Author Topic: How Yeast Affects Beer  (Read 1304 times)

Offline depthcharge623

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How Yeast Affects Beer
« on: October 28, 2014, 06:47:03 PM »
I started a thread a while back on how different fermentables affect beer.  I was surprised to see from the responses how much yeast affects the taste of beer (yes, I'm a noob).  So I was wondering if anyone had resources (or want to explain to me) explaining some common yeasts that are used, and how they affect the beer.  I already know a little about the general difference between top and bottom yeasts, but beyond that am clueless.

I was also wondering how much the combination of yeast/grain affects flavor.  Meaning, will a certain yeast always add certain flavors, regardless of what grain is used?  Or is it more complicated than that?

Offline 69franx

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 06:50:19 PM »
In my experience and from what I have read here, "Chico" or WY1056, WLP001, So5 are all very clean fermenters, in that they add little flavor of their own, allowing the hops and malt to shine through. Belgian yeast styles throw a lot of specific flavors you can really only get from Belgian yeast strains. Hefeweizen yeasts perform differently and produce a different set of flavors unique to that type of strain. Everyone else will likely be more specific, but this is a start for you. Hope it helps
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Offline riceral

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Offline kramerog

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 07:18:57 PM »
This is just such a huge topic.  Yeasts are associated with styles.  Different styles have different characteristics often including characteristics derived from yeast.  Sometimes yeasts from one style are used to make beer of a different style like Belgian IPA - the Belgian yeast provide their characteristic flavors while hops provide their flavor characteristics.  At a beginner level, it is best to think of yeasts and ingredients providing different flavors.  As you get deeper into specific styles of beer, you can then get into the interplay of yeast, ingredients and processes.

Check out  http://www.howtobrew.com/ for some good beginner and some more advanced information.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 07:55:50 PM »
I agree with yeast being a very big topic.  Keep in mind the old saying "the brewer makes the wort, the yeast make the beer".

There are so many factors in what flavors yeast produce and when, that it is difficult to cover it in a forum.  the recommended books are helpful but be warned they are not light reading. 

Examples:  If you split a batch of wort and put a different yeast in each one you will get completely different beers.  The same is true if you use the same yeast but ferment the batches at different temps.

To get started read the descriptions provided for each yeast type.  There are many web pages dedicated to this info.  Here's a simple one: https://byo.com/resources/yeast .  Each yeast has a preferred or optimal temp range where it works best for the style it is normally used for (but you don't have to follow the "rules"). 

Have fun with it!!

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Offline depthcharge623

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 08:06:56 PM »
Thanks!  I'm a chemical engineer who took a lot of organic chemistry, so I'm hoping the book recommended in the second reply is not too bad for me.

I'm more of an abstract thinker, so I like to at least try to wrap my head around general concepts before experimenting.  But all this information is helpful, so thanks guys.

Offline denny

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2014, 08:17:59 PM »
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline erockrph

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2014, 12:29:41 AM »
Are there any breweries that have a distinct "house flavor" that is present in most of their beers to you? For me, Unibroue is a prime example. I can pick out their house character in pretty much all their beers. Sam Smith is another, and Harpoon as well (for at least a few of their beers) for me. That "house character" is almost always from their yeast strain. On the highest level, that is how I put yeast into context from a flavor standpoint.

Now, you can affect the amount and/or balance of certain flavors produced by the yeast by adjusting various factors. Fermentation temperature is the biggest thing, followed closely by pitching rate, oxygenation and wort gravity. Each yeast strain responds differently or in different degrees to these factors, but the underlying signature is almost always there. For example, when I brew with Wyeast 3864 (Canadian/Belgian - the Unibroue strain), my beers have that unmistakeable "Unibroue" character.

As far as which strain does what, I'd read some of the descriptions on the yeast labs' websites. In general, you want to select a strain similar to the beer you want to brew (English Ale strain for an English Ale, German Lager strain for a German lager, etc). I encourage you to experiment. Try splitting a batch into a few smaller fermenters and pitch different yeast strains in each to compare and contrast. Another good idea is to take one strain and brew several different beers with it so you can learn how it responds to different variables.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2014, 03:17:10 AM »
Good analogy. I get house character from Full Sail, Deschutes, Rogue, and SN. Not every single offering, but generally you can sense its their beer

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2014, 05:22:54 PM »
Many breweries use the Chico strain. I am not sure that one would think that SN , Russian River,  and Founders all taste alike.

SN uses the same 2.row and C60 as the base for most of their ales. The water would be treated the same. Their beers have a house flavor, but it is the sum of yeast, ingredients, and process being similar.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2014, 05:28:27 PM »
Many breweries use the Chico strain. I am not sure that one would think that SN , Russian River,  and Founders all taste alike.

SN uses the same 2.row and C60 as the base for most of their ales. The water would be treated the same. Their beers have a house flavor, but it is the sum of yeast, ingredients, and process being similar.
I was primarily referring to yeast strains that impart flavor :)
Eric B.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2014, 06:18:24 PM »
Many breweries use the Chico strain. I am not sure that one would think that SN , Russian River,  and Founders all taste alike.

SN uses the same 2.row and C60 as the base for most of their ales. The water would be treated the same. Their beers have a house flavor, but it is the sum of yeast, ingredients, and process being similar.
I was primarily referring to yeast strains that impart flavor :)

I was replying to Jim, who brought up SN.

No argument that certain British strains are distinctive and impart a house flavor. Some Belgian strains immediately bring the brewery to mind, WY-3787 and I go Mmmm Westmalle!
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2014, 06:29:20 PM »
Some Belgian strains immediately bring the brewery to mind, WY-3787 and I go Mmmm Westmalle!


+1.  Love 3787.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2014, 06:40:28 PM »
Thanks!  I'm a chemical engineer who took a lot of organic chemistry, so I'm hoping the book recommended in the second reply is not too bad for me.

I'm more of an abstract thinker, so I like to at least try to wrap my head around general concepts before experimenting.  But all this information is helpful, so thanks guys.

Then you'll be fine.

I tend to have to call my daughter (majoring in chemistry so she can teach it) now and then to ask for the dumbed down explanation.   ::)

Chem was many moons ago for me.  One of those use it or lose things.

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How Yeast Affects Beer
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2014, 06:54:29 PM »
Many breweries use the Chico strain. I am not sure that one would think that SN , Russian River,  and Founders all taste alike.

SN uses the same 2.row and C60 as the base for most of their ales. The water would be treated the same. Their beers have a house flavor, but it is the sum of yeast, ingredients, and process being similar.
I was primarily referring to yeast strains that impart flavor :)

I was replying to Jim, who brought up SN.

No argument that certain British strains are distinctive and impart a house flavor. Some Belgian strains immediately bring the brewery to mind, WY-3787 and I go Mmmm Westmalle!

Without question "house character" is more that merely yeast.  But it is a major player. SN Ovila Quad comes to mind. I would not know that was a SN beer but for the label.