Brewing With The Season

November 16, 2011

2011, General posting

Most Belgian beers are funky yeast-driven flavorful beers and are perfect for high temperature fermentation (perfect for when you have a fermenter near a heating duct).

I have read accounts of brewers in Belgium fermenting their beers at over 80 degrees! Even after they are bottled, these beers may like it hot.  A customer of mine brought back some beers from Belgium one time.  He spoke to the brewmaster and was surprised to hear some unusual advice for storage of the bottles: put them in your garage.  The beer needs to “experience the seasons” was the way it was put.  OK, what else can we make? Hefeweizen is sometimes a good beer for a high temp fermentation – it depends on your taste. Higher temps bring out more banana and sometimes bubble gum flavors while clove is lessened.

With a lot of yeast strains, particularly British ones, higher temps can cause significant diacytel (butterscotch) production. Interestingly, the higher temps also cause the yeast to get rid of more diacytel at the end of fermentation. However, the overall effect is generally more diacytel in the beer with the higher fermentation temperatures. Many people despise the taste of diacytel in beer. Others like it.  Very few are ambivalent.

However, if you want it, try a British Ale using White Labs WLP002 yeast. By using very careful temperature control throughout the process (and much knowledge of a particular yeast strain), you can tailor your beer with certain flavors – diacytel, for instance. Brewers will sometimes raise and lower the fermentation temperature precisely to attain flavors.   Maybe it’s best to let the beer experience the season…

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Lager Recipe

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