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Old 05-31-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
BonneTerre
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Default Belgian Wit Yeast: Experiences/Favorites

Tis the time of the year for Hefes, Wits, Saisons and summer beers in general.

After many years of searching and reading about all of the below yeasts separately and having only used about half of them, I thought I would start a thread compiling, comparing and contrasting them. Below I have taken info from the yeast companies official websites (excepting the origins). If I have missed a "Wit yeast" please let me know and I will edit and add it into this list.

Please feel free to share any experience you may have had good or bad!

Please put as much info as possible to help others; grist/hops, primary/secondary length, aeration, temperature, pitching rate and generally any info you deem helpful!

Cheers and beers!!!!



WYEAST;

YEAST STRAIN: 3942 | Belgian Wheat™
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Isolated from a small Belgian brewery, this strain produces beers with moderate esters and minimal phenolics. Apple, bubblegum and plum-like aromas blend nicely with malt and hops. This strain will finish dry with a hint of tartness.
Origin:
Flocculation: medium
Attenuation: 72-76%
Temperature Range: 64-74° F (18-23° C)
Alcohol Tolerance: approximately 12% ABV
Styles:
Belgian Pale Ale
Belgian Tripel
Witbier
Origin:
3942 Belgian Wheat Esen, Belgium (De Dolle)


YEAST STRAIN: 3944 | Belgian Witbier™
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This versatile witbier yeast strain can be used in a variety of Belgian style ales. This strain produces a complex flavor profile dominated by spicy phenolics with low to moderate ester production. It is a great strain choice when you want a delicate clove profile not to be overshadowed by esters. It will ferment fairly dry with a slightly tart finish that compliments the use of oats, malted and unmalted wheat. This strain is a true top cropping yeast requiring full fermenter headspace of 33%.
Origin:
Flocculation: Medium
Attenuation: 72-76%
Temperature Range: 62-75F, 16-24C
Alcohol Tolerance: 11 to12% ABV
Styles:
Belgian Dubbel
Belgian Tripel
Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer
Witbier
Origin:
3944 Belgian Witbier Hoegaarden/ Celis White

YEAST STRAIN: 3463 | Forbidden Fruit™
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A widely used strain in the production of Witbier and Grand Cru. This yeast will produce spicy phenolics which are balanced nicely by a complex ester profile. The subtle fruit character and dry tart finish will complement wheat malt, orange peel and spice additions typical of Wits.
Origin:
Flocculation: Low
Attenuation: 72-76%
Temperature Range: 63-76F, 17-24C
Alcohol Tolerance: 12% ABV
Styles:
Belgian Specialty Ale
Witbier
Origin:
3463 Forbidden Fruit wheat Hoegaarden (assumed to be from Verboden Vrucht)


YEAST STRAIN: 1214 | Belgian Abbey™
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A widely used and alcohol tolerant Abbey yeast that is suitable for a variety of Belgian style ales. This strain produces a nice ester profile as well as slightly spicy alcohol notes. It can be slow to start; however, it attenuates well.
Origin:
Flocculation: medium-low
Attenuation: 74-78%
Temperature Range: 68-78° F (20-24° C)
Alcohol Tolerance: approximately 12% ABV
Styles:
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Belgian Dubbel
Belgian Specialty Ale
Belgian Tripel
Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer
Witbier

Origin:
1214 Belgian ale Chimay



White Labs;

WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale Yeast
Slightly phenolic and tart, this is the original yeast used to produce Wit in Belgium.
Attenuation: 74-78%
Flocculation: Low to Medium
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 67-74°F
(19-23°C)
Alcohol Tolerance: Medium
Review this strain
Read other reviews for WLP400
Read FAQ for this yeast
Origin:
WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale Hoegaarden/Celis


• WLP410 Belgian Wit II Ale Yeast
Less phenolic than WLP400, and more spicy. Will leave a bit more sweetness, and flocculation is higher than WLP400. Use to produce Belgian Wit, spiced Ales, wheat Ales, and specialty Beers.
Attenuation: 70-75%
Flocculation: Low to Medium
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 67-74°F
(19-23°C)
Alcohol Tolerance: Medium
Origin:
WLP410 Belgian Wit II Moortgat Brouwerij (via Ommegang?)

Other;
Safale K-97? - A German ale yeast selected for its ability to form a large firm head when fermenting. This top cropping ale yeast is suitable for top fermented beers with low esters levels and can be used for Belgian type wheat beers. Sedimentation: low. Final gravity: low. Recommended fermentation temp range is 59-75F.

