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Old 02-18-2008, 02:58 PM   #1
maltMonkey
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Default Some thoughts & questions about yeast

It seems that most people (myself included) buy the recommended yeast for the style of beer they're brewing, but I've been thinking about some alternatives recently that I may try....I'm curious about other's experiences:

1. A lot of breweries use one or two kinds of yeast for every style they make.....does anyone have a "house yeast" that they use for most of the beers they make? I do wash and reuse yeast, but generally it's recommended to only use up to 5 generations of washed yeast....has anyone kept a pure yeast strain going over 30 or 40 generations via acid washing & extremely sanitary practices?

2. Has anyone tried making the exact same recipe several times with a different yeast just to see the differences?

3. I've seen some yeast blends that you can buy--has anyone tried making their own yeast blend with 2 or more strains of yeast? I was thinking about experimenting with a big beer and pitching 2 different types of yeast at the same or different times.....

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Old 02-18-2008, 03:13 PM   #2
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1) This is fairly common, especially if you brew a lot of 'session' type Ales. Tbh I have a lot of recipes where the yeast characteristics are not terribly important because there are many dry varieties on the market that produce very similar results. That being said, If I had to pick one yeast for general all purpose, it would probably be Safale S-04 because of the AMAZINGLY compact sediment and clean profile it produces.

2) I personally haven't, but there are certain recipes where I think "hmmm I wonder what this yeast would do". But in those cases, it is usually between different Belgian strains where the yeast flavor profile is showcased. There are lots of threads floating around in here about using this type of yeast experiment you mention.

3) Well it's a toss up because you may get unexpected results such as one strain may dominate over time, etc. But I say experiment, experiment, experiment and that's the only way you'll know. I have done this, but haven't resused the mixed strains yet. I am waiting to rebrew the recipe.

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Old 02-18-2008, 03:31 PM   #3
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I just got back into brewing and of the last 7 beers I've made, I used 7 different strains (although one was a lager). I like to try out different strains to see how the flavor is affected and how the yeast behaves. Of course, there are many variables like pitching rates and temperatures that will have a an influence, so it looks like I've got a lot of experimenting to do

I say go crazy with using alternate strains for a "beer style". Beer styles were born by using what brewers had available in their environment at that time. You are where you are at this time in brewing history, so knock yourself out - be your own brewdog!

I think breweries stick to one or two strains so they can manage the yeast easier. This, unfortunately results in similar tasting beers. I recently toured Boulder Beer and they only use WYeast 1056 and all their beers taste alike, IMHO.

Don't be afraid of the yeasties! Its hard to screw up a homebrew!

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Old 02-19-2008, 01:11 AM   #4
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Charlie Papazian has used the same yeast strain for all his beers, ales and lagers...I believe White Labs sells it now.

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Old 02-19-2008, 02:11 AM   #5
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I keep White Labs WLP001 going for ales and WLP830 going for lagers. I work from 2 ea 2 liter flasks that has been propigated 1 time and use 250ML each time to make more starters. When that is gone I buy another new vial of yeast and propigate it again as the master flask. I have tried to propigate from the pitri dish but it takes much longer due to the small amount used in the first propigation. I'm sure I could do it from a pitri dish more often and get good results but have chosen an easier route. Most labs use DNA to make sure their strains do not mutate but we do not have that kind of equipment or knowledge at our disposal. If you were to take a white labs vial of any yeast an inoculate several slants you could keep it going longer but then White Labs would go out of business and we don't want that to happen do we?

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