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Old 01-30-2013, 05:02 PM   #1
PureIrishStout
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Default WLP500 Tripel: 1.094 to 1.020 in 30 hours (!)

Howdy all,

I just wanted to share an interesting experience. I brewed an all-grain Tripel over the weekend, and within 30 hours of pitching a 1.6L starter (2 vials of WLP500) the gravity had gone from 1.094 to 1.020. I've never seen a more rapid attenuation, although there were a few factors that may have contributed.

My target boil volume was a little low, so rather than yielding 5.25 gal it was more like 4.75, hence the higher than typical OG for a recipe like this. Rather than topping off, I decided to experiment with the higher gravity for the sake of science.

I made a 1.6L starter, and using my heated stir plate I decided to "train" the starter at 74F rather than the usual 66-68F. I pitched at 70 and set the temp controller to 74. Active bubbling commenced within 3 hours, and within about 5 hours it was churning like crazy. So much for the 36-48 hour lag so widely reported for this yeast strain. Overnight my temp controller shat the bed and shut down, so wort temperature went up to 82 degrees. I managed to get the temperature back down, and by hour 30 there was no active bubbling anymore.

I figured that bringing the wort temperature back down to 74 had forced the yeast to fall out, but my gravity reading last night was 1.020. Flavors were all in the right range, although with so much yeast still in suspension getting an accurate flavor profile is pretty tough. I'm pretty sure gravity will continue to drop over the next week or so, and an FG of 1.008-1.012 is within reach.

Anybody else have an experience like this? My recipe was pretty straightforward:

12.5 lbs Belgian Pale
.75 lb CaraPils

1 hour:
1 oz Hallertauer
.75 oz Mt Hood
8 drops fermcap

15 min:
1 oz Saaz
1 capsule servo
1 tablet whirlfloc
1 lb clear candi

I'd love to hear if anybody has had a similar experience out there.

Thanks!
-Ryan

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:08 PM   #2
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I generally start Belgians in the low to mid 60's, hold near 64 for 1.5-2 days, and then let them ramp up to low 70's between days 3 and 7. You started in the 70's and ramped up to 82 awfully fast. That's why you had such rapid fermentation. I am a little concerned with creation of fusel alcohols at those temps in the first 24 hours. But I am hoping for the best! Give it plenty of time in primary as there are a lot of byproducts to clean up (3-4 weeks total). Hope your belgian turns out great.

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PureIrishStout View Post
I made a 1.6L starter, and using my heated stir plate I decided to "train" the starter at 74F rather than the usual 66-68F. I pitched at 70 and set the temp controller to 74. Active bubbling commenced within 3 hours, and within about 5 hours it was churning like crazy. So much for the 36-48 hour lag so widely reported for this yeast strain. Overnight my temp controller shat the bed and shut down, so wort temperature went up to 82 degrees. I managed to get the temperature back down, and by hour 30 there was no active bubbling anymore.

I figured that bringing the wort temperature back down to 74 had forced the yeast to fall out, but my gravity reading last night was 1.020. Flavors were all in the right range, although with so much yeast still in suspension getting an accurate flavor profile is pretty tough. I'm pretty sure gravity will continue to drop over the next week or so, and an FG of 1.008-1.012 is within reach.
i couldn't recommend this technique even if it reduces lag time (lag time is not a bad thing) or gets the beer finished fast. at 84 degrees this yeast is not giving you the best flavor profile, the upper range is 72 degrees, the lower temp range is 65 so i doubt it fell out because you brought it down to 74.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:19 PM   #4
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Yeast love warm temperatures so I'm not surprised at all.

That being said not all beer turns out well at the highest end of the strain being used and you exceeded it by a couple degrees.

The warmer temps will actually promote activity, not cause it to floc early.

This is a high flocculating strain as well

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Old 01-30-2013, 06:27 PM   #5
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As soon as i read the title i knew it was going to be a high temp discussion. When i first started brewing i had crazy fast ferments and never knew how important temp control is. Just because its a belgian strain does not mean it performs bettre at crazy high temps. Follow the temp range white labs and wyeast give for the strain, they know what there doing.

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Old 01-30-2013, 06:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick replies, everyone. Just to clarify: I wasn't trying to go nuts on the fermentation temperatures, the 80+ degree ramp was due to a buggy thermal control. I must say, however, that the WLP500 is the least-flocculant strain I've ever used. I cold crashed the starter to help decant it, and even after a day in the fridge it hadn't settled out more than maybe an inch on the very top of the flask.

I'll keep y'all updated on the progress on this one. I'm already planning to brew this recipe again soon in order to have a side-by-side comparison of proper temperature vs. crazy high.

Cheers,
Ryan

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Old 01-30-2013, 06:52 PM   #7
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I love wlp500 it's one of my goto yeast for most of my triple and dubbel. Yeah I hate to say it but you may have monkey juice on your hands ie a bannana beer. Wlp500 throws a lot of phenols above 70 degrees really nice in the low 60's if your looking for that chimay white or affilgem taste you need to stay low for awhile and not go over 70. Fwiw wlp500 is a beast and I'm not surprised at all with your results.

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