General Category > Yeast and Fermentation

Free rise temp for Belgian strong?

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In general for Belgian yeast I like to control the fermentation for the first few days or so and then let it warm.  For my latest strong golden with WLP530, I pitched at 64, set the controller to 68 for 2 days, and then let it free rise up to 75 or so after that.  In the summer when it's hot I might keep using the temperature controller and limit the rise to 2 degrees a day or so.

Before I had a fermentation chamber I used to let those Belgian strains free rise. It was basically the only safe way to brew during the summer. I would try to keep them cool in a swamp cooler set up for a day or two and then just let it rise to whatever temperature it found in my house, which was usually the upper 70s.

Not all Belgian strains are the same. Some will start to get a little fusel-y in the upper 70s. Some produce less desirable flavors, especially if they hit the 80s. Mostly it will depend upon your preferred flavor profile.

Pitching rate and oxygenation will also play a factor in the flavor composition. If you pitch sufficiently (or overpitch) you will get less of an estery profile, especially if you keep the fermentation cool the first 1-3 days. That will also affect how the temperature rise will in turn affect the beer.

I think with those Belgian strains you have to pick one and play around with different factors (e.g. pitching rate, fermentation temperature schedule, oxygenation, etc.) and see how it changes to find what flavor profiles you can get out of it and which ones you prefer. It makes a lot more sense than trying to buy strain after strain to find a flavor you like.


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