Author Topic: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?  (Read 2117 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« on: January 28, 2022, 09:19:07 am »
Guys:  Getting back to brewing after a break.  I ordered some ingredients and also some yeast.  To get my supply back up quickly I chose to make some ales with S-04 (a "pub ale", a blonde, maybe a pale ale).  I have had diacetyl issues in the past with English ale yeasts (1469 and 1968 specifically) and I want to avoid that here.  I plan to pitch one 11.5g packet into 5 gallons of [approx] 1.048 gravity wort and ferment it around 65° and then warm it up so it can finish and possibly drive off any diacetyl.  It's been awhile since I used S-04 but I have used it and I like its profile.  Is there anything else that I'm forgetting about using this yeast properly?  Does it typically produce diacetyl or no?  I use liquid yeast the vast majority of the time so I'm in a bit of a gray zone.  Cheers and thanks. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline stpug

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2022, 09:34:34 am »
Diacetyl isn't "driven off", it's reduced by the (healthy) yeast.  All yeast produce diacetyl which they'll reduce at the tail end of fermentation at various rates based on activity level of the yeast (i.e. warmer temps = more activity) as well as level of yeast still in suspension (i.e. high floccing yeast can take longer to reduce which is why some folks choose to "rouse" the yeast at/near FG).

Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2022, 10:12:20 am »
I don't use it very often any more but I still like it. It starts to taste a bit funky to me when you start to ferment above the mid 60s so I shoot for the low 60s usually.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2022, 10:23:08 am »
Right.  I want to keep fruity esters down as much as possible.  I typically use ale yeasts in the 62-65° range and then ramp them up towards the end.  Last fall I had 1056 going and I made three batches and then had to abandon all brewing so there may have been another 2-3 batches I would have made with it.  I'll get caught up with S-04 and then I have some WLP940 for some warmer weather Mexican-style lagers.  Thanks guys.  Much appreciated. 
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2022, 01:02:21 pm »
I get zero esters from S-04, even fermented warm in the low to mid 70s F.  It is super clean and a little sulfury, like a lager yeast.  But I do not get any diacetyl from it.  I will be experimenting more with it in future as a room-temperature substitute for warm "lagers" due to the complete lack of esters.  Also...

It seems to me and others (on HBT.com) that S-04 has changed in recent months.  Maybe Fermentis changed their source or cleaned up something in their process, because people who swear it used to be fruity are now saying well no, now today it is performing a little differently and is very clean.  So...... if you haven't used it in a while, you might be surprised at just how clean it is now.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2022, 01:09:59 pm by dmtaylor »
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2022, 01:31:13 pm »
I get zero esters from S-04, even fermented warm in the low to mid 70s F.  It is super clean and a little sulfury, like a lager yeast.  But I do not get any diacetyl from it.  I will be experimenting more with it in future as a room-temperature substitute for warm "lagers" due to the complete lack of esters.  Also...

It seems to me and others (on HBT.com) that S-04 has changed in recent months.  Maybe Fermentis changed their source or cleaned up something in their process, because people who swear it used to be fruity are now saying well no, now today it is performing a little differently and is very clean.  So...... if you haven't used it in a while, you might be surprised at just how clean it is now.
Interesting.  I have not used it in awhile but the last time I used it in a handful of batches and the character was very nice.  I have never NOT liked it.  US-05 on the other hand... I have has issues.  I feel like everyone will get a different character based on their variables... pitch rate, ABV, fermentation temp, yeast health, etc.  I will report back after I sample the beers with it.  I'm not a big ester-head so your news is encouraging. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2022, 01:53:03 pm »
I used it in an ordinary bitter last summer and fermented under pressure and was amazed how clean it was - like an English Lager, essentially.  I thought the pressure fermentation was the reason, but it sounds like it is just the yeast's nature now.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2022, 02:12:22 pm »
I used it in an ordinary bitter last summer and fermented under pressure and was amazed how clean it was - like an English Lager, essentially.  I thought the pressure fermentation was the reason, but it sounds like it is just the yeast's nature now.
Its floccing character is another reason I chose it.  Clear bitters, "pub ales", etc?  Yes, please.   :D
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline denny

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2022, 04:15:53 pm »
I used it in an ordinary bitter last summer and fermented under pressure and was amazed how clean it was - like an English Lager, essentially.  I thought the pressure fermentation was the reason, but it sounds like it is just the yeast's nature now.
Its floccing character is another reason I chose it.  Clear bitters, "pub ales", etc?  Yes, please.   :D

I'm curious what the criteria are that made you choose this over BRY97
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2022, 04:20:53 pm »
I used it in an ordinary bitter last summer and fermented under pressure and was amazed how clean it was - like an English Lager, essentially.  I thought the pressure fermentation was the reason, but it sounds like it is just the yeast's nature now.
Its floccing character is another reason I chose it.  Clear bitters, "pub ales", etc?  Yes, please.   :D

I'm curious what the criteria are that made you choose this over BRY97
I used BRY-97 last spring in some ales and I liked it just fine.  These beers I'm making now are leaning a little more "british" so I'm just mixing it up a little bit. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline BrewBama

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Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2022, 04:22:58 pm »
I use S-04 when I want a faster ferment and a bit higher FG. I like it in English styles. It has low esters and drops like a stone. If you want fast and clear, this is your man.

