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Old 02-02-2009, 02:51 PM   #1
KingBrianI
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Default The Great Yeast Experiment

I'm in the planning stages for an experiment I've been wanting to do for a while. While a lot of attention has been given to malts and hops, especially with the very popular SMaSH brews, I've seen little work done on trying to nail down the differences between different yeasts in a controlled manner. I've decided to do just that, compare a variety of yeasts in a controlled experiment in order to not only see what each brings to the table, but to discover which produces what, to my palate, is the superior beer.

I'm going to use a very simple bitter recipe for the base beer. Something probably in the 4.5% ABV range and lightly hopped to about 20 IBU. It will be made with a maris otter base, about 10% british crystal 45 and just enough british chocolate malt to give a little color and flavor. I'll be testing only british ale yeasts, as that is what I'm interested in.

The idea is to brew a 10 to 12 gallon batch. I'll then split it up into as many 1 gallon fermenters as is necessary to test all the yeasts. Liquid yeasts will be pitched straight from the packet/vial, while dry yeasts will be measured out to an appropriate piching weight using mr. malty's pitching calculator. The leftover dry yeasts may be combined with the remaining wort in a larger fermenter as an interesting side experiment. Each sample will be fermented at the same temperature (65 degrees F) for the same length of time (probably 4 weeks) then bottled at the same time. Each will be carbonated the same and bottle conditioned under the same conditions. I figure each 1 gallon batch should provide around 8 bottles. These will then be sampled at various timepoints to compare the yeast results.

Here are the yeasts I'm planning on trying:

Dry
Nottingham
Windsor (never tried it but have heard both good and bad things)
S-04
Munton's Gold (what is usually thought to be a fairly pedestrian kit yeast put to the test!)
Cooper's (again, a typically kit yeast, but one that I've heard can produce fine beers)

Liquid
Ringwood Ale
Burton Ale
WLP002

Tentative Selections
WLP013 London Ale
WY1318 London Ale III

So my question is what do you guys think of the experiment? Is there anything I should amend? Any yeasts I should add? If you have a favorite english yeast or one you've always wanted to try, now would be the time to let me know.

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Old 02-02-2009, 02:56 PM   #2
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I'm all for it!! I will be doing something similar after I get all my other experiments done. I'm particularly interested to see how SO4 would turn out side by side with other yeasts for a bitter, as that is the yeast I am sticking with as a control for my experimental recipes.

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Old 02-02-2009, 02:57 PM   #3
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Wow. your timing is crazy. i've been planning this for months and just brewed it up yesterday.

i brewed a simple pale ale with leftover ingredients. 80% pils, 10% wheat, 5% c-40, 5% munich. OG is 1.044. i did a 5 gallon batch (to keep me from wanting to kill myself on bottling day) and split it 5 ways between S-04, S-05, T-58 (meant to grab S-33), Nottingham, and WLP060. this is the first round towards deciding on a house yeast. i didn't measure the yeasts out exactly, just aimed for half of a package in each, and i did exactly what you said about combining the rest mixed together for an experiment in mixed-culture fermentation (i just combined them in a starter for pitching next week).

i am going to do some extensive blind taste testing with the results and write up a long post about it. i hope you'll do the same.

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Last edited by slim chillingsworth; 02-02-2009 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:12 PM   #4
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here's a shot of the side-by-side fermentations, along with the starter for next week (and 5 gallons of saison).

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Old 02-02-2009, 03:30 PM   #5
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It might be interesting to use S-05 or Cali yeast and see how different the beer is from the estery british yeasts.

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Old 02-02-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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What yeast is the darker one?

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Old 02-02-2009, 04:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slim chillingsworth View Post
Wow. your timing is crazy. i've been planning this for months and just brewed it up yesterday.

i brewed a simple pale ale with leftover ingredients. 80% pils, 10% wheat, 5% c-40, 5% munich. OG is 1.044. i did a 5 gallon batch (to keep me from wanting to kill myself on bottling day) and split it 5 ways between S-04, S-05, T-58 (meant to grab S-33), Nottingham, and WLP060. this is the first round towards deciding on a house yeast. i didn't measure the yeasts out exactly, just aimed for half of a package in each, and i did exactly what you said about combining the rest mixed together for an experiment in mixed-culture fermentation (i just combined them in a starter for pitching next week).

i am going to do some extensive blind taste testing with the results and write up a long post about it. i hope you'll do the same.
awesome man! I look forward to hearing your results!

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It might be interesting to use S-05 or Cali yeast and see how different the beer is from the estery british yeasts.
at this time, I'll probably concentrate on british yeasts exclusively. it might be an interesting experimet at some point to test my favorite british yeast against other types of yeast on an english bitter. i've read s-33, which is marketed for belgian beers, is actually an old english ale strain, and was thinking about including it in a later test.
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:21 PM   #8
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I think it's an awesome idea and will probably tell you a few different things all in one test. For instance, you may find that certain yeasts ferment at different rates or condition on a different schedule, etc.

I'd love to see gravity readings at different stages of the process from each of the test batches. Although, for this to be valid you'd probably have to make sure that you were pitching approximately similar numbers of yeast cells.

Overall, a really cool idea and I think you're going about it the right way.

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Old 02-02-2009, 05:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dataz722 View Post
What yeast is the darker one?
that's the WLP060, the only liquid culture. odd, isn't it?
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Old 02-02-2009, 05:43 PM   #10
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I'd probably throw in WLP028 in there, or WLP004, just to see the differences. I'd actually suggest only using half the vial of yeast, you don't want to overpitch, it'll kill the english esters. I usually get 9-8 bottles out of a gallon batch, depending on the amount of yeast/trub left over.

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