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Characteristics of SafAle S-04

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ctkach

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I pitched a packet SafAle S-04 into a batch of porter on Saturday and it took off pretty quickly (was showing signs of fermentation by bedtime) and reached full krausen Sunday evening. Since then the krausen has completely fallen back into the beer (as of Tuesday morning) and the activity has slowed significantly. I haven't taken an SG reading yet but I can't believe that a 1.058 beer has fermented out in 2+ days.

I've experienced this same pattern before with this yeast but thought it was due to a temperature change and subsequently shocking the yeast (I dropped the temp of fermentation by 10 degrees after krausen started). This time around the temp has pretty much been stable (within 2-3 degrees).

Now, the real question... since this is a british strain I'm curious if this yeast is more suitable to open fermentation and what I'm experiencing is an effect of that because I'm using a glass carboy for primary.

What are other people's experience with this yeast? Are you using a plastic bucket primary (essentially open fermentation) or a closed vessel such as a glass carboy? have you noticed similar patterns in fermentation?

- Chris
 

Soulive

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One huge lesson I learned with S-04 is that you can't let the temps get above about 65F internally. High temps = crazy krausen and too many off flavors. If you don't let it get too warm, its very nice...
 

Beerthoven

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I've used this yeast several times and my experience mirrors yours. Fermentation starts quickly and the krausen rises and falls in a few days. I've never had a blow off with this yeast.

It's always reached expected final gravity and has a good flavor profile, so I'm not complaining.

I ferment in glass carboys or better bottles with an air lock. I usually ferment this yeast at 67º.
 

Evan!

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A few things to address...

First off, it's not uncommon for a vigorous fermentation on a relatively low-OG brew to finish out in two days. I've use dplenty of Safale yeasts and this happens some of the time. The fact of the matter is, we need to know your SG right now, so you have to take a sample before anyone can really help you specifically.

Just because one uses a bucket doesn't make it "open fermentation". I wouldn't recommend open fermentation unless you're trying to infect the beer with stray bacteria (a la Lambic). Beer yeast do best on their own for most styles, and whether or not you have a carboy and airlock or a bucket, that won't have any effect on the yeast performance.

Now, I also need to ask: what were your aeration/oxygenation techniques? Back before I started oxygenating my beer with an oxygen tank and diffusion stone, I was seeing a lot of batches stall at 1.020 or so.
 

srm775

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I've used 04 once and really liked it. I made a pacific pale ale (similar to SNPA) and what you're describing is about the same as what I had. I fermented in the mid 60's and it started very quickly, fermented quickly, attentuated and floccuated very well. It's known for creating a very compact yeast cake.

I'd give it about 10 days on the yeast cake and then rack to secondary for two weeks of cold aging. It'll make a very nice and crystal clear beer (if that's what your're after).
 

TheJadedDog

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I use 04 frequently in my British beers and it is highly flocculent (meaning it drops out quickly). High flocculation is ideal in many British beers because you want to keep some of the residual sweetness. Also, it can ferment higher than 65, you just end up with a more fruity character to your beer, also appropriate for British Ales.

A 2 day fermentation is not uncommon, especially at a low OG so you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

As far as trying an open fermentation, I would recommend AGAINST it STRONGLY. The old British union system has all but vanished from commercial brewing and it was done under tightly controlled environments, which I am guessing you don't have in your house. A closed fermentation will not impact your yeast's ability to do its job and you won't risk infection.
 

zoebisch01

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I am seriously considering making this my standard yeast for minimal yeast profile beers because it is such an awesome flocculator and the sediment is the most compact I have ever seen in a yeast. I made a brew with it a few months back. I can pour straight from the bottle and not a single trace of the yeast runs off into the beer (like I mean I can close my eyes and pour the whole thing). My ferment with it was around 65 °F (Maybe even a little lower) and I had no troubles with blowoff, etc. I am not sure when it finished because my rule of thumb is I just leave it for 7 to 10 days anyway. I have never had a beer go longer in primary except for Lagers.
 

brewt00l

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TheJadedDog said:
I use 04 frequently in my British beers and it is highly flocculent (meaning it drops out quickly). High flocculation is ideal in many British beers because you want to keep some of the residual sweetness. Also, it can ferment higher than 65, you just end up with a more fruity character to your beer, also appropriate for British Ales.
I think you are confusing attenuation with flocculation there when it comes to unfermented content/residual sweetness.
 

CBBaron

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brewt00l said:
I think you are confusing attenuation with flocculation there when it comes to unfermented content/residual sweetness.
I don't think there is confusion as the two are somewhat related. A more floccutant yeast will tend to leave more sugars in the beer as the yeast drop out of suspension faster. If you look at your yeast profiles you will tend to find the the more attenuative the yeast the less floccutant and vice versa. There are a few that buck the trend some but you are unlikely to find a very highly attenutive AND floccuant yeast strain.

