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Old 12-09-2009, 03:17 PM   #1
LuizArgh
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Default belgian beers without belgian yeasts

people,

i'm planning on brewing a belgian dubbel for a homebrew contest. Problem is, we don't have any white labs or wyeast yeasts commercially available here in brazil (liquid yeasts are still lacking on sanitary license), so my only options are:

1) use a dry yeast from fermentis (s-33 or t-58 are the options that come to mind)
2) propagate from a bottle (chimay, rochefort, la trappe and westmalle are the options)

I never took yeast from bottles and from what i'm reading, it's quite complicated and with dubious results. On the other hand, although both s-33 and t-58 are sold has belgian-style yeasts, I read from a lot of comments that they lack the true profile expected for dubbels, tripels and so on.

So, what would YOU do in my place?

If I propagate, my initial idea is to take the dregs off the bottle and put it in my enlemeyer with 400-500 ml of a 1050 SG wort made with only pilsen malt. I do this small-quantity wort by simply grinding the malt in a blender, adding water at saccharifiation-temperature, waiting for about 1 1/2 hour, boiling and cooling it. Is that enough for the yeast to grow or must I do something else?



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Old 12-09-2009, 03:27 PM   #2
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I never took yeast from bottles and from what i'm reading, it's quite complicated and with dubious results.
It's no more complicated than making ANY kind of a yeast starter, except that you flame or sanitize the bottle before you empty the dregs.

And I can't recall ever having one not take off.

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So, what would YOU do in my place?

If I propagate, my initial idea is to take the dregs off the bottle and put it in my enlemeyer with 400-500 ml of a 1050 SG wort made with only pilsen malt. I do this small-quantity wort by simply grinding the malt in a blender, adding water at saccharifiation-temperature, waiting for about 1 1/2 hour, boiling and cooling it. Is that enough for the yeast to grow or must I do something else?
I would step it up over a few days, and I also would pitch from multiple bottles to increase the initial yeast count. I harvested hoegarden recently by using a dozen bottles. In the interum I sanitized them, left some beer in them, put a new cap on them and kept them in the fridge for a few days until I had enough to pitch.

Now having said that, you really don't need to make a pilsner mash to harvest the yeast. Just use extralight dme, you're going to be decanting the starter beer off anyway, so it doesn't really matter that the starter was made with pilsner malt or not. I didn't when I harvest the hoeagaarden, I just used plain ole dme, even though I am going to use it in a pils/wheat mix...but doing it with DME won't affect the overall yeast after you harvest it.

If you want to make your own pils wort, fine, but that's really over complicating things.



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Old 12-09-2009, 03:28 PM   #3
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I recently propagated from an Ommegang bottle. What I read is to start out in the bottle. I just made up some wort from DME and poured it in there. I don't have a stir plate or flask, so I then decanted the "beer" off when it finished fermenting and repeated until I had done it a few times. After each fermentation I put it in the fridge to help the yeast flocculate and settle on the bottom. I had no problem using this yeast, just also use some yeast nutrient.

You will know if it is working and if it doesn't you could always have some dry yeast available.

I say give it a try and if it doesn't work out you have some dry yeast on hand.

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Old 12-09-2009, 03:32 PM   #4
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One thing I forgot, start with a weaker low OG wort to give the yeast something easy at first to bring out of dormancy. The second and third time I did a bit more to get them ready for the high OG beer I was gong to make.

I started with OG around 1.030 and then stepped up to 1.055. The beer I ended up making with it was at 1.080.

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Old 12-09-2009, 03:47 PM   #5
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If you want to make your own pils wort, fine, but that's really over complicating things.
actually, no.
we don't have DME/LME in here... except for a very suspicious extract we find at some natural stores and and muntons extract cans, which are, considering import taxes and all, WAY too expensive for me.

i thought about the pilsener malt because i thought that, being somewhat "neutral" on the flavour, it would not impart any wort character on the yeast - that, let's say, an over-hopped stout wort would. Does this makes any sense or am I just worrying about the wrong things?

