This is a honey basil saison beer recipe I put together for a friend’s wedding this summer. He was such a fan of my oregano pale ale that I figured he’d be interested in another beer in the same vein. This homebrew is a citrusy, spicy, bright orange beer that should be perfect for the outdoor festivities!
This homebrew recipe is something of an American spin on a Belgian farmhouse ale. It uses pale six-row malt as the base, some light Munich malt for some bready, toasty flavors, and a pound of caramel 40L for color and a touch of sweetness. One pound of honey contributes some additional fermentable sugars. The honey is added at the end of the boil to preserve some of its aromatic qualities. I’d recommend finding some raw honey from your local farmers market.
The fresh basil in this beer recipe is added towards the end of the boil. It will contribute a little bitterness, but mostly a distinctive spiciness in the nose, which blends well with the aromatics from the French saison yeast. I used regular Italian basil, but any variety of basil will work.
I brewed this batch of beer with the Brew in a Bag method. Feel free to adapt the beer recipe for your all-grain brewing setup, or replace the six-row and Munich malts with 6 lbs. of light liquid malt extract to make it a partial mash recipe.
Honey Basil Saison
(5-gallon batch – Brew in a Bag)
6 lb. Pale 6-row malt
2.5 lb. Munich 10L
1 lb. Caramel 40L
.75 lb. White wheat malt
1 lb. Honey (added at flameout)
.5 oz. Northern Brewer hops at :60 (5 AAUs)
1 tsp. yeast nutrient at :15
.75 oz. fresh basil leaves at :5
.5 oz. Kent Goldings hops at :0 (3.6 AAUs)
.5 oz. Kent Goldings hops dry hopped for 3-5 days
1 packet Danstar Saison Yeast
Mash the crushed grains for 90 minutes at 148-150˚F. Strain out grains (some brewers like to rinse the grain bag). Bring wort to a boil and add hops and basil according to schedule above. At the end of the 60-minute boil, turn off the heat and mix in the honey. The final half-ounce of Kent Goldings hops can be adding during the whirlpool and chill. Cool wort to about 70˚F and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. If needed, top off with enough pre-boiled, pre-chilled water to make 5 gallons. Pitch yeast and ferment at 70-75˚F for 7 days, then transfer to secondary for 10-14 days. Bottle or keg for 2.3-2.5 vols CO2.
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.