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Fermenting a Dubbel with 3787

So, this weekend I brewed my first Belgian Dubbel and I went with 3787 for the yeast. I created a starter last week and ended up pitching at around 6 p.m. on Saturday. There was already some activity by 9:30 that night. Starting temp was around 74.

Fast forward to yesterday morning and I had a blow out and a blank fermometer. Ruh-roh. It cuts off at 78, which means the temp must’ve been up to at least 82. I put it in an ice bath and got the temp down to 70, maybe within an hour. I didn’t expect to be able to drop it that far, let alone so quickly. By yesterday late afternoon the foam had receded so I drained the bath. It’s been at around 70 degrees since. I put the airlock back on this morning because the burps had slowed considerably, although the wort still looks like a madly boiling stew.

I’m a little worried that rapid temp changes and/or the spike into the 80s will cause off-flavors. The smell coming from the carboy is definitely along the lines of a Belgian Dubbel, but it’s very intense and sharp/spicy. Is this to be expected at this point? And, was it a happy accident that I got the temp down and stable so fast, or was the damage done by then or exacerbated by the quick drop?

The higher temp range most likely had some effect on your beer. The first 24-72hrs are the most important in terms of what the yeast will impart on your beer. Having said that, it may not be a bad thing. I’ve used 3787 twice (fermented in the low 60’s) and while it’s made good beer I’ve not been overly happy with the flavors the yeast has added. I expected a much stronger Belgian characteristics then what I got. I plan on using this yeast again but fermenting more into the lower 70’s. Getting into the 80’s may have been a little too hot, but if it was only for a short amount of time, you may be ok. I’m sure you’re going to get some stronger flavors from those high ferm temps, but you may be pleasantly surprised. I’d assume the beer may need some significant aging time though.

I’m prepared for that…and the opposite :wink: .

It’s funny, the comments I find regarding 3787 are all over the map. Probably the most consistent thing I’ve read, though, is that it’s good to start low, around 60, and then get up to upper 70s, low 80s over 2 or 3 days, which is why I drained the bath. I’m hoping it will come back up, although we had a damn cold snap here so it’s not likely. Go figure, after days of unseasonable warmth, I brew a Dubbel and we lose 25 - 30 degrees! Heh.

Anyway, it sounds like the worst that might happen with the quick spike (over 80 within 24 hours) is fusels. Since I only had eyes off of it for 8 hours, and I had it to 70 within an hour of discovering the spike, I’m hoping I mitigated any problems in that regard. If I do get fusels, will it be obvious, and will they dissipate over time?

I plan to brew again this weekend and maybe next to fill the gap I’d experience if this one needs a couple months in secondary and/or bottles.

Oh, I also meant to ask about primary. I read somewhere that it’s good to get it off the yeast as soon as possible once fermentation is complete. Any thoughts on this?

I’d let a beer like that sit in the primary for 3-4 weeks. Then rack to secondary. I don’t know why there would be a need to rush it off the yeast. If anything, it will need more time on the yeast. Forget about it for a month. Rack to secondary, then forget about it again for another month or 2. Bottle, then forget about the bottles for a while.

Not exactly the same story, but I brewed a Tripel using that yeast back at the end of August. OG 1.092 down to FG 1.010. 1 month primary, 1 month secondary, 1 month bottle aged. So in December I started drinking this beer. Only 1 now and then. It was only a 2.5gal batch so I wanted to conserve as much as possible and at 10.9% ABV, it wasn’t hard to do. The first month the beer was ok, but still hot. Around late March, early April it started to get good. Now it’s really good, but I’m down to about 10 left :frowning:
So my suggestion is to age that beer for a little while and save as much as you can for when it gets really good!

Fusels may or may not be apparent; if they are it will be as “hot” or “solventy” alcohol flavor/aroma. At a very low level, that may be acceptable in a dubbel. If you store the beer warm, some of the fusel alcohols can be converted to esters, but they’ll probably never disappear entirely.

There’s generally no need to leave the beer on the yeast for an extended period of time, but there’s no real rush to get it off the yeast either. All my beers get a 2-3 day warm (22°C) rest after reaching FG, then get transferred to the keg or brite. The exception would be a case like this, when you’re concerned about off-flavors and want to give the yeast some extra time to “clean up”. In that case, I’d suggest leaving the beer on the yeast for a week or so after it reaches FG.

I also wouldn’t bother with a brite (“secondary”) for a beer like this. After 2-3 weeks in the fermenter I’d keg/bottle.

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Any guesses as to whether or not the temp spike or my corrective measures will lead to utter ruination? :wink:

I hope you get lucky with this one, but I’m kinda skeptical…that’s an awfully high temp to start that yeast at. I like to start it about 10 degrees lower and let it rise after a week.

As I said above, I’ve had what I feel to be an issue with not getting enough flavors out of this yeast, but I’ve always fermented at the low end and held it there for the first 5-7 days or so and then brought it up slowly over a few days. Do you think I would get better results from starting at the low end and raising it up quicker? Or should I start higher, maybe around 68F - 70F and slowly raise it? Or am I maybe expecting too much in terms of it adding characteristics to a beer? This was my initial thought and I have been thinking of switching to a different yeast strain.

Right on Denny. So, you typically start this one around 65? If so, how high is it able to get after a week at your preferred starting temp?

Also, for future reference, if temps spike like that, is it best to let it go (i.e., hope for the best), drop temps gradually, or drop them rapidly?

I suppose I should also mention that the smell coming from the starter was very similar to what I smelled coming from the carboy this morning. Very dominant, sharp yeastiness, albeit slightly more alcoholic/spicy now.

dobe - fwiw, I will be shocked if this thing lacks flavors. It smells STRONGLY (to a worrying degree) like what I love best about Belgian ales. I never knew how much of that flavor was from the yeast alone.

