How much of beer taste goes to yeast?

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Alex4mula

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So how much of the final beer taste is imparted by the yeast used? I have always had this doubt. I have brewed 66 beers and 50% of them use US-05. I really like how it works and the convenience but I wonder if I'm missing something big by not trying other substitutes in some recipes. And yes after so many brews I still consider myself a beginer ;-) Tks

US-05
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Nottingham
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S-04
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WLP-005
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WLP004
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WLP-029
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WLP002
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WY-1007
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WY-1764
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WLP001
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WLP-351
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BRY-97
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WY-1010
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WLP013
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WPL004
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WB-06
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WLP080
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giraffe

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Alot honestly. Lets just talk about the strain of yeast, and not pitch rate, fermentation temp, and everything else about the fermentation conditions, which also greatly effects the final product.

Ale yeast strain selection effects a few major factors. Average attenuation (how low the final gravity will be from a given wort). Flocculation (how quick the yeast will fall and clear from the beer), Ester production (a wide range of fruit like flavors), and phenol production (clove, pepper, spicy notes common in belgian and hefe strains). There can also be slight differences in mouthfeel, and the propensity to create off flavors in less than ideal conditions.

US05 is a very neutral strain, with usually just a whisper of peach esters. And is fairly tolerant of less than ideal conditions. Its attenuation is med-high. It's a popular american strain for a reason.

But you have options, and the style you are brewing, or recipe you are brewing, might want more fruitiness from the yeast. Or have a fuller mouthfeel from a lower attenuating yeast. Like if you are making an english bitter, and estery yeast like 1469 or 1968 may be a better match for your recipe. The descriptions on the yeast manufacturers websites are usually pretty accurate.
 

Sammy86

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I believe the yeasts contribute different flavors in the form of esters and phenols. For example Belgian yeasts will be provide fruity and ester notes while German ale yeasts tend to bring out nore maltiness and breadyness of grist.

Ill give an example...i have a house American Wheat beer recipe that I love...same grist and hops but i've fermented it three different times...once with WY1010, once S04 and once with WLP 001...all three beers were delicious...however each was unique.

The WY 1010 is clean and accentuates the malt while still being clean...the SO4 version gave some fruity esters and I believe accentuated the hops...WLP 001 was super clean and brought a nice crispness to the beer.

IMO if the beer tastes great and you're happy with it don't mess with it...if you're up for some experimentation or even brew double batches throw two different yeasts at it and compare.
 

jrgtr42

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YEast can certainly make a big difference.
I can't put it any better than Giraffe or Sammy did,
but what I can do is suggest a couple experiments. Make up a batch of wort, 5 gallons, 10, whatever, and divide it up into 1-gallon jugs. Pitch each with different strains and see what the difference is (yeah, it's more work and cost doing it this way, but it's worth it.)
Also, you can divide a batch, pitch it all with the same strain, and ferment in different conditions - temp, mostly; you still want to keep it dark. One low, one super-high, and others ranging in the middle. Often you'll get drastically different results from the different temps.
 
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Alex4mula

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Thanks all. Yes assumption is having a normal fermentation process for them per specs. I always brew 5 gallons. I need to get two smaller fermenters to split batches.
 

OldDogBrewing

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Depends on the yeast and other ingredients, if you use a lot of hops, you're probably hidding part of the yeast character. In a maltier beer with roasty malts, the malts come through more than in a pale, so the yeast does bring lots of flavours but it'll be the grist and the hop schedule what will determine how much of that you can taste in the final beer
 

mcmeador

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If you ever get a chance to go to White Labs in Asheville, NC, or San Diego, CA, you can try the same beers fermented with different yeasts side-by-side. It’s a cool experience.
 

bobeer

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Yeast plays a huge role in the flavor of the beer. Take the same yeast and ferment it at different temps you'll get different results in flavor. Some yeast, like a Belgian yeast, will throw more spice with cooler temps and more bubblegum type flavor with higher temps. Not all yeast will give acceptable flavors with higher or lower temps though so do your research before experimenting.

Kolsch has a distant flavor too and so does s04 as it wont finish as dry as sa05 or wlp001. Some NEIPA's are made with specific yeast that are known for their fruity characteristics and dry irish stouts have their own traditional yeast strain as well. California common and lagers also use distinctly different yeasts. It really just depends what you're brewing and how close to the actual style you want to hit. I used only sa05 and s04 for a long time when I first started brewing but over the last 5 years or so I've gotten more into brewing to style and trying to make more traditional beers. I now have a nice yeast bank of several kinds and it's fun to play around with small batches.
 
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Alex4mula

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If you ever get a chance to go to White Labs in Asheville, NC, or San Diego, CA, you can try the same beers fermented with different yeasts side-by-side. It’s a cool experience.
Good to know. Will try to stop at Asheville on my next FL trip (from MI). Tks
 

Dgallo

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It’s definitely yeast dependent. That said, some yeast strains have the potential to be the most dominant flavor in beer (Belgian pof+ Yeast strains are proof of that). I brew a lot of NEIPAS and some yeast strains I won’t use because they compete to much with the hops. Hornindal is one of them. The flavor is great but it doesn’t let individual hop varieties shine and that’s pointless for what I’m trying to achieve
 

OldDogBrewing

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It’s definitely yeast dependent. That said, some yeast strains have the potential to be the most dominant flavor in beer (Belgian pof+ Yeast strains are proof of that). I brew a lot of NEIPAS and some yeast strains I won’t use because they compete to much with the hops. Hornindal is one of them. The flavor is great but it doesn’t let individual hop varieties shine and that’s pointless for what I’m trying to achieve
I'm actually planning on using Hornindal (WL isolate) with Galaxy for that reason, will it outcompete such an expressive hop too?
 

Dgallo

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I'm actually planning on using Hornindal (WL isolate) with Galaxy for that reason, will it outcompete such an expressive hop too?
If you underpitxh Hornindal, absolutely. I would use a higher pitch rate for less ester production
 

OldDogBrewing

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If you underpitxh Hornindal, absolutely. I would use a higher pitch rate for less ester production
I have a whole vial with the best before on January 28th, it's for a 1 gallon batch so I think I will pitch the whole thing then
 
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