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Old 01-08-2011, 07:27 PM   #1
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Default What's your favorite Belgian Strain & Why?

I am just getting into brewing Belgian beers and would like to use one strain to brew several recipes, then repeat with different strains to get a feel for what each yeast contributes. As I am a broke grad student & brewing funds are limited, I plan to brew Saccharomyces' lower grav Belgian Pale Ale recipe and wash the yeast to brew several other recipes. I PMed Sacch and he suggested,

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If you have to pick just one strain to stick with I would go with WLP550. It's a good general purpose Belgian strain. Fermented on the low end of the temp range it will produce a good BPA or Belgian Golden Strong ale. On the warmer end it will produce lots of nice esters and produce a good Belgian dubbel/tripel ale. It's best to pitch around 68*F, and then adjust the temp down/up from there after active fermentation begins to keep the production of higher alcohols in check.
I am looking for similar detailed feedback from your personal experiences. What have you used, in what recipes (please post them, I am collecting recipes as well; especially competition winners or tried and true favorites!), with what results? What worked for you and what didn't? What fermentation schedules did you use? I am not big on Belgian wheats or spiced beers (I want to know what comes from the yeast before spicing), mainly Dubbels, Tripels, Strong Goldens, Blondes, and Strong Darks. I have devoured Brew Like a Monk and it gave me lots of ideas and general direction, now I am coming to my favorite source of information, YOU!!!

Cheers
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:26 PM   #2
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I like WLP500 myself. I find that it gives me the spicy characteristics I look for in a Belgian. I recently mixed it with WLP400 on a batch of Sorachi Ace Trappist Wit and I just tasted it going into the keg and I have to say the combination really rocks!

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Old 01-09-2011, 02:26 AM   #3
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I like the Wyeast (what my lhbs carries) Saison 3724 strain. Makes a great brew. Great characteristics to the brew.

If I were to select a workhorse, it would be 1214. It can ferment high gravity brews with ease and the final product tastes excellent.

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Old 01-09-2011, 07:43 AM   #4
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I would go with Wyeast Abbey Ale II and have fun playing around with temperatures to get the right esters for your taste. I like this yeast because it chews through sugars pretty well, although it doesn't attenuate as well as a saison strain.

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Old 01-09-2011, 07:58 AM   #5
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Wyease 3711. Very tasty and it'll ferment solid rock. I swear it will.

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Old 01-09-2011, 11:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TANSTAAFB View Post
I am just getting into brewing Belgian beers and would like to use one strain to brew several recipes, then repeat with different strains to get a feel for what each yeast contributes.
The best way to find out what each yeast brings to the beer is split the batch using a different yeast in each. 5gal = 5 yeast = 5 different beers = alot of hands on experience.

That way the recipe is the constant with the yeast being the only variable.




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Originally Posted by TANSTAAFB View Post
(I want to know what comes from the yeast before spicing),
This is a good start> clicky









Not really a one fits all but I have to go with the Achouffe family of yeasts, works great in many styles of beer.

But for dark Belgian beers I still find wlp530 - wyeast3787 best.


To brew saisons there really one that stands above the others - wyeast 3711 which is French , the other would be wyeast3726.

But theres alot of bottle yeasts that are really nice, Brasserie Caracole has two - Saxo & Nostradamus. Brasserie Les 3 Fourquets is another with Lupulus Blond and is part of the Achouffe family.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:00 PM   #7
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I used Wyeast Trappist 3787 and it came across just like a real trappist, mine just happened to be under carbed so it tasted like garbage.

I am going to try Belgian Ardennes this week in a primary that is supposed to only take 4 days. I'll let you know how that goes.

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Old 01-09-2011, 01:09 PM   #8
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I am going to try Belgian Ardennes this week in a primary that is supposed to only take 4 days. .

Hold up, the beer maybe @ FG but is not done >> wlp550 -wyeast 3522 takes 10-14 days to finish if using only light grains / sugars, add in dark grains and give it 21days to be safe.
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:05 PM   #9
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Hold up, the beer maybe @ FG but is not done >> wlp550 -wyeast 3522 takes 10-14 days to finish if using only light grains / sugars, add in dark grains and give it 21days to be safe.
The grain bill is:
6.25# Belgian pale malt
2.5# 60L
.25#120L
1.75# cane (beet) sugar

At 60% mash that's an OG of 1.055 for 5 gallons.
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:33 PM   #10
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Houblon, THANK YOU!!! this is the kind of feedback I was looking for. I want to know WHY people like the yeast they suggest, not just that they have used it and the beer was ok.

Quote:
The best way to find out what each yeast brings to the beer is split the batch using a different yeast in each. 5gal = 5 yeast = 5 different beers = alot of hands on experience.

That way the recipe is the constant with the yeast being the only variable.
Eventually I plan to do just that...after I have the chance to refine my recipes and collect several strains. Right now this is mostly a cost issue, not true experimental design!

Quote:
This is a good start> clicky
This table is reproduced in Brew Like A Monk and I think it is a good jumping off point, but I have NO idea what spicy, fruity, light phenols TASTE like

Quote:
Not really a one fits all but I have to go with the Achouffe family of yeasts, works great in many styles of beer.
WLP550 and Wyeast 3522 right? Saccharomyces recommended the 550 too, so that is looking like a first round winner. Are the Wyeast and White Labs offerings pretty similar?

Quote:
But for dark Belgian beers I still find wlp530 - wyeast3787 best.
The Westmalle strain for darks...what do you find it contributes that, say, the Achouffe strains don't?

Quote:
To brew saisons there really one that stands above the others - wyeast 3711 which is French , the other would be wyeast3726.
I'm not quite ready to jump into Saisons yet but thanks for the advice. I am moving to Colorado for grad school and there is a micro (Trinity) in Colorado Springs that specializes in Saisons (they also get Pliny on tap ) and I hope to tap the brewmaster's knowledge and experience when I do start working on the style.

Quote:
But theres alot of bottle yeasts that are really nice, Brasserie Caracole has two - Saxo & Nostradamus. Brasserie Les 3 Fourquets is another with Lupulus Blond and is part of the Achouffe family.
I am always a little hesitant to harvest Belgians if I'm not POSITIVE they don't use Brett...not quite ready to introduce that into the brewery yet!!!

Are these pure strains or blended?
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