So I brewed a dark Belgian over a year ago. Supposed to be a clone of Rochefort Trappist 10 and it turned out pretty good. I fermented it with Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity at the time and was happy with the result, even though my research shows that it was probably not the correct yeast for Rochefort Trappist. Now, because my stock of it is running out and I’ve had friends request it, I’m preparing to brew a 10-gallon batch of it, split into two fermenters. So I can either use the same yeast as before, or use one or two different yeasts. So I’d like recommendations on yeast for that.
Now, I’m also planning on trying a Belgian Blonde recipe I worked out. Originally I was figuring on a 5-gallon batch as a sort of test run to see how it turned out, but now I’m thinking of perhaps doing a full 10-gallon batch and trying two yeasts. Of course, I also could split the 5-gallon batch and try two yeasts, but I ran my recipe idea past another home brewer who thought it looked like a good one. I had thought about trying White Labs 570 Belgian Golden Ale and was toying with the idea of trying White Labs 644 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois, even though I’m not really a sour fan.
Now, the other part of things is… I can only get White Labs yeast locally. If I want Wyeast, I have to order it from NB. Supposedly there is a possibility of the weather warming up this coming weekend to the point where I would be able to brew a batch of beer (likely going to start with the Blonde). But unless I want to really pay for shipping, I doubt the yeast would be here in time from NB. Which means I’m stuck with White Labs. And at the cost of liquid yeast, I’m not sure that I want to buy 4 different yeasts to use with my two Belgians. Ideally, I’d only buy two yeasts, but I’m open to suggestions.
WLP644 is an absolutely fantastic yeast, but I don’t think you’ll get what you’re expecting with a Belgian blonde. It’s a saccharomyces yeast (not brettanomyces) and won’t give you any sourness. It should be used just like any other yeast strain for primary fermentation. It’s a tropical fruit bomb and pairs very well with hoppy beers. I just bottled one last weekend, and can’t wait for it to carb!
It won’t give you the classic Belgian phenolics, though, so if that’s what you have in mind you probably want to go with something else.
Wyeast 1762/WL 540 is the Rochefort yeast. It’s pretty clean and dependable for a belgian strain, although it’ll throw a lot of banana at higher temps (I keep it mid-60’s). Never used it on a lighter beer, but it’s a great all around yeast for any darker belgian beers.
For your Rochefort 10 you could use wlp540. It’s also reported as being the Rochefort yeast. Best case scenario, grab a bottle, save the dredges, and culture the actual yeast. So, maybe 5gals of wlp530 (wlp equivalent of 3787) and 5gal with wlp540.
Wlp644 is not a Brett yeast. It was confirmed to be saccharomyces. It will have a higher attenuation rate. I’ve got an APA currently that used this yeast. It’s pretty fruity but not too tart. Keep that in mind while developing your recipe for your blonde.
If it were me, I would split your Rochefort beer and use 2 yeast. For the blonde I would chose 1 yeast that fits what I would want that beer to be.
I would lose the crystal, rye, and citra, personally. Use bisquit instead of crystal. I use a base pils malt, then a bit of bisquit and wheat. Produces a pretty dry beer. (Not tellin ya WUT to do, just WUT I do). Ferment at 149F.
I suggest 570 (Duvel) in one fermenter and 550 in the other (Achouffe). You could use sediment from these for a Dark Strong re-pitch.
Like I said, I’m going a bit off the reservation to see what happens. As much as I love Belgians, I don’t really like the traditional blondes all that much, so I’m trying to tweak it more to my tastes.
If as you say, you want to Belgiumize your blonde but don’t want it too “far out,” use WLP570. It is one of the cleanest and less characterful yeasts.
It has a pear ester (slight apple ester too), with very low spiciness.
If you Do use 570 give it at least a 3-week ferment time. This is a slow, steady chugger and the last week would knock off 1-2 extra gravity points which would otherwise potentially cause green, sweeter than desired, off flavors.
No worries on the longer ferment times, I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping any beer in the primary 2-3 weeks and then in the secondary for 3-6 weeks. Say what you want about racking it to a secondary, my beer has always come out cleaner and less sediment in the bottom of the bottle that way. It works for me, so I’ll keep doing it.