With good dry yeast in general from Fermentis and Danstar I find that the greater pitching rate results in a short lag time and quick fermentation for most beers. A good starter will work about as fast and pitching on a fresh yeast cake can result is explosive results. Pitching a liquid tube or pack will result in a much slower fermentation as it takes alot longer to build up the populations.
Craig
 

Brett0424

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I double pitched this stuff on a 10 gallon 1.090 Old Ale and it was literally done in 3 days and tasted perfect. Basically, I agree with pretty much everything that's already said. You have no problem.
 

brewt00l

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CBBaron said:
I don't think there is confusion as the two are somewhat related. A more floccutant yeast will tend to leave more sugars in the beer as the yeast drop out of suspension faster. If you look at your yeast profiles you will tend to find the the more attenuative the yeast the less floccutant and vice versa. There are a few that buck the trend some but you are unlikely to find a very highly attenutive AND floccuant yeast strain.
Craig
Related? yes. Interchangeable? eh...
 
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ctkach

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Evan! said:
A few things to address...

First off, it's not uncommon for a vigorous fermentation on a relatively low-OG brew to finish out in two days. I've use dplenty of Safale yeasts and this happens some of the time. The fact of the matter is, we need to know your SG right now, so you have to take a sample before anyone can really help you specifically.

Just because one uses a bucket doesn't make it "open fermentation". I wouldn't recommend open fermentation unless you're trying to infect the beer with stray bacteria (a la Lambic). Beer yeast do best on their own for most styles, and whether or not you have a carboy and airlock or a bucket, that won't have any effect on the yeast performance.

Now, I also need to ask: what were your aeration/oxygenation techniques? Back before I started oxygenating my beer with an oxygen tank and diffusion stone, I was seeing a lot of batches stall at 1.020 or so.
I'm planning on taking an SG reading tonight when I get home but the OG was 1.058 so it's no slouch of a beer. I did oxygenate with a diffusion stone so I know that that is not the problem.

I only mention the open fermentation because I recently visited Geary's in Portland, ME and the brewer there said that they can't ferment in closed vessels because their yeast doesn't perform well under those conditions. I've read about british strains acting like this before. And get this, Geary's re-aerates the beer after a couple of days to re-invigorate the yeast, I nearly fell off the gangway into a vat of beer when I saw that happening!
 
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ctkach

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I took an SG reading last night; 1.022. So it still has some fermenting left to do. I'll take everyone's advice and let it sit on the cake for the next week.

Would it do any good to try and rouse the yeast at this point? Or should I just leave it alone to do its thing.

Thanks everyone for the info on the yeast's behavior. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has seen it act this way.
 

TheJadedDog

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Just because the airlock isn't bubbling, that doesn't mean fermentation has stopped. I'd just leave it alone until two weeks have past, then take gravity readings on consecutive days to see if it has finished.
 

DIY Brewing Company

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Most of the fermentis have this characteristic of an initial take off of fermentation and the krausening coming earlier then expected. If you let it go for around 5 days I would say that it will have run its course on the beer. For low gravity beers, I personally start doing gravity readings on day 5. I like to take me beers off the initial yeast cake as fast as possible unless I am looking for a yeasty flavor. I know a lot of people use the 1-2-3 method here but I have mine at 5 days 2-3 weeks and then keg or bottle for 1-2 months. That is why I brew a lot to keep things on tap during conditioning times.
 
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ctkach

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ok, so I've let it go for 7 days now and the SG has barely budged from day 3... it's stuck at 1.021. I'm wondering if my recipe produced an overly dextrinous wort... anybody care to chime in with their thoughts on the following;

Ingredients
-------------
6.5 Lbs British 2-row Pale
2.5 Lbs German Vienna
0.5 Lbs American CaraPils (Dextrine)
0.5 Lbs German Carafa II
0.5 Lbs American crystal 120L

154F Single Infusion Mash

Incidentally, I dumped a packet of SafAle S05 I had lying around into the primary this evening with the hope of trying to kick start the fermentation again and save this beer.
 

Onescalerguy

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I'm pitching on top of 2 cakes(12gal batches)of S-04 tomorrow from last weeks' brew.It'll be the 1st time i've reused yeast.I was told it'll be fine.Any thoughts?Thanks
Cheers:mug:
 

Moonpile

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So what kind of flavors and aromas are you all getting from S-04? We just racked an IPA that used it and want to see how our results compare.

It had an OG of 1.058 and was down to an FG of 1.014 after 10 days in primaries (2x 6.5 carboys). Aerated with O2 stone and pitched dry, one 11g packet per carboy. This was my first time using O2 to aerate, and it only went 30 seconds or so before there was too much foam and I had to stop. Primaries had been in a basement that's been running 55 to 60F.

The hydro samples had an apricot fruitiness going on that was very reminiscent of Magic Hat #9, with a nice side-note of spiciness going on too.

Is this always going to be a bit fruity? Will the fruitiness calm down a bit as we secondary this? It's getting dry hopped too.

If the apricot notes don't calm down I won't be upset or anything. Just wondering what to expect. We have two more packs of S-04, so we'll be using it again soon.

