||12-13-2011 12:54 AM
From How to Brew
6.4 Yeast Strains
There are many different strains of brewer's yeast available nowadays and each strain produces a different flavor profile. Some Belgian strains produce fruity esters that smell like bananas and cherries, some German strains produce phenols that smell strongly of cloves. Those two examples are rather special, most yeasts are not that dominating. But it illustrates how much the choice of yeast can determine the taste of the beer. In fact, one of the main differences between different beer styles is the strain of yeast that is used.
Chapter 6 - Yeast
6.4.1 Dry Yeast Strains
As I mentioned earlier, the dry ale yeast strains tend to be fairly similar, attenuative and clean tasting, performing well for most ale styles. To illustrate with a very broad brush, there are Australian, British and Canadian strains, each producing what can be considered that country's style of pale ale. The Australian type is more woody, the British more fruity, and the Canadian a bit more malty. Fortunately with international interest in homebrewing growing as it is, dry yeast strains and variety are improving. Some of my favorites are Nottingham (DanStar), Whitbread (Yeast Labs), and Cooper's Ale.
Here is an incomplete list of dry yeast strains and their characteristics:
Cooper's Ale (Cooper's)
All-purpose dry ale yeast. It produces a complex woody, fruity beer at warm temperatures. More heat tolerant than other strains, 65-75¡F; recommended for summer brewing. Medium attenuation and flocculation.
Edme Ale (Edme Ltd.)
One of the original dry yeast strains, this produces a soft, bready finish. Medium flocculation and medium-high attenuation. Fermentation range of 62-70°F.
London Ale (Lallemand)
Moderate fruitiness suitable for all pale ale styles. Medium-high attenuation and flocculation. Fermentation range of 64-70°F.
Nottingham Ale (Lallemand)
A more neutral ale yeast with lower levels of esters and a crisp, malty finish. Can be used for lager-type beers at low temperatures. High attenuation and medium-high flocculation. Fermentation range of 57-70°F.
Munton and Fison Ale (Munton and Fison)
An all purpose ale yeast selected for a long shelf life. A vigorous starter, with neutral flavors. Medium attenuation and high flocculation. Fermentation range of 64-70°F.
Windsor Ale (Lallemand)
Produces a full bodied, fruity English ale, but suitable for wheat beers also, including hefe-weizen. Attenuation and flocculation are medium-low. Fermentation range of 64-70°F.
Whitbread Ale (Yeast Lab)
An excellent pale ale yeast with a smooth crisp flavor and fruity aroma. Medium attenuation and high flocculation. Fermentation range of 65-70¡F.
Safale S-04 (DCL Yeast)
A well-known commercial English ale yeast selected for its vigorous character and high flocculation. This yeast is recommended for a large range of ale styles and is especially well adapted to cask-conditioned ales.
Recommended temperature range of 64-75°F.
Saflager S-23 (DCL Yeast)
This lager strain is used by several European commercial breweries. This yeast develops soft estery notes at the recommended temperature range of 48-59°F and more ale-like characteristics at warmer temperatures. From what I have read, I am speculating that this is a Kolsch or Alt-type yeast. This strain of yeast will produce a lager character at 54°F, and homebrewers have reported good results with this yeast. Given the recommended fermentation temperature range, these yeasts may not respond well to lagering (extended secondary fermentation at low temperatures) as described in Chapter 10, and probably should be maintained at 54°F for the duration of the time in the fermenter, approximately 2-3 weeks. I have not used this yeast myself and cannot say for certain.
6.4.2 Liquid Yeast Strains
There are a lot of liquid yeasts to choose from and in order to keep this simple I will just describe them by general strain. All of the brands of liquid yeast I can think of (Wyeast, White Labs, Yeast Culture Kit Co., Yeast Labs, and Brew-Tek), are of very good quality, and to describe each company offering of a particular strain would be redundant. This is not to say that all of the cultivars of a type are the same; within a strain there will be several cultivars that have different characteristics. You will find that each company's offering will be subtly different due to the conditions under which it was sampled, stored, and grown. You may find that you definitely prefer one company's cultivar over another's. Detailed descriptions of each company's cultivar will be available at your brewshop or on the company's website. This is an incomplete list because new strains are being added to the market all the time.
