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Arctic Vortex Winter Saison

Brewed: 01/08/2017   Bottled: 01/28/2017

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. 

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 4

Style Saison Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   7.77 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   75.00   Boil Time   90 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.050 SG Estimated FG 1.003 SG
Recipe Bitterness 24.6 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 6.1 %
BU : GU   0.497        
Recipe Color 24.1 SRM
Measured OG:   1.050   Measured FG:   1.006 
ADF:   88    Measured ABV:   5.8 


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 1 -
4.00 g Chalk (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 2 -
5 lbs 8.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 57.1 %
1 lbs 12.0 oz Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 4 18.2 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 5 13.0 %
10.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 6 6.5 %
8.0 oz Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 SRM) Sugar 7 5.2 %
0.250 oz Magnum [12.70 %] - Boil 45.0 min Hop 8 11.1 IBUs
0.250 oz Magnum [12.70 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 9 4.2 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 10 -
1.000 oz Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 11 3.9 IBUs
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 12 -
1.000 oz Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 13 2.9 IBUs
1.000 oz Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 14 2.4 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 11.41 qt of water at 155.6 F 145.0 F 90 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (2.13gal, 3.88gal) 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:  1/8/2017 Strike Temp:  
Mash Temps:  140ish for a couple hours
Pre-boil OG   1.040(1.040 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   8 (7.77 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp   60 
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
01/08/2017 esheppy
Brew day went well. Long mash over time at church. Preboil gravity was perfect. OG was perfect. Pitched right at 60f. I love it when a plan comes together.
01/09/2017 esheppy
Had some kraussen up in the air lock when I got home today. Put in blow off tube. 66.
01/26/2017 esheppy
Took gravity reading. 1.006 makes this approximately 5.8% abv. I think I would like more malt flavor. Probably shouldn't have added the plain sugar.
01/28/2017 esheppy
Kegged today. Didn't take another gravity reading, so I guess we'll stick with 1.006. Should be ready to drink by birthday. 🎂
02/02/2017 esheppy
Happy Ground hogs' day. Poured some from the keg. I like the flavor more than that of the gravity sample. Needs carbonation.
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