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Frequently asked: What yeast do I use? Frequent answers state what yeast the poster uses, and not much more.
If you haven't read "The Compleat Meadmaker" by Ken Schramm, the following is an excerpt from his book.
Yeasts for Mead making (I believe this info will be applicable to more than just mead, so read on)
Assmanshausen (Wyeast 3277, Lallemand AMH, White Labs WLP749)
A German strain used for medium to full bodied red wines. Known for
enhancing the varietal character and spicy aromas of the grape. Alc to 15%.
temps 68-86 deg F (20-30 C)
Bourgovin (Lalvin RC212, White Labs WLP760)
Burgundy yeast used for big full bodied reds and fruit wines using darker
fruits and berries. Enhances fruit character. Moderately fast fermenter.
temps 70-90F (21-32C)
Cotes du Rhone (Lalvin ICV D-47)
I have used this yeast for meads with success,as well. It takes longer to age than 71B
and is a better choice for medium to dry meads. It makes a good traditional meade but is
not tolerant to low nutirent levels and should be given appropriate nitrogen. Flocs very
well. Alc 12-14%
temps 50-86F (10-30C)
Cotes des Blancs (Red Star, Wyeast 3267, White Labs WLP745)
Has a reputation for being a slow fermenter, with higher nutrient requirements in
low nitrogen mead of wine musts. Accents fruit aromas; a good choice with varietal
honeys. Red Star says this yeast is the same as Epernay but with less foaming. This was
a favorite yeast of Bill Pfeiffer, winner of many mead competitons.
Alc 12-15% (less if fermented cool)
temps 64-86F (18-30C)
Epernay (Red Star, Lalvin DV10)
A champagne yeast that also has been pressed into service for other white wines,
meads. cider, and even reds. Another competetive factor yeast, and can handle low pH and
other stresses better than most other strains. Clean, fast fermenter, notably lacking in edgy,
temps 50-95F (10-35C)
Flor Sherry (Red Star, White Labs WLP700)
Actually a different species of yeast, which has considerably different fermentation behavior.
A flor is a pellicle of yeast organsims that forms after primary fermentation. The flor
grows downward from the surface of the must. The flor is aerobic- it moves oxygen from
the airspace into the must and is responsible for the production of the aldehydes and acetals, all
which contribute to what we identify as the "sherry like" character
Montrachet (Red Star, Wyeast 3244, White Labs WLP755)
Very popular red wine strain. Reputed to have difficulty with higher gravity musts, it is never
the less able to tolerate high alcohol content. Montrachet is valued for its complexity in big, dry
wines. Appropriate for melomels with big mouthfeel.
Alc/temps N/A (???)
Montpellier (Lalvin K1V-1116)
The definitive and original "killer" yeast strain, known for it's strong competetive factor, which
pushes out potentially infectious organisms. Known as a good white wine and light fruit wine yeast,
retains fruity attributes longer than other strains. High nitrogen requirements.
Temps 50-95F (10-35C)
Narbonne (Lalvin 71B-1122)
My preferred yeast for melomels with big dar fruit such as cherries, plums, or raspberries.
Used in making nouveau red wines. Strongly enhances fruit character, matures quickly. Enhances
softer, estery fruit aroma profiles. Can metabolize malic acid to ethanol, reducing total acidity
and producing a more rounded profile more quickly than many other yeast strains.
temps 60-85F (15.5-29.5C)
Pasteur Champagne (Red Star, Wyeast 3021)
Quick starter, tolerant of high alc content. This was at one time one of the more commonly
used strains for meade, but has become less prominent as more varied and specific strains have become
available to home meademakers. Ferments to complete dryness and can require more extended aging in
Alc/temps N/A from manufacturer but can handle 16%
Pasteur Red (Red Star, Wyeast 3028, White Labs WLP735)
A.K.A. French Red, Pasteur Red is derived from a strain from the Institute Pasteur in Paris. This
yeast may produce considerable heat during fermentation; care should be used to avoid temps high
enought to produce off flavors. Used in Cabernets and Merlots, this yeast will accent fruit flavors
and will be best suited for big-bodied melomels.
Alc/ temp N/A
Prise de Mousse (Lalvin EC-1118, Wyeast 3237)
Red Star previously marketed a Prise de Mousse labled strain, which it has relabled Premier Cuvee.
The strain they use is Davis 796, which has many similar characteristics to Prise de Mousse strains.
High alcohol tolerance, strong fermenter, strong yeast profile in the finished product. Fast fermenter.
A champagne yeast that is tolerant of high sugar content and a wide range of temps.
Can be used to restart stuck or sluggish fermentations.
Alc to 18%
temps 50-95 F (10-35C)
Rudisheimer (Wyeast 3783)
The traditional Riesling yeast, producing fruity, aromatic wines with an alluring balance of sweetness
and acidity in the finish. Excdellent choice for traditional meads or white wine pyments in which a
balance of sweetness, acidity, and fruitniness is desired.
Sauternes (Vierka, Lalvin R2)
French white wine yeast known for liberating fruity and floral aromas. A good yeast to highlight
intensly aromatic honeys in traditional meads with some residual sweetness. Needs nutrients to stave
off flawed fermentation characteristics. Can ferment to as low as 40F (4.4C)
temps 50-86F (10-30C)
Steinberg (Red Star, Wyeast 3237, White Labs WLP727)
German yeast strain used in making whites ith high levels of both residual sugar and acidity. Suited
very well to traditional metheglins or pyments seeking big, fruity aromas and mouthfeels. Pushes tropical
Another good yeast for meads in which a medium to sweet finish is desired. Can be a bit flaccid when
used with indistinct hoeys. Works better with big profile honeys and with metheglins.
Alc/temps N/A but 12% or less.