Rectify bread yeast mistake?

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MightyNolak

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So I recently started the process of making my first mead, it’s a cherry mead and I did a bit of research before starting. When I got to the adding yeast step I used some beer yeast that I got in a home brewing starter set, as well as yeast nutrient. I let it sit there for about four days and at that point there was minimal bubbling in the airlock, only about 1-2 bubbles every 20 seconds and I read that I should have been getting a lot more. I decided I was gonna try to add more yeast but the only yeast I had on hand was instant rising bread yeast and after I used that the fermentation took off! I’m getting about 5 bubbles every 10 seconds. And then I watched a video where is guy tested different yeasts for mead. His consensus was that the bread yeast was the worst and made a bad tasting mead. So now I don’t have much hope for my first mead and I was wondering if there was any way I could salvage it?
 

DBhomebrew

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Bread yeast doesn't flocculate as well as beer/wine yeast. It may require more time to clear and condition.

+1 @bushpilot: Let it run and give it time.
 

bracconiere

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So I recently started the process of making my first mead, it’s a cherry mead and I did a bit of research before starting. When I got to the adding yeast step I used some beer yeast that I got in a home brewing starter set, as well as yeast nutrient. I let it sit there for about four days and at that point there was minimal bubbling in the airlock, only about 1-2 bubbles every 20 seconds and I read that I should have been getting a lot more. I decided I was gonna try to add more yeast but the only yeast I had on hand was instant rising bread yeast and after I used that the fermentation took off! I’m getting about 5 bubbles every 10 seconds. And then I watched a video where is guy tested different yeasts for mead. His consensus was that the bread yeast was the worst and made a bad tasting mead. So now I don’t have much hope for my first mead and I was wondering if there was any way I could salvage it?


making alcohol is fun isn't it! :D

i'd say relax have more fun, but remember Keep It Simple Stupid...the only problem i've had with baker's yeast in beer is flocculation....so while it's fermenting, try and figure out how to help it decide to settle out?

my two cents....
 
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MightyNolak

MightyNolak

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Let it run and see what happens. It may still turn out fine.

If you don't have a hydrometer, that should be your next homebrewing purchase. Bubbles are not a reliable indicator of anything, it was probably doing fine.
Alright I’ll do that! I do have a hydrometer. How often do you check with that?
 

Homebrew Harry

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If you are patient everything will clear on it's own. There is no going back now. I bet it will be fine. I once did an experiment with bread yeast and several fruit juices. They all fermented out and all were clear as could be. At least you know your must is fermenting and not sitting around waiting for anything nasty to get in.
 

bracconiere

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3 gallons and I am using a 5gallon plastic carboy.


if you know the OG, i'd say these two things...and just take a drop...



and use a calculator with the OG punched in for current actual SG.....
 

pdhirsch

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If bread yeast works as well as wine yeast, then why do people continue to pay 8 or 10 or 20 times as much for wine yeast? This is a serious question, not trying to be snarky...

You can get a pound of Saf Instant bread yeast for $6 or so, but something like K1V wine yeast costs about $50 per pound in bulk, and twice that if you buy it in the little 5-gram packets that most of us use. Why doesn't everyone use bread yeast if it works just as well as wine yeast? Seems like a lot of extra money to pay if the answer is just "better flocculation."
 

Sam_92

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@pdhirsch Basic brewing Radio just did an experiment with bread yeast and in the conversation they mentioned that bread yeast may vary a lot on the specific species of yeast so results can be inconsistent. I heard the same thing from a YouTube channel that focuses on distilling, sometimes bread yeast is great and sometimes it sucks and you never know what you'll get.

@MightyNolak
I made my very first mead with bread yeast and it turned it really well. Mead does take a long time to mature and if I remember correctly the very last bottle was the very best.
 

pdhirsch

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@pdhirsch Basic brewing Radio just did an experiment with bread yeast and in the conversation they mentioned that bread yeast may vary a lot on the specific species of yeast so results can be inconsistent. I heard the same thing from a YouTube channel that focuses on distilling, sometimes bread yeast is great and sometimes it sucks and you never know what you'll get.

That doesn't sound right. What species of yeast other than Saccharomyces cerevisiae would be in bread yeast? I know that sourdough starters can contain a mix of domestic and wild yeast, plus bacteria as well, but I'd think that commercial bread yeast would be nothing other than S. cerevisiae. If the contents of commercial bread yeast were so variable, how could bakers ever expect to get consistent results?

