Samuel Smith- Making the butterscotch

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Jun 8, 2007
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I've been sampling some overseas brews lately, and my wife and I really liked the butterscotch flavor we tasted in Samuel Smith's Winter Warmer and Oatmeal Stout. The day after I tried the Samuel Smith, I was just glancing through Papazian's book and saw the section about diacetyl production, and how it highlighted Samuel Smith. I remembered reading that before, and thinking "that would be nasty." But having experienced it, I really enjoyed the uniqueness that the butterscotch flavor added.

I have done a search on this site for "butterscotch" and "diacetyl" but it seems like there is not a lot of information. Has anyone been able to control the diacetyl production where it is pretty reliable and you can get a soft butterscotch flavor? Papazian's book seems to indicate that Samuel Smith's flavor is a result of the type of yeast they use (very flocculent) and environmental conditions. There are Samuel Smith Clones available- has anyone ever tried these and been able to produce the unique butterscotch flavor? Anyone know what kind of yeast Samuel Smith uses?
If you want some diacetyl pitch and ferment at warm temperatures, somewhere around 72-76F. Remember the longer the beer sits in the primary, on the yeast, the less diacetyl will be present in the final beer, so you might want to rack into a second carboy within 5 days or so. I would use a highly flocculant British yeast, not London, Irish or Scottish.
Does this sound like a good game plan:

1. go with a samuel smith winter warmer clone

2. Pitch a highly flocculant yeast (such as the ringwood listed above) WITHOUT a starter

3. Ferment at about 75 degrees (internal temp including exothermic heat)

4. Rack off the cake in 4-5 days to secondary at about 68 degrees (to prevent rest)

5. Leave in secondary for about 3 weeks, then bottle.
I think that looks good, but remember this is an experiment and that the outcome is still unpredictable. The beer might have too much or too little diacetyl, the point is you will have a reference and when you make the next batch you will have experience with the yeast. If you keep using the same yeast strain you will learn it's characteristics and you will be able to predict it's outcome with more accuracy.
Hey Bayoubabsy,

Did you ever end up trying to produce that Samuel Smith yeast flavor? Any luck doing it? Let me know how it went. I know it is several years later, but I am very interested in how it turned out. I want to do something very similar and could use all the help I can get.