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Author Replies
Andy S
08/31/05 11:29 AM  
Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
This is my first posting -- I found your site through a link on the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery website and found some great information for my currently-fermenting first try at a Saison (like everyone else, it seems, inspired by the Farmhouse Ales book). It's in the secondary after about 14 days (too soon?), but on the advice of this site (and the use of White Labs Saison I yeast), I'll let it sit for a month or so before I bother it again. Thanks for the great tips!

Here's my first question: Has anyone out there that experience with the Wyeast (3522) Belgian Ardennes Yeast?

By Wyeast's description: "[o]ne of many great beer yeast to produce classic Belgian ales. Phenolics develop with increased fermentation temperatures, mild fruitiness and complex spicy character. Flocculation - high; apparent attenuation 72-76% (65-85º F, 18-29° C)"

I'm going to use it in a 10-gal batch with a pale malt base and 5 lbs of millet and 1-2 lbs roasted buckwheat (I've never brewed with these grains before, but thought I'd give it a try). I'm thinking of adding some wheat to the grist -- I have some torrefied on hand that was left over from a wit I did about 1.5 years ago.

I know the funky grain bill will probably raise some more issues (the more feedback, the better) than just my use of the Ardennes yeast. But if anyone out there could provide some insight on how I should treat this yeast, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks -- have a homebrew!

DLT
08/31/05 04:44 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
I have used this yeast once for a Saison that was 1.062, a traditional saison grist, mashed at 149F for 80m. It was a sizable slurry fermented at 85F because I wanted it spicy. It fermented it down to 1.006 in just over 48 hours and then flocced out very fast - fastest ferment and floc I've ever experienced, faster than Fuller's yeast.

Scent was extremely phenolic and spicy, not as peppery as Dupont (WLP565), but not as clovey or perfume-like as with Westmalle or some other Abbey strains (Wy3787). Complex is actually, for once, a good description of the smell and flavor and I think the high temp. was the culprit. I'm a verbose dude and I still can't find the word for its character!

Because of the high temp. the flavor was a bit sharp, almost fusel-like, for a week or two, but was just great after 6 weeks in secondary. The fruitiness was extremely light, but just enough to make you think "ale" when you drink it. Great yeast, would love to try it 75-80F next time, though I'm enamored with the Dupont strain.

My best friend just got back from two years in Togo and he has nothing good to say about millet thanks to millet beer being the beverage of choice there. But, I admit I'm not an oddball ingredient kinda guy, so I don't know jack about funky grains. Buckwheat sounds cool, though.

MarkR
09/06/05 09:56 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
This is generally believed to be the Brasserie d'Achouffe strain.

I plan on brewing a La Chouffe clone before the weather cools off. The recipe I'm using is supposedly quite close to the real thing. Here's a link: http://www.tastybrew.com/newrcp/detail/63

N8
10/26/05 12:31 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Mark.

Have you tried the recipe yet?

That's my recipe and I've had great success with it as well as others that have brewed it up.

The original batch I used the yeast I cultured up froma bottle of La Chouffe. I have since then tried it with the Wyeast 3522 Ardennes.It was pretty identical in it's performance and flavors.

SteveG
10/27/05 09:16 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
<<That's my recipe >>

How convenient is that!?! Cool beans N8!

MarkR
10/28/05 03:26 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
No, I haven't brewed it yet N8.

And since autumn is now in full swing, complete with temps in the mid-30's overnight, it may have to wait 'til next year.

But it will be brewed. Oh yes, it will. :-)

N8
11/01/05 01:47 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
How about fermenting in it the house, Mark.

That's what I do if I'm brewing in the winter and not making a lager. Typically, I make mostly lagers during "lager" season. But I'll throw in a top fermented brew and let it ferment in the house. The lil lady doesn't mind, because she knows what comes out of those bubbling beasts.

MarkR
11/02/05 02:18 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
What would be the lowest temperature I could ferment it at, and get the character needed, N8?

Upon checking, my spare bedroom is currently at 76F. I'm guessing this would be warm enough?

