Last weekend the kind people at Nøgne Ø, the Norwegian microbrewery, had invited home brewers to an event at their brewery. I went there together with about 40 other home brewers.
The goal of the day was to brew 800 liters of Nøgne Ø Saison. The batch was then to be split 40-ways, so that everybody could take 20 liters home to ferment and alter it at will. The attendes were encouraged to make the most of it. My twist will be to add a can of Oregon Apricot puree and use a Belgian yeast blend (not Saison yeast).
When registering for the event one had to decide which yeast from the White Labs catalog to use. This yeast had arrived just a few days before, so it was very fresh. I chose this yeast:
WLP575 Belgian Style Ale Yeast Blend
A blend of Trappist type yeast (2) and one Belgian ale type yeast. This creates a versatile blend that can be used for Trappist type beer, or a myriad of beers that can be described as 'Belgian type'.
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 20-24°C (68-75°F)
Alcohol Tolerance: Medium-High
Nøgne Ø uses WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale Yeast in their own version. Interestingly, quite a few also ordered vials of wild yeast and bacteria. It'll be interesting to try out the end results.
If I remember correctly the recipe contains lager malt and wheat. The hop additions are East Kent Goldings for bittering, Hallertau (Mittelfrüh I presume) for flavour and Saaz for aroma. OG was 1.057 and the FG usually 1.015 (something they thought was a little too high for a Saison). They ferment the beer at 25°C from the start to the finish. Their web site also says 25 IBUs and 6.5% abv.
The agenda looked like this:
10:00 Welcome and a walkthrough of the brewery
11:00 Introduction to brewing
12:00 Transfer wort to sparging vessel
12:30 Lunch and beer
14:00 Introduction to yeast and yeast handling
15:00 Boil wort
16:30 Transfer to whirlpool
17:30 Chilling and transfer to fermentation tanks
After the brewing session quite a few went downtown to have dinner and drink more beer.
On 21st of March there will be another event where everybody meets at the brewery and tastes each others beer.
I enjoyed the event immensely. Meeting other enthusiastic home brewers was a lot of fun. And I'm looking forward to the tasting next month. In any case this is a great thing for Nøgne Ø to be doing. I like their attitude and their eagerness of being open about everything. There are no secrets in brewing, quite the attitude of most home brewers. Cheers!