This past week a new yeast was introduced into the FERMENTIS line of products and Biloba was able to secure a 500-gram packet of BE-134 http://www.fermentis.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/SafAle-BE-134_EN.pdf .
“This typical yeast strain is recommended for Belgian Saison-style beers and is characterized by a particularly high attenuation. It gives fruity aromas with a spicy character such as clove notes. This strain will produce highly refreshing and drinkable beers.”
Having brewed many Saison style beers over the years using the Dupont Strain I decided to challenge this strain as much as possible. The Dupont strain is known to stop fermentation at about 8 Plato if the starting wort has too many simple sugars available. In effect, the strain loses its ability to break down complex sugars and can take up to 30 days or more to finally reach terminal gravity. To get around this you either have to hold back simple sugars or add a second strain to help finish the beer off. You also need to ferment at elevated temperatures up to 90 F!
We formulated a wort with base malt, wheat, corn flakes and cane sugar. The cane sugar and corn flakes were added to challenge the yeast to see if we could get it to perform like the Dupont strain and stop fermenting, but it blew right through it. For hops, we exclusively used Mandarina Bavaria as well as adding orange peel as a spice. With a starting gravity of 14 Plato we have already reached 2.0 Plato after 60 hours, and are assuming we will reach less than 1.0 Plato by the time the fermentation is complete. We started fermentation at 70 F and allowed it to free rise to 76 F over 48 hours to develop a nice peppery background.
So, if you are interested in trying the beer, keep watching Biloba Brewing’s social media platforms for the upcoming release date—tentatively 2 weeks out. At this point, the beer is exhibiting a nice slight tangerine flavor with a peppery finish.
By the way, we are the first brewery in North America to use this strain! (unless someone tells me otherwise)