Author Topic: Rochefort yeast in non-Belgian styles  (Read 264 times)

Offline erockrph

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Rochefort yeast in non-Belgian styles
« on: December 10, 2021, 11:28:06 am »
In recent years there has been a lot of interesting information published from the DNA sequencing of yeast strains. One of the most interesting bits to me has been WLP540, purportedly from Rochefort, being closely related to English strains rather than Belgian. Also notable is that the strain is POF(-), meaning that it does not produce phenolic compounds like other Belgian/Trappist strains. According to BLAM, Rochefort’s current strains were sourced from the Palm brewery in the 1950’s, after not having much success with Chimay’s yeast in their beers. What’s interesting is that I definitely pick up some phenolics in Palm, so I don’t think that this can be the same strain.

Based on this, I decided to play around with the Rochefort strain. I will note here that I am using Wyeast 1762 rather than the White Labs strain. This is primarily because it has year-round availability. It is widely believed that this strain is an equivalent to WLP540, and it certainly tastes reminiscent of Rochefort to me, but until we see a genome I will make no absolute claims.

I have used 1762 in the past for an English Barleywine, and it did great in that style. That said, it was many moons ago and I don’t have very detailed tasting notes. I don’t recall any specific yeast character in it, though. A few months back, I decided to try out a very simple Bitter recipe using this strain (Pale malt and Invert #2, with Syrian Celeia throughout). My initial impressions were that the fermentation was quite clean, but the beer was still pretty young and needed time to age a bit. A month or so later I came back to the beer, and I keep going back to it over and over. I am really surprised by how clean the fermentation character is. I keep thinking I’m getting flashes of red fruit, but they’re fleeting and I’m honestly not sure if that is just confirmation bias on my side. There is none of the hallmark dark fruit/raisin/fig that is prominent in Rochefort’s beer. I’m not sure if there is any biotransformation going on, but it certainly lets the hops come through well.

This beer is so good, that I pulled a few ounces to start stepping up a starter for my next brew. My other planned experiments will have to wait. I will definitely be using 1762 in several different styles, next up is a brown porter, but there will definitely be an IPA in the future as well. I could see this being a "house strain" in a brewery that is capable of producing a broad range of styles.
Eric B.

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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Rochefort yeast in non-Belgian styles
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2021, 12:00:43 pm »
Very cool!  I love to see experimentation with yeast.  It is really the broadest and most critical frontier as far as I'm concerned.  Sky's the limit!
Dave

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Online dannyjed

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Re: Rochefort yeast in non-Belgian styles
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2021, 12:12:35 pm »
I have always found WY 1762 very clean as well. In fact, I quit using it for Belgian styles for this reason. I used it for Dubbel and Quad and the beers seemed to be lacking. I like those styles to have some phenols and esters. The small amount of esters that they had I attributed to the Candisyrup that was used in the recipe.


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Offline erockrph

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Re: Rochefort yeast in non-Belgian styles
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2021, 12:58:50 pm »
I have always found WY 1762 very clean as well. In fact, I quit using it for Belgian styles for this reason. I used it for Dubbel and Quad and the beers seemed to be lacking. I like those styles to have some phenols and esters. The small amount of esters that they had I attributed to the Candisyrup that was used in the recipe.
Something else I noticed from the Suregork chart is that WLP838 (Southern German Lager) is grouped very close as well. Given my recent brew, I wonder if a clean lager-style beer is within reach of 1762.
Eric B.

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Online dannyjed

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Re: Rochefort yeast in non-Belgian styles
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2021, 01:09:48 pm »
I have always found WY 1762 very clean as well. In fact, I quit using it for Belgian styles for this reason. I used it for Dubbel and Quad and the beers seemed to be lacking. I like those styles to have some phenols and esters. The small amount of esters that they had I attributed to the Candisyrup that was used in the recipe.
Something else I noticed from the Suregork chart is that WLP838 (Southern German Lager) is grouped very close as well. Given my recent brew, I wonder if a clean lager-style beer is within reach of 1762.
It looks like you have another style to experiment with. I wonder how low of a temperature it will ferment at? I’m very interested in hearing about your results.


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Dan Chisholm

Offline denny

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Re: Rochefort yeast in non-Belgian styles
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2021, 01:36:11 pm »
I have always found WY 1762 very clean as well. In fact, I quit using it for Belgian styles for this reason. I used it for Dubbel and Quad and the beers seemed to be lacking. I like those styles to have some phenols and esters. The small amount of esters that they had I attributed to the Candisyrup that was used in the recipe.
Something else I noticed from the Suregork chart is that WLP838 (Southern German Lager) is grouped very close as well. Given my recent brew, I wonder if a clean lager-style beer is within reach of 1762.
It looks like you have another style to experiment with. I wonder how low of a temperature it will ferment at? I’m very interested in hearing about your results.


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I've used it at 55F
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Rochefort yeast in non-Belgian styles
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2021, 05:00:15 pm »
I have always found WY 1762 very clean as well. In fact, I quit using it for Belgian styles for this reason. I used it for Dubbel and Quad and the beers seemed to be lacking. I like those styles to have some phenols and esters. The small amount of esters that they had I attributed to the Candisyrup that was used in the recipe.
Something else I noticed from the Suregork chart is that WLP838 (Southern German Lager) is grouped very close as well. Given my recent brew, I wonder if a clean lager-style beer is within reach of 1762.
It looks like you have another style to experiment with. I wonder how low of a temperature it will ferment at? I’m very interested in hearing about your results.


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I've used it at 55F
How was the fermentation character at that temp? I know I've gotten nice plummy ester character out of this yeast in BDSA recipes, but I'm wondering what dials to turn to get that in a low gravity ale - some combination of gravity, pitch rate, and fermentation temperature all must factor in, no doubt.

FWIW, this beer was 1.038 OG, I pitched a 3/4 liter fresh vitality starter into 3.5 gallons, and I fermented at 68F.

If I try a lager, I might go the pressurized route first just for grins.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer