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Old 02-11-2013, 06:18 PM   #1
Rob_E
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Default Farmhouse or Saison Yeast?

So I'm trying my hand at a farmhouse ale for a local benefit that's in a couple months. I've never done this style before, and the recommended recipe I'm adapting suggests to use Saison yeast (e.g. WLP 670). In a lot of searches I'm noticing this should ferment really high -- 80+. While I have the ability to ferment that high, I also need to be fermenting three other different brews at normal ale temps (~68).

While searching I also came upon WLP 670 - American Farmhouse Blend - which looks like it would want temps to be around what I need for the rest of the brews.

So I can theoretically do either strain and keep temps where they need to be for each brew. Things would just probably be easier with 670 since I could do it all in the temp controlled chest freezer. Any opinions on the difference between the end results with these two strains?

Everything I've looked up with farmhouse ales make them look synonymous a saison as far as ingredients, style, etc. I can't see ~20 degrees difference in fermentation temps producing very similar beers though.

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Old 02-11-2013, 08:55 PM   #2
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If you have a warm spot in your house, just pitch your starter and let it sit there. Temp will rise with the heat of fermentation taking it up to wherever it wants to go. Saison yeasts are about the only ones you can use to do that with. American farmhouse blend contains brett, so you're going to get a lot of funk with it that won't be present in a saison yeast, and you'll probably want to let it age a lot longer than a non-brett beer. Also, it probably won't fit into a good category other than belgian specialty if this is for a competition.

You'll want to use a real saison yeast (though not 565 - that's where you need 80+ temps), and let it ride as long as you can. Belgian yeasts can take their time finishing up. 566, 585, or 568 should work well enough. If your house is really cool, check out Wyeast 3711, it works at more normal ale temps.

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Old 02-11-2013, 09:01 PM   #3
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If you have 3711 handy, I would recommend it since it works well at low temps. I use it around the same temp as my pales and IPA's and love the results.

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Old 02-11-2013, 09:02 PM   #4
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Saison = Farmhouse Ale.

I've fermented WLP565 and WLP530 at 68*-70* and IMHO you get plenty of Belgian character at those temps. They can ferment higher - I've done them into the high 70's - and I guess you get more belgian twang, but you don't have to. I'm pretty sure the write-ups at white labs list the optimal fermentation temps for those two strains in that kind of standard high sixties to low seventies window.

I am a big fan of 565.

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Old 02-11-2013, 09:59 PM   #5
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I only talk in Wyeast numbers, but 3724 (Dupont strain) is beyond amazing when it comes to flavor. Not so much in the ease of fermentation category though. I've started pitching 3724, then after a week, pitch a liter starter of 3711 to ensure it dries out like I want it to, since that strain could probably ferment gasoline. That can get kind of expensive, but I have about 20 vials of each frozen in glycol in my freezer from one pack of each, so that cuts down on price a lot.

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Old 02-12-2013, 04:12 AM   #6
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3724=565. The 3724, then 3711 plan is fine, although you can use re-harvested US-05/Notty as the secondary yeast if you have a sufficiently fermentable wort. You can also bottle-harvest the yeast from Saison Dupont, which I believe is both 565 and 566. I find it gives a more agressively farmhouse taste at higher temps, but it routinely knocks my gravity down to single digits without any sugar added to the wort. If you can do a swamp cooler, you can make it a swamp heater; just do it in reverse by adding 100F water.

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingwood-kid View Post
3724=565. The 3724, then 3711 plan is fine, although you can use re-harvested US-05/Notty as the secondary yeast if you have a sufficiently fermentable wort. You can also bottle-harvest the yeast from Saison Dupont, which I believe is both 565 and 566. I find it gives a more agressively farmhouse taste at higher temps, but it routinely knocks my gravity down to single digits without any sugar added to the wort. If you can do a swamp cooler, you can make it a swamp heater; just do it in reverse by adding 100F water.
I've often thought about doing this, but have always been a little leery given the supposed attenuation the Dupont strain is capable of. I wouldn't want to end up with a FG of 1.010 at bottling, then having it drop a couple of points in the bottles. I guess most of my fears are unwarranted though, seeing as I've only had 3724 finish by itself once.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingwood-kid View Post
If you can do a swamp cooler, you can make it a swamp heater; just do it in reverse by adding 100F water.
I'll just add that you can easily keep it there with a very cheap aquarium heater from Walmart or a pet store. Just make sure you keep the whole thing covered up, or you'll lose a bunch of water due to evaporation.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:46 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone! I actually came upon Wyeast 3711 after posting this. I brewed last night and used two packs of that yeast b/c I didn't have time to do a starter. I also bought a cheap aquarium heater from wal-mart. Funny I'm following y'all's suggestions without having ever read these replies.

I stuck the fermenter in a room with a blowoff tube last night. Came in this morning and it was 63(!) but already bubbling. I swear I've gotten so spoiled by my fermentation chamber I've forgotten what it's like to try to ferment with ambient temps.

My old thermometer konked out and while my new two read properly at high heat, one said it was 92 and the other said 60 in the swamp cooler I made, so I moved some things around in my fermenting chest freezer. That way it can sit at 68 today and I'll move it to a stable temp where I can ramp up a bit in the next day or so. Since I'm using 3711 I won't go up too high, but I'd like to get it into the mid-70s after a few days to bring out some of the saison character. I have a good feeling about this one.

Oh, and it's not for competition. It's for a benefit for local young farmers. Just as important though. Brewing this, a cream, a brown and an IPA. Lots to do!

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