I like Bry-97 for a bit slower even ferment and a bit lower FG. I use it in American styles and, with a bit of enzyme, a pseudo lager. It is my go-to.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2022, 04:34:06 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2022, 06:09:46 pm »
I use S-04 when I want a faster ferment and a bit higher FG. I like it in English styles. It has low esters and drops like a stone. If you want fast and clear, this is your man.
Muh neighbor!  :D  I might throw an American Wheat in there too. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2022, 11:59:40 am »
Guys:  I am updating this thread after making SEVEN batches of ale using S-04 over the course of about 8-9 weeks.  A pale ale, a bitter, a blonde ale, a dark ale, another pale ale, an American wheat and a cream ale.  The first batch of pale ale is already gone and it was delicious.  If I concentrated very hard I would pick up some slight diacetyl but that wasn't every time I drank it.  No sign of it in the bitter and the blonde ale (with Liberty) was put on tap last night... no diacetyl at all.  But I have to comment on the character that this yeast brings... it's fantastic.  It has such a nice, bready character.  No real estery nonsense going on and it drops like a rock.  I let it ferment on the lower level of my place (probably in the low 60s) for a couple days and then moved it upstairs.  I feel like S-04 is going to be my go-to dry ale yeast going forward after this run of beers.  The description on the Fermentis website says "English and American styles" and I agree with that.  A smidge more "English" than you might get in a BRY-97 or US-05, 1056, WLP001 but that's okay with me.  Cheers Beerheads.
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Megary

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2022, 12:24:05 pm »
Guys:  I am updating this thread after making SEVEN batches of ale using S-04 over the course of about 8-9 weeks.  A pale ale, a bitter, a blonde ale, a dark ale, another pale ale, an American wheat and a cream ale.  The first batch of pale ale is already gone and it was delicious.  If I concentrated very hard I would pick up some slight diacetyl but that wasn't every time I drank it.  No sign of it in the bitter and the blonde ale (with Liberty) was put on tap last night... no diacetyl at all.  But I have to comment on the character that this yeast brings... it's fantastic.  It has such a nice, bready character.  No real estery nonsense going on and it drops like a rock.  I let it ferment on the lower level of my place (probably in the low 60s) for a couple days and then moved it upstairs.  I feel like S-04 is going to be my go-to dry ale yeast going forward after this run of beers.  The description on the Fermentis website says "English and American styles" and I agree with that.  A smidge more "English" than you might get in a BRY-97 or US-05, 1056, WLP001 but that's okay with me.  Cheers Beerheads.

Thanks for the follow-up.  I have to say, the few times (twice) that I have used S-04, it has been a bit of a disappointment.  I'm certainly willing to accept Brewer's error as the reason, but I have found it rather low attenuating (68% in a Stout and 68% in a Brown), a bit sludgy in the fermenter, yeasty, and lacking in the fruity/floral notes (as per Fermentis's description).  Maybe a Stout and a Brown were just awful choices for this yeast and your (lighter, less roasty) beers play to this yeast's strengths??  Not sure, but I think you are persuading me to give S-04 another shot.

Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: Can someone refresh my memory regarding S-04?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2022, 12:27:48 pm »
Guys:  I am updating this thread after making SEVEN batches of ale using S-04 over the course of about 8-9 weeks.  A pale ale, a bitter, a blonde ale, a dark ale, another pale ale, an American wheat and a cream ale.  The first batch of pale ale is already gone and it was delicious.  If I concentrated very hard I would pick up some slight diacetyl but that wasn't every time I drank it.  No sign of it in the bitter and the blonde ale (with Liberty) was put on tap last night... no diacetyl at all.  But I have to comment on the character that this yeast brings... it's fantastic.  It has such a nice, bready character.  No real estery nonsense going on and it drops like a rock.  I let it ferment on the lower level of my place (probably in the low 60s) for a couple days and then moved it upstairs.  I feel like S-04 is going to be my go-to dry ale yeast going forward after this run of beers.  The description on the Fermentis website says "English and American styles" and I agree with that.  A smidge more "English" than you might get in a BRY-97 or US-05, 1056, WLP001 but that's okay with me.  Cheers Beerheads.
This has been my experience as well. I think as long as you keep the temp in check, it's a very fine yeast.
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