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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Danstar Windsor - a review (using my house bitter)
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:34 PM   #1
jfr1111
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Default Danstar Windsor - a review (using my house bitter)

There's a lot of information on different liquid strains or on the usual dry suspects (US-05, S-04, notty, etc.) but not much when it comes to Windsor, Munich, etc. I have had bad experiences with notty before (poor flocculation, long lag times, crappy taste, etc.) but I decided to give Windsor a try in a bitter. I had already used it once in a mild, but temperature control plus a bad recipe made for difficult evaluation of its performance.

OG: 1.040
IBU: 26
Mash 154F

3kg MO
300g Fawcett 65L Crystal
250g Invert #2
30g Black Barley

35g Bramling Cross @ 60
15g Bramling Cross @ 1

I rehydrated per the instructions and fermented @ 68F. Cooled the beer down to 45F, used gelatin and bottled a few days after @ 1.8 volumes.

Performance: There was a short lag time (around 10 hours), followed by violent and quick fermentation. The beer was fully attenuated in less than 5 days after pitching. The yeast didn't want to clear though, so I used gelatin and a bunch of frozen water bottles to force it to clear. This did the trick.

Aroma: There is certainly a fresh yeast/estery aroma up front that gives the beer some nutty character. Mildly fruity (considerably less than at bottling), some biscuit and malt. Not a lot of hops.

Appearance: "Read the newspaper through it clear" even though the beer is pushing 13 SRM. Gelatin REALLY helped.

Taste: Blackcurrant and berries, followed by a sweet malt,caramel and lady fingers taste. It tastes better than it smells. The bitterness starts to develop after a few seconds with the roast from the black barley. Finishes relatively sweet.

Mouthfeel: This is where the yeast really shines. Even though it finished @ 1.011, the beer has a good, luscious body.

Overall comments: This yeast has a distinctive odour that might not be to everyone's liking. It's pretty nutty. Maybe fermenting lower might alleviate it, but it makes for a change. The flavour profile and mouthfeel are very, very good though. It's definately a strain that will see more use in my brewery in the future, especially for darker bitters. Bramling Cross hops were also nice, but I vastly prefer EKG or Fuggles.

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Old 10-05-2011, 06:40 PM   #2
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Does windsor have a liquid yeast similar to it?

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Old 10-05-2011, 06:44 PM   #3
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I don't think so.

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Old 10-05-2011, 10:46 PM   #4
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Coincidentally I've also just done a variation on my house bitter, a recipe based on Tim Taylor's Best Bitter, with Windsor, my experience was a little different though. Just to note, I used my standard procedures that usually produce a good beer. The only changes were the finishing hops (usually 30g EKG or Styrian Goldings) and the yeast strain (usually 1968 or 1469).

I'm at work so running off memory here...

1040
28ish IBU
95% Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise.
5% Baird's Dark Crystal.
Mashed ~66C
Chinook to bitter.
45g EKG + 15g Chinook @ flameout.

Ferment take off seemed pretty normal with what I usually get, fermenting well within 12 hours.

Ferment slowed after about 3 days, raised temp from 20C to 22C to finish. Left in fermenter for two weeks total. Into fridge at 5C, gelatined, kegged after a few days.

Was extremely clear at kegging, could nearly see through the carboy. On racking to the keg I did pick up some slurry when I slipped with my cane, wouldn't have been more than tablespoon and probably a lot closer to a teaspoon. After two weeks in the keg it's still hazy - it seems that it's either not dropping out after being resuspended or has formed a dusty layer on the bottom of the keg that's still getting pulled through.

Attenuation was not good at all. Only fell to 1018, i.e. 55% apparent attenuation. Nothing points to a stuck ferment flavour-wise and usually I get a finish in the 1010-1012 range on this beer.

Final beer is OKish.

Aroma is very 'worty', likely due to the high FG. There's some light English fruitiness - that generic fruitness that you can't put your finger on one dominating note like you can with some yeasts. Quite similar to 1968 in ester profile but not as good. Hop character is VERY muted. Usually I get quite a strong hop aroma in this beer with the aforementioned yeast and hop combos, this comes off as if there was maybe 10 - 20g total hops at flameout.

Flavour is pretty much similar to the aroma. Again high FG makes it a lot sweeter than it usually is.

Mouthfeel is quite good, but that upside is overshadowed by the cloying sweetness.

This yeast might have potential but I think it's one of those strains that just doesn't work in some breweries and/or you need to formulate the recipe around the yeast. SO4 is much the same for me - a lot of people have success with it but I never seem to have great results. Whereas all the liquid English strains I've used in this beer have come out great.

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Old 10-05-2011, 11:28 PM   #5
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Good to hear someone had good results. I've done two beers @68 with Windsor that tasted and smelled like pickled feet and were cloudy like mud.

I'm tempted to give it a 3rd chance... but I dumped one of the batches so I don't know.

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Old 10-05-2011, 11:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denimglen View Post
This yeast might have potential but I think it's one of those strains that just doesn't work in some breweries and/or you need to formulate the recipe around the yeast. SO4 is much the same for me - a lot of people have success with it but I never seem to have great results. Whereas all the liquid English strains I've used in this beer have come out great.
BINGO. The more I brew, the more I realize that tailoring a recipe to yeast is what produces the best results for me, and not the other way around. I wouldn't have dreamed of brewing this without the sugar addition. I'll give it to you that the fruityness is a bit generic: it's not as complex as other strains, but the flavour profile, to me, is nicer than what I got from 1768 in a very, very similar recipe.

I might even push the sugar even further up the next time I brew this beer, since it does tend to finish sweet, if not under attenuated. This strain seems like it would be a nice fit for 10% sugar, 2-3% C-140 with a MO base.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denimglen View Post
Attenuation was not good at all. Only fell to 1018, i.e. 55% apparent attenuation.... Aroma is very 'worty', likely due to the high FG.
I only used this yeast once (in an ESB) and swore I would never use it again. The yeast never flocculated and didn't attenuate much either. I remember thinking the beer tasted like someone took some unfermented wort and added a bunch of yeast to it.

I probably should give Windsor another chance (like the Whitbreads) though there are so many superb English strains available that it probably wont happen for me.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monstar View Post
Good to hear someone had good results. I've done two beers @68 with Windsor that tasted and smelled like pickled feet and were cloudy like mud.

I'm tempted to give it a 3rd chance... but I dumped one of the batches so I don't know.
Given your experiences, I wouldn't fault you if you didn't give it a third try

PS: Pickled feet I get from Nottingham exlusively.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfr1111

Given your experiences, I wouldn't fault you if you didn't give it a third try

PS: Pickled feet I get from Nottingham exlusively.
I get it from Nottingham as well!
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:58 AM   #10
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Where all the pickled feet beers ones that took a while to take off and refused to clear? That's what got a bunch of posts started that kicked off the last Notty recall.

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