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Brewing my first Belgian

Hi Everyone,

I’m gearing up to brew my first Belgian ale and want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. The yeast I’ll be using is Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes and the optimum temp is listed as 65 - 85 degrees F. I know Belgians get their estery character from higher fermentation temps, so I was just wondering what temp I should aim for during fermentation. I can throw this in my basement closet and it’ll sit at ~75* F without using temperature control, but if it should be warmer I’ll need to use a space heater for fermwrap. What do you all think? Would 75*F create a nice Beligain with this yeast?

Thanks in advance

:cheers:

[quote=“BrewBum”]Hi Everyone,

I’m gearing up to brew my first Belgian ale and want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. The yeast I’ll be using is Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes and the optimum temp is listed as 65 - 85 degrees F. I know Belgians get their estery character from higher fermentation temps, so I was just wondering what temp I should aim for during fermentation. I can throw this in my basement closet and it’ll sit at ~75* F without using temperature control, but if it should be warmer I’ll need to use a space heater for fermwrap. What do you all think? Would 75*F create a nice Beligain with this yeast?

Thanks in advance

:cheers: [/quote]

Start in the mid 0s and let it warm up during the course of fermentation. I use that yeast a lot and that strategy works well for me. It’s kind of a misconception that Belgian brewers ferment everything warm, especially at the beginning of fermentation. Get a copy of Brew Like a Monk…great info!

[quote=“Denny”]

Start in the mid 0s and let it warm up during the course of fermentation. I use that yeast a lot and that strategy works well for me. It’s kind of a misconception that Belgian brewers ferment everything warm, especially at the beginning of fermentation. Get a copy of Brew Like a Monk…great info![/quote]

Awesome! Thanks for the advice, Denny. Looks like a character was missing so I’m going to assume you meant, “Start in the mid 60’s…”

I’ll do just that and check out that book while I’m at it.

Your basement is 75*? Is “Northern Illinois” near French Polynesia? Or are you just the power supplier’s favorite customer? :mrgreen:

My general rule on most beers where I want some yeast character (such as most belgian ales) is to start around 62-65 for 2-4 days, then ramp up a few degrees per day until I get to 72-75. You will get plenty of esters and phenols (ie the “belgian” character), good attenuation and minimal, if any fusel/hot alcohol.

Keep in mind, the temperature on the yeast is the temp of the beer, not of the room/ambient temp. The former can become substantially warmer as yeast generates heat when it works on sugars.

If you don’t have any way to control temp, put the fermenter/bucket in a bath of 2-3 inches of water in a cool area of the house where the ambient temp is in the mid (preferably low) 60’s. That will make it harder for the yeast to move the temp of the beer with all their feasting and orgying. Then move it to a warmer area after 4-5 days (I warm it sooner because I can dial in temps).

[quote=“Pietro”]Your basement is 75*? Is “Northern Illinois” near French Polynesia? Or are you just the power supplier’s favorite customer? :mrgreen:

My general rule on most beers where I want some yeast character (such as most belgian ales) is to start around 62-65 for 2-4 days, then ramp up a few degrees per day until I get to 72-75. You will get plenty of esters and phenols (ie the “belgian” character), good attenuation and minimal, if any fusel/hot alcohol.

Keep in mind, the temperature on the yeast is the temp of the beer, not of the room/ambient temp. The former can become substantially warmer as yeast generates heat when it works on sugars.

If you don’t have any way to control temp, put the fermenter/bucket in a bath of 2-3 inches of water in a cool area of the house where the ambient temp is in the mid (preferably low) 60’s. That will make it harder for the yeast to move the temp of the beer with all their feasting and orgying. Then move it to a warmer area after 4-5 days (I warm it sooner because I can dial in temps).[/quote]

Thanks, Pietro. I should have been more specific in my first post. When I said 75* I meant temperature of the actual beer - not ambient temp. My fermentation closet is in the basement under the stairs, right behind the furnace. It is ~70* ambient in there during the winter and the sticky thermometer on my carboy can get up to 75* during an aggressive fermentation. I’ll definitely take your advice though and use an ice bath to control the temp and gradually raise it as you described. I’ve used an ice bath on my last 5 or so beers and it’s worked great.

FWIW, I have a Ranco 2-Stage temperature controller and an empty chest freezer in my garage. Only thing stopping me from setting it up is the sub-zero temps we’ve been having here, plus the need to purchase a small space heater for it. I’ll definitely set that up soon, probably right after this Belgian, because I plan to lager a Marzen/Oktoberfest starting in mid April :smiley:

I would do as suggested and try your first batch with this yeast in the low to mid 60’s. I use that yeast often. It’s my favorite Belgian yeast. It will give off big fruit esters and spices. Lots of flavor from that yeast compared to other strains, IMO. Having said that, I like to start it closer to 70F and hold for 2-3 days tops then let it climb up into the 70’s on it’s own. But again, this is just my opinion. When I use this yeast I’m looking for big bold flavors.

Good luck and enjoy!

:cheers:

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