S-04 my new go to Pale Ale yeast

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DJL531

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I posted this reply to an older thread, but wanted to get some opinions on this.

I used S-04 on a pale ale a few months ago and then dry hopped in the keg. This was one of the best beers I have made in the last 2.5 years. It was as clear as a pilsner at day 10 when I racked it to the keg. Hop flavor is there without a burn or dryness and it was clean tasting. I will probably use this for my Pale Ales and IPAs going forward instead of US-05.

I did make a starter 24+ hours prior and it nearly completely fermented out in 2 days. I find this is faster than the Kveik strains (that I have had massive failures with) and I'm fermenting at 75-80 degrees inside my condo. Currently have a pale ale working right now, 1.053 pitched starter Monday night at 8pm, checked yesterday at 5 pm (45 hours later) and it was down to 1.013. I let the sample sit for an hour or so and gave it a taste. Clean, hoppy and smooth. Can't wait to see what it is like after kegging in a few weeks.

I don't think I will dry hop this one as I loaded it up with hops at flameout for 5 minutes before starting the cooling process.

So, your opinion on US-05 or other American Ale yeast compared to S04?
 

HM-2

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I'm a big fan of British yeasts for pales and IPAs. S-04 tends to be very neutral at lower temperatures (from my relatively limited experience of it, anyway) but gets a bit more expressive warmer. I've got a half-batch of warm fermented Strong English Ale (Fuller's 1845-esque) that was done with S-04 and that's got some lovely plum and raisin flavours in it that I'm pretty sure come from the yeast.

S-04 is one of the best all-rounders for multiple styles IMO- as far as English ale yeasts go I prefer WLP007 but as that commonly attenuates above 80% I only ever use it on higher gravity beers. The S-04 sweet spot of around 75% means it'll do anything up to high 6% whilst leaving a very balanced beer (just right between sweet and dry). It's also a ridiculous cottage cheese flocculator which is often hilarious to see.

I've not tried S-04 for non-British styles, but I've done both West Coast and Hazy DIPAs (and one wheat wine) using WLP007 and it's been brilliant. I suspect I just like expressive yeasts though.
 

dmtaylor

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I have found S-04 to be so very clean it is almost lager-like, even fermented warmish in low 70s. I am going to start using it as a replacement wherever US-05 is specified. I think S-04 is the cleaner of the two yeasts. US-05 is good, but a little fussy, and more fruity (peachy), and not as clean as S-04 which is such a solid clean performer, at any reasonable ale temperature.
 
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DJL531

DJL531

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I have found S-04 to be so very clean it is almost lager-like, even fermented warmish in low 70s. I am going to start using it as a replacement wherever US-05 is specified. I think S-04 is the cleaner of the two yeasts. US-05 is good, but a little fussy, and more fruity (peachy), and not as clean as S-04 which is such a solid clean performer, at any reasonable ale temperature.
I agree. US05 has left me with some off flavors many times and other times just didn't perform the way it should have leaving me with a high FG. My local homebrew shop tries to tell me all chino yeasts are the same, dry or liquid regardless of brand, but I just don't feel that way. I took a chance on S04 because it read as enhancing the hop flavor profile that I was using and it was spot on when I brewed the previous beer.
 

dmtaylor

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My local homebrew shop tries to tell me all chino yeasts are the same, dry or liquid regardless of brand, but I just don't feel that way.

The so-called Chico yeasts are in fact all quite different. US-05 is very different from WLP001 and 1056, which are more similar to one another, but still different.
 

Pehlman17

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My LHBS was just telling me how much success they've been having with S-04 lately while fermenting beers at ambient temp right there in the shop. I've still been strangely hesitant to use it again myself based on experiences with S-04 from nearly a decade ago. I've heard from many folks that it seems to be cleaner in the last few years than it used to be. I think it's about time I give it another shot.
 

balrog

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My LHBS was just telling me how much success they've been having with S-04 lately while fermenting beers at ambient temp right there in the shop. I've still been strangely hesitant to use it again myself based on experiences with S-04 from nearly a decade ago. I've heard from many folks that it seems to be cleaner in the last few years than it used to be. I think it's about time I give it another shot.

This.

I've read over and over about "if you've not tried dried yeast in a few years, try it now, they are different".
 

dmtaylor

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I've read over and over about "if you've not tried dried yeast in a few years, try it now, they are different".

+1 I totally agree with this. Dried yeasts are really great these days. I do believe S-04 is better today than it was 15 years ago, etc. As if the manufacturer cleaned things up and got better at their job or whatever.
 
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DJL531

DJL531

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That first Pale Ale I made with S04 was a crazy simple recipe and turned out amazing.

