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Old 06-20-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
lpdb185
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Default someone please convince me to keep going!!!!

please forgive me, but this has become a regular question i pose to you here. WHY IN THE HELL CAN IN NOT MAKE A DECENT BELGIAN STYLE BREW????? i've done 5 batches now and they all have a sulfury funk to them that's definitely not to my tasting. i've had most of the great commercial belgians of all styles; none of them have had this taste. some people think i'm confusing it with the characteristic flavors of belgian yeasts, but these taste nothing like any of the commercial beers i've had.

anyways, i've tried wlp550 and 500. i've tried fermenting them everywhere between 65F and 75F. first i was led to believe they needed to be fermented at a higher temp. that didn't work. i tried to start at 68 then ramp to 75 and that didn't do it either. then i was told i was getting the yeast too hot too quick. so i fermented my latest batch, a tripel ipa using wlp500, at 65F through the entire fermentation to make sure it wasn't the temp. well, it tastes as much like dog crap as the rest of my belgian brews. just to be clear, i ferment in a chest freezer controlled with a 2-stage ranco. i seal the probe to the side of the fermentor using 2 layers of bubble wrap and a few layers of duct tape to seal the edges. i'm led to believe that using this method, the probe will read the temp of the wort instead of the ambient temp.

my question is: WTF??? everything else i've brewed not using belgian yeast has been fine, and none of them have exhibited this sulfury/dog crap taste. i will say that each batch has gotten a little bit better (or i've just gotten used to it), but they are nowhere near enjoyable and are borderline drinkable.

the only other thing i can imagine being the problem is the water. out of my faucet, it has a slight sulfur smell/taste. from the hose outside, which i use for brewing, i've not noticed it. i never thought it should have been a problem since it didn't seem to affect my other beers, but i may be wrong. would somebody please tell me what i should do? keep pissing money away brewing undrinkable batches until i magically get it right? quit trying to brew with belgian yeast? does anyone have any decent suggestions? i've got the ingredients for a quad waiting to be brewed, so i'm hoping that the maltiness might help cover up whatever the problem is.

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Old 06-20-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lpdb185 View Post
please forgive me, but this has become a regular question i pose to you here. WHY IN THE HELL CAN IN NOT MAKE A DECENT BELGIAN STYLE BREW????? i've done 5 batches now and they all have a sulfury funk to them that's definitely not to my tasting. i've had most of the great commercial belgians of all styles; none of them have had this taste. some people think i'm confusing it with the characteristic flavors of belgian yeasts, but these taste nothing like any of the commercial beers i've had.

anyways, i've tried wlp550 and 500. i've tried fermenting them everywhere between 65F and 75F. first i was led to believe they needed to be fermented at a higher temp. that didn't work. i tried to start at 68 then ramp to 75 and that didn't do it either. then i was told i was getting the yeast too hot too quick. so i fermented my latest batch, a tripel ipa using wlp500, at 65F through the entire fermentation to make sure it wasn't the temp. well, it tastes as much like dog crap as the rest of my belgian brews. just to be clear, i ferment in a chest freezer controlled with a 2-stage ranco. i seal the probe to the side of the fermentor using 2 layers of bubble wrap and a few layers of duct tape to seal the edges. i'm led to believe that using this method, the probe will read the temp of the wort instead of the ambient temp.

my question is: WTF??? everything else i've brewed not using belgian yeast has been fine, and none of them have exhibited this sulfury/dog crap taste. i will say that each batch has gotten a little bit better (or i've just gotten used to it), but they are nowhere near enjoyable and are borderline drinkable.

the only other thing i can imagine being the problem is the water. out of my faucet, it has a slight sulfur smell/taste. from the hose outside, which i use for brewing, i've not noticed it. i never thought it should have been a problem since it didn't seem to affect my other beers, but i may be wrong. would somebody please tell me what i should do? keep pissing money away brewing undrinkable batches until i magically get it right? quit trying to brew with belgian yeast? does anyone have any decent suggestions? i've got the ingredients for a quad waiting to be brewed, so i'm hoping that the maltiness might help cover up whatever the problem is.
I don't have experience with the wlp500 or 550, but I say try the wyeast 3711 smack pack. Mine turned out well with that one. Search for it in the "fermentation" area and you'll find an awesome thread on it.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:30 PM   #3
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Get a water report. How can you make a good beer if you don't know what's in the main ingredient?


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Old 06-20-2011, 03:33 PM   #4
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Get a water report. How can you make a good beer if you don't know what's in the main ingredient?


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+1
and don't use the hose anymore, garden hose I take it?

I did a tried & true recipe and being lazy that day just use the hose, long story short it tasted like ass.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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it's an rv hose with a filter on it. i'll try to get a water report.

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Old 06-20-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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Use bottled or spring water. Try to use belgian or at least german malts. Don't over do the specialty malts. Aerate well. Underpitch a little. Leave it in the primary for at least a month. Don't even bother drinking it in the first 5 months after bottling.

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Old 06-20-2011, 04:17 PM   #7
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+1 to getting some info on your water. Both wlp500 and wlp550 can produce some sulfur during fermentation, but it should age out if left alone long enough. What's your fermentation schedule? FWIW I've never cared for wlp500 myself, and my favorite yeast for Belgians is wlp575, which is actually a blend of Trappist and Belgian yeasts.

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Old 06-20-2011, 04:56 PM   #8
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Give them time. Generally sulfur will dissipate. A nice cold storage period for Belgians is another good technique.

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Old 06-20-2011, 05:21 PM   #9
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I've used 550 a few times and love it, tastes great in my saison... I had some people round who tried it and guessed it was 4%, they were shocked when I revealed it was 7%. I have soft water though. Oh... and relax with the temp control, let it ramp up naturally with control only if it gets too hot.

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Old 06-20-2011, 05:30 PM   #10
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I'm surprised no one else has asked this...before you call foul on the water we need to know more of your process. How long are you fermenting these brews? Primary and Secondary...primary only?

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