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Jim Denier
10/04/06 11:12 AM  
BE Wheat
Hi gang. I'm starting to formulate a recipe for my next brew and was thinking Belgian Wheat using the WY 3942 strain. I'll probably add citrus in some form, and I was thinking about doing a bottle conditioning using champagne yeast (I'll bottle in the hefty 375ml and 750ml thick-walled bottles). Any thoughts on this.

Jim

SteveG
10/04/06 11:45 AM  
Re: BE Wheat
What is it you are trying to make and why champagne yeast?
N8
10/04/06 11:55 AM  
Re: BE Wheat
Are you wanting to do a Wit? If so, there is no real reason to make bottle bombs with the champagne yeast. There will be sufficient yeasties in solution for bottle conditioning.

If you are going the wit route I have a really good recipe for a Hoegaarden style beer. With that you can go wherever with it. I've seen people make a high gravity wit sucessfully with the recipe.

SteveG
10/04/06 12:08 PM  
Re: BE Wheat
Thats where I was going N8, one question though. If making a regular witbier would the danger of glass grenades still be clear and present? Those can be fairly low in gravity with alot of the texture coming from non-detrinous stuff. I don't have a lot of wit bottling experience, I made one and that was kegged. There's still enough in a 4ish% finished wit for champagne yeast to make bottles go boom?
N8
10/04/06 12:57 PM  
Re: BE Wheat
Honestly, I'm not sure, Steve. I'm not that expeienced with wits either. I've made them a few times with great results. I don't really like them all that much. Too much like a hefe. Don't like those. But if there is enough in a 4%ish beer to go boom I really don't want to take that chance. But that's just me. The past couple times I bottled a wit I just added a bit of dextrose and had plenty of carbonation.
SteveG
10/04/06 01:16 PM  
Re: BE Wheat
Yeah, I guess if there is a risk then it is a bad idea. Its funny, before posting I looked up champagne yeast on WhiteLabs site and was a little surprised with what I read. It rated attenuation at >75%, most other wine yeasts were >80%. That's in line with a more attunuative beer yeast. But it also described it as very dry, which is consistant with the beleif I have held. In general my gut reaction would always be to avoid champagne yeast in bottling cause of the whole "go boom" thing. The description supports that but the numbers don't seem to. I don't get it. So I copped out there and just asked "why champagne yeast?"!!
Jim Denier
10/04/06 01:30 PM  
Re: BE Wheat
Thanks guys! I wanted a unique sparkling/refreshing BE Wheat Ale (7-8 ABV) for holiday stuff but your points are well taken re: the champagne yeast. I'm forever struggling with how best to carbonate in the bottle for these higher alcohol BE beers that need hi carbonation to be true to style.
N8
10/04/06 02:43 PM  
Re: BE Wheat
You get more carbonation in the bottle by adding more priming sugar to the bottling bucket. ProMash has a good calulator that will tell you much priming sugar to achieve a cerain volume of carbonation.

Even at 7-8%ABV, there will still be enough yeast cells in the beer to chew up the sugars to form a few bubbles for you.

Mykel Obvious
10/04/06 11:56 PM  
Re: BE Wheat
<< I don't really like them all that much. Too much like a hefe>>

God bless you N8!! And here I thought I was the only one in the world who didn't like hefe's!!

;-)

As to the Champagne yeast, it still works like any other normal yeast... it can only eat what is available to it... you only make a bottle bomb if it isn't done when you bottle or you feed it too much priming sugar... I used it once in the past to try and brew a very dry pale ale (used extract, still ended up 1.020 FG)and I got a medium amount of carbonation as I only used 4.5 oz of priming sugar...

Champagne uses about 18 grams of sugar per bottle, reaching 5-6 atmospheres... that would be like priming with 11-13 ounces of sugar in a 5 gallon batch of beer!! BOOM!! (I have pushed a heavy swing-top bottle to 3.75 atmospheres without a hitch though and I'm going to try for 4 next time)

Hope that helps some...

later,

mikey

TedJ
10/05/06 01:01 PM  
Re: BE Wheat
The use of champagne yeast by homebrews has more to due with its tolerance to high alcohol. Years ago when making high alcohol beers a common problem was high final gravity due to limited yeasts available, dry yeast, low alcohol tolerance, low pitching rates, etc that couldn't complete fermentation. The food was there but the yeast died out. The "solution" was to pitch in champagne yeast because it was one of the only alcohol tolerant yeast available. The problem was the late addition of champange yeast was that it did not grow much and worked slowly. Gravity would drop some but still not complete and the brew would get bottled with too much sugar remaining. Then the champagne would keep going and over carbonate and boom.

So as mikey said, the champagne works like other yeasts, but the champagne effect is from the amount of food in the bottle. If you want higher carb, just prime accordingly, use healthy yeast that tolerates the alcohol level and leave out the champagne yeast.

SteveG
10/05/06 01:22 PM  
Re: BE Wheat
Right, forgot about that. I've used champagne yeast to finish barley wines.
 
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