Here it is:
All grain, 5 gallon

5lbs Vienna
5lbs Pale Ale
4oz Carapils (I had loads of head)

70 min mash at 154 deg - added hot water at 45min to maintain temp
.75 oz Magnum at 60 (38 IBU)

Split the batch into 2, 3 gallon kegs and dry hopped 3 days
keg 1) 2oz Vic Secret and 1oz Centennial (fruity and piney)
keg 2) 2oz Pacific Jade and 1oz Adeena (citrus and lemon)
12 days fermenter, 3 days dry hop, on 15th day I pulled hop bags out and carbonated.
1.056 OG / 1.014 FG
5.5 ABV
 

CascadesBrewer

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I'm fermenting at 75-80 degrees inside my condo

Wow! This is the first I can recall reading stories of clean flavors from S-04 fermented that warm. I have never used it warmer than around 70F. I might have to give that a try.

I used to use S-04 often for English styles 5 to 10 years ago. For a few years I shifted over to WLP013 for those styles and I found I liked it a little better than S-04. I have been shifting back to dry yeasts over the past 2 years. I do agree, dry yeasts are very good quality these days and companies like Lallemand are killing it with their selection.

I have a Ordinary/Special Bitter on tap that I fermented with S-04. It is quite a nice beer with lots of "English" character. Maybe that is all from the English Pale Ale + Crystal Malt (both from Murphy & Rude in Virginia) and the EKG hops. I feel like I am getting the expected fruity characters from the yeast. I mashed at 154F, got 76% attenuation. Fermentation was 66F for the first few days, then ramped up to 70F over a few days. I was out of the house for most of that time, but fermentation seemed to be complete when I got home around day 7. Kegged on day 11.

I made a nice Pale Ale with Nottingham recently, and also a nice American Pale Ale with Mangrove Jack Liberty Bell. Those are both yeasts that I want to play with more.
 

moreb33rplz

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The so-called Chico yeasts are in fact all quite different. US-05 is very different from WLP001 and 1056, which are more similar to one another, but still different.
Really? Not questioning but where did you read that?
 

dmtaylor

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Really? Not questioning but where did you read that?
I've experienced it myself. Also:

 

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Interesting. I'll have to try it. I don't (usually) tend to care for the "fruity" flavors pinned to yeasts, and always read that S-04 was full of them.

I've got Nottingham currently fermenting an Imperial Stout, it'll be the 2nd time I've ever used dry yeast (the first was also for an Imperial Stout, S-05, a year or so ago).
 

wepeeler

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I've always found US-05 to be cleaner. I used it for an Imp Stout a few years back, and my home brew club suggested trying S-04. S-04 definitely improved the Stout.

Used S-04 once for a hazy ipa, but wasn't in love with the beer. Been meaning to try US-05...
 
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S04 is an awesome yeast. It works from 60F (15C) or lower all the way past 75F (24C). It's super clean on the low end, clean enough to make pseudo lagers. For pale ales/IPA's , the S04 is very nice, but I like WLP007 @65F (18C) even more. I never use any Chico strains anymore, there are way better yeasts out there now.
 

Neldog0

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I'm a big fan of British yeasts for pales and IPAs. S-04 tends to be very neutral at lower temperatures (from my relatively limited experience of it, anyway) but gets a bit more expressive warmer. I've got a half-batch of warm fermented Strong English Ale (Fuller's 1845-esque) that was done with S-04 and that's got some lovely plum and raisin flavours in it that I'm pretty sure come from the yeast.

S-04 is one of the best all-rounders for multiple styles IMO- as far as English ale yeasts go I prefer WLP007 but as that commonly attenuates above 80% I only ever use it on higher gravity beers. The S-04 sweet spot of around 75% means it'll do anything up to high 6% whilst leaving a very balanced beer (just right between sweet and dry). It's also a ridiculous cottage cheese flocculator which is often hilarious to see.

I've not tried S-04 for non-British styles, but I've done both West Coast and Hazy DIPAs (and one wheat wine) using WLP007 and it's been brilliant. I suspect I just like expressive yeasts though.
 

wepeeler

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Got this split batch WC-ish Pale into fermenters last night. Chugging along nicely. SO4 is ripping, and the US05 is slow and steady.

6 gallons into each fermenter
US-05
S04
Mashed 150F
Ferment 68F

pale.png
 
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wepeeler

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@wepeeler please do report back in a month or whatever on the differences!
I'm actually going to keg on day 14 which is this Thursday. I'll be sure to sample it this weekend, but it'll be even better around August 4th. A week in the keg to clear out and fully carb is key. My last US-05 Pale I kegged on day 11 or 12, and I killed the keg within a week. That's bad, but it means the beer is good if you keep going back for more. Fastest kick time for a 5 gallon keg for me, granted I shared maybe half of it 👀
 

wepeeler

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Soooo, I really pushed this beer to be ready for a party tomorrow. As I said in my previous post, I kegged on day 13. Biofine Clear in the keg. 30psi 24 hours, 20 psi 48 hours. Turned down to serving pressure and poured a pint of each last night. For research purposes lol.

