brewing-e1295124059713Personally, I love drinking a good Saison.  Spicy, fruity, effervescent, and sometimes just down right unclassifiable are just some of the characteristics that appeal to me when drinking this enigmatic style.  Historic Saisons were brewed in farmhouse breweries in Belgium, many times with locally grown ingredients.  When developing a recipe for Scratch #33, I really wanted to somehow incorporate our local central PA flavor into this beer, but alas time kinda slipped away from me and I was unable to research and locate the ingredients before brewing time.  So I settled for the next best thing.  I went into the Troegs cold storage room and rummaged through our random spice collection to see what I could find.  I made all sorts of spice “teas” and decided that the combination of sweet orange peel, elderflower, honeybush, (I have no clue what this is exactly, but it smelled great), and coriander was just what I was looking for to compliment the somewhat fruity and peppery Saison du Pont yeast strain.  As far as malt and hops were concerned, I wanted to keep them relatively simple to allow the spiciness of the yeast and herbs to be in the forefront but not overwhelming.  I decided on a bunch of wheat (1/2  malted and 1/2 raw), a hint of honey malt to lend a bit of sweetness, and Belgian pale ale malt for a little more authenticity.  Hops were German Northern Brewer for bittering and US Tettnanger and Czech Saaz for a little added spiciness and earthiness in the flavor and aroma.  If anyone has ever brewed with the du Pont yeast, you will know that it can be a little temperamental especially when it comes to attenuation.  To avoid this problem and to enhance the great flavors of this strain, fermentation temperatures were increased to a scary level (at least to the folks in the lab).  When packaging time rolled around, we decided to bottle condition to achieve the high level of CO2 for that nice effervescence that typifies this style.  After two weeks in the bottle,  Scratch #33 is ready, and if I may say so myself, pretty darn good.  Enjoy the Saison du Mueze.