I have this co-dependent love/hate relationship with Wyeast 3787 Trappist HG yeast. Love the taste. Hate the mess. Normally, I think it weird to ascribe anthropomorphic attributes to a single-celled animal, but this yeast just wants to have fun. You've been warned.
My Intro to 3787
I brew high-gravity Trippel with this yeast. I picked up a Wyeast smak-pak a few months ago, and used it on a 5# partial mash wort, OG=1.076. Final gravity went to 1.010 for a dry 9.1% ABV. Did I say I love this yeast?
However, somewhere between OG and FG, the 3787 escaped its holding cell (a 6g primary pail) on three separate occasions. One morning, I found it crawling across the floor, like some alien slime monster from a grade B movie. This stuff is slightly warm-blooded - I recorded a maximum temperature rise of 5 degrees over ambient. I exiled the primary bucket to the coldest place in the house - a 59F tiled bathroom floor - and it was allowed back inside after Day 6.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
Part of the joy of home brewing is learning how to do new things. I'm learning to how to rinse yeast, and the taste of 3787 is apparent even after two weeks. Gravity had stabilized, so I prepared for rinsing by giving the primary a swirl. Fifteen minutes later, rack the wort and suspended yeast off of the trub and dead yeast, and into a carboy.
After another 2 weeks, gravity stabilized at 1.010 and the beer was bottled. Taste at bottling was apricot/spice; the best I have ever tasted. It's currently bottle conditioning. They're calling to me even as I write this, but I'm resisting the temptation to open one.
Play It Again, Sam.
The secondary yeast was nearly trub-free. A third of it was built back up to a 2L starter, and pitched it into a 1.070 all-extract wort. (I was in a hurry.) This time, I was ready - carboy with this HUGE blowoff tube from the LHBS. Picture below.
The 3787, as predicted, once again escaped the confines of its cell, except this time it merely crawled across the sink and down the drain. I feel bad about losing such fine yeast to the drain, but it's the price we pay for such aggressive soldiers.
On Day 3, krausen had fallen to 1", and the 3787 was no longer crawling out the tube. SG was at 1.042 - over halfway done. Being fastidious to a fault, I decided this morning to remove the blowoff tube and insert the S-airlock. The experienced brewer likely knows what comes next...
This afternoon, I checked on the patient, and it once again was attempting escape. It had crawled four inches across the counter-top, likely making plans for its next move. Airlock completely jammed with yeast. OK, back to the blow off tube. Clean up the mess.
In retrospect, it likely wasn't a good idea to give the carboy a swirl. I wanted to release any active yeast from the cake. However, 3787 does not need encouragement; it can take care of itself. Anything that ferments immediately, aggressively, and goes to 9.1% ABV doesn't have many natural enemies.
Here is the current holding cell for 3787. Note the perfectly clean blowoff tube and discarded (cleaned) S-airlock. Lesson learned - use the blowoff tube until the 3787 krausen has completely fallen.