Friday, July 29, 2011

Better performance with Dupont Yeast

Ludd Lite

Since my last couple of saisons, I have had a little more time to work with Dupont yeast and get to know its performance over successive generations. I've also had the chance to work with it the pro level, with a collaboration saison I did with Ben Edmunds at Breakside.

Ben and I brewed a pretty much straight-up saison with Whitelabs 565, the equivalent yeast of Wyeast 3724 which I have been using. We brewed two 3.5-barrel batches into a 7 barrel fermenter, the second batch went in 24 hours after the first. We pitched a 5-7 bbl sized pitch of yeast, started fermentation at 80 degrees, and let it rise to the high 80's on its own. I don't remember the exact details on how long the beer took to ferment, but I think that it crunched down to 1.007 in only a week or so. That's pretty darn good. We were really happy with how the beer turned out, and it had a nice earthy Dupont-like aroma. So, there's at least one example of a good single-strain fermentation on a pro level. That's what I'm looking for. I'm betting the heavy yeast pitch was a big factor in the quick fermentation.

On the homebrew side of things, the second generation brew, "Ludd Lite", was a low-gravity beer to begin with, and dried out to a fairly bone-dry 1.005 within 3 weeks. I don't know how long it took to hit that gravity, that's just when I got around to racking it to a keg. It's a pretty decent beer, not the most complex beer I've ever brewed, but very drinkable. It's surprisingly tart, farmy, with a little corn flavor and some hops coming through. I think it could use a bit more bitterness but the hop flavor is pretty nice. This isn't a beer that would make beer geeks go crazy, but it's a light summer ale that's easy to drink and more interesting than a light lager or (in my opinion) an "American wheat". Fermentation and recipe details for that beer are here.

The 3rd generation saison was brewed about 3 weeks ago. It's a brown or amber saison that I used a considerable amount of specialty malts on, but also some D2 Candi syrup. This beer didn't dry out to bone-dry, at least not yet, but we'll see if it drops another couple points over the the next month or so hanging out in secondary. It may just be done, and if so, that's OK, because it tastes like a really tasty Dubbel made with an earthy, estery farmhouse twist. I used a very small amount of lemon thyme in the brew, but so far it hasn't reared it's head in the flavor or aroma. So we'll see, maybe I could go a little heavier than that next time.

Clarissa's Birthday Amber Saison
Type: All GrainDate: 07/08/2011
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 galBrewer:
Boil Size: 6.48 galAsst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 minEquipment: 6 gallon - SS mashtun
Final Bottling Volume: 4.50 galBrewhouse Efficiency: 78.00
Fermentation: Ale, Two StageTaste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:


1 lbsCandi Sugar, D2 syrup (160.0 SRM)Sugar119.1 %
12.0 ozWhite Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)Grain36.8 %
8.0 ozCaramunich Malt (56.0 SRM)Grain44.5 %
12.0 ozMunich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)Grain26.8 %
8.0 ozVictory Malt (25.0 SRM)Grain54.5 %
1.0 pkgBelgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724) [124.21 ml]Yeast10-
21.00 gPerle [8.20 %] - Boil 85.0 minHop627.2 IBUs
14.00 gCrystal [4.30 %] - Boil 15.0 minHop72.5 IBUs
28.00 gCrystal [4.30 %] - Boil 0.0 minHop80.0 IBUs
2.00 gLemon Thyme, fresh leaves, picked (Boil 0.0 mins)Spice9-
7 lbs 8.0 ozCanadian "Super Pils" (2.0 SRM)Grain168.2 %

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.061 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.007 SGMeasured Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.1 %Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 29.7 IBUsCalories: 200.7 kCal/12 oz
Est Color: 20.3 SRM

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash OutTotal Grain Weight: 11 lbs
Sparge Water: 3.93 galGrain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 FTun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUEMash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps
NameDescriptionStep TemperatureStep Time
Mash InAdd 16.00 qt of water at 159.4 F149.0 F75 min
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonation Type: BottleVolumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 100.20 gCarbonation Used: Bottle with 100.20 g Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 FAge for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two StageStorage Temperature: 65.0 F


Mash 4 gallons at 160 plus 1 gr. Gypsum, 2 gr. CaCl
Mash in to 149
50 min, fell to 144.
direct heat to 154 over 5 min, rest 15 min, no mash out

Sparge 5 gal, same salts, 165

90 min boil
15 minute rest after KO, added candi syrup and whirlpooled.
Chill thru plate chiller to 75 degrees
oxygen 90 seconds
pitched maybe 100 ml saison yeast (rinsed and suspended in beer) at 75
Fermentation peaked at 95 by 24 hours (with heating pad)
After 10 days, temperature was dropped by 2 degrees per day to 85

7/26 Racked to secondary, flavor is very good. 1.012

Created with BeerSmith

I harvested the yeast once again, and if I have time I'd like to do a 4th generation saison that would be a re-brew of original recipe, to s if I can get a better yeast performance with the same base recipe. The one thing I would like to do better is to pitch the successive generations in a more timely manner. So far it's been at least 3 weeks between brews, which is not ideal for yeast health, but so far it hasn't seemed to hurt much either.