Quote:
I recently propagated from an Ommegang bottle. What I read is to start out in the bottle. I just made up some wort from DME and poured it in there. I don't have a stir plate or flask, so I then decanted the "beer" off when it finished fermenting and repeated until I had done it a few times.
this is the part I don't get it. If you put a high gravity wort on a beer bottle with yeast and cap it, the resulting pressure after the initial fermenting phase would not be enough to create a hand granade?

oh, and a trappist bottle is also quite a luxury ($$$) here. So having multiple ones, athough possible, is quite a pain in the pocket. The four ones I mentioned, for example, I just bought as a christmas gift for myself, and STILL, I must stress: god bless credit cards.
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:55 PM   #6
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and one more thing: if propagating is that simple, why do people talk so much about specific instuments or ingredients, like gelatin? And about this ingredient in particular, why and how is it helpfull?

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Old 12-09-2009, 04:32 PM   #7
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and one more thing: if propagating is that simple, why do people talk so much about specific instuments or ingredients, like gelatin? And about this ingredient in particular, why and how is it helpfull?
I didn't realize you were from brazil and extract was hard to get.


It depends on what you mean by "propigate" or more actaully, how you intend to store it. You only need ingredients like gelatin or glycerine if you intend to freeze the yeast. You only need slants or other special gear if you intend to put the harvested yeast on plates.

But if you are harvesting and planning to pitch right away all you need is wort, and a vessel to grow your starter in. And if you have one, though not mandatory, a stirplate.

You make a wort, pour in the bottle dregs and let it grow, feed it with somoe more wort to grow large enough to pitch and pitch that in the fermenter.


And if you intend to store yeast in jars, then really all you need is sme canning or other jars, and a pot to boil steralize the jars and lids in.

Like anything in brewing there are multiple ways of doing things, from the simple to the elaborate...I tend to go for simple, make a starter wort, empty the dregs of a few bottles of the beer I am harvesting into the wort (after sanitizing the beer bottle neck with flame and starsan) then let it grow, and either pitch it in to beer or jar it in canning jars...

The jar method is similar to what's discussed in here, also if I pitch after harvesting I then of course will go ahead and wash it and jar it as well, but sometimes, I just harvest and jar for storage.;

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yeast-washing-illustrated-41768/?highlight=yeast+washing
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:41 PM   #8
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I haven't tried this, but it might work OK. This is a use what is available option if culturing from a Belgian beer is not feasible for you.

I'd do a split ferment. Same yeast, but ferment, say 1 gal at 80*F and 4 gal at 68*F, and then after fermentation is complete, blend to taste. Fermenting the whole batch at 80*F would probably be too fruity.

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Old 12-10-2009, 02:47 PM   #9
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I haven't tried this, but it might work OK. This is a use what is available option if culturing from a Belgian beer is not feasible for you.

I'd do a split ferment. Same yeast, but ferment, say 1 gal at 80*F and 4 gal at 68*F, and then after fermentation is complete, blend to taste. Fermenting the whole batch at 80*F would probably be too fruity.
That is a really interesting idea....
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:01 PM   #10
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I haven't tried this, but it might work OK. This is a use what is available option if culturing from a Belgian beer is not feasible for you.

I'd do a split ferment. Same yeast, but ferment, say 1 gal at 80*F and 4 gal at 68*F, and then after fermentation is complete, blend to taste. Fermenting the whole batch at 80*F would probably be too fruity.
I would go with this option.

The problem not yet mentioned is that many Belgian breweries use two different yeast. One for the original fermentation, and another for the 're-fermentation' in the bottle. By culturing yeast from a Chimay bottle you will not get the yeast Chimay uses for primary fermentation. Both Micheal Jackson (in Great Beers of Belgium) and Stan Hieronymus (in Brew Like a Monk) mention this. I am not sure of all of the breweries that do this, but i know Chimay does, as do a few others (names not coming off the top of my head)

Seems like a lot of work for an unknown tasting yeast strand to me...


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