Mangrove Jack's M02 vs SafCider AS-2 vs SafCider AC-4

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Well-Known Member
May 14, 2021
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Dear friends,
I wanted to perform another head-to-head yeast trial, since last time I pitted the M02 against other yeasts (Nottingham and 71b), Mangrove Jack's to me was the absolute winner. I had been hearing about the quality of Fermentis yeasts for a long time and wanted to try them out, so I did, and I wanted to share the results with you.

The juice I was naturally the same exact one for all three, a pasteurized blended apple juice from a local orchard. I used the recommended pitching rates for all three yeasts, with the difference that I also added a dose of Wyeast Beer Nutrient Blend for the SafCider yeasts, since Mangrove Jack's already comes with nutrients. I think I managed to strike a good balance between must oxygenation, pitching rate and nutrient dosage with all three batches since they all took nearly the same length of time to finish fermenting, that is in about 5 days. O.G. of the juice was 1.050 and they all finished at 1.000.

As of today, my girlfriend and I have only tasted the 3 ciders right after fermentation, on racking day. I'm sure aging will bring out other flavors and aromas, but the first impressions we had already give some important information. The 3 ciders weren't wildly different from each other, but the most remarkable difference between them was the level of acidity. the AS2 claims to produce medium acidity and medium esters, whereas the AC4 claims high acidity and high esters. I can confirm that this is true. But what I learned next is equally important: the M02 was the least acidic of the 3. Since MJ's doesn't really give out that sort of information, I'm gonna assume that the malic acid absorption of their yeast would be on the "high" scale if compared to fermentis. The M02 was definitely less acidic than the other 2, and with lower esters as well. However: last time I tested it against other yeasts it also seemed too "dull" right after fermentation, but it had a beautiful aroma in the glass months later. It is important to note that it does reduce the acidity of the must quite a lot, therefore I wouldn't recommed it if your juice is not very sour in the first place. It is also important to note that both M02 and AS2 are bayanus strains, therefore more like champaigne yeasts, whereas the AC4 is a cerevisiae, and it indeed behaved like an ale yeast even during fermentation ("dirty", lots sediment sticking to the sides of the fermentor, etc.). I would wager that most ale yeasts do absolutely nothing at all to smother eccessive acidity in cider musts.

A quick summary of the general tasting notes:
- AC4: crisp, citrusy, dry mouthfeel, the most acidic of them all;
- AS2: apple forward, tangy but not too much, fruity, with a touch of perceived sweetness;
- M02: the least acidic of the three, very smooth mouthfeel, delicately fruity, mild, "dessert-like";

Hope that's useful to someone!
Thanks for sharing. I also did a split batch experiment with AC4 and MO2 recently for my wife. We both preferred the MO2. Both ciders were enjoyable and fermented well, but the AC4 felt a little more one-dimensional.
Thanks for sharing. I also did a split batch experiment with AC4 and MO2 recently for my wife. We both preferred the MO2. Both ciders were enjoyable and fermented well, but the AC4 felt a little more one-dimensional.
I hear you. I have high hopes for the AS2 as well, but I'll judge when it's actually ready!
Great information... thank you.

I went down a similar path (and posted) a few months ago, comparing Cote de Blancs, AS2 and S04. It had occurred to me that it would have been worthwhile including M02 which is on the list of things to try.

Although it isn't "apple season" down here in Oz (Spring... and the apples are forming nicely already and should survive any late frosts), I am just starting some small batches using bought juice, mainly to see how an apple/cherry (using bought cherry juice) and an apple/blackberry (using our own blackberries) turn out, before going gung-ho when we have our own apples and other fruit in about six months' time.

The on-line store that I buy from, sent me some TF6 as a "give away" with some stuff that I bought recently so that prompted this burst of out of season activity.

Using Bellevue Orchards "Summer Snow" juice (6L x Pink Lady, 4L x Golden Delicious, 2L x Granny Smith... just because that sounds like a worthwhile mix), the plan is for 4L fermented with TF6 and 6L fermented with AS2 plus 2L put aside for back sweetening, top-up, etc.

In the past i have found that "bought juice" ciders can be a bit flabby, so some intervention is needed. Each of the juices has a similar SG and pH. The "blend" ended up with a SG of 1.050 and pH of 4.0 which malic acid addition has reduced to 3.6 resulting in a T.A. of 6g/L. i.e. the numbers now seem to be in the "sweet spot" so we will see how it all goes.

I will do 2L each of an apple/cherry, an apple/blackberry and a straight cider with the AS2, and an apple/cherry and a straight cider with the TF6.

If anything worthwhile comes out of this, I will also post and "add to the body of knowledge", as the academics say.

I've been doing a similar experiement with Safale and Mangrove. I did a brown sugar addition to both. The fermentation for MJ took off like a cannon and really cranked along and out performed. MJ finished boozier at 8% after 14 days, and honestly it wanted to keep going. My biggest question is the gas. MJ was very gassy with sulfer. Hoping some CO2 scrubbing and rest will help knock out the odor.
I have the same experience with MJ, it can smell sulphury, but it always goes away!