Aaron said...

Just curious - how big is a "5-7 bbl sized pitch" and how much did you start with?

Seanywonton said...

It's basically one of those 2 liter Nalgene bottles they sell yeast in. I don't have more details than that right now, you could probably find it on their website. It's designed for pitching into 5-7 barrels of moderate gravity wort.

Jeff Alworth said...

Did you work on the Beach Saison, or something I don't know about yet.

Seanywonton said...

Yeah, it was the Beach Saison. I'm glad to see you check out the blog. Can't wait to try the Grissette!

Brew Beer And Drink It said...

I've always felt icky about re-using yeast if it's been more than 2 weeks... are you washing or just rinsing your yeast?

Seanywonton said...

Yeah, it's not ideal to wait that long, but I haven't had any problems yet. the yeast has been under the fermenting beer and then used very quickly once it's harvested.

I've been collecting a good deal of beer with the yeast, and I haven't been doing a rinse with boiled water, but about 10 minutes before I pitch, I have been mixing the yeast with the collected beer and then letting the trub and dead cells fall to the bottom. Then I just pitch the mixed beer and yeast. Works pretty well.

Seanywonton said...

Yeah, it's not ideal to wait that long, but I haven't had any problems yet. the yeast has been under the fermenting beer and then used very quickly once it's harvested.

I've been collecting a good deal of beer with the yeast, and I haven't been doing a rinse with boiled water, but about 10 minutes before I pitch, I have been mixing the yeast with the collected beer and then letting the trub and dead cells fall to the bottom. Then I just pitch the mixed beer and yeast. Works pretty well.

Brew Beer And Drink It said...

interesting... thx

Marco Aurélio Piacentini said...

I really envy you each time I read anything about saison in your blog! It´s herd to believe, but the last time I put my hands in a Saison here in Brazil was 1 year ago...
Anyway... You really seem to have great experience in dealing wih yeast, so I want to ask you some advise, if I may:
- when I crop yeast from a batch (always bottom crop, on the conical), what do I have to do in order to keep it in another batch? How do I preserve it in good conditions, lets say, for two or three weeks?
- Usually I use dry yeast from FErmentis. Are those good enought to crop and keep for use in the next batch?
- How to crop yeast from a bottle of, let´s say, a Duvel or Orval?
Those are basic matters, but I really did not find a book with detailed instructions on that until now.
Can you, please, give some enlightment on this?
If you can, I´ll thank you for life!

Marco Piacentini / Kessbier / Brazil

Seanywonton said...

Hey Marco, you should get the book "Yeast" by Chris White and Jamil Zainacheff. It can answer a lot of your questions better than I can. Reusing a yeast 2-3 weeks after the first fermentation isn't ideal, and it kind of depends on which strains you use, some are better with storage than others. I would at least recommend a yeast "rinse", detailed in the book, and possibly a starter, for yeast kept that long. Also, reusing dried yeast is not ideal, but I have no experience with this on a practical level. Good luck! I'd say your best bet for saisons is to find a good bottle of Dupont and harvest from that.

Marco Aurélio Piacentini said...

Hi there Sean!
Always with good advice... You´re really a good fellow... someday I´ll visit Oregon.
Aboute the book... yes, I own a copy of it, but I always like to hear things from people that experineced the real thing, ´cause it´s hard to Start from scratch always (just to remember, I never had any mentor whe it comes to beer... evetything was learned from books and by annoying some friends...).

Well.. anyway... you always have good advice, ans I than you for that.
Just one more thing: What the most practical way to safely crop some yeast from a commercial bottle?

Seanywonton said...

The simple way to crop from a bottle is just to make a tiny starter. Get a bottle of Dupont, say, and try to get one as fresh as possible. Sanitize the lip, open, pour out the majority of the beer (drink it). Then pour in maybe 6 oz. of fresh wort and stick an airlock on top of the bottle. You should see activity within a few days, if not, that yeast was probably dead.

A lot of people have made great saisons from Dupont bottle dregs. You'll have to step up the starter a few times to get enough yeast to pitch into a beer. If you don't own lab equipment, or like me would be too lazy to plate it out for a homebrew, then you just have to go with your senses to make sure the yeast is not contaminated. Smell and taste, and there should be no bad off flavors or aromas. Remember that Dupont does have a little natural fruit/funk/tart character, so you are just trying to make sure it doesn't taste medicinal or super sour. Good luck. It's really pretty simple.

Marco Aurélio Piacentini said...

Man, that´s why I call you Yoda!

Thanks a lot!