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Old 02-09-2011, 06:59 PM   #1
moconno1
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Default Belgian Whit - Potential Contamination or Yeast Bi-Product?

Fellow Brewmeisters,

First posting to the group. I'm curious as to whether anyone on here has created a Belgium Whit using Belgian Whit yeast. One week after Fermentation began on my first attempt at a Belgian, I opened my Primary to add a few pounds of Tangerine to my Five Gallon batch, as I wanted a hint of residual fruit flavor in my whit (I don't have a secondary, so I decided to try this method even though I knew the yeast would consume most of the sugar and fruit flavor). Although I didn't see any signs of contamination or bacteria before adding the fruit, the existing wort was definitely funky. I wasn't sure if this was a bi-product of the yeast (I used WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale from White Labs) or if it was, indeed, a contamination issue. I was rather diligent in my sanitation, though, given my lack of space (I brew in an Apartment), contamination is a definite possibility. Never the less, I added the pasteurized fruit as planned, which re-started fermentation.

My question for the group is has anyone else used this kind of (Yeast WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale from White Labs) before and had similar experiences? Or, is it likely a case of contamination? I pitched the yeast at 68 or 69 degrees, and chilled the wort within 20-25 minutes. The flavor I describe as "funky" is somewhere between a strong belgium beer aroma and sweaty gym sucks (probably, closer to the gym socks unfortunately). Any insights or critiques would be much appreciated. Thanks, -Mike

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Old 02-09-2011, 07:10 PM   #2
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First, yes I have used WLP400 for a real Belgian Wit. It was funky and that's the way it was supposed to be. Tasted pretty good. Not a nice clean flavor like the American Wit style like Blue Moon, but a slightly tart (maybe) and def funky smelling and tasting Wit beer.

And also, yes it can look and smell funky while it's cooking and to a certain degree after it's done.

But 5 lbs of tangerine? Most people just add a few ounces of zest... I wonder what adding that much fruit would do to the fermentation?

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Old 02-10-2011, 12:33 AM   #3
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nvmd

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Old 02-10-2011, 02:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for getting back to me, Homercidal. When I tasted the Wort which had the funky smell described above, I had actually not added fruit at that point. I actually didn't add 5 lbs of Tangerine, but 2lbs. of tangerines plus 1lb. of Cherries. The reason I added the fruit is because the beer came out much darker than expected (the result of a higher ratio of Pilsner, Oats, and Belgian Aromatic Malt), and I wanted to add fruits that would blend the Grain Bill with the Coriander, Ginger and Zest I added to the boil (I was worried that the Spices wouldn't "pop" as intended, so I took a risk and added the fruit). I'm real curious as to what is happening in my fermenter right now, as I'm not sure if the funky, "gym sock-esque" aroma is a bi-product of the Belgian Whit Yeast Strain or Contamination.

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Old 02-10-2011, 02:59 PM   #5
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When i used WLP400 the smells coming out of my closet were frightening. I relaxed, ignored the fermenter for 4 weeks and bottled it up. 4 weeks in the bottle and it is amazing. I would embrace the funk!

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Old 02-10-2011, 03:00 PM   #6
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I use the exact yeast with the just-another-brew-day-wit recipe. It does give off some awesomely funky odors, but I am fermenting my second batch. The first batch came out wonderful. I anticipate the same for the current fermentation.

Enjoy!

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Old 02-10-2011, 03:19 PM   #7
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Yeah, the smells from most Belgian yeasts can be a bit putting off. That stuff gets cleaned up to a certain degree at the end of the fermentation process. But keep in mind that it IS a Belgian yeast and will likely have a fair amount of funkiness anyway.

And I'd love to see your wort right now. I know adding fruit is not a new thing, but I've never had a Wit with actual fruit in it.

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Old 02-10-2011, 03:25 PM   #8
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Im looking at making a blackberry wit in about a month. Should be a fun experiment!

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Old 02-10-2011, 04:08 PM   #9
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My last wit beer was i put in blue berries and juice. Dont anticipate much flavor from it unless you are adding a concentrate prior to bottling.

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Old 02-11-2011, 01:12 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the awesome advice, guys! I feel much better now. My new plan is to let it sit in the fermentor for three weeks (a total of four), and bottle for another four. If I remember, I'll post the result...

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