I was pleased with the flocc. Man that cake was SOLID and the beer was quite clear already after just 10 days in primary. I think it took about 24 to 36 hours to really get going but was done less than 48 hours after it really started.
 

DeathBrewer

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I drank a stout i made with s-04 last weekend. it turned out quite good...lots of nice fruity notes (fermented about 68-70.) i'll definitely try it again.

i think i read that it supposed to be a fast fermenter and that it floculates well.
 

Danek

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I did a side-by-side comparison of S-04 and US-56 on a Bells IPA clone, fermented in the low 60s. The beers are still bottle-conditioning so it's still a little early to tell how it went, but the S-04 hydrometer sample I drank at bottling had a very nice subtle fruitiness to it, compared to the US-56 which was a little drier.
 

Bosh

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I'm using Safale 04 for the first time and dear god is the stuff insane. I had gunk foaming out of my airlock for the first time ever. The way its going fermentation should be pretty much done 48 hours after pitching. Wow, I'll have to not fill the fermenter up so much when I pitch another beer on the yeast cake or I think I'll blow the top of my fermentation bucket off...

Samples taste awesome so far...
 

andyp

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I just came across this thread, and my own experience mirrors the original post exactly. Pitched 11g rehydrated S-04 into ~5gal of porter at ~1.060 on Saturday. Starting to bubble that night, and by Sunday had a good sized krauzen. By today (Tuesday) is now at 1.021. I'm curious if the OP (ctkatch) ever got his batch down lower.

I split off a few gallons and fermented it with S-05 too, so we'll see how the cleaner yeast makes the same brew taste. Didn't measure it's gravity today, as it's still got a good krauzen on it.
 

Aspera

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I double pitched this stuff on a 10 gallon 1.090 Old Ale and it was literally done in 3 days and tasted perfect. Basically, I agree with pretty much everything that's already said. You have no problem.
This is the one thing which I typically avoid with S-04. I don't think that it is appropriate for very high gravity beers. It is excellent for stouts, porters and dry bitters.
 

WhoBrew

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I pitched a packet SafAle S-04 into a batch of porter on Saturday and it took off pretty quickly (was showing signs of fermentation by bedtime) and reached full krausen Sunday evening. Since then the krausen has completely fallen back into the beer (as of Tuesday morning) and the activity has slowed significantly. I haven't taken an SG reading yet but I can't believe that a 1.058 beer has fermented out in 2+ days.

I've experienced this same pattern before with this yeast but thought it was due to a temperature change and subsequently shocking the yeast (I dropped the temp of fermentation by 10 degrees after krausen started). This time around the temp has pretty much been stable (within 2-3 degrees).

Now, the real question... since this is a british strain I'm curious if this yeast is more suitable to open fermentation and what I'm experiencing is an effect of that because I'm using a glass carboy for primary.

What are other people's experience with this yeast? Are you using a plastic bucket primary (essentially open fermentation) or a closed vessel such as a glass carboy? have you noticed similar patterns in fermentation?

- Chris
I have been using this yeast more frequently and have noticed some of the same characteristics. I ferment in an open 6 gallon plastic bucket and cover it with a clean garbage bag to ensure no contamination. I find that beers often ferment more quickly when they have some head space. I have been making beer for over three years and have never had contaminants (in a not always perfectly clean college environment). Clean your equipment well and you wont have a problem. Anyways, I believe that this is a specific characteristic of this yeast because I use many other strains fermenting in the same exact environment and none of them are this quick. I recently had a belgian blonde style ale with this yeast that dropped from 1.068 to 1.018 in about 2 days!. I ferment at 65 degrees and rack at 60 degrees to a closed glass carboy, and this yeast has yet to produce off flavors while fermenting regular gravity batches in about and average of 3 days.
 

robertjohnson

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I've been having problems with off-flavors from S-04. It tastes dirty and musty, almost like dry-rotted wood. It's the same exact flavor in only the batches fermented with this yeast and get more noticeable during the conditioning process. I even split a batch three-ways to check on yeast flavors and only this yeast produced them. I could describe all other controls I've used to isolate the flavor, but suffice it to say that it's definitely the yeast, not infection and not oxidation or anything else. So, what's up?

I've usually fermented this in the 67-71 range. It's a little high, but it didn't take off at all for me below 65 until I brought it back up to temperature. Others in the thread have said they've had success below 65, so I'm wondering what's up with my yeast handling.

I cool down boiled water to around 86-92, pitch the yeast into it according to the mr malty calculator, wait a while, then gradually add wort to bring them into equilibrium at my fermentation temps. I do the same thing for every yeast and feel like I've got the process nailed. What else could it be? I've heard Jamil say certain yeasts work better for certain set-ups but, come on, wood fungi?
 

craven_morhead

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OP, quit fiddling with your beer so much.

I used -04 on one of my stouts and I like the profile a lot. I washed the yeast and have a starter going now that is going into a pale ale. I didn't notice much in the way of esters on the stout, though I fermented pretty cool, between 65 and 70. We'll see how the pale ale goes.
 

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