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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: brewmasternpb on May 21, 2013, 05:11:51 AM

Title: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: brewmasternpb on May 21, 2013, 05:11:51 AM
Hey gang,
I want to make a beer that, for all intents and purposes, comes from a wit recipe but uses a slightly different yeast.  I want to use either WLP550 (Belgian ale) or WLP575 (Belgian Ale Blend) and not the usual Wit yeast.  I know that, by foregoing the Wit yeast(s), I am not going to get a beer that is exactly a wit.  I'm ok with this, as I probably won't enter it into a competition, I just don't want to make something awful. 
I usually think that you can combine any wort with any yeast, as long as fermentation, temperature and sanitation are good, and you'll have drinkable beer.  However, I have heard that Wits need that yeast to be good, because of the unmalted wheat.... I've settled that though, and am not using unmalted wheat.  I amusing Pilsner malt, white wheat and Oats (golden naked and flaked).
The reason I don't want to use the wit yeast is because I reuse yeast, and I want to do other styles later on, and the Wit yeast isn't great for the styles I want to do.
Any experience here, or knowledge related to the above mentioned yeast strains will be greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on May 21, 2013, 05:29:17 AM
It will be fine. You won't get the clove character as much by using 550 or 575 and it will be fruitier.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of 575 so I would rather use 550 but that's just me.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: brewmasternpb on May 21, 2013, 05:31:40 AM
Good call. I've been brewing a long time, but have never used any "normal" Belgian strains... I've used the Wit, Saison, American Farmhouse blend and the Unibroue strain, so I will probably start with 550.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 21, 2013, 01:39:49 PM
You get lots of character from Belgian yeasts, so you might be missing a bit of what you'd expect in a wit, but IMO if you keep the % of wheat appropriate and add coriander and orange peel you'll be getting pretty much what you're hoping for.

I've not used 575, but I make a lot of beers with WY3522 (same strain as 550).  IME, it's great for the paler Belgians but it has almost a tartness that may not be what you're looking for in wit.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: denny on May 21, 2013, 04:54:16 PM
re you trying to make a beer that tastes like a wit?  Have you considered making another Belgian style that might be more appropriate for the yeast?
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 21, 2013, 05:26:43 PM
You get lots of character from Belgian yeasts, so you might be missing a bit of what you'd expect in a wit, but IMO if you keep the % of wheat appropriate and add coriander and orange peel you'll be getting pretty much what you're hoping for.

I've not used 575, but I make a lot of beers with WY3522 (same strain as 550).  IME, it's great for the paler Belgians but it has almost a tartness that may not be what you're looking for in wit.

+1

This is what Ommegang does for Witte (they use their house yeast), and its listed as a commercial example in the BJCP guidelines.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: gmac on May 21, 2013, 05:47:48 PM
re you trying to make a beer that tastes like a wit?  Have you considered making another Belgian style that might be more appropriate for the yeast?
+1
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: a10t2 on May 21, 2013, 06:16:33 PM
The Unibroue strain would be a good choice, IMHO. It's pretty phenolic.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 21, 2013, 06:34:45 PM
The Unibroue strain would be a good choice, IMHO. It's pretty phenolic.

I LOVE this strain. Is it still a Wyeast PC or do they carry it regularly (its not listed on the website)?
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: a10t2 on May 21, 2013, 06:36:24 PM
I LOVE this strain. Is it still a Wyeast PC or do they carry it regularly (its not listed on the website)?

I'm not sure what Wyeast's plans are for it, but it's a really easy one to culture up from a bottle.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 21, 2013, 06:45:07 PM
I LOVE this strain. Is it still a Wyeast PC or do they carry it regularly (its not listed on the website)?

I'm not sure what Wyeast's plans are for it, but it's a really easy one to culture up from a bottle.

Good point - and good excuse to pick up their sampler four-pack that Trader Joe's is carrying...
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 21, 2013, 07:58:09 PM
The Unibroue strain would be a good choice, IMHO. It's pretty phenolic.

I was going to suggest this earlier but it wasn't on his list of yeasts he wanted to use.  I'd do the Unibroue strain over 550 or 575.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: brewmasternpb on May 22, 2013, 04:21:29 AM
re you trying to make a beer that tastes like a wit?  Have you considered making another Belgian style that might be more appropriate for the yeast?

Yes, which was how I got started with this post anyway.  I originally just wanted to to do a summer beer with wheat and oats.  When I created the recipe, it looked an awful lot like a wit, so I went from there.  The next beers I do with this yeast will be a Belgian Blonde, a dubbel and a Trippel.  Since those were to be to style, I'm ok with this one being out of style.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: brewmasternpb on May 22, 2013, 05:35:12 AM
Honestly, I may go without the spices, so as to separate it from a wit...
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 22, 2013, 11:43:42 AM
Honestly, I may go without the spices, so as to separate it from a wit...

If you're not brewing for competition, and you don't care to put the spices in, don't!

My favorite part of brewing a summer beer with Belgian yeast is harvesting for a nice Tripel/BDS that will be ready in the fall.
Title: Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
Post by: skyler on May 22, 2013, 07:31:16 PM
I have made some pretty excellent "to style" witbiers with different yeasts. While I haven't done this with 550, I am confident it would work. My all-time best witbier was actually made with Wyeast 3711. I also used the Unibroue strain effectively, as well as 1214 (to-style, but not my favorite). One strain that I have stopped using for wits is Forbidden Fruit, which is actually listed as a good strain for Witbier.

One strain really REALLY enjoyed in a session ale, which I plan on trying in a witbier was 3739. It was a very spicy, phenolic strain, giving an almost cinnamon-like aroma to the beer I made with it, and I regret not keeping that yeast strain going longer.