Nothing off from either beer. US-05 is smelling cleaner, SO4 is fruitier on the nose. Best way I could describe it would be US-05 smells piney-ish and crisp, SO4 smells a touch fruitier. I get the same from the taste. US-05 is crisper, SO4 slightly rounder. Can't wait for both to drop crystal clear, and they should be there in the next few days.

I'll do a proper side by side in a week or so, but I am definitely sharing tomorrow. Hope to get some good feedback, other than, "It's good!". I hate that comment lol.
 

wepeeler

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So the beer crushed at the party. I shared 4 64oz growlers and didn't have a drop leftover to bring home. It's a super solid beer, and you could go in 100 different directions with it. More bitter, less bitter. Double up the alcohol 😁 Have fun.

The US 05 is crystal clear (you can see the wood grain pattern through the beer glass), the SO4 is stubborn and still a touch not clear. Both carbed great. I like the US 05 better. It's crisp, clean, bitter but the malt flavor is fantastic. Has to be the addition of Munich. The SO4 is a touch fruity, which I prefer in a different style to the WCish Pale.

I'd go more bitter for a true West Coast IPA, but this is very close. I'd call it an American Pale Ale. A damn good one
20220803_233041.jpg
 
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tracer bullet

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Nice, thanks for the follow up. Not to put words in your mouth but it seems they do indeed follow their reputations, at least a little. One a little more clean (taste the malt and hops), one a little more fruity. I didn't expect them to clear differently, that's interesting to know (and could be a factor in the flavor).

Thanks again -
 

wepeeler

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Nice, thanks for the follow up. Not to put words in your mouth but it seems they do indeed follow their reputations, at least a little. One a little more clean (taste the malt and hops), one a little more fruity. I didn't expect them to clear differently, that's interesting to know (and could be a factor in the flavor).

Thanks again -
That's why I wanted to do this split batch. I've been reading on here that people seem to think SO4 is cleaner than US05, but that hasn't been the case for me. SO4 is still very good, but I prefer the US05 in this recipe. Can't believe how easy this beer is to make.
 

dmtaylor

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This might sound snarky but I don't intend it that way:

It's gonna be difficult to discern "cleanliness" in any beer containing Citra or Mosaic.

I've recently brewed an Aussie Sparking Ale and an Adambier (sort of a German barleywine) with S-04. Both ended up tasting close to lagers, with very very low esters, at least to my palate. No real hops to speak of in the styles I've done, which I think is easier to discern than a hop-loaded beer.

I mean no disrespect; just pointing out some facts.
 

wepeeler

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This might sound snarky but I don't intend it that way:

It's gonna be difficult to discern "cleanliness" in any beer containing Citra or Mosaic.

I've recently brewed an Aussie Sparking Ale and an Adambier (sort of a German barleywine) with S-04. Both ended up tasting close to lagers, with very very low esters, at least to my palate. No real hops to speak of in the styles I've done, which I think is easier to discern than a hop-loaded beer.

I mean no disrespect; just pointing out some facts.
No disrespect at all! Good discussions only :)

I do make hop heavy beers with Citra and Mosaic, but this isn't one of them. A 5 gallon batch is only 5oz total, with most of the hops added later in the boil. Might be hop heavy to someone who drinks lighter beers, but this is not an over the top West Coast-ish bitter beer by any means.

That being said, the only thing different in these 2 beers was US-05 and SO4. The fruitiness I get from the SO4 isn't citrus from the hops. It's definitely flavor from the yeast. Maybe 68 is too high for SO4? US05 allows the hops to shine while still giving a nice crisp malt backbone in this particular beer. It'd be awesome to share these with you side by side to see your impression. They're definitely different beers.

I'm not knocking SO4 at all, I'm only giving my personal and honest impression.
 

mashpaddled

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That's why I wanted to do this split batch. I've been reading on here that people seem to think SO4 is cleaner than US05, but that hasn't been the case for me. SO4 is still very good, but I prefer the US05 in this recipe. Can't believe how easy this beer is to make.

I find S04 to be fruitier than 05 as well. At warmer temperatures (near 70 and above 70) I get banana but around the mid-60s where I usually would ferment with it I get a nice round fruit flavor that is more of a mellow fruit salad than the aggressive fruit portfolio of many Belgian strains.
 

CascadesBrewer

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What is the groups favorite temp for S-04? I am not sure I am ready to jump to @DJL531's 75-80F range, (but it might be worth giving a try). I typically start off an English Ale yeast in the 64F to 66F range. Have others had good luck fermenting S-04 at room temps?

I often brew small batches to try out a new hop and my fermentation chamber is often tied up with something else. I had okay luck using Lutra in a few batches fermented in a warm bathroom.
 

wepeeler

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I'd go lower than 68 again for SO4 to try. It's finally cleared out like US05. But it's still a touch fruitier.
 
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