From the HBD Archive
From: (jack schmidling)
Subject: Profiles, Wyeast
Date: 1992-03-12 03:28:00 GMT

To: Homebrew Digest
Fm: Jack Schmidling

>From: Mark J. Easter <>
>Subject: Flavor profiles of roasted malts and barley

> Last week I brewed an all-grain scottish ale. The recipe
called for 2 oz of roasted barley and 3 oz of chocolate
malt. Can any of you enlighten me on the relative flavor profiles
of the various kilned malts and roasted barleys?

I know nothing about "profiles" but I would be amazed if two ounces of
roasted barley could be detected by even the most gifted nose.

I decided to put my own nose to work and made three batches as follows:

one lb roasted barley
one lb roasted malt
one lb each

The balace was Klages and a total of 9 lbs for 5 gal.

I was unable to tell the difference by taste or smell between roasted malt
and barley. They both tasted and smelled like coffed to me.

They both had a distinct coffee flavor early but towards the end of the keg,
it was not detectable as coffee just a richer flavor. In a side by side
comparison, the roasted barley has a bit of an oatmeal kind of taste and we
(my wife and I) liked the roasted malt better.

Either was a definite improvement on our light generic ale.

The combination batch is in the secondary, waiting for an empty keg. It has
a pronounced coffee taste but I suspect if it mellows out like the other two,
it could be quite excellent.

So, I think you are waisting your time with ounces.

>From: STROUD <>

>I know where I stand on the issue of dry vs liquid yeasts: I changed to
single cell cultures a long time ago and haven't looked back.

Although the rest of your article is science at its best, not looking back is
definitely not very scientific.

>Hidden in the midst of the on-going dry vs liquid (single cell culture)
yeast debate is what appears to be a universal condemnation of Red Star Ale
yeast. Well, I'm here to come to the defense of Red Star Ale yeast and to
break a momily:

>Red Star ale is actually a nice, clean somewhat unattenuative yeast. It's
the other crap inside the yeast packet that causes all of the problems.

Let us make sure we have correctly identified the "momily" in question.

Your article proves conclusively that selecting for survival of the drying
process does not restrict the other characters needed to make a good beer.

It also proves that the drying/packaging process (as done by Red Star) is
subject to contamination.

Both are totally reasonable conclusions and not inconsistant with my position
before or after reading the article.

>To answer this question, Sheri Almeda cultured Red Star Ale yeast on agar
plates and isolated four single cell yeast cultures.

I am having a hard time understanding what this means. Are these four
colonies from each of which a single cell was taken? Were they chosen
because they were the same or because they were different?

The results would indicate that they were probably the same or similar enough
to be irrelevant.

What else did they find on the original culture? If the contamination is
biological, they should have found either bacteria or an evil yeast in the

It also sounds like the control sample was taken from a different packet.

>This experiment also points out the problem with using dry yeast. You just
never know what's going to come out of that little packet. Even though the
dried yeast was very viable and got off to a fast start, the final product
had a contamination problem."

This also points to the solution to the problem. All the discussion about
the selection problems is null and void. We need only come up with a sterile
drying and packaging process.

However, it is becomming obvious that the real problem may not be what all
this talk is about.

The use of a liquid yeast could be (and probably is) only a bit more
complicated then pitching a properly re-hydrated dry yeast. If the results
are as much better as users contend, then the resistance must lie elsewhere.

The obvious elswhere is price. There is an great reluctance to use something
that costs 10 times what an acceptable alternative costs.

There are lots of ways the user can reduce his cost but it takes more effort
and unless he does a lot of brewing, he risks the evils he is trying to

I suspect making money culturing and selling yeast to homebrewers is marginal
at best and aside from simplyfing the package, not much can be done to reduce
the cost at the current levels of production.

>So there you have it. The problem isn't RS ale yeast, it's the _purity_ of
the yeast.

Translated: The problem is what's in the package of RS ale yeast.

It all boils down to the same thing. Don't use it!

The only way they will ever fix it is if people stop buying it.

>Any comments???

Nothing comes to mind at the moment :)

>From: (Jeff Frane)

>As far as Mr Schmidling's opinions on the best way to package yeast, I
would suggest that having the yeast and nutrient in one package was the
whole point!

The business world is littered with failures who missed the point.

> and in fact largely responsible for the success of WYeast.

It now seems to be largely responsible for a great deal of frustration.

>I am also very aware of the huge amount of effort that Dave is putting
into correcting the problem with his packaging, a problem that was
neither inherent in the design

If the package does not do what it is supposed to do it IS a design problem.

> nor of his own doing.

Is the Devil making his packaging decisions?

>WYeast is considering adding some new strains of yeast to their existing
line. These would sell for less money than the current package, and
would NOT include a starter.

Sounds like he has been reading my mind. But why "new strains"? Why not
sell the tried and proven ones without starter? Why not just a lower cost
option for brewers willing to do a little more fiddling?

My advice is to pick a standard ale and market the hell out of it. If they
got the volume up, there is no reason why they could not drive dry yeast off
the shelves. They are destroying any chances of economies of scale by
spreading themselves so thin.

Hmmm. No more free advice.

Can someone recommend a "standard ale" yeast?

Stand by for:

Still only a buck.


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