French Saison yeast, also known as Wyeast 3711, is a top-fermenting ale yeast that is highly regarded for its ability to create unique and distinctive beers. It is particularly well-suited for the fermentation of farmhouse-style beers, which are characterized by their spicy, fruity, and peppery notes.
One of the standout features of French Saison yeast is its exceptional attenuation properties. This means that it has the ability to ferment sugars to a very high degree, resulting in a dry and crisp finish. This is a desirable trait for saisons, as it allows the flavors of the yeast and other ingredients to shine through without being overshadowed by residual sweetness.
When fermented at temperatures ranging from 70 to 75°F (21 to 24°C), French Saison yeast produces moderate levels of esters and spice. These characteristics contribute to the distinct flavor profile of saisons, adding complexity and depth to the beer. However, it is worth noting that higher fermentation temperatures in the 80s to 90s can lead to an increase in phenols, fruity esters, and spiciness, which some brewers may prefer.
The origins of French Saison yeast are actually Belgian, despite its name. It is commercially available as Wyeast 3724 or White Labs WLP565, both of which are commonly referred to as Belgian Saison yeast. This strain is highly sought after for its ability to produce the classic saison profile with spicy phenolic notes and fruity esters.
Interestingly, the yeast strain used by Thiriez, a renowned brewery, is derived from the yeast bank of a brewing school in Brussels. This highlights the interconnectedness of the brewing world and the way in which yeast strains are shared and passed down through generations of brewers.
French Saison yeast is a versatile and highly sought-after yeast strain that is perfect for brewing farmhouse-style beers. Its ability to attenuate sugars to a high degree, combined with its production of esters and spice, make it an excellent choice for creating complex and flavorful saisons. Whether you are a homebrewer or a commercial brewer, French Saison yeast is definitely worth considering for your next batch of beer.
What Is A French Saison Yeast?
French Saison yeast is a type of yeast that is commonly used in the brewing process to create a specific style of beer known as Saison. Saison is a farmhouse-style beer that originated in Belgium and is characterized by its spicy, fruity, and peppery flavors.
This particular yeast strain is highly attenuative, which means that it has the ability to ferment a large amount of the sugars in the beer, resulting in a dry and crisp finish. It is a top-fermenting yeast, which means that it ferments at the top of the fermentation vessel, as opposed to bottom-fermenting yeast strains that ferment at the bottom.
Some key characteristics of French Saison yeast include:
1. Attenuation: This yeast strain has a high level of attenuation, meaning that it can ferment a large portion of the sugars in the beer, resulting in a lower final gravity and a drier beer.
2. Flavor profile: French Saison yeast imparts distinct flavors to the beer, including spicy, fruity, and peppery notes. These flavors are often described as being reminiscent of black pepper, cloves, and citrus fruits.
3. Fermentation temperature: This yeast strain is typically fermented at higher temperatures compared to other ale yeast strains. The optimal temperature range for fermentation is typically between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). Fermenting at higher temperatures can enhance the yeast's ester production, resulting in more pronounced fruity flavors.
4. Flocculation: French Saison yeast has a relatively low flocculation rate, which means that it tends to stay in suspension for a longer period during fermentation. This can result in a hazy appearance in the final beer.
French Saison yeast is highly regarded for its ability to create unique and flavorful Saison-style beers. Its spicy, fruity, and peppery characteristics make it a popular choice among brewers looking to create complex and refreshing farmhouse ales.
French Saison yeast is a highly sought-after strain for brewing farmhouse-style beers. With its exceptional attenuation properties and ability to create distinctive flavors, it is a favorite among brewers looking to produce spicy, fruity, and peppery notes in their saisons.
The Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast, in particular, is known for its high attenuation and moderate levels of esters and spice production. Fermenting at temperatures in the 70–75°F range will result in a classic saison profile, while higher temperatures in the 80s to 90s can enhance the phenolic, fruity esters, and spicy characteristics.
While it may be called “French Saison,” this yeast strain actually originated from Belgium and is commercially available as Wyeast 3724/White Labs WLP565 (Belgian Saison). Its use by renowned breweries like Thiriez further highlights its quality and versatility.
Whether you're a seasoned brewer or a homebrewing enthusiast, French Saison yeast is a fantastic choice for creating flavorful and unique saisons. Its ability to enhance the overall profile of the beer, combined with its origin and reputation, make it a must-have for any brewer looking to craft exceptional farmhouse-style ales.