Maybe the explanation is that when using baker's yeast for beer or wine or mead, there is a very small "sweet spot" of conditions -- combination of temperature, nutrients, pitching rate, oxygenation, etc -- such that things turn out OK if you happen to get it just right, but there is little margin of error; whereas ale/wine yeast can handle a wider range of those conditions and still yield a decent beverage.

That's just a guess, though. I've never personally brewed with bread yeast so I don't have any direct experience myself.
 

Sam_92

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Species is probably the wrong term. What I was saying is that beer yeast is very carefully maintained to avoid mutations in fermentation profile and bakers yeast isn't because any old yeast will do, it really survives more than a day at most.
 

Homebrew Harry

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... If the contents of commercial bread yeast were so variable, how could bakers ever expect to get consistent results?
^Exactly. You know there are standards in place that keep it consistent. I'm not saying that bread yeast will ferment everything the same way as beer and wine yeast, but if it worked today and you liked the result, then I'd bet it would work just as well tomorrow.
 

Phoenix7801

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If bread yeast works as well as wine yeast, then why do people continue to pay 8 or 10 or 20 times as much for wine yeast? This is a serious question, not trying to be snarky...

You can get a pound of Saf Instant bread yeast for $6 or so, but something like K1V wine yeast costs about $50 per pound in bulk, and twice that if you buy it in the little 5-gram packets that most of us use. Why doesn't everyone use bread yeast if it works just as well as wine yeast? Seems like a lot of extra money to pay if the answer is just "better flocculation."
TBH baking yeasts do vary in how they handle fermentables. I’ve only used Fleischmans Active Dry yeast and it fermented to 14% alcohol. No off flavors and it cleared. However I’ve heard that Rapid Rise or Red Star baking yeast aren’t very good for brewing. But Red Star does put out competent brewing yeast because they’re tailored to the style you’re going for whether it be a white or red wine. 71B can convert malic acid. EC1118 can be used to blow through a lot of gravity.
 

pdhirsch

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Species is probably the wrong term. What I was saying is that beer yeast is very carefully maintained to avoid mutations in fermentation profile and bakers yeast isn't because any old yeast will do, it really survives more than a day at most.
Have you ever tried baking bread with any old yeast? Do you think that's what commercial bakers do? I bake bread once or twice a week, and to my knowledge the bread yeast manufacturers are just as careful about consistency as ale/wine yeast makers. But now that I'm thinking about it, there are quite a few differences:

1. Bread yeast has to act fast -- acceptable fermentation time is measured in hours, not days or weeks.
2. Bread yeast is intended to be used at somewhat higher temperatures than ale/wine yeast (room temperature or a bit higher -- no lagering)
3. Production of higher-order fusel alcohols is OK in bread making, because the heat of the oven will evaporate them away. Fusels in ale / wine / mead tend to linger, and negatively affect the taste.
4. Flocculation / clarity is utterly unimportant with bread yeast, not so with ale / wine / mead.
5. Bread yeast sees / expects a very nutrient-rich environment compared, to mead anyway (maybe less so for ale or wine). You never hear bakers talk about nutrient schedules or organic vs non-organic nitrogen, etc.
6. Bread yeast doesn't have to contend with potentially toxic levels of alcohol. It does produce some alcohol, but the alcohol level never raises to 5 or 10% of the surrounding environment like ale / wine / mead does.
7. Oxygenation is probably different -- I don't know how much O2 is available inside a bowl of dough, but I suspect that it's different from the levels you'd get in must or wort.

I believe that the two kinds of yeast are both carefully controlled and optimized for their own respective environments. Even so, some people have had success using bread yeast to make alcoholic beverages, and ale / wine / mead yeast can work for bread-making (I have a starter in my fridge right now, made from ale trub, and it's been producing good bread). Which makes sense too, because in days gone by (medieval times), bakers obtained their bread yeast by skimming yeast from the surface of fermenting ale. But the two types have diverged since it became a commercial product, both of them being optimized for their own particular intended usage.

