A dandelion Saison sounded like a good idea on paper, and I figured I needed to brew it now or wait another year for the really thick crop of new dandelions, and suddenly the Dandelion Blossom Saison project was off and running. Ben Bottoms had the same idea at about the same time so we did a collaboration brew at the home of The Fraternal Order of Wayward Brewers. We completely maxed out the mash tun for a 15 gallon batch.
The first challenge was the dandelion harvest. My first attempt to gather dandelions was after sundown on a cold and rainy night. Don't try this - the results will not be good because the flowers open up in the sun, and close with cooler temperatures. My second harvest attempt was a warm, sunny afternoon. Along with being more pleasant conditions, it was easier to identify good flowers. I harvested just the flower tops, so I didn't even get the base of the flowers. As you can see from the photo, I'm getting mostly flowery yellow goodness.
Going into the project I know that adding dandelions will have an unpredictable effect on the overall color and bitterness, but I also figured I could make some good guesses. I had several ways I could go with the dandelions, but ultimately decided to add dandelion blossom tea to the secondary. I found that I could add the dandelion tea incrementally as a new 'crop' of dandelions appeared every couple of days. The primary is bubbling along nicely now, I'll have to see how this all progresses.
|Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison, low flocculation and 78% attenuation|
|Secondary fermenter||6 ounces||Dandelion Blossoms|