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Help with Belgian yeast

I wrote off all Belgian beers long ago. There is a certain flavor many of the ones I tried all had that i cant choke down. On New Years eve I bought a bottle of Chimay white. I was blow away, it was a new realm of flavor. None of the “Belgian flavors” I don’t care for and it was delicious. I see there is a “chimay strain” but I have no experience with brewing Belgian beers. Is it possible to produce a beer like chimay white as a homebrewer? Does any one have any advice?

start by googleing chimay white clone

All of the different Belgian yeast strains available will give you different flavors, of course, ranging from spicy, peppery, clove, banana, apple, pear, bubblegum, Juicy Fruit… you name it. They’re complex. Personally I haven’t been successful making the same beer twice because there are so many variables with temperature control, pitch rate, moon phase, who knows. But they always turn out pretty good.

Theoretically, to duplicate Chimay White cap, you’ll need a Belgian tripel recipe (look for lots of pilsner malt with ~10% simple cane sugar or candi sugar) and the Chimay yeast (WLP500 or Wyeast 1214), pitch in the upper 60s, and allow temperature to rise into the 70s in the second half of fermentation. There is much debate about pitch rates, but from things I’ve read in Brew Like A Monk, it might be best to underpitch slightly. So for 5 gallons, if you would usually pitch 2 liters, try just 1.25 liters or something like that. If you’re already underpitching, then no adjustment is needed.

Cheers and good luck!

I would not underpitch…it’s a very uncertain way to control esters. You never really know how much you’re underpitching and what effect it will have. I would likewise recommend against using the commercially available Chimay strains or at the very least fermeting them in the low 60s. For some reason, the commercial strains have much more banana/bubblegum character to them than Chimay has and fermenting them anywhere above about 62 will really accentuate that. Believe me, I’ve made that mistake! Be sure to hop enough…a decent tripel has to have 30-35 IBU. Personally, I far prefer Westmalle tripel to Chimay. see of you can find a bottle to try. If you like it, I have a recipe that’s VERY close to it.

Banana/bubblegum is a great description of what I don’t like as well as the flavor of German wheat beers. I didn’t pick much of those flavors with Chimay. I found Chimay white to be more citrusy almost like orange zest character with other subtle background notes, that is really what I’m looking for. I’m going to check for Westmalle tripel. Does it have the citrusy character similar to Chimay without banana/bubblegum bomb? Do the commercial Westmalle strains come close? I like to avoid culturing yeast but it would give me reason to buy another 14 dollar bottle of beer.

If you have it handy on don’t mind posting it I’d be interesting in the recipe incase I find the beer at some point

I agree that the Chimay from the monastery doesn’t have those flavors. But despite the fact that 55/1214 was sourced from Chimay, it’s changed enough that you don’t get the same results. If I want to use the Chimay strain, I’ve had the best results from culturing it from the bottle. If you use 550/1214, keep the temps below 62 for the first 72-96 hours to avoid those esters.

WY3787 is the Westmalle strain and is VERY good! Here’s my recipe for a tripel that tastes remarkably like Westmalle…http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/Westcoastmalle

FWIW, I’ve used both commercial strains and I never got banana with the White Labs strain but a tripel I recently brewed with the Wyeast has just a hint of it.

I agree that the Chimay from the monastery doesn’t have those flavors. But despite the fact that 55/1214 was sourced from Chimay, it’s changed enough that you don’t get the same results. If I want to use the Chimay strain, I’ve had the best results from culturing it from the bottle. If you use 550/1214, keep the temps below 62 for the first 72-96 hours to avoid those esters.

WY3787 is the Westmalle strain and is VERY good! Here’s my recipe for a tripel that tastes remarkably like Westmalle…http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/Westcoastmalle[/quote]

Thanks. I’m definitely on the hunt for one. I’ve never multiple step mash so this would be a great opportunity to try. Knowing a little bit about your philosophy I assume you wouldn’t do it unless it was necessary. What FG are you looking for in your recipe?

I agree that the Chimay from the monastery doesn’t have those flavors. But despite the fact that 55/1214 was sourced from Chimay, it’s changed enough that you don’t get the same results. If I want to use the Chimay strain, I’ve had the best results from culturing it from the bottle. If you use 550/1214, keep the temps below 62 for the first 72-96 hours to avoid those esters.

WY3787 is the Westmalle strain and is VERY good! Here’s my recipe for a tripel that tastes remarkably like Westmalle…http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/Westcoastmalle[/quote]

Thanks. I’m definitely on the hunt for one. I’ve never multiple step mash so this would be a great opportunity to try. Knowing a little bit about your philosophy I assume you wouldn’t do it unless it was necessary. What FG are you looking for in your recipe?[/quote]

FWIW, I no longer step mash that recipe. I found no improvement from it and it was just another thing to do. IIRC, the FG is around 1.008-10. I’ll try to remember to check my notes to confirm that.

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