-Mark

SteveG
11/02/05 02:39 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
I think this might be more involved then just ambient temperature. Its no huge secret that Saison Dupont ferments very hot, I've seen the thermometer on the fermenter, it was into the 90s. So the natural reaction is to be sure you have your carboy heated up if you want to clone the thing.

But I question if that is really the ideal approach. Dupont ferments in the 90s cause the yeast is so active. They don't keep the room in the 90s, the temperature is a result of fermentation vigor. Any beer that has a good head of steam going with end up noticably warmer than the ambient temperature during this time.

If you start with a larger slurry you will get an enhanced level of fermentation activity and more heat. Insult the carboy with a carboy cover and you keep more of that heat in. If your room is 76F, what will your fermentation temperature be? Tough to say, if its vigorous and insulated it will be a lot more than if it is just sitting there naked. I believe if you play your cards right 76 may be enough.

MarkR
11/02/05 03:12 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Hey Steve,

Like many here, I'm well aware of the details surrounding the Dupont yeast strain and fermentation schedule. In fact, I've got a rye saison that's taking its sweet 'ole time attentuating all the way down, despite my using of a large starter, lots of pure O2 and ambient temps in the mid 80's. More details can be found in the thread a few down about that yeast strain's recent performance, or lack there of.

As you recommend, I believe a thick blanket wrapped around the carboy, along with a good sized starter should pair well with the mid-to-high 70's temps to produce an environment that will yield the kind of results expected with this recipe.

I believe I'll brew that recipe soon...

N8
11/02/05 04:14 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
I agree, with your temp hovering around 76, and wrapping that rascal with a towel,you'll be fine with the fermentation. IIRC, I fermented my first La Chouffe around 70 with a pretty good flavor match. It did take about three weeks to drop to TG. I then let it sit on lees for another couple weeks before bottling.

I've tried this recipe bottled and kegged. Hands down the bottle conditioned was much better.

side note: Dupont also ferments in square tanks that they say makes a big difference in the resulting products flavor, etc.

ArtFull
11/10/05 11:48 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Hello!

First post here, so thanks to all involved for the great information on this site!

I have used the Ardennes yeast only once. Fermented warm 78-85f. Its wonderfull. The beer was experimental, a "Bier-De-Gourd" pumpkin spiced beer. The taste is very complex at only 6 weeks old. There is a sharpness to it, but this has decreased as the last two weeks have past.

Btw, not sure how most of you achieve high temp ferments. I use a heating pad underneath the fermenter. The pad is insulated from the floor by some towels and wood to keep the heat from going into the floor itself. I turn it on high till the temp w/ fermentation reaches the max I want, then turn it to low. Works good for me.

Cheers,

Art

SteveG
11/10/05 11:55 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Hi ArtFull! I pitch enormous slurries and let the yeast make the heat. If they get rolling with enough vigor the carboy will get nicely toasty.
N8
11/10/05 12:21 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Hi Artfull,

I do the same thing with the heat pads if the temps aren't getting up to what I want. I have fermented the Ardennes yeast at a lower temp as well, around 60, with really nice clean results. Still had the Belgian flavor profile, but a bit cleaner.

Sean Paxton
11/10/05 05:15 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Andy S,

I like your idea of using Millet and Buckwheat in your Saison. I did a Buckwheat Saison and a Spelt Saison this year and was very pleased with the results. 2-3 pound of each into a 10 gallon batch. Adds a nice depth of character to the maltiness.

I have had great success with Wyeast 3944 Wit yeast, fermented at a high temp (90+). Attenuated very nicely too. I also like the 3724 Saison yeast.

I did another Saison with 3724 in the primary and used the 3522 Ardennes yeast in the secondary. Had a nice complexity.

Artfull,

Like the "Bier-De-Gourd" idea. I had a few thoughts of brewing up a Pumpkin Saison and wrapping my conical with a heat pad to increase the heat, getting more spicy notes. Maybe use a hint of Brown Malt to add to the toffee/coffee notes without using a maple sugar or date sugar… Or use some Palm sugar to help dry it out, but add a slight different taste…

ArtFull
11/11/05 11:42 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Sean,

Brown malt sounds like a neat idea. I've used it with porters before, its a nice addition for that coffee flavor.

