Author Topic: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster  (Read 1280 times)

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2021, 01:05:52 PM »
I am beginning to wonder if Fermentis has truly solved the dry yeast purity problem, especially with respect to packaging.  If you view the PDF I linked, you will see that W-34/70 is classified as a flocculating strain.  Flocculent yeast cells have a protein on their surface called flocculin.  It acts kind of like the yeast cell equivalent of Velcro.  Without going into detail, this protein is inhibited while specific sugars are still available.   When flocculent yeast cells have exhausted flocculin inhibiting sugars and all of the sugars that can be reduced to one of flocculin inhibiting sugars, they start to stick to each other and either rise to the surface on trapped CO2 gas or sediment to the bottom.  Most wild yeast strains are non-flocculent.  What I am observing tells me that a significant number of cells in the culture have either mutated and lost their ability to flocculate or the culture is contaminated with wild or closer to wild yeast cells (e.g., baker's yeast).  The culture needs to be plated out on differential media to be certain that it is not contaminated with wild yeast.  It could just be a mutation in the FLO genes.

Offline fredthecat

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2021, 05:20:31 PM »
I am beginning to wonder if Fermentis has truly solved the dry yeast purity problem, especially with respect to packaging.  If you view the PDF I linked, you will see that W-34/70 is classified as a flocculating strain.  Flocculent yeast cells have a protein on their surface called flocculin.  It acts kind of like the yeast cell equivalent of Velcro.  Without going into detail, this protein is inhibited while specific sugars are still available.   When flocculent yeast cells have exhausted flocculin inhibiting sugars and all of the sugars that can be reduced to one of flocculin inhibiting sugars, they start to stick to each other and either rise to the surface on trapped CO2 gas or sediment to the bottom.  Most wild yeast strains are non-flocculent.  What I am observing tells me that a significant number of cells in the culture have either mutated and lost their ability to flocculate or the culture is contaminated with wild or closer to wild yeast cells (e.g., baker's yeast).  The culture needs to be plated out on differential media to be certain that it is not contaminated with wild yeast.  It could just be a mutation in the FLO genes.

ok, i see what you mean now and see the relevance.

yes, i used s-189 as well recently and i was surprised to see a fair amount of powdery substance (yeast?) coating the sides of the glass carboy though also a fairly tight sediment on the bottom. it does have balls of yeast in flocculation that rose to the surface and are floating as well.


there could probably be better descriptors on the yeast packets re: "sedimentation" than -low/medium/high.

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2021, 06:36:39 PM »
To be fair to fermentis, dry lager yeast lagged dry ale yeast by many years.  A lot of people believed that lager strains could not withstand the dry yeast manufacturing process.  What I want to know is what happened that pushed a yeast culture with an 73% AA to a yeast culture with an AA in the 80s.  Was Fermentis W-34/70 obtained directly from Weihenstephan Hefebank? Or was it obtained from a brewery that used W-34/70?  How far from the original is the product that Fermentis produces from the source culture genetically?  Is getting a good 11g package of W-34/70 the luck of the draw and I got one or two bad packages?  The expiration date on batch packages was in 2023.  I am sitting on two more packages of W-34/70 that are probably going to be tossed into the trash.  I have never had much in the way of luck with Fermentis yeast.  S-04 and US-05 were both no-gos. I also have four packages of Verdant IPA and two packages of Voss that I am determining whether or not they are going to be pitched.  I have had better luck with Lallemand's dry yeast strains than Fermentis when it comes to not producing weird flavors.  I have used Nottingham and BRY-97 for two spur of the moment brews.   I will not use Nottingham again because while it did not have any weird off-flavors, it did not have any flavor, period.  That culture makes Chico seem fruity. BRY-97 did not produce much in the way of off-flavors either, but the lag time is ridiculous.  If I am going to spend $9+ for yeast for a 5-gallon batch of beer, I am going to use liquid or cultured yeast.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2021, 10:55:40 PM by Saccharomyces »

