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Belgian yeast reviews: WLP 545 and Wyeast 3739-PC

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brownni5

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Over the past couple years, I've been building up my yeast bank. When I find one I think I'll like in the "expired" bin, I grab it. Sometimes, these are oddball yeasts that don't get a lot of attention. Two of which are WLP 545 Belgian Strong Ale and Wyeast 3739-PC Flanders Golden Ale.

WLP 545: Unfortunately, I don't have anything good to say about this yeast, but I think it's my fault. I've brewed 3 beers with it, and none came out well. I did a split batch BGS/Tripel with this yeast and Wyeast 3789, and neither one turned out - both tasted like I forgot the bittering charge. Not sure what I did there. From there, I tried a Dubbel. Started fermentation in the high 60s and let it roll. That was a mistake: high fusels. Next a smallish Belgian Dark Strong. It too was fusel-y even though I kept the temp down, pitching in the low 60s and never letting it get above 70. Maybe they weren't fusels, but some higher alcohols and phenolics that I didn't care for. I might try this yeast again, but I'm not excited to. I don't think it's bad yeast, I just don't know how to brew with it. I'm not interested in picking apart what went wrong with these at this point.

Wyeast 3739: Still early here, but I think I really like this yeast. First up was a Single type thing. Pitched at 63 and it took off - krausen and airlock bubbles much sooner than I've ever seen with one of my beers and was up to about 71 the following day. I had to reign this one in, which is unusual for me when fermenting in my basement in the winter. I try not to put too much stock into what's happening with my airlock, but this was rapid-fire bubbling - several bubbles per second. Very strange. I just put this on tap and had my first pour this evening: good phenolics, nice eaters and a slightly tart finish. No hot alcohols, but this is just a 5-6% ABV beer. Attenuation with this yeast was incredible: 92% AA, and it fermented pretty quickly. It does NOT want to flocculate out though. It doesn't bother me, but I know it does some.

I used that cake to ferment a Belgian Dark Strong with an OG of 1.094. Same thing - took off like a rocket with rapid off gassing. Much more heat generated during fermentation than I'm used to, again in winter in my basement, but I kept this one from shooting past 70.

I have high hopes for this beer but it will be next weekend before I package it (or even take a gravity sample).

Just a few data points, but when I looked into these two strains, I didn't find a lot of useful information, so I thought I'd add more.
 
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brownni5

brownni5

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Update the first: 5 weeks in the keg at serving temp and the yeast has finally fallen out of my single with 3739. Much more fruity now, less phenolic. I like this yeast a lot.
 

kdw2pd

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ISO: a slant, some slurry, or whatever of 3739 if possible! I loved that yeast when it was a PC yeast a couple years back. Never got around to creating a yeast bank, so haven't had it since then.
 

bkboiler

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This is cool! Thanks for reporting! I've got it on my list to clone duvel sometime ....many have tried...

How do u measure your wort temp after cooling? Also how do you cool? When do you oxygenate and how do you know the DO?

I'm curious if you built your starters using Mr Malty if the cell counts are accurate if the yeast is expired. .. did he generate data points past expiry or is the tool extrapolating?

I've had a lot of problems with fusels in the past, but NEVER with a belgian yeast...but I have had them quit early and end up with a cloying beer.
 
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brownni5

brownni5

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WLP 545 isn't the Duvel strain - I made that mistake when I picked it up - the name is deceiving. I think 570 is the Duvel strain. Frankly, I can't figure out where this yeast came from - there's lots of debate online.

I cool with an immersion chiller, but that's just what works for me. I measure temp with a thermometer. This feels like a trick question - is there another way?

I oxygenate with an O2 wand, but have no idea how to measure O2 content within the wort.

Lots of stuff online about reviving expired yeast. The calculator I use is no help, unless there can be negative yeast. I don't pay as much attention to cell count as some. Instead I go by volume of starter after I know I have healthy yeast.

I brew lots of different styles, but if I stuck to just a couple I could probably dial in my process. I'm happy if I make something drinkable or learn something new. After all, it's just beer.
 

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