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Old 09-22-2009, 09:32 PM   #1
CaptYesterday
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Default Who Has Experience With Wyeast 1388 - Belgian Strong Ale?

I'm worried about a brew that I am fermenting with Wyeast 1388 and had some questions about the yeast strain.

Little background info:

I brewed a Golden Ale this past saturday and got 5.5 gallons of wort with an OG of 1.082 which I chilled to 64 F. Mash temp was 148 for 90 minutes and I know that my thermometer is accurate.

I pitched a nice healthy starter of Wyeast 1388 that had been crashed in the fridge for about 8-9 hours. This was around 9 PM.

Then next morning, about 10 hours later I had some noticeable yeast activity, and full blown fermentation by sunday night with an inch of krausen and a temp of 70 F. Last night (monday) I noticed that the krausen was starting to fall, and today when I got home from work the krausen had completely fallen back into the beer leaving only clusters of small bubbles on the surface. The airlock is still bubbling every 2-3 seconds, but the gravity is only at 1.042, which places it at the halfway mark.
The current fermenting tmep is about 80 F.
Is this normal to have such rapid rise and fall of the krausen with this yeast or am I in trouble because the krausen is done after only 3 days of fermentation? I was planning on adding some sugar to dry the beer out after the krausen fell, but I feel like there are still way too many malt sugars left to toss in some cane sugar.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

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Old 09-22-2009, 09:47 PM   #2
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I haven't had experience with this specific yeast, but this has happened with my last two big Belgian batches with Belgian yeast strains. Did you have sugar in the boil? I'm suspecting that was the cause behind my batches stalling out after an initially active fermentation.

In both cases I had to repitch and wait several weeks for it to slowly finish.

I'll definitely try incremental feeding next time I do a high gravity Belgian ale.

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Old 09-22-2009, 10:20 PM   #3
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No sugar was used in the boil. I was planning on adding sugar after high krausen, but I'm not going to do it when the yeast are only halfway through the maltose.

The fermentation still appears to be going strong. I can actually see an induced current in the bubbles in the top of the beer, its just that there is no krausen left and this puzzles me.

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Old 09-22-2009, 10:31 PM   #4
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For what it's worth, my first high gravity Belgian went from 1.040 to 1.010 after the krausen settled. I think mine looked the same as you described: small bubbles rising up to the surface, the yeast gently swirling around inside and no krausen on top.

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Old 09-22-2009, 11:11 PM   #5
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This yeast strain behaved exactly the same for me. It fermented like the world was coming to an end for a few days, and then it took 4 weeks to hit FG. It eventually did finish at 1.014 from 1.090, but it was very slow to finish even at 80*F.

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Old 09-23-2009, 01:19 AM   #6
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Ok, I feel slightly better now. I guess I was just expecting the same over the top fermentation that the Trappist High Gravity yeast gave me.

Guess, I'll toss a little DAP in with the sugar when I add it just to be on the safe side.

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Old 09-23-2009, 02:56 AM   #7
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Just 3 weeks ago I brewed a batch of Belgian Blonde Ale (1.072)using this yeast. I mashed at 152F. Pitched a 1L starter at 68F. As fermentation goes it didn't start awfully strong for me but when it did it was fairly robust. Yesterday I did a FG reading and got 1.009. Every now and then if I look long enough I will get a bubble in the airlock which means the yeast are still chomping on what's left. I am quite pleased with the attenuation of the yeast though I did add a 1lb of candy sugar to my boil which helps a lot. My advice would be to wait it out at least 3 weeks in the primary before doing anything. Good Luck.

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Old 09-24-2009, 03:07 AM   #8
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Took another sample, gravity is now 1.030. This beer now tastes like pineapple and pear. I hope thats a normal ester profile for this yeast.

Either way, its still chugging along.

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Old 09-24-2009, 03:14 AM   #9
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Took another sample, gravity is now 1.030. This beer now tastes like pineapple and pear. I hope thats a normal ester profile for this yeast.

Either way, its still chugging along.
Yep. Sounds normal. Mine had some banana too but that cleared up once it was done.
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:42 AM   #10
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I Brewed a Strong Golden with this yeast about 4 months ago; when I tasted it 2 months ago -- strong bananas. It's been carbed sitting in a keg in my garage the last 2 months; hoping it has cleaned up. Recipe called for 6 months total.

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