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What temperatures do you ferment your witbier at?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by atomeyes, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Just wondering what temps you like to ferment your witbeer/wheat beer?

    I know it kind of sort of is yeast dependent, but most have a range from the high 60s to the high 70s.
  2. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Been starting mine at 68-70 and let free rise (usually tops out at 72-74 F). I try to balance the phenolics from the yeast with my spice additions, I don't like my witbiers to be too fruity or too phenolic.
  3. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Savant (465) Louisiana Dec 3, 2005

    For wy3499 I start at 62 for 48 hours, then let it freerise to 70 and hold it there until time to keg. I tend to go for a more restrained phenols and as dry as I can get it. I really like this schedule and I have never had anything unpleasant from this yeast at these temps.
    MarriedAtGI likes this.
  4. I have brewed many Wit beers but I have only used Wyeast 3944. Over the many batches I have found that I prefer the flavors produced at the higher end of the range; the ‘sweet spot’ for my palate is a ferment at 72°F.


    MMAJYK Savant (455) Georgia Jun 26, 2007

    I like the Forbidden Fruit yeast (3463) in my Wits and I like to ferment in the high 60's, low 70's. I just chill to 64 or so, pitch, and let it go to wherever it goes.
  6. Marc,

    I have been sort of in a rut using 3944 since my first Wit brewed in 1999. Maybe it is time to ‘kick it up a notch’?

    How would you describe the flavors of 3463?


  7. fyi,
    i'm using East Coast yeast. no clue what that yeast produces on either end of the spectrum, so we'll see. i pitched mine last night and it was mad fermentin' this morning. smelled great so far.

    MMAJYK Savant (455) Georgia Jun 26, 2007

    I get more of a tropical fruitiness (passionfruit, citrus, slight juicy fruit bubble gum...) out of it that I really like. I was never happy when I used the other Wit strains and loved this one from the first time I used it. It gave my Wit a more complex flavor and aroma profile and played well with my spices and citrus peel.

    I must forewarn you, it smells like total rotten egg funk when fermenting. It's one of the most nasty fermenters I've ever used. If you can ferment it away from everything, do it. Your wife will kill you if you try and ferment it in the house. It's baaaaad.
  9. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Savant (465) Louisiana Dec 3, 2005

    I guess that's why it's forbidden fruit.
  10. So, it sounds like 3463 produces more esters than a ‘typical’ Wit yeast (e.g., WY3944/WLP400)?

    I find this intriguing.


    P.S. Thanks for the stink warning. I typically ferment in a utility room (which includes the washer & dryer). I suppose I will have to plan my ferment to not conflict with laundry day!?!;)
  11. MMAJYK

    MMAJYK Savant (455) Georgia Jun 26, 2007

    It's definitely more estery than the first few I tried. 400 was a bit one dimensional to me, just kind of dry and tart. Its cool because the esters are light and fruity and go well with wheat and spices. They are definitely not in your face like a Trappist yeast or Saison. I seriously think you ought to give it a shot. If you do, please let me know what you think.

    All this talk is making me want to brew a Wit soon. :)

    Edit: I just read the Wyeast site and it looks like I just cut & pasted from it. I guess I'm not the only one that feels this way! "The subtle fruit character and dry tart finish will complement wheat malt, orange peel and spice additions typical of Wits."
  12. “If you do, please let me know what you think.”

    I already wrote a note in my brew book to order 3463 for my next Wit. That beer will not be brewed for quite some time; I typically brew my Wits in May/June for summertime drinking. I hope that I remember to report back.:confused:

  13. I used WLP400 in the low 60s for a recent "Winter Wit". It isn't my favorite. I like that it is slightly tart, and the very VERY subtly spicy phenols are nice in the background, but I'm not really all that pleased with it.

    Totally devoid of any fruity esters, and therefore pretty bland and unbalanced-- fully in the tart and grainy camp without any bright fruity/ sweet/ spicy flavors to balance. The extra gummy mouth feel, tart fermentation character, and low gravity make for a pretty strange beer IMO… I’ll definitely go much higher next time.
  14. Naugled

    Naugled Advocate (525) New York Sep 25, 2007

    I did a series of beers using Wyeast 3944 last summer fermenting at different temps 74F, 76F, 78F and 80F+. I was trying to bring out a tart note that I like in Raging Bitch which I believer uses a Wit yeast.

    I was surprised at how little difference the temperatures made on the over all beer flavors. The 80F+ beer got to be a bit too phenolic for me, but it was still good beer. That particular yeast has a fairly wide temperature band.

    I plan to repeat the experiment this summer using the Whitelabs strain.
  15. I got the tartness from 65F. The chart at whitelabs calls out bubblegum/ clove/ spice in the low range, but I got tart/ clean/ moderate spice.
  16. Naugled

    Naugled Advocate (525) New York Sep 25, 2007

    Interesting, I'll have to try a few lower temps for the next go around.
  17. Flying Dog uses the El Diablo yeast strain from Brewing Science Institute (BSI) in Colorado. I take it you were unable to ‘track’ this strain down?

  18. Naugled

    Naugled Advocate (525) New York Sep 25, 2007

    Exactly! Know where I can get some?
  19. I personally do not know of any retailers that carry BSI yeast.

    I would strongly recommend that you contact them (call them) and ask if there is any way you could obtain El Diablo yeast. The worst that will happen is that they will say that they only sell to commercial breweries.

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