So maybe the answer to my question about why is bread yeast cheaper, is simply that it's easier to consistently mass-produce those strains of yeast that can operate successfully in a baking environment vs a brewing environment.
 

pdhirsch

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TBH baking yeasts do vary in how they handle fermentables. I’ve only used Fleischmans Active Dry yeast and it fermented to 14% alcohol. No off flavors and it cleared. However I’ve heard that Rapid Rise or Red Star baking yeast aren’t very good for brewing. But Red Star does put out competent brewing yeast because they’re tailored to the style you’re going for whether it be a white or red wine. 71B can convert malic acid. EC1118 can be used to blow through a lot of gravity.
How often do you us Fleischman's to make mead? I'd be genuinely curious to know if there's anyone out there whose go-to yeast for mead is some particular brand of bread yeast.

I bake bread a couple of times a week, but I only brew mead a few times every year. So I always have fresh bread yeast on hand, and I'd happily use it for my mead if I knew it would be consistently successful. But I'm reluctant to try it because slow or stuck mead fermentation is such a common problem for mead makers, even when using ale/wine yeast (as evidenced in this very forum). So again I wonder -- if bread yeast, which is so much cheaper, really works well for mead, then why does anyone spend the money on ale/wine yeast?
 

amber-ale

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I have tried different yeasts (including bread yeast) in making beer.

all yeast will make alcohol for you, but each yeast gives a different flavor profile to the end product.

Bread yeast was selectively bred to produce fast fermentation with lots of bubbles (so you get fluffy bread) but the bubbles also remove some of the subtle flavors many wine/mead makers are specifically trying to keep. If you want to make wine/mead with bread yeast you need to have a recipe specifically designed for those factors (ie JOAM mead and variations (yum!!)).

Wine/mead yeasts were specifically bred for fewer bubbles and interesting flavors, so you get interesting, but flat, solid bread. But tastier wine/mead/beer.

You wouldn't use a Ferrari for a family with toddlers and wouldn't use a station wagon on a race track. Both cars work and will (eventually) get you wherever you are trying to go, but each is specialized for different functions.

JOAM mead was designed to mimic meads made in the middle ages, before specialized wine yeasts had been isolated. In that era bread and wine/mead/beer used the same yeast (usually whatever wild yeast typically lived in that area).
If you are patient (4 months or more) and especially if you use some of the variations (use the juice, flesh and zest of the orange but not the white pith or seeds) and let it age at least 3-4 months (or longer) you can get delicious, low work, bread yeast derived meads of any flavors you want.

once you have perfected your technique and you want to get more specialized flavors (for more work and possibly less time) you can move on to the BOMM techniques (or not).
 

Raptor99

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Take a look at a wine yeast chart such as this: Yeast - Wine Reference Charts or this: https://www.piwine.com/media/pdf/yeast-selection-chart.pdf

Wine yeast have been selected and isolated for specific characteristics for specific purposes. One might be better for white wines, another for red wines, and another for cider or mead. If you look for the datasheet on each yeast type you can get more information on the flavor characteristics imparted by the yeast. Some are neutral, some enhance the flavor of the fruit, some add other flavors of their own such as floral or citrus.

If the only goal is to make alcohol, then any type of yeast will do (depending on conditions). But if you have a more specific flavor profile in mind, then selecting the right type of yeast can make a big difference.

For example, 71B: Lalvin 71B | Lallemand Brewing produces a high amount of amyl-esters, which enhance the fruit flavor. It has very low nutrient requirements, to it would work well for a low YAN wine. It also digests 20-30% of the malic acid, which is useful for a must with high acid content. But its alcohol tolerance is 14%, so if you are going for a higher ABV wine it would not be a good choice.

I suggest that you experiment with some different types of yeast, and choose one that produces a flavor that you like.
 

bracconiere

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answer is just "better flocculation."


welp, why is it beer yeast is 4, 8, 20 times more expensive then wine yeast? they want like 2 c notes for a brick of nottingham....


and yeah, using drugs is like stripping naked, oiling up and wrestling with a buff guy.....and yeah i used wine yeast for beer for a while...


unfurtantl;y when i was using baker's yeast, i realized i was dumping half my kegs down the drain because i'd have to pour a glass to get the yeast out for the next pour, every pour....so decided to bite the bullet and take it :(


maybe someday i'll start my own yeast lab...tell them to shove it, back where it belongs...their ass....
 

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