All Purpose Ale Yeasts
American, Californian, or Chico Ale
A very "clean" tasting yeast, less esters than other types of ale yeast. Good for just about any type of ale. This strain usually derives from that used for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Medium attenuation, medium flocculation. Suggested fermentation temperature is 68°F.
This all purpose strain comes from Thos. Cooper & Sons of Adelaide, and produces a very complex, woody, and fruity beer. Medium attenuation, medium flocculation. Great for pale ales, brown ales and porters. Suggested fermentation at 68°F.
This strain comes from Whitbread Brewing Co., and ferments crisp, slightly tart, and fruity. More maltiness is evident than with the American ale yeast. Medium attenuation, medium flocculation. Suggested fermentation temperature is 70°F, though it performs well down to 60°F.
Ale yeast from Wissenschaftliche in Munich. A full bodied complex strain that finishes very malty. Produces a dense rocky head during fermentation. Suggested fermentation at 70°F. High flocculation, low attenuation. It's clean and malty, especially well suited to Altbier. Reportedly a slow starter (longer lag times).
Specialty Ale Yeasts
Lots of fruity esters (banana, spice), and can be tart. Very good for Belgian ales, Dubbels and Tripels. Low flocculation, high attenuation. Suggested fermentation temperature is 70°F.
Ferments dry and crisp leaving a good balance of sweetness and tartness. Produces an extremely rocky head and ferments well down to 55 °F. A good choice for Alt style beers. High flocculation, high attenuation. Suggested fermentation at 62 °F.
The slight residual diacetyl is great for stouts. It is clean, smooth, soft and full bodied. Very nice for any cold-weather ale, at its best in stouts and Scotch ales. Medium flocculation, medium attenuation. Suggested fermentation at 68°F.
An old German style of beer that is more lager-like in character. Nice maltiness without as much fruit character as other ales. Some sulfur notes that disappear with aging. Low flocculation, high attenuation. Suggested fermentation temperature is 60°F.
Complex, woody, tart, with strong mineral notes. Could be from one of the several renowned London breweries. Slight diacetyl. High flocculation, low to medium attenuation. Suggested fermentation temperature is 68°F.
Wheat Beer Yeasts
Belgian Wheat (White) Beer
Mild phenolic character for the classic Belgian White beer style. Tart and fruity. Medium flocculation, high attenuation. Suggested fermentation at 70°F.
Produces the distinctive clove and spice character of wheat beers. The low flocculation of this yeast leaves the beer cloudy (Hefe-Weizen) but it's smooth flavor makes it an integral part of a true unfiltered wheat beer. Low flocculation, medium to high attenuation. Suggested fermentation temperature is 65°F.
A tart, fruity and phenolic strain with earthy undertones. Medium flocculation, high attenuation. Suggested fermentation at 68°F.
Very versatile for most lager styles. Gives a clean malt flavor. Some cultivars have an almost green-apple tartness. Medium flocculation, high attenuation. Primary Fermentation at 50¡F.
Lager yeast strain used by many German breweries. Rich flavor, full bodied, malty and clean. This is an excellent general purpose yeast for Lager brewing. Medium flocculation, medium attenuation. Primary Fermentation at 48°F.
Ferments clean and malty, giving a rich residual maltiness in high gravity pilsners. Very suitable for Vienna and Oktoberfest Styles. Medium flocculation, high attenuation. Primary fermentation at 48 °F. Probably the most popular lager yeast strain.
Warm fermenting bottom cropping strain, ferments well to 62 °F, having some of the fruitiness of an ale while keeping lager characteristics. Malty profile, highly flocculant, clears brilliantly. This is the yeast that is used for Steam - type beers.
Czech Pils Yeast
Classic dry finish with rich maltiness. Good choice for pilsners and bock beers. Sulfur produced during fermentation dissipates with conditioning. Medium flocculation, high attenuation. Primary fermentation at 50°F.
Danish Lager Yeast
Rich, yet crisp and dry. Soft, light profile which accentuates hop characteristics. Low flocculation, medium attenuation. Primary Fermentation at 48°F.
Munich Lager Yeast
One of the first pure yeast strains available to home brewers. Sometimes unstable, but smooth, malty, well rounded and full bodied. Primary fermentation temperature 45 °F. It is reported to be prone to producing diacetyl, and accentuates hop flavor. Medium flocculation, high attenuation.