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My WLP001 tastes like a Belgian. What happened?!?

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wgentzel

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So I just made up my own recipe for an all Centennial IPA and I thought it looked normal enough, so I went ahead with it. It's been fermenting at 60F (air temp) for about 11 days now and the Krausen just dropped. I figured I would go ahead and get a sample to check the gravity. It attenuated reallly well, 82%! I had a smell and it smelled extremely sweet for the style of beer and formula, and I tasted it and that was even stranger.


It tastes like a Belgian ale of some sort. Fruity, spicy, and some bubblegum flavor. What the heck!

Anyway, here is the info and if anyone has some insight please help me figure this out. Will the off taste clear up with more time on the yeast?




Centennial IPA

OG: 1.057
FG: 1.010
IBU: 61.0 (Rager)
Color: 10 SRM (Gold to Copper)
Yeast: WLP001
Primary: 3 weeks at 60F
Seconday: N/A
5 gallon batch
6.5 gallon boil


MALT AND FERMENTABLES

11lbs 2oz German two-row pils
8oz Crystal 55L
8oz Biscuit Malt
6oz Toasted Malt
4oz Torrified Wheat
4oz Amber Malt

HOPS

60mins 0.5oz Centennial (10.0 AA)
30mins 1.0oz Centennial (10.0 AA)
15mins 1.0oz Centennial (10.0 AA)
15mins 1tsp Irish moss
Plan to dry hop in the keg for a week with 1oz Centennial


Mashed @ 152 for 60min. When I pitched the yeast the starter was around 65F and the wort was around 78F. The tap water here is hot in the summer and I couldn't get it any cooler with the immersion chiller. Anyway, right from there to the 60F fridge, so the temp dropped pretty quickly and fermentation started after about 24hours. Even if the high pitching temp had some effect (I assume it was minimal since it chilled fairly quickly in the fridge) I don't see how it would make it taste like a Belgian. It was REALLY sweet too. I mean I can see peach flavors and whatnot, but even when I have done other beers with WLP001 at high temps I don't remember it being so Belgiany. Ideas?
 

janzik

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I just think your temps didn't come down as fast as you think they did. 78F is pretty high to pitch.

I have found myself putting my carboy in an old chlorine bucket (or you could use a tote or something) and fill it with ice water, then chill (CFC/IC, whatever) into your carboy.

I have a hard time believing that a 60F fridge is going to make 78F of wort come down 10-12 degrees in 24 hours. Do you have a temp sticker on your carboy? Fermentation is going to add a couple of degrees. With it as warm as it was, it probably took off quick.

Also, we don't know if your fridge really is 60 degrees. It depends on where you take your temps. My beer bottle/cold crash for carboy fridge can range 4-6 degrees depending on where you're taking the temperature.

I used to use the aquarium stick on thermometers, but they only go down to like 62 or 64 or something. The brew store had ones that went down to the low 30s. It's been helpful when I've been forced to use the ice bath in a bucket method to help my CFC get down to a pitchable temp.
 
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wgentzel

wgentzel

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I have a glass thermometer right next to the carboy. You very well maybe be right about the temp not dropping that fast, but within 48 hours no more water was leaking in from the airlock either.



Let's say your right though and it fermented too high. The thing is I have fermented too high with this yeast before and the flavors I find have been peach/plum/nectarine like flavors, but right now I am tasting bubblegum and spices. I even thought that with off flavors I wouldn't taste it because the IBU is relatively high, but it's so sweet!


Do you know if it's possible for WLP001 to produce those off flavors?
 

remilard

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I have a glass thermometer right next to the carboy. You very well maybe be right about the temp not dropping that fast, but within 48 hours no more water was leaking in from the airlock either.



Let's say your right though and it fermented too high. The thing is I have fermented too high with this yeast before and the flavors I find have been peach/plum/nectarine like flavors, but right now I am tasting bubblegum and spices. I even thought that with off flavors I wouldn't taste it because the IBU is relatively high, but it's so sweet!


Do you know if it's possible for WLP001 to produce those off flavors?
I once got a bunch of bubble gum and clove out of US05 which was unexpected. I ferment in a chest freezer with a digital controller and pitch a couple degrees below my ferment temp.

