So I’ve been going through a nostalgia period with my brewing, and this week it was time to make another go of my Sichuan Saison. Last time, I’d used a White Labs yeast (no. 565). This time round I decided to keep it simple with a Wyeast Belle Saison packet. There were a few other changes I decided to make, here and there. One was the addition of Candy sugar, to make it have a little more kick. Another was the use of a Light malt, rather than a pilsener malt extract, lending it a little more body.
The main point of this exercise however concerned the secret (or not so secret) ingredient – Sichuan pepper corns. Last time I’d been disappointed about the lack of kick in the Beer from the Sichuan pepper, even though it was delicious, and I was left wondering – how much do I need to add? Too much, and I run the risk of creating a diabolically numbing and spicy beer that few will drink, too little and it will be another let down.
The clincher was a text from Alex, deep in the bowels of SF, telling me about a wheat beer with Sichuan pepper. Not to be out done, I decided to go for 30g, tripe the amount I used in the first edition of the sichuan saison mark I.
The final recipe I settled on was the following:
1.7kg Light Malt Extract
200g Caster Sugar
8g Ella Hops at 30minutes to go
22g Ella Hops at flame out
30g Sichuan Pepper at 10 minutes to go
All of the brewing went smoothly until the addition of the sichuan pepper, where upon a great plume of sichuan pepper gas rose out of the cauldron, filling the entire room with its delicious smell. At this moment, I realised that I may have gone too far. Only one way to find out though, so I’ll update this in about 6 weeks.
Finally I added the yeast. Since it was a dry packet, I’m not sure what the story will be in terms of flavours, but hopefully the saison elements will compliment the sichuan pepper well.