Belg/Can 3864 yeast
I just recently produced a Belgian red using Wyeasts 3864. I had a very hard time getting it to fully attenuate. The FG was 1.016 with a starting gravity of 1.064. The beer is very good but I would like it a little dryer. The yeast was fermenting vigorously for 3 days then sputtered out. I roused the yeast twice in order to get it down to 1.016 during the 9 DAY fermentation. Yeast nutrient was added during boil and a proper pitching rate was used. My only thought is inadequet aeration or early flocculation issues. Maybe the strain has above normal oxygen requirements? Any thoughts for the next batch?
Perhaps lower the mash temperature????
I think that many micro-brewers still fail to appreciate the subtle charecteristics of Belgian beers and Belgian beer styles. Just having the right yeast will not automatically give you a stellar Belgian-style beer. If you brew it like a normal ale and ferment it with the special yeast your going to get a normal ale with some of the special flavors from your yeast, however that may not be close to an actualy Belgian style.
A few ideas:
1) Keep specialty malt amounts low.
2) Aim for a "Drier Mash" as in lower mash temp, multi-step mashes, higher water to grist ratio, ect.
3) Watch you bitternes levels, keep them lower than you would think.
4) Don't over spice (if adding spice).
5) Ferment at a higher temp than you would normally (sometimes much higher).
6) Try to carbonate to a high level.
Just remember many Belgian beers are light to medium in body with elevated alcohol content, subtle sweetness / fruityness (from esters / higher alcohols) but are very easy to drink. Most tend not to be medium to full bodied with lots of cloying sweetness, overely estered and "in my face". I like weizenbocks fine but I like Belgian styles because they are different, unfortunately not to some. Just remember what you like about Belgian beers and manipulate the process and recipe to give you that end effect instead of just leaving it up to a good yeast strain.
The recipe is right on with low bitterness, few specialties, candy sugar to lighten the body etc..... The only problem is the attenuation. I think you are both right, that a lower mash temp will help dry the beer out a bit. Fermentation temp. was around 74 F. Step mashing and a higher water to grist ratio will also help break down the sugars even further. Thanx for the advice. I'm also going to try to give the wort more oxygen at the start of fermentation and see how things go. Prost!
Last edited by blazingstar; 12-27-2004 at 06:46 PM.
Actually, a lower water-to-grist ratio (thicker mash) will promote more beta activity.
While thicker mashes can provide a more stable environment for certian enymes, fermentability (lower attenuation) was the point not just amount of extract. And while beta amylases do the majority of the sacrification, a thinner mash will provide a more attenuative beer. To quote from Malting and Brewing Science Volume One by Briggs, Hough, Stevens, and Young on page 290; "the fermentability of extract is usually greater in worts from mashes of lower concentrations because the more dilute solutions of sugars produced are less inhibitory to the amylases. In general. fermentability is maximal in worts prepared from mashes of 16-32% solids concentration, while maximal extracts are obtained from 39% mashes."
Essentially, what the quote is getting at is that more fermentable (lower attenuation) worts are produced from thinner mashes and thicker mashes produce more extract, not always being as attenuative. I would still use a thinner mash in conjunction with other techniques to produce a more attenuative wort.