So either the chico strain is capable of that under some circumstances, or we both got a mislabeled yeast from different manufacturers (entirely possible).

Like you I have fermented fairly warm with the strain and got a different character.
 
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wgentzel

wgentzel

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Hmm, interesting that US05 did that all at assumably low temps. Do you remember what you fermented at with that batch of US05? I am fairly sure this is WLP001 since it was from washed yeast from my last IPA. It is possible that I mislabeled the yeast, but I am 99% certain it was the correct yeast.


Did the bubble gum and clove flavors mellow out a bit over time. Also how well did it floc that time around?
 

dstar26t

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I tasted a beer (IPA) at a little brewery in Fiskdale, MA. The new brewer did the same recipe as always (which uses Cal Ale) but he said he made a mistake and it came out like you're describing. I forget what he said happened, wish I could remember so I could help you.
 

permo

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Did you use WLP001 or US-05, I am not a big fan of either strain, but have tried them because they are so darned popular. With US-05 it is fairly common to get some peach, and I have even had some faint spice come up with the strain. WLP001, as long as you are below 70, should be failry clean.
 

janzik

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I have a glass thermometer right next to the carboy. You very well maybe be right about the temp not dropping that fast, but within 48 hours no more water was leaking in from the airlock either.

Let's say your right though and it fermented too high. The thing is I have fermented too high with this yeast before and the flavors I find have been peach/plum/nectarine like flavors, but right now I am tasting bubblegum and spices. I even thought that with off flavors I wouldn't taste it because the IBU is relatively high, but it's so sweet!

Do you know if it's possible for WLP001 to produce those off flavors?
A glass thermometer right next to the side of the carboy, or even touching the carboy is absolutely no indication of what the temperature is inside. I really think the fermentation kicked off before the temp got down.

Any yeast that you pitch too high is going to get all estery and whatnot. You said you pitched at ~78 degrees. That means this thing could be in the low 80s when it fermented.

As for it being sweet, what was the OG/FG of this batch?

(PS, go to your brew store and get the stick on thermos. If you don't have a place near by, go to the pet store, its better than not having one at all)
 

remilard

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Hmm, interesting that US05 did that all at assumably low temps. Do you remember what you fermented at with that batch of US05? I am fairly sure this is WLP001 since it was from washed yeast from my last IPA. It is possible that I mislabeled the yeast, but I am 99% certain it was the correct yeast.


Did the bubble gum and clove flavors mellow out a bit over time. Also how well did it floc that time around?
Flocculation was mediumish as it always is. It was an american brown ale. I put it on tap for a party in march and called it a belgian brown ale and nobody called my bluff but nobody got seconds either. I haven't tasted it since then. Now that you reminded me I'll taste it soon.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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If you harvested this yeast from an IPA it was likely stressed so that may have played a part (did you make a starter with it or just pitch?). Also, if you pitched at 78* F then you must have aerated at 78* F or higher and you probably didn't get as much O2 in solution as needed, something yeast (esp stressed yeast) won't like.

It seems the more I brew the more I realize that in order to make my best beers; I'm a slave to the yeast, not the other way around.
 

janzik

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If you harvested this yeast from an IPA it was likely stressed so that may have played a part (did you make a starter with it or just pitch?). Also, if you pitched at 78* F then you must have aerated at 78* F or higher and you probably didn't get as much O2 in solution as needed, something yeast (esp stressed yeast) won't like.

It seems the more I brew the more I realize that in order to make my best beers; I'm a slave to the yeast, not the other way around.

Yeah, there are too many factors. I actually stopped harvesting my yeast because I wanted to be 100% happy with what I was brewing before reusing. I also stopped using WLP001 for the most part and just use US05.

So, along with pitching too high, we don't know the quality of the yeast you harvested and if you over or underpitched.

It might mellow and be tolerable. My Dad made a brown that had a similar problem, and it was tough to drink at first, but the general flavor of the brown and the harvested WLP002 mellowed a bit with time.
 

remilard

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I seem to have the least 'luck' with S-05 between S-05/WLP001/WY1056. Apple-y/Pear-y sometimes, even when fermented cool.
Same here, tons of apple/pear from S-05 and much less from the liquid products. I tried to figure out why and couldn't so I suspect it is not the same strain as the other two. It could be the same strain captured at a different time but 05 is the newest of the products and modern Sierra Neveda certainly does not have a lot of apple and pear. Not a bad character per se, but different than the supposed equivalent liquid strain by a wide margin.
 
