Northern Brewer had a sale recently. If you ordered four extract kits, they were shipped for free. Extract kits can sit in my closet for a few weeks (hops go in the freezer) so it seemed like a good deal and I pulled the trigger.
One of the kits I got was the Synchronicity Extraordinaire Wheaten Saison. I am absolutely crazy for Saisons, and I kind of loved the idea of a relatively quick extract-based brewday with minimal ingredients. It’s been really warm here so letting it ferment up around 77° shouldn’t be difficult, and if everything goes well, it’ll be ready in about 6 weeks.
The kit was really simple: 6 pounds of wheat malt extract, three hops additions, a late addition of 1 pound of honey, and some lemongrass and sweet orange peel. Holy Hell did it smell good in the last five minutes!
Normally, when I do extracts, it’s a partial boil that gets topped off before pitching yeast, but I’ve done a couple from Brewing Classic Styles, and I much prefer doing a full boil (partially because it makes getting a correct OG reading much easier than if I add water and have to worry about striation) so I got on the line with the support crew at Northern Brewer, and asked if I could go ahead and do full boil without messing up the hop utilization. Gabe at NB told me that for a non-hop-forward beer like this, it would be fine to do that (for a hop-forward beer I could still do it, but there’s a bit of math involved to ensure the hop utilization is correct) so I went ahead and did a 6.5 gallon boil. Everything went great, with no boil overs or accidents, and I was able to drain right into my bucket leaving trub and hop debris in the bottom of the kettle. Unfortunately, I miscalculated my boil off and ended with just under 4.5 gallons, but my OG was 1.052 (right on target!) so I didn’t top it up. I aerated it for about 20 minutes, pitched Danstar’s saison yeast, and after about 3 hours lag, the yeasties were doing their thing.
I checked it this morning, and fermentation is going like crazy, so I’m staying out of the way until it’s all done sometime next week. I’ll do about a five day secondary (while I’m in Phoenix next weekend for Comicon, probably) and then this one will go into bottles because I don’t have enough kegs or kegerator space [FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS] to package it any other way.