloved wife just got home. “Our house smells like beer!” she says, with a YAY in her voice. She’s excited for her birthday #homebrew
Liquid Wyeast smack-pack is bulking up on our pellet stove: British Ale 1098, for a bit of fruitiness and tartness #homebrew
Brewing Jodie’s (@stringsandyarn) birthday beer is one of my fave brewing sessions every year — we always do different #homebrew
Let’s see… I’ve made her a #homebrew… Hoegaarden clone (Belgian wit), @magichat #9 clone, oatmeal stout, chocolate porter, now saison!
Re @magichat #9 clone, I’m making that again (next brew). Will add some of the 10 oz. remaining acidulated malt for tartness. It sounds fun
Happy #homebrew boil. Keeping stove temp higher than usual, to aid with caramelization
Cleaning & sanitizing #homebrew gear. It’s time for the carboy dance, where I slowly scrub & revolve around carboy till it’s squeaky clean
#homebrew equipment is prepped. Carboy has 1 gallon cold water in it. 10 minutes left till next hop addition…
Added 1/2 oz. Goldings hops. Timer set for 20 minutes #homebrew
Phew. Boil is going nicely, gear is prepped. Nice to sit down for a while! #homebrew
Added 1/2 tsp. Irish moss to homebrew, for greater clarity in finished beer #homebrew
Just a few minutes left on the #homebrew boil! Then to fill the sink with ice and add brewpot
Will be posting the saison #homebrew & all the tweets to my blog,
Papazian describes this saison #homebrew as “mildly tart, refreshing summertime ale… in the tradition of the Flemish countryside”
Want the saison #homebrew recipe (+ @magichat #9 clone & excellent Brooklyn Brewery Chocolate Stout clone) + great beer travel stories?
They’re in @CharliePapazian Microbrewed Adventures. I’ve had lots of good beer from this book: Amazon
Thought #homebrew wort liquid level was looking low, so added 2 qts water & resumed boil
Much better. Added 1/2 oz. Goldings hops at 5-minute mark. Soon on to cooling stage! #homebrew
Woo-hoo! 75 minute #homebrew boil is done! As a plus, this time I remembered to stopper the sink *before* dumping in all the ice #coldhands
Wow. This is the cleanest my stove has *ever* looked after a #homebrew session!
From @16TonsBeer: “@antsaint: Ladies and gentlemen, the #homebrew is at boil” —> follow play by play brew day. Love it!
To @16TonsBeer Thanks guys! #homebrew
From @sheisewe: @antsaint I am enjoying the #homebrew entertainment. Thanks. 🙂
And now… we wait. #homebrew pot is cooling in a bath of ice and cold water. How long till temp goes from 212ºF to ~80-90ºF?
Mmmm, fat bloated pack of liquid yeast. Nom nom nom #homebrew
#homebrew temp at 175ºF. Go go go!
#homebrew temperature 140ºF
From @16TonsBeer: @antsaint let’s trade Saisons in a few weeks.
To: @16TonsBeer: Trade saisons? You’re on, mate!
#homebrew temperature 105ºF. In another, say, 15-20 minutes, it’s time to fill the carboy!
Knew I was forgetting something — strainer! Gotta strain out all those hops when filling carboy. Now strainer is sanitizing #homebrew
OK, let’s fill a carboy! #homebrew
5 gallons of birthday beer saison #homebrew goodness ready to go
Now for the technical bits of #homebrew – taking original gravity
Spec says target original gravity (OG) is 1.046. The reading on our #homebrew is #1.052, according to my Beautiful Assistant wife
Slightly higher OG, not a problem. I’m figuring it’s in the DME. Recipe also called for wheat extract syrup, converted to dry, may be higher
No big. Saison #homebrew has a yellow, pale color — like sunshine through dust in dim light. This is going to be a damn good beer
Now to pitch yeast (Wyeast British Ale Yeast 1098), and get the kitchen cleaned up #homebrew
After aeration and yeast pitch, carboy is getting draped in a towel and lovingly placed next to our pellet stove #homebrew
From there, temperature will rock out at between 72-76ºF, probably for 10-14 days. #homebrew
OK, thanks so much for following tonight’s livetweet saison #homebrew session!
Stoked to brew my wife some awesome birthday saison #homebrew. Recipe & more coming soon to Slainte & good night!!

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