Which commercial yeast is closest to bread yeast for mead?

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giuzep89

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Alright, that's the main question. I'll elaborate:

Since I started making mead, I noticed I don't quite like the flavor I get from any of them as much as I like the first one I made with bread yeast. Back when I first made it, what struck me is that the resulting mead had a smell and a taste very close to the wildflower honey I used for it. Which was lovely! The same I couldn't say about the yeasts I used later on (Lalvin 71b particularly). All the commercial yeasts I used thereafter created a strong, aggressive beverage which completely transformed the original flavor of the honey. The usual recommendation I get is to age it till it's drinkable. But that doesn't make sense to me: why would I use yeast that makes the mead undrinkable until it calmes down a year later or longer? Are we sure that the aging practices don't originate from simply using wrong yeast?

Of course, simple bread yeast isn't perfect, it doesn't flocculate well and it ferments very slowly. But is that always the trade-off? Would I always obtain an angry, sharp beverage when using an "appropriate" yeast, or is there actually yeast out there that won't completely alter the honey flavor, but offers a bit more efficiency and reliability?
 

Miraculix

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Alright, that's the main question. I'll elaborate:

Since I started making mead, I noticed I don't quite like the flavor I get from any of them as much as I like the first one I made with bread yeast. Back when I first made it, what struck me is that the resulting mead had a smell and a taste very close to the wildflower honey I used for it. Which was lovely! The same I couldn't say about the yeasts I used later on (Lalvin 71b particularly). All the commercial yeasts I used thereafter created a strong, aggressive beverage which completely transformed the original flavor of the honey. The usual recommendation I get is to age it till it's drinkable. But that doesn't make sense to me: why would I use yeast that makes the mead undrinkable until it calmes down a year later or longer? Are we sure that the aging practices don't originate from simply using wrong yeast?

Of course, simple bread yeast isn't perfect, it doesn't flocculate well and it ferments very slowly. But is that always the trade-off? Would I always obtain an angry, sharp beverage when using an "appropriate" yeast, or is there actually yeast out there that won't completely alter the honey flavor, but offers a bit more efficiency and reliability?
Use the right yeast with the right nutrient protocol at the right temperature and you will get a drinkable mead after a month. It will be better a few months later, but that's always the case with stronger alcoholic beverages.

I suggest you start reading about tosna and the bomm protocol, or your just follow the suggestions on this page here, which also comes from the author of the bomm protocol:

 

Hoppy2bmerry

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I don’t know the answer to your question, but we can make mead virtually with any yeast, bread and beer yeast all work, (with nutrients) and will have their own benefits and drawbacks depending on what result one it hoping to achieve. With that said, it sounds like you prefer sweeter meads. Generally, to achieve that with a wine yeast we can chemically stop the yeast and “back sweeten” or make a sack mead by adding enough honey that the yeast have reached their limit of alcohol tolerance and a high residual sweetness is left.
 

bracconiere

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try different brands of bread yeast? i've used it for beer...and if my memory isn't lying to me, different brands did flocculate ok....
 

Golddiggie

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Sounds like the yeasts you used, after bread yeast, fermented more completely. Probably due to higher tolerances. You might want to look at either mixing a stronger must (more potential) that will leave more honey unfermented, or use a lower ABV rated yeast strain. Something like D47 (rated to 14%) or even Wyeast sweet mead yeast (rated for 11%). Or just go through the steps to stabilize and back sweeten after the mead is done.

Personally, every mead I've made hasn't been back sweetened. I typically make the OG to the level where it will leave not go to dry at the end. This has given me very well received mead batches to date.
 

Bilsch

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I’ve used different types of beer yeast to make bread and 029 was the best performer.
 

Golddiggie

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I’ve used different types of beer yeast to make bread and 029 was the best performer.
Makes the bread more expensive to make using beer yeast. I buy 1# bags of yeast for bread. Under $10 for the pound. Using ~.3oz per batch. Each pound lasts me about 7-1/2 months.
 

Dr_Jeff

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Personally, every mead I've made hasn't been back sweetened. I typically make the OG to the level where it will leave not go to dry at the end. This has given me very well received mead batches to date.


This is what I do as well, my "go to" yeast is K1V-1116 for all of my mead & ciders.
 

Golddiggie

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This is what I do as well, my "go to" yeast is K1V-1116 for all of my mead & ciders.
I've used a range of yeasts. All depends on what I wanted to get from the yeast/batch/recipe. I even tried WLP099 for a batch. That took a good amount of time to actually hit the limit, but it did. Aged it for several years. I've mostly use Lavlin Labs yeasts. But I want to give the Wyeast sweet mead a shot for the next run. More to see how it handles things, and what it gives the batch. IME, the yeast is an important factor even with meads.
 

Bilsch

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Makes the bread more expensive to make using beer yeast.

Not if you have collected yeast from brewing, then it’s basically free. Most beer yeasts did not perform well in bread though. Only the 029 showed promise.
 

Golddiggie

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Not if you have collected yeast from brewing, then it’s basically free. Most beer yeasts did not perform well in bread though. Only the 029 showed promise.
I keep a Mason jar of the dry yeast in the fridge (after I open it). I use Saf-instant for my bread. First rise is 30-60 minutes. Second (in the pan) is 30-45 minutes before it gets baked. Made a batch after breakfast today and used it for a sammich at lunch.
 

Kickass

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To answer the title question, bread yeast is probably closest to, well...bread yeast. All joking and smart assing aside, isn’t it easiest to buy readily available bread yeast from the grocery store and use that rather than chase a brewing yeast equivalent? If it ain’t broke...
 
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