Offline fredthecat

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2021, 10:32:46 PM »
To be fair to fermentis, dry lager yeast lagged dry ale yeast by many years.  A lot of people believed that lager strains could not withstand the dry yeast manufacturing process.  What I want to know is what happened that pushed a yeast culture with an 73% to a yeast culture with an AA in the 80s.  Was Fermentis W-34/70 obtained directly from Weihenstephan Hefebank? Or was it obtained from a brewery that used W-34/70?  How far from the original is the product that Fermentis ships from the source culture genetically?  Is getting a good 11g package of W-34/70 the luck of the draw and I just got one or two bad packages?  The expiration date on batch packages was in 2023.  I am sitting on two more packages of W-34/70 that are probably going to be tossed into the trash.  I have never had much in the way of luck with Fermentis yeast.  S-04 and US-05 were both no-gos. I also have four packages of Verdant IPA and two packages of Voss that I am determining whether or not they are going to be pitched.  I have had better luck with Lallemand's dry yeast strains than Fermentis when it comes to not producing weird flavors.  I have used Nottingham and BRY-97 for two spur of the moment brews.   I will not use Nottingham again because while it did not have any weird off-flavors, it did not have any flavor period.  That culture makes Chico seem fruity. BRY-97 did not produce much in the way of off-flavors either, but the lag time is ridiculous.  If I am going to spend $9+ for yeast for a 5-gallon batch of beer, I am going to use liquid or cultured yeast.

i agree with s-05, it was and is the default "best" yeast for beginners. but often enough it just wouldn't sit well with me, thats why ive been trying to find a cheap and easy dry yeast to replace it. come slightly warmer weather ill be trying the highly recommended BRY-97.

did you test all of the varieties of dry yeast, even the less popular ones? i hear the abbaye is far from the fruitiness and big flavours of liquid belgian, and is in fact pretty mild, with around 80% attenutation. if you find it tasty, that could be a good regular yeast?

im going to try as many dry yeasts as i can, as it is a better system (well, significantly easier) than liquid.

-hope to try WB-06 in the manner its intended as a close relative of WLP570, ie in a belgian blonde.
-try abbaye with a simple grist to see its flavour.
-would love to try verdant IPA if i see it


are you a professional taster in any way? i have a good sense of taste, but not anything beyond "good tasting ability" and it is likely fading with age slowly.



edit: why do they even make S-33? i mean ive only heard bad things about it, it has very poor attenuation, etc. just? that and S-23, i dont really understand the reason. i know my LHBS sell both of those, but ive never even bought them.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2021, 10:35:49 PM by fredthecat »

Offline fredthecat

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2021, 10:58:42 PM »
lol check this out, someone actually wrote this. i guess they were just talking out of their ass:

this is a description of WB-06

"Finally, a dry beer yeast strain for use in those Bavarian style Hefeweizens and Dunkelweizens. This yeast produces the classic estery, phenolic flavors typical of Bavarian Hefeweizens. Flocculation is somewhat low as expected for the style, adding the yeast-in-suspension flavor profile of these cloudy beer styles. The attenuation is a bit lower that other yeast varieties, so mash at a slightly lower temperature if you're going for some dryness. Fermentation temperatures are reported at 59 to 75 degrees... with 68 being about right. Higher temperatures produce stronger 'banana' aromas with lower temperatures leaning more towards 'spice'. "

it simply isnt. i guess initially fermentis just said "for wheat beers" and it has been interpreted and mutated over time into "for BAVARIAN wheat beers" during the earlier years of homebrewing.

lol attenuation is extremely high for WB06, that is one of the main complaints people post about it. "my weizen finished too dry!!"

the other complaint is that it has none of the esters associated with a bavarian wheat beer other than clove. if you scroll down far in the following PDF it shows that while it does create banana esters it is on par with what might be expected in a belgian yeast and is in fact just slightly more banana than k-97 (a pretty neutral ale) and much less than abbaye or T-58.

https://fermentis.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Brochure_Tips_and_Tricks_GB_web_planche-bd.pdf




if it was used properly, it could be a fun yeast. i wonder about that regarding other yeasts too.

maybe i should really experiment with very small batches of some of the much less popular yeasts some day.

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2021, 11:51:00 PM »
are you a professional taster in any way? i have a good sense of taste, but not anything beyond "good tasting ability" and it is likely fading with age slowly.

I am a ranked BJCP judge, but my sensory skills microbiology-wise comes from plating and slanting yeast cultures for a long time.  I isolated many cultures back when bottle-conditioned beer was more popular.  I plated out several cultures I obtained directly from small breweries and brewpubs.  I have seen nasties on a lot of plates.  I am thinking about ordering pre-poured Wallerstein Differential Media plates from White Labs (https://www.whitelabs.com/other-products/wallerstein-differential-media-wld-plates-tk3420) and plating out the crop I took from this batch.  I may wait until I collect a couple of more crops because these plates have a 30-day shelf life.