Another sugar to consider is Muscovado. It comes in light and dark. The dark adds a nice molasses flavor but it can be overdone. I've used it in Cysers and Ciders with success, as well as in ESBs. I would think it would help out with a Belgian Dark Strong too.

Cheers,

Art

Sean Paxton
11/11/05 12:50 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Thanks Artfull,

Sugar is a wonderful thing. The Muscovado sugar is a great sugar, even though I haven’t brewed with it yet. I just did a Dubbel for my club comp that was inspired by Randy Mosher. I did a twist off a Dubbel recipe and used the Piloncillo sugar instead of candi sugar and added a cinnamon stick, about 5g of bitter orange and used 2oz of chocolate malt in the grist. I’m calling it my Mexican Dubbel. I will bottle and keg condition it this weekend. I plan on taking a quart of the brew and boiling it with some more Piloncillo sugar and adding it back in with some Belgian Ale 1214 culture for bottling. It has a lot of complexity and enjoying the esters and hoping for some nice bubbles.

The brown malt is great in Porters, and I think as the pumpkin/squash doesn’t have a over flavorful profile, and not wanting to over spice, the brown malt will add a nice depth, bringing the squash to front stage.

After Thanksgiving I am also going to make a Hard Cider. Didn’t think of adding Muscovado sugar. Would be nice, adding that with some mulling spices. A member of our club did a mulling spice Mead that was wonderful! Hmmm, more thinking to do on this one…

ErikH
03/20/06 01:34 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Does anyone here have a sense of what the upper alcohol tolerance of the Wyeast Ardennes 3522 is with proper handling? I'm trying a variation of N8's notorious La Chouffe clone and I significantly overshot the OG.
Chet
03/20/06 08:42 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
I'm glad this thread popped back up. My blended batch for the Candi Syrup Dubbel swap used the Ardennes yeast, fermented at the top end of the temp range.

ErikH, my OG was ~ 1.073, FG was 1.007 - so it handled 8.74% abv. easily, at about 90% attenuation.

When I tasted it this weekend, the fusel alcohol effect was fairly strong - upon rereading this thread, I have hope that it will fade as others have reported.

N8
03/20/06 10:21 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
I've used the Ardennes for a 11%ABV beer and it chewed it up like a champ. Just have to be patient as it's a slow fermenter. But it will handle it well. Make sure to add a good dose of oxygen at the beginning. Also, I will rouse the yeast when the ferment shows signs of slowing.

The 3522 does seem to to throw alot of fusels, but it will subside with a bit of cold conditioning.

ErikH
03/20/06 02:10 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Thanks for the info!

I came out at about 1.086 when all was said and done, though I think some sugar may have actualy settled out - I had a tough time handling the quantity of malt extract required after converting the recipe and bumping up to 6 gallons. Heavy kettle caramelization also put me more in the McChouffe range for color . . . looks like this is going to be rather a different animal than I had intended.

And yes, this strain seems to be one heck of a flocculator! My starter quickly developed a dense, hard layer of sediment that was really difficult to rouse up, and only grudginly came apart into rubbery, thick chunks.

I aerated overnight with an aquarium stone, so I'm hoping I'm good in the oxygen dept. We'll see!

MarkR
03/20/06 07:27 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Good to see this thread is still going. :-)

I've yet to brew Ah Chooff!, but I've got the yeast in my fridge and it's one of the next few on my to-brew list.

JoeFleischman
03/21/06 12:52 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
I brewed N8's Ah Chouffe with 3522 - fantastic beer! Like others have mentioned, this strain produced alot of fusels especially since I fermented in the upper 70's. At first I was really discouraged, then after sending N8 and Denny a thousand emails I just let the beer age. Kegged half and bottled half- and 2 months later all the fusels have almost disappeared and have been converted to esters. Cold conditioning seems to be key. Just my two cents.
N8
03/21/06 01:54 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Glad to hear your beer worked out well, Joe. Try to hold onto some for awhile. It keeps getting better with time.

