Headwaters Ale Wyeast ACT1000 vs. Wyeast American Ale II - 1272 for Black IPA

We as homebrewers we like to experiment......er.....At least I do.   And I'm constantly splitting batch's and experimenting with different aspects of beer.   I've been trying to be more scientific about it so I actually learn something.   That means, only changing one variable at a time.   I got some wort from the Brau Brothers Black Ale and split it into two batch's.    With the Brau Brothers beer, I'm doing a yeast experiment.   I thought, is there a better time then now to try the new Midwest Brew Supplies new yeast strain.  now that I think about it, I should've done a Midwest Brew Supply vs. Northern Brewer yeast strain competition...I guess that's for another time!  I used 2 smack packs each of the new Midwest Brew Supply strain - Headwaters Ale and then also a favorite yeast of mine American Ale II - 1272.   

Here are the initial details-
10 gallons at 1.058 or 14 Brix
2 smack packs each (Headwaters / Amer. Ale II)
Fermented at 64 degrees for 3 weeks
Transferred to secondary

Here are my initial observations:

Both the 1272 and the Headwaters 1000 took off in about the same time frame..12 hours.  The wort was properly aerated.  Both had massive blow-off issues.

I didn't observe much difference in the fermentation.  Both varieties had large krausens and blowoffs for almost a full week.  Huge 4+ inch krausens on both.  Then they both chugged along for another few days.   I made sure that they both fully fermented out by giving them an extra long primary fermentation and carefully shaking them a bit to get the yeast back into suspension.

Transferring to secondary there were definitely some differences.

Headwaters Ale -FG (1.008) 6.4% ABV- Seemed to be a Low to Medium Flocculation  that produced a very murky looking beer that definitely needs some additional conditioning.    The FG may have come down lower because more yeast was in suspension for a longer period of time.  This makes me think that it will produce a dryer end product then a typical American Ale yeast, ie, 1056, 1272.  Taste was similar to the 1272 but was a little bit less full in the mouth-feel and less malt characteristic shined through.
 ***There was a thin layer of slime, like krausen at the top of the beer.  At first I thought...shit, it's infected.  Tasted perfectly fine though.

American Ale II - FG (1.010) 6.3% ABV- Seemed to be a Medium to High Flocculation that produced a very clear beer.  Taste was nice and malty, a bit thick, hops shined through as this was a highly hopped Black Ale

Black IPA SIDE-by-SIDE tasting results -
4.16.11- Sampled side by side at the Nordeast Home Brew Club monthly meeting.  The Headwaters poured extremely cloudy even after 2 months in carboys and cold crashed for 3 days. The 1272 was extremely clear.  The hops shined through much more in the version of with the cleaner, crisper American Ale II.  The malt dominated the Headwaters Ale yeast.   The room was fairly divided as to which version people liked for this particular style of beer.  Some thought that the Headwaters mellowed out the hops which was a good thing.  Others felt like the American Ale II let the hops shine through and that was desired for this style.   So, the general consensus was that if you want the hops to shine through then utilize a highly flocculent yeast like Wyeast Amer. I or II.  If you want to go with a more malty beer, then the Headwaters Ale will do just fine.  

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