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2021, 12:03:33 AM »
it simply isnt. i guess initially fermentis just said "for wheat beers" and it has been interpreted and mutated over time into "for BAVARIAN wheat beers" during the earlier years of homebrewing.

I have come to the conclusion over the years that a lot of people are blind to yeast induced off-flavors.  If all brewer has ever used is dry yeast, that is what he/she expects.  Dry yeast induced flavors are not as noticeable today as they were when I first started to brew, but they are still there, especially on the initial pitch.  I am just more sensitive to it than a lot of brewers because I maintained and propagated my own pure cultures for years.

The reality is that a lot of brewers are not remotely clean and could not propagate a clean starter if their lives depended on it.  I know a couple of local brewers who have been brewing for a long time who routinely have yeast culture-induced off-flavors in their beer.  It is no surprise to me that these brewers have poor brewery hygiene.  A lot people ask me what is the best skill a starting brewer can possess, most are shocked when I ask them the question, "how well can you clean?" Most are expecting to say the ability to cook.  Brewing has very little in common with cooking, not even wort production.  It is closer to baking in that everything has to be measured and a process needs to be followed to the letter.  I have seen a lot of "drive by" cleaning and sanitation in the last 28 years.

Offline RC

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2021, 02:49:55 AM »
it simply isnt. i guess initially fermentis just said "for wheat beers" and it has been interpreted and mutated over time into "for BAVARIAN wheat beers" during the earlier years of homebrewing.
The reality is that a lot of brewers are not remotely clean and could not propagate a clean starter if their lives depended on it.

Yeah, last I checked most homebrewers, me included, don't have sterile operating rooms in our garage/basements. Good for you if that's your vibe. But your level of microbiological "cleanliness" isn't in the cards for most of us. And yet a lot of us still make fantastic beer from starters that have won plenty of awards--unexplainable!!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 03:11:57 AM by RC »

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2021, 03:14:30 PM »
Yeah, last I checked most homebrewers, me included, don't have sterile operating rooms in our garage/basements. Good for you if that's your vibe. But your level of microbiological "cleanliness" isn't in the cards for most of us. And yet a lot of us still make fantastic beer from starters that have won plenty of awards--unexplainable!!

I am not talking about your average person. Most people keep relatively clean homes. I talking about brewers whose homes are one step above a pig sty, especially single men.  You would be surprised by what constitutes clean to a lot of people.  It is not about having an operating room for a brewery.  It is about knowing how to properly clean and sanitize equipment and keep at least one's fermentation area tidy and relatively clean.  Over the years, I have been asked by people to help them improve fermentation quality.  I have reached a point where if I walk into a brewer's home and it is filthy, I give up and walk right back out.  I cannot help people whose parents did not teach them how to keep a clean home.  If person cannot keep a clean home, the odds are against him/her keeping a clean brewery.

Offline MDL

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2021, 04:02:45 PM »
I’m wondering about your pitch rate. Lallemand recommends 3 sachets of their Diamond lager yeast for 6 gallons @ 1.058.

I have not used Fermentis 34/70 but I have been pleased with Diamond lager yeast pitched at 1.7 grams per liter at 1.050 gravity, a bit more than the Lallemand calculator recommends.


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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2021, 04:56:36 PM »
Yeah, last I checked most homebrewers, me included, don't have sterile operating rooms in our garage/basements. Good for you if that's your vibe. But your level of microbiological "cleanliness" isn't in the cards for most of us. And yet a lot of us still make fantastic beer from starters that have won plenty of awards--unexplainable!!

I am not talking about your average person. Most people keep relatively clean homes. I talking about brewers whose homes are one step above a pig sty, especially single men.  You would be surprised by what constitutes clean to a lot of people.  It is not about having an operating room for a brewery.  It is about knowing how to properly clean and sanitize equipment and keep at least one's fermentation area tidy and relatively clean.  Over the years, I have been asked by people to help them improve fermentation quality.  I have reached a point where if I walk into a brewer's home and it is filthy, I give up and walk right back out.  I cannot help people whose parents did not teach them how to keep a clean home.  If person cannot keep a clean home, the odds are against him/her keeping a clean brewery.

Well, I guess you'll never visit me!
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Offline denny

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2021, 04:57:23 PM »
I’m wondering about your pitch rate. Lallemand recommends 3 sachets of their Diamond lager yeast for 6 gallons @ 1.058.

I have not used Fermentis 34/70 but I have been pleased with Diamond lager yeast pitched at 1.7 grams per liter at 1.050 gravity, a bit more than the Lallemand calculator recommends.