T-58 - A specialty ale yeast selected for its estery, somewhat peppery and spicy flavor.

WB-06 - This dry wheat beer yeast is a specialty yeast selected for wheat beer fermentation. The yeast claims to produce subtle ester and phenol flavors.
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Last edited by BonneTerre; 06-04-2011 at 12:08 AM. Reason: I added the origins.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:37 PM   #2
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My brew day is tomorrow actually and can't comment on flavor profile, but the starter I made yesterday for the WLP 410 took off like a mofo! I mean, it was the craziest starter I've ever made. I'm going to have to feed it again later it's that active.

The LHBS, who I trust very much, were a bit skeptical on it's performance (said it was slow to start and slow to finish) but maybe this year's strain is particularly enthusiastic.

We'll see in about 3 weeks (I usually leave my brews for 3 weeks to a month in the primary, just because I like to make sure they're finished cleaning up after the party). So yeah, I'm not as concerned if it's slow to finish as long as it finishes.

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Old 05-31-2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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I just did a batch this weekend with the Wlp400. Actually i did a 10 gallon batch of a Wit type grain bill and split it in half. Half got the Wlp400 and the other half got Wlp300. The 300 was going the next day. As of last night the wlp400 has not gotten started. Both of these had 1L starters, both starters showed signs of fermentation. Og was 1.050, hopefully its started when I get home from work.

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Old 05-31-2011, 08:33 PM   #4
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I really like the WY3944/WLP400 (I find them remarkably similar). The 3942 is pretty neutral, and doesn't really give the esters that I look for in a Wit. I have never personally used the Forbidden Fruit, but have had several homebrew examples and it is definitely a fruit bomb, IMO, so if you're going that way, it may be a contender.

I can't see the 1214 or any of the dry yeasts working well.

I'm planning my Wit soon (maybe next batch) and will most likely use the 3944 again, but life is all about experimenting.

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PseudoChef View Post
I really like the WY3944/WLP400 (I find them remarkably similar). The 3942 is pretty neutral, and doesn't really give the esters that I look for in a Wit.
I completely agree. I've always found 3942 way too neutral and forbidden fruit totally out of style. Never used wlp400. I usually just go with 3944 and have always been happy with it.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:33 AM   #6
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I've used WY3944 three times now, and I can say it is by far the most heady yeast I've ever used. Its kreuzen is extreeeemely active, I've had them over 8" thick at times. Under higher temps (70+F) you'll get some banana esters, and in middle temps (64-68F) you will get some slightly fruity esters but not as strong.

The yeast seems more flocculent than hefeweizen yeasts (comparing to WLP320) but still pretty cloudy unless you go to great lengths to clarify. I've used it on 1 extract batch and 2 all-grains, and one of those all-grains is still fermenting. I harvested off the first batch (the extract) and have reused the same yeast, making starters on a stir plate.

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Old 06-01-2011, 04:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smakudwn
I just did a batch this weekend with the Wlp400. Actually i did a 10 gallon batch of a Wit type grain bill and split it in half. Half got the Wlp400 and the other half got Wlp300. The 300 was going the next day. As of last night the wlp400 has not gotten started. Both of these had 1L starters, both starters showed signs of fermentation. Og was 1.050, hopefully its started when I get home from work.
WLP400 surprised me - little to no activity until about 72 hours in with a 1.3L starter, then it went crazy and finished to within .001 of FG in one night! Krausened over 6 inches and blew out my airlock! Wild yeast, but produced an amazing witbier! Will definitely use again
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:48 AM   #8
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wlp 300 for hefes and wlp 400 for a traditional wit.
I found wlp 400 likes to take it's time even at the higher temp ranges.My last wit took 3 weeks to fully ferment at 73 degrees but got a real good belgian funk.
wlp 300 for me takes 3 weeks also but it's to let the sulfur odor dissipate,I also tend to let it ferment on the high side of the temp range,I found it balances the clove and banana flavors rather than being overly strong one way or the other.

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Old 06-01-2011, 12:48 PM   #9
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Update, I checked yesterday and although there was no action in my airlock, when I popped the lid I saw a huge Krausen. So I will just let it sit.

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Old 06-01-2011, 01:05 PM   #10
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I've used WLP400, and it is exactly as described. The slight tartness makes for a very refreshing beer. I used it a few times in the "SWMBO Slayer" recipe which is one of the most popular beers I make. Check it out, it's excellent. Make sure you use a blowoff hose, belgian yeasts are violent.

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