Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tools of the Trade -- Yeast Strains

If you're making any type of homebrew, a key ingredient to a successful brew is the yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae) you're using. I've experimented around with quite a few in my beer, wine, and hard cider making. Without going too sciencey, I'd like to share my experiences with these strains.
Yeast Packet
A typical packet of dry yeast
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Lalvin EC-1118
Safale US-05
Safale S-04
WLP001
WLP002
WLP023
Nottingham
Cote des Blancs
Bread Yeast
 
Lalvin EC1118

A generalist wine yeast. It ferments very fast and crisp, leaving little to no flavor of yeast behind. 1118 can be used for nearly any style of wine and makes a decent hard cider. Krausen It has a very high tolerance for alcohol and can ferment up to 15% alcohol by volume if given enough sugar. If you're new to homebrewing, this is a good starter yeast for making juice or hard cider.

Used in: Cider #1 Cider #2 Cider #5 White Wine Apple Raspberry Wine Apple Cherry Wine Concord Grape Wine 2016 Estate Blend

Buy Lalvin EC-1118

A workhorse American ale yeast. I've used for a variety of beer types and ciders. It's perfect for making IPAs, Pale Ales, and Amber Ales in particular. If used to make hard apple cider, it imparts a slight pale ale taste to the finished product.


Used in: Red Rye IPA Centennial Pale Ale Baltic Porter Brown Sugar Cider World Cup Victory Cider Rye Stout Winter Rye Ale SN Celebration IPA Clone Rye Stout #2 Rye Stout #3

Buy Safale US-05
Safale S04

An English Ale yeast. So far I've only used it in some ciders. It ferments extremely quickly and leaves only a small mess. Compared to Safale US-05, this yeast leaves more of a fruity, apple flavor in the finished product.

Used in: Farmer's Market Cider Pumpkin Cider 1 Gallon Brown Ale Hard Cider #6 Graff CC Pale Ale

Buy Safale S-04
Liquid yeast strain similar to Safale US-05. Very reliable and clean. Normal krausen. Good strain for making hoppy beers like IPAs and pale ales.

Used in: Iceman IPA Burning Bear Amber Ale

Buy WLP001
WLP002

Liquid yeast that can make a variety of English beer styles. Ferments fast and leaves a low profile. Tends to produce some sulfury smells if used to ferment darker beers, but less than WLP023. Similar to Safale S-04.

Used in: Ahab's Stout

Buy WLP002
WLP023

Burton Ale Yeast is a monstrous strain. It starts off very slow, but eventually turns into an erupting volcano. The krausen rises high; leave enough headspace in your fermenter with this yeast unless you like cleaning gunk off the ceiling. Perfect yeast for English style bitters, brown ales, and porters.

Used in: English Brown Ale Vanilla Porter Burton Bomber Ol' 22 '916' Macadamia Nut Porter

Buy WLP023

Nottingham Ale Yeast


Currently being tested on a new batch of cider, this yeast smells a bit like bread yeast.

Used in: Cider #7

Buy Nottingham

Cote des Blancs



A simple wine yeast being used to ferment my Maple Mead. Smells similar to bread yeast. It is primarily used to ferment wine, but can also be used to make cider.

Used in: Maple Mead

Buy Cote des Blancs
Bread Yeast


Fleishmann's is the most common yeast you'll find in any grocery store. It works very fast at converting sugar to alcohol. However, any liquid you try to ferment with this will taste like bread. There is only one reputable homebrew recipe that I know of that requires bread yeast. In the era of online shopping, it's relatively easy to get a more suitable brewing yeast to yield better results. Recommended for making bread dough.

Used in: Experiments, JAOM

Buy Fleishmann's Active Dry Yeast

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