Thumbspike Saison 2.0

I’ve only brewed a saison once before, and it turned out pretty decent. Not perfect, but decent. I dry hopped just a touch too much last time, and so the hop aroma overwhelmed the yeast character. Thus, I decided to ditch the dry hops entirely on this batch. My recipe is similar to what I used before, with a few differences on several fronts. First, I added a touch of Carafa II for color, and ditched the honey in favor of a lower mash temperature to dry things out a bit. Also, I had some wild hops left, and a saison seemed like a good place to let those meld with a strong yeast. Finally, I decided to try Mangrove Jack dry yeast, and see what that does for everything.


A view of the brew kettle, just prior to the start of the boil

Thumbspike Saison 2.0

  • 9.25 lbs. floor-malted Bohemian pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.75 lbs. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.75 lbs. white wheat malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 1 oz. Carafa Special II (Weyerman)
  • 1.1 oz. whole wild hops (5.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1.15 oz. whole wild hops (5.8% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. French Saison Ale dry yeast (Mangrove Jack’s M29)

Target Parameters

  • 1.057 o.g., 1.003 f.g., 7.0% abv, 29 IBU, 7 SRM, 5.5 gallons into the fermenter


  • To use up my RO water and thin out the Claremont waters a bit, I added 1.25 gallons with 2.42 gallons of tap water for my mash water. I heated it up to 165°, added the water to the mash tun, and let it slide to 158.3°, before adding the grains. This hit a mash temperature of 148.7°, which was down to 147.1° after 20 minutes. The temperature didn’t drop much beyond this, and was hovering around 147° when I checked 60 minutes later.
  • I aimed for a 75 minute mash duration. After 65 minutes, I added 1.3 gallons of water at 180°, to raise the mash temperature to 150.4°. I let it rest for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. I then added 3.3 gallons of water at 165°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the remainder of the runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.75 gallons with a gravity of 1.047, for 77% efficiency.
  • I aimed for a 60 minute boil, adding the various hops and finings per the schedule.
  • After 60 minutes, I turned off the flame and started chilling. Once I hit 85°, I transferred to the primary fermenter and pitched the yeast.
  • I plan to have 80° as my base temperature, and let it free-rise from there as needed. I’ll probably leave it in the fermenter for at least 10 days.
  • I brewed this beer on May 12, 2017. Starting gravity was 1.055, just a hair under my target gravity. A successful brew evening all around!

9 thoughts on “Thumbspike Saison 2.0

  1. How did you find the Mangrove Jack’s Saison yeast? I think that’s one of my favourites from the range


  2. I only brewed this last night, so I don’t really have an opinion yet. I will note that it took off really quickly (the fermenter was bubbling like crazy even this morning, only 10 hours after pitching), which is a good sign.

    Good to know your positive experience! I’ve read good things about it, and can’t wait to see how it worked on my own brew.


  3. Where did you get this recipe? This looks good! I did my first saison 2 months ago and loved it. I used omegas Seasionstein yeast. Please update this with your tasting!


  4. I put the recipe together basically by “averaging” a bunch of recipes I found on the AHA website, various recipe books, etc. It probably has the most in common with the all-grain version of the saison recipe in Zainasheff and Palmer’s Brewing Classic Styles, at least in terms of the overall grain bill. I’ve had pretty good luck with the recipes in that book overall, and at the very least they are good launching points.

    I’ve never used the Omega products, although I’ve heard good things about them. I went with dry yeast on this batch because that is what was freshest at my LHBS (and I’ve always wanted to try the Mangrove Jack line of yeasts).


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  8. I have used this MJ yeast many times with great results. Mash low temp, start fermentation at 26C and let it rise to 30C or even above. Fruity and dry but not thin. I have also used one pack of M29 and one pack of Wyeast Ardennes and it is even better. I have also used it with the Wyeast Dupont strain as a bit of insurance against stalling-works great.

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  9. Indeed! This batch turned out great–pretty much exactly how you describe it (tasting commentary here). I totally agree on the dry but not thin descriptor–it’s nice to find a yeast that fits this profile. The other thing I really liked was the tartness this strain produced…very refreshing for a summer beer. Another batch went into the fermenter last night, in fact!

    Interesting thoughts on the strain combo…I might have to try that down the line. I’m usually so boring in doing just a single strain!


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