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Old 07-21-2014, 12:27 AM   #1
QuercusMax
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Default WLP530 - What a crazy yeast!

A month ago, I brewed a Dubbel with an OG of 1.068. I made up a half gallon starter of WLP530 and pitched the entire starter at high krausen.

I put it in my basement (in the bathroom on a tile floor), with an ambient
temp of about 61 degrees - thought it would be safe enough down there.
My plan was to let it sit for a couple days, then put on temperature control
with a space heater and ramp it up into the low-to-mid-70s.

I aerated with a drill+paint stirrer, and pitched the yeast around noon, and the airlock was already bubbling by the evening. Awesome!

Two days later I come home from work, go down to the basement to check on something, and notice a peculiar smell. Was that... yeast?

Yes, yes it was. It blew the lid off bucket and forced a good pint or two of yeast onto the floor! The airlock was totally clogged too! I cleaned and sanitized the lid, put the fermenter in the bathtub, and loosely placed the
lid on top of the bucket.

A few days later, it seemed safe enough, so I moved it to the corner of my basement and set the controller to 72. A few days after that, upped it to 74. So far so good.

I moved it up to a bench to let it settle, in anticipation of racking it to a keg shortly. The next day, I cracked the lid, and there was still a big fat krausen!

Another week passed - still quite a thick krausen.

Tonight (a few month after brew-day), I decided to rack. Crack open the lid - STILL a krausen! WTF??? Here's a picture of it, after I took a gravity sample:


It had fermented down to 1.010, but never dropped the krausen. Anybody else seen this happen? It tastes great, and I plan on repitching into a Tripel, but this is just weird. I've had yeast rafts before, but never the entire surface still covered. Aside from this, it seems to have dropped really nice and clear, but it's just bizarre.

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Old 07-21-2014, 07:12 AM   #2
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I have had this happen before for no apparent reason. Beer was great and clearer than usual. Some sort of protein or sugar matrix that's lighter than the wort. I don't think it's anything nasty.

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Old 07-21-2014, 05:04 PM   #3
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The beer appeared to be very clear when I transferred it, with a nice compact yeast cake. I had an extra half gallon which I racked directly into some bottles (with priming sugar), and they looked very clear.

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Old 07-21-2014, 09:21 PM   #4
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I've noticed it needs a lot of headspace and it takes a fairly long time to finish. Also, the activity tends to cycle for a few days after it gets going - even with strictly controlled temps. It makes great beer, though. It became my favorite Belgian strain after the first batch.

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Old 07-22-2014, 01:16 AM   #5
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An OG like that, and no blow off tube? Lesson learned I suppose

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Old 07-22-2014, 01:31 AM   #6
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I made a 1.094 Dark Strong with WLP500 and it didn't explode. I didn't realize how explosive this yeast is.

I think with my Tripel I'm just going to leave the lid loosely on top for the first week... Otherwise I'll probably end up in blowoff city again.

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Old 07-23-2014, 08:17 PM   #7
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This morning I pitched the slurry I saved into a Golden Strong, and when I opened the mason jar containing the slurry it had the same funny krausen-thingy on top of it, just like the fermenter. Super weird.

My plan for the new batch is to ferment it with the lid loosely attached, in my temp controlled fridge. The Dubbel came out much mellower than I was hoping for (not nearly as fruity and spicy as WLP500, which I guess is typical for 530), so I'm going to ramp the temperature up to 78 over the next week, in the hopes that it will give me more flavor.

I may add some Fermcap or Gas-X if it looks like it's going to get out of control again... or maybe just find a tub to put my fermenter in, inside the fridge....

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Old 07-24-2014, 07:43 AM   #8
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If that made tasty beer, rinse the yeast and keep it going. It may have a petite mutant that is novel to your beers. Keep it going as long as it keeps making good beer. Keep your fermentation practices as predictable as possible.

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Old 07-25-2014, 03:19 AM   #9
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60 hours in, and she's ready to blow. I put a towel around it to catch the excess. I have it temp controlled now at 75.

I sure hope this tastes good. If not, I'm going back to WLP500. It takes forever to drop clear, but it tastes fantastic fermented at 65-72, and doesn't blow off.

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