Yeasty smell after primary fermentation

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HeruRaHa

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Hey guys,

I realize this is probably a dumb question... yeast is our friend here, and assuming everything goes well there's a lot more yeast by the end of primary fermentation than was pitched. That being said...

My first batch was 1 gallon of mead. Per LHBS recipe instructions, I pitched the entire 5 gram packet. After reading up more, I realized this was probably much more yeast than was necessary. When I racked into secondary, I noticed the yeasty smell was very strong. I tasted my hydrometer sample, and it was nice -- there was a bit of a yeasty overtone like in a hefeweizen, but it wasn't at all unpleasant. I figured it would mellow out in secondary, but on my next batch I would scale down the yeast.

Second batch was 1 gallon of cider. I used Cooper's ale yeast which comes in 7 gram packets, so I did my best to portion out roughly 1 gram. I just racked into secondary tonight and noticed that same strong yeasty smell. Again, taste is nice, even less "yeasty" than the mead was at racking.

In both cases the trub was waay more than the amount of yeast I pitched, so I'm assuming this is all just normal yeast reproduction and brewing activity.

My ambient temperature in my closet where I keep my brew experiments is right around 70-71F consistently. I realize on further reading that the process of fermentation means the actual brew is probably a few degrees warmer, but both yeast strains I've used (Lalvin D47 and Cooper's Ale) reportedly do well under these higher temps.

Should I just RDWHAHB? Am I right on in assuming this is just a normal part of the process, and when I sample again at tertiary racking, the yeasty smell will have subsided considerably? Or should I be working to reduce my closet temps on future batches?

I'm ready to start up a 3rd test batch of something... maybe some Welch's wine or something... and I'd like to know if I should examine cooling options before I start another batch fermenting.

Thanks for humoring this n00b.
 

Yooper

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Some yeast strains are "cleaner" than others, also. Coopers is a poor choice for a mead.

I'd suggest a Lalvin strain (the D47 is fine but I prefer a "cleaner" strain), and do use the whole package whether it's for 1 gallon or 5 gallons. That's fine.
 
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Some yeast strains are "cleaner" than others, also. Coopers is a poor choice for a mead.

I'd suggest a Lalvin strain (the D47 is fine but I prefer a "cleaner" strain), and do use the whole package whether it's for 1 gallon or 5 gallons. That's fine.
FWIW, and this is just my opinion, but Cooper's is a poor choice for pretty much anything. i've had beers fermented with that yeast and they had some funny yeast flavors going on. wood-y is the term that comes to mind, definitely something that sticks out in a light bodied beverage. i've used a clean ale yeast in the couple of ciders i've done and it's worked out ok, but i think next time i'll be using a cider specific yeast.
i agree with Yooper, a wine or cider yeast would be a much better choice. my wife uses the Lalvin yeasts for juice wines and they always seem to come out very nice.
 
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HeruRaHa

HeruRaHa

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To be clear, I used the Lalvin D47 for the mead (default option with LHBS' mead kit), and the Cooper's for the cider. It was my intention to use Nottingham for the cider, but LHBS was out of stock. I'd read that Cooper's was similar to Nottingham and had seen a few people report good results with their ciders using Cooper's. I've also seen some negative reviews, so as always, YMMV.

LHBS also recommended Safale S-04 for cider, and they carry several more expensive yeast strains that are specifically made for mead and cider. I will definitely try these in the future. In the meantime, I'm still just experimenting and learning the ropes, so I opted for the $0.99 packet of Cooper's instead of spending $4-8 on pricier yeasts on my first cider attempt.

On the plus side, these early experiments might not have been the optimal yeast choices, but I'll have the opportunity to really understand why after comparing my results to another batch using better yeast strains.
 

Yooper

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Red Star wine yeasts vary in price from $.49 cents to $1 or so, so you may try them. They are better quality for sure than the Cooper's. (I wouldn't use Cooper's yeast for anything, including beer, but certainly not for wine, mead or cider. I'd use a wine yeast for almost all meads, wines, and ciders).
 
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HeruRaHa

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Thanks for the tip, Yooper. As a bit of an aside, I'm about to try out the Welch's grape juice wine recipe... I've got a packet of Red Star Montrachet and another of Lalvin EC-1118 (I stocked up on cheap dry packets last LHBS visit). Which would you choose?
 

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