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Your favorite Belgian Yeast

Hello! I am looking at doing a Belgian series, and wanted to pick a good all around yeast to propagate up and use in a very wide variety of Belgian beers. I hope to do at least 5, but up to 10 different style off one house Belgian yeast. I prefer White Labs, but am open to Wyeast. I will be using Belgian Pale malt for the base malt as well.

What yeast would you use for it?

I think this is something that is really up to individual tastes more than anything. What is your favorite Belgian brewery/beer? If that yeast is commercially available, then go for it. Most Belgian abbey/strong ale strains can be used successfully for a wide range of Belgian styles.

My go-to strain is WY1762, the Rochefort strain (I think this is also seasonally available through White Labs as WLP540). I like the flavor profile, and it will chew through high-gravity wort like no one’s business. I’m even planning on using this in an English Barleywine.

I haven’t used this strain in a pale beer yet, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work for a Blonde/Tripel, etc.

Nice! I do prefer more clove than banana in the profile, that is my personal taste. Any other ideas?

I like the WY3411 French Saison the most. It will chew through anything all the way down to 1.002.

And the taste is very elegant.

I use WLP570 (Duvel-origin) in my blond, dubbel, and BGS. It is a “clean” strain for a Belgium, but I have tamed it and know all it’s nuances, so can adjust temp, yeast amt, etc to be fairly flexible with it (produce spice, fruit, dryness, etc). You can use almost any mainstream Belgium yeast to produce any mainstream Belgium style (not including sours or weird ones).

That being said, I think Westmalle is the epitomy of what most people think of as a Belgium. Suggest you try WLP530.

Whichever one you pick, get to know it. Marry yourself to it and use it a bunch. When you figure it out, it will work for you.

Personally, I really like the Belgian Ardennes (Wyeast).

What can you tell me about the Ardennes, Meerts?

I like 3787 in that it works in both light and dark colored belgian styles. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it in a blond, a BPA, bruin, dubbel, quad, Golden Strong, or Tripel. My only gripe with it is that sometimes I get some sulfur from it.

WL 566 Saison II. Highly attenuative and will throw off different character depending on fermentation temp.

I’m a big fan of Saisons and I prefer it over the Belgian Saison yeast (similar aromas but I felt the Ardennes had more flavor, but that may have been a result of my brewing). I also made an awesome Belgian IPA with it (basically a Dubbel malt profile with some American aroma hops).

Here’s Wyeast’s description, I agree that it could be used for all sorts of Belgians: … cfm?ID=136

WL 530/WY 3787 is the best all around yeast for low gravity or high gravity Trappist/Abby style beers. If you are going to drink the beer young, the Ardennes strain is very good, but the 530/3787 really improves with age and has a more complex flavor.

I still think the 565 Saison is best for Saison. I have used 566 a couple of times and it is easier to use, but the flavor of 565 is better as the beer ages. I have not tried the French Saison strain yet.

WL 515 Antwerp is a great and overlooked strain. It makes great Belgian Pale Ale (think De Koninck/Special Palm/Fat Tire, but better) and would be a great primary yeast for a sour red ale or oud bruin. It is a very clean, almost lager like strain. It has no phenolic, spicy character. Some people think it has a hint of cinnamon in the nose.

I have to second the Wyeast Belgian Ardennes praise. The reason to use this yeast is because it lends a really unique, fruity “sweet-tart” note to the brew. I have used it in belgian pales, belgian strong ales, saisons and even a DIPA with fantastic results. I have fermented at temperatures ranging from 55 degrees to 85 degrees. At high temps, the sweet-tart flavor is much more pronounced, of course, but even with my cold-temp DIPA, I eventually achieved the tart aspect after a few months bottle conditioning. When fermenting at cellar temps, this yeast can really become sluggish and I worried that I might never get carbonation - but have no fear - I achieved a beautiful, rocky head after a few months. Spicy phenolics were muted for me.

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