Gotta cold conditioning. I pretty much condition everything at least for a couple of weeks now.

ErikH
03/21/06 05:35 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
My own batch has blown off about a quart in a vigorous start, and appears to be quite happily bubbling along at 75 degrees.

N8, I started ruminating on the "Achouffe" sound and the dwarf/gnome thing, and thought I had good start on a name for my beer . . . imagine my chagrin when I saw that one of your drafts of the recipe was already titled "Sneezy"!

N8
03/22/06 10:24 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
That's exactl how I came up with the name. I thought the Achouffe name sounded like someone sneezing. It strted as the Sneezy Beer, then settled on Ahh Choof!

Great minds think alike, huh. ;)

Sean Paxton
03/22/06 12:13 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Hey N8,

After re-reading this thread, I am so in the mood for a La Chouffe. Just got some 3522 yeast last night. One of the few Belgian strains I have not played with yet…

I like your idea Joe, for the cold aging. Vinnie (RR) talks about his primary fermentation at warmer temps (70’s) and then after primary is done, to crash it to the mid 40’s. Then, re-pitch and add sugar, bottle and age warm. Might take longer, but the results could be worth it. Look at Dupont!

Cheers,

Sean

N8
03/22/06 12:21 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
That's pretty much what I did Sean. Except I didn't ferment as high as that. I kept mine to around 65F. But when done with fermentation I cold conditioned it, like I do all my beers, around 35F for several weeks. Then threw in 2 spoonfuls of the origianl fermenting yeast I had saved and a bit of dextrose and refermented in the bottle.

A really good knock off if I might say so myself.

OT; when I was in Belgium a couple of weeks ago I came across a bottle of beer that was made by the Achouffe brewery and the beer clerk guy said it was the original La CHouffe recipe. They evidentally changed sometime back, but still make the origianl recipe under a different name. I'll report bac after I crack it open.

Martin
05/14/06 03:40 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Brewed My first Belgian this weekend, a Saison. Made a 2 quart starter of wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes and got her off to a good start. From what I've read it needs to ferment a bit on the warm side, so I've been holding it at about 73*. Does that sound right? Any Pointers would be appreciated. To tell the truth I have never even tried a Saison or any belgian for that matter so I'm not even sure what to look for in the finished beer. Living in south Mississippi one has a very limited beer selection (Bud is king). Things are getting better though, in the last couple years a few microbrewes have been shown up on the shelves.
Mykel Obvious
05/14/06 07:20 PM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
Hey Martin,

I'm in Alabama, so I understand "beer hell" and not being able to get many good beers... and I'd have to say if you have never tasted a Belgian beer, you are probably in for a shock!!! Belgian beers don't taste like any other beer in the world... and most of them don't taste much like each other either ;-) Belgian yeast give off tons of flavors, some descriptors being: spicy, phenolic, tart, bubblegum, clove, tart, banana, solvent, etc... some are more desirable than others, and temperature is ONE of the ways to change the profile... at 73 F you should get some interesting flavors without going overboard... Saison can be brewed up to 95 F with yeast like 3724/WLP565 Saison Yeasts... with the Ardennes (from Brasserie d' Achouffe )you will get more of a true Saison flavor between 75 F and 80F... but as this is a beer you have never tried, 73 F is not a bad place to start...

Some of the others on this list can probably tell you more about the flavors for this style and this yeast... I'm planning on my first Saison in 2 weeks using WLP565 and letting fermentation go 80-85 F and see what happens ;-)

good luck, and keep us informed

later,

mikey

SteveG
05/15/06 07:06 AM  
Re: Belgian Ardennes Yeast Experience?
I made two brews in January using Ardennes, used a gizmo called a "brew belt" to keep them warm. One thing that surprised me is neither beer ran what I would call a normal course. After a few days they both beers slowed expectedly but did not quit fermenting. I think I had both in primary 2 weeks or more, until the blorps were at least 2 minutes apart. Both finished very low in gravity. It a real work horse yeast.
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