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wgentzel

wgentzel

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A glass thermometer right next to the side of the carboy, or even touching the carboy is absolutely no indication of what the temperature is inside. I really think the fermentation kicked off before the temp got down.

Any yeast that you pitch too high is going to get all estery and whatnot. You said you pitched at ~78 degrees. That means this thing could be in the low 80s when it fermented.

As for it being sweet, what was the OG/FG of this batch?

(PS, go to your brew store and get the stick on thermos. If you don't have a place near by, go to the pet store, its better than not having one at all)
The OF/FG listed at the top are actual, not predicted, so it's 1.057 OG and 1.010FG (so far). It's still letting loose some occasional bubbles though and there is the slightest layer of foam on top as well. I hope it doesn't get too much drier though.

Also, unfortunately no homebrew stores here sell the stickon thermometers. I live in South Korea and supplies are very limited, but the pet store idea sounds great. I'll check that out and see if I can find one.


Flocculation was mediumish as it always is. It was an american brown ale. I put it on tap for a party in march and called it a belgian brown ale and nobody called my bluff but nobody got seconds either. I haven't tasted it since then. Now that you reminded me I'll taste it soon.
Awesome, I'd be really interested in knowing if it has mellowed out! Actually, I guess if it's really bubblegummy I could just give it to Koreans here. They LOVE sweet things. I literally had some coleslaw last night that was just shredded cabbage, covered in kiwi dressing and sprinkles!



If you harvested this yeast from an IPA it was likely stressed so that may have played a part (did you make a starter with it or just pitch?). Also, if you pitched at 78* F then you must have aerated at 78* F or higher and you probably didn't get as much O2 in solution as needed, something yeast (esp stressed yeast) won't like.

It seems the more I brew the more I realize that in order to make my best beers; I'm a slave to the yeast, not the other way around.

I did not make a started, but this was washed yeast from a yeast cake. Other times I have done this have been very successful, and I pitched about 1/3-1/4 the yeast that was harvested directly into the aerated wort.

And I never really considered that 78F would greatly affect my ability to aerate the wort. Do you know what kind of off flavors to expect in a beer that has not been aerated properly?
 
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wgentzel

wgentzel

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Yeah, there are too many factors. I actually stopped harvesting my yeast because I wanted to be 100% happy with what I was brewing before reusing. I also stopped using WLP001 for the most part and just use US05.

I seem to have the least 'luck' with S-05 between S-05/WLP001/WY1056. Apple-y/Pear-y sometimes, even when fermented cool.

+1 If I want neutral, attenuative yeast...pacman get's the call.

I agree with all you guys and wouldn't use WLP001 as my first choice, but like I said I am in South Korea. There are about 6 ale yeasts you can buy here, and about all of them overlap (e.g. WLP001/US-05, WLP007/S-04, etc.) Then, even among these ones available, most are sold out 99% of the time. The only one I have been able to consistently buy is S-04. ANd that's at $4.00 a pack. WLP yeasts typically are $15 a piece. Wyeast is $20 a piece. And that's if they ever have any in stock!

I wash and harvest more out of necessity than anything else :D
 

ksbrain

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I had a similar issue with a repitch of US-05, and I was hoping for some sort of answer here. I ended up just figuring it to be a mutation and started with a fresh pack of yeast rather than repitch from the unexpected Belgian.
 

winvarin

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What's the best way to get into fermentation range when pitching? I first learned to brew in the early 1990s and then fell away for a number of years, only to come back in the last year or so. I am finding that a lot of what I remembered as my common practices are not acceptable. I used to always get my beer down to a temperature below what would kill the yeast and then pitch. I always shot for anything south of 80F and at or just above optimum range, then set in a fridge dialed in at the center of the yeast's optimum range.

Do I need to do the ice bath? Do I need to put an airlock on and leave it in my fridge for 24 hours before I pitch?
 
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