My experience is that one has been fine for 5 gal. of average gravity.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline BrewBama

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Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2021, 05:18:40 PM »
....  I am sitting on two more packages of W-34/70 that are probably going to be tossed into the trash.

...

Throw them in an envelope and send them to me.  I’ll use them.

Yeah, last I checked most homebrewers, me included, don't have sterile operating rooms in our garage/basements. Good for you if that's your vibe. But your level of microbiological "cleanliness" isn't in the cards for most of us. And yet a lot of us still make fantastic beer from starters that have won plenty of awards--unexplainable!!

I am not talking about your average person. Most people keep relatively clean homes. I talking about brewers whose homes are one step above a pig sty, especially single men.  You would be surprised by what constitutes clean to a lot of people.  It is not about having an operating room for a brewery.  It is about knowing how to properly clean and sanitize equipment and keep at least one's fermentation area tidy and relatively clean.  Over the years, I have been asked by people to help them improve fermentation quality.  I have reached a point where if I walk into a brewer's home and it is filthy, I give up and walk right back out.  I cannot help people whose parents did not teach them how to keep a clean home.  If person cannot keep a clean home, the odds are against him/her keeping a clean brewery.

Well, I guess you'll never visit me!



+1. Clean enough to be healthy, but definitely evidence of being lived in.


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« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 05:27:42 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2021, 05:30:45 PM »
I’m wondering about your pitch rate. Lallemand recommends 3 sachets of their Diamond lager yeast for 6 gallons @ 1.058.

I have not used Fermentis 34/70 but I have been pleased with Diamond lager yeast pitched at 1.7 grams per liter at 1.050 gravity, a bit more than the Lallemand calculator recommends.

With apparent attentuation of 82.8%, I seriously doubt the problem was underpitching.  The place where the batch was fermented is cold enough that I had to heat the fermentation vessel with a temperature-controlled heating source to keep it at 53F.  The ambient temperature in that room was in the low 40s F.   At that temperature, most native microflora does not present a problem because it is not cryotolerant.  The reason why lager gave birth to industrial brewing is because lager yeast is cryotolerant; therefore, it has a competitive advantage on airborne native microflora. 

I stand by my assertion that dry yeast cultures are not as pure as their producers claim, at least not at the 11g package level.  If you read Kristoffer Krogerus' website (a.k.a. Suregork), you will see his claim that BRY-97 falls outside of the American family of ale strains.   The same thing happened when Chris Large and the team at the University of Washington (UW) sequenced BRY-97 from a retail package.  After receiving a slant of BRY-97 prepared from the reference culture from Tobias Fischborn at Lallemand, Chris came to the conclusion that the team at UW may have sequenced a contaminant because when they sequenced the reference culture of BRY-97 Tobias sent, they discovered that it is a closer match to Wyeast 1056 than either Siebel BRY-96 (the culture from which Sierra Nevada's culture descends) or WLP001 (although those cultures are close matches as well). Tobias Fischborn stated that BRY-97 was isolated from a culture received from a brewery that started with BRY-96.  Lallemand chose to propagate the isolate instead of BRY-96 because selective pressure at the brewery resulted in a culture with better performance characteristics (e.g., flocculation).  The fact that Wyeast 1056 is known to be from Sierra Nevada and the BRY-97 reference culture is a very close match to Wyeast 1056 pretty much points to Sierra Nevada being the brewery from which BRY-97 was isolated.  Now, the probability of two different scientists sequencing a culture (Lallemand BRY-97) and determining that it falls outside of the American family of ale yeast strains is close to nil unless both scientists sequenced a contaminant.   That can only occur if the reference culture contains yeast cells other than what is claimed on the label because I am certain that both scientists plated the culture for singles before sequencing.  I am not attempting to disrespect what Lallemand and Fermentis are doing.  It is just that dry yeast cultures will never match the purity of liquid yeast cultures at the retail packaging level using the current state of the art in dry yeast production.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Fermentis W-34/70 is a monster
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2021, 05:36:46 PM »
Don’t all dry yeast packaging disclose that they have some wild yeast and other microbes in them?  Has any commercial yeast producer put such information on liquid yeast packaging?  It would seem to me that serially repitching always risks contamination, genetic drift and petite mutants... but I suppose that plating and culturing from slants in sterile conditions (positive vent pressure and sterile loop) might avoid that issue.  I have simply reduced my repitch numbers lately to avoid the issue - rarely more than 5 batches.  Maybe I have just been lucky.
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