As I said above, I’ve had what I feel to be an issue with not getting enough flavors out of this yeast, but I’ve always fermented at the low end and held it there for the first 5-7 days or so and then brought it up slowly over a few days. Do you think I would get better results from starting at the low end and raising it up quicker? Or should I start higher, maybe around 68F - 70F and slowly raise it? Or am I maybe expecting too much in terms of it adding characteristics to a beer? This was my initial thought and I have been thinking of switching to a different yeast strain.[/quote]

Have you ever had a Westmalle tripel? 3787 i westmalle yeast and the character I shoot for is what I get from their tripel (and dubbel). Not too estery is what I like. My experience is that running it above 65 or so I get too much of the bubblegum/banana that I don’t care for and don’t really find prevalent in Westmalle beers. If you want more of those flavors, look at 1762 or especially 1214.

[quote=“ickyfoot”]Right on Denny. So, you typically start this one around 65? If so, how high is it able to get after a week at your preferred starting temp?

Also, for future reference, if temps spike like that, is it best to let it go (i.e., hope for the best), drop temps gradually, or drop them rapidly?

I suppose I should also mention that the smell coming from the starter was very similar to what I smelled coming from the carboy this morning. Very dominant, sharp yeastiness, albeit slightly more alcoholic/spicy now.

dobe - fwiw, I will be shocked if this thing lacks flavors. It smells STRONGLY (to a worrying degree) like what I love best about Belgian ales. I never knew how much of that flavor was from the yeast alone.[/quote]

I’ll even start it as low as 60-62 sometimes. After a week or so I stop trying to control temp. It generally gets up in the 68-70 range after that. I’ve heard stories of 3787 if you try to cool it too fast. I’ve never experienced that, but it’s something to be aware of. If the temp got away from me, I’d try to cool it down gradually, but as quickly as possible…wow, that’s a contradiction!

As I said above, I’ve had what I feel to be an issue with not getting enough flavors out of this yeast, but I’ve always fermented at the low end and held it there for the first 5-7 days or so and then brought it up slowly over a few days. Do you think I would get better results from starting at the low end and raising it up quicker? Or should I start higher, maybe around 68F - 70F and slowly raise it? Or am I maybe expecting too much in terms of it adding characteristics to a beer? This was my initial thought and I have been thinking of switching to a different yeast strain.[/quote]

Have you ever had a Westmalle tripel? 3787 i westmalle yeast and the character I shoot for is what I get from their tripel (and dubbel). Not too estery is what I like. My experience is that running it above 65 or so I get too much of the bubblegum/banana that I don’t care for and don’t really find prevalent in Westmalle beers. If you want more of those flavors, look at 1762 or especially 1214.[/quote]

I’ve heard of it and have seen it in my local beer shop. Guess I have a homework assignment :smiley: I’ll try one and see what I think.

I was actually thinking of using 1762 for a Belgian IPA I’m brewing in the next week or 2. That would be a nice stepping stone for another Tripel!

Thanks Denny… now off to my homework!

I’ll have to try to pick up some Westmalle, too. There’s a shop around the corner that very well may have it…

What happens? The yeast drops out?

lol! It makes sense, though. 12 degrees in an hour seems faster than gradual, but doesn’t seem particularly crazy. It’s also possible that the beer against the glass cooled that quickly but the rest took longer. Whatever the case, the yeast seemed utterly unaffected as the blowoff didn’t recede for at least another 2 or 3 hours.

At any rate, I just ran home to make sure it’s still stable without the water bath. It’s maintaining 68 degrees, is burping at a nice reasonable pace, and the yeast are churning away. I think I’ll just leave it be and hope it isn’t too heavy on the esters and fusels. Even if it is, it will be an opportunity to learn how to recognize them :wink: .

On a positive note, the smell coming from the airlock is noticeably mellower than what I smelled when I removed the blowoff tube this morning, and the beer I decanted from the starter smells much mellower than it did on Saturday. Cautiously optimistic.

FYI, according to Westmalle
http://www.trappistwestmalle.be/en/page/hoofdgisting.aspx
, they ferment between 66F and 68F (19C - 20C).

At least I’m in line with that now. I really wish I’d taken the time to cool it off before fermentation started, but I thought, “hey, it’s a Belgian, it’s supposed to be a little warm.” Oh well. Hopefully I got it under control fast enough.

[quote=“dobe12”]I’ve heard of it and have seen it in my local beer shop. Guess I have a homework assignment :smiley: I’ll try one and see what I think.

I was actually thinking of using 1762 for a Belgian IPA I’m brewing in the next week or 2. That would be a nice stepping stone for another Tripel!

Thanks Denny… now off to my homework![/quote]

I really like 3522 for Belgian IPA. It has a tartness that perfectly complements the hops.

Many people are under that mistaken impression. As BLAM points out, many Belgian beers end up at high temps, but few start at high temps.

Oh well, you brew and learn.

So, if you cool 3787 too fast, is it an issue of the yeast dropping out or something else? Hopefully the former, as that didn’t happen and I can remove it from my list of worries.

PS - thanks for bringing up BLAM. Adding it to my growing list of books to get.

[quote=“ickyfoot”]Oh well, you brew and learn.

So, if you cool 3787 too fast, is it an issue of the yeast dropping out or something else? Hopefully the former, as that didn’t happen and I can remove it from my list of worries.[/quote]

Yeah, supposedly if you cool it too quickly the yeast can drop out and stop working.

OK, sweet, no worries on that front.

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