From the HBD Archive
From: Marty Albini <hplabs!hpsdl39!martya>
Subject: Yeast experiments
Date: 1989-09-14 18:33:36 GMT

Jeff Casey reported his experiments with yeasts, and I thought
I might add to (or further confuse) the discussion. His experiment,
with seven different yeasts in one gallon batches, is more ambitious
than my own. I tried three different yeasts (Red Star Ale, Red Star
Lager, and M&F Ale) with three different temperature profiles. The ale
yeasts were fermented warm (68-73F) and the lager yeast was done warm,
done warm with a 50F lagering period, and fermented at 50F and
lagered: five one-gal batches in all.

The recipe was Papazian's "The Sun Has Left Us On Time Steam
Beer." I was looking for a light-boddied brew to serve at a party
to non-fanatics, so I didn't want to stray too far from Budmillob,
but I wanted something with some character in case I had to finish the

The local homebrew club (QUAFF) did the tasting for me.
Overall winner (dry, best head, no funny notes) was M&F, second was
the "cold steam" (lagered, warm fermented lager yeast). When I ask
them which they'd recommend for my intended audience, the order
reversed (cold steam won). Nobody liked the lager or the Red Star Ale,
the "warm steam" was third.

[Jeff describes the recipe he used, which included two oz
Cluster hops for bittering...]
>First: I already realize that I used a pretty bad recipe for the test. It
>had far too much bittering hops for balance. The idea was to look for
>differences in yeasts, however, so I tried to look through it.
[He goes on to list results for the various yeasts, many of
which are judged to suffer from "yeast bite"]

The Cluster hops may make this difficult. I have
experienced a nasty aftertaste when using them, which some yeasts
soften quite acceptably, and others do not. I was amazed at how
much difference the yeast made in hop character. But (back to the
point) the "yeast bite" reported is something I've always thought of
as a very subtle flavor, which might easily be masked by the Clusters.
Maybe someone with more experience in this area could comment on this.

>I was also experimenting on yeasts suitable for my conditions (Boston
>in summertime), where the temperatures are ungodly hot, and mold runs rampant.
>I also realize the problem with my lack of gravity measurements and exact
>temperatures, sorry. Don't chew me out for these, but I would be interested
>to hear if one of the "bad" yeasts might be perfectly good under other

Temperature makes a very noticeable difference. The only
difference between a steam beer and a lager is fermentation
temperature, and steam beers have a lot more ester tastes (which lager
brewers avoid like death). In my experiment, the cold-fermented lager
had a thinner, "cleaner", less complicated taste than the steam beer.
Lagering the steam beer seemed to take some rough edges off, though
the difference was slight IMHO.

If you anticipate problems with mold infections, you might
want to favor a very active yeast, which will beat the mold to the
nutrients. M&F ale fermented amazingly actively in my experiment, the
next being the warm lager yeast. Either will tolerate <85F pretty

Thanks, Jeff, for a very informative article. Please post any
further results along these lines.
________________________________________________Marty Albini________
"To enjoy life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks."
phone : (619) 592-4177
UUCP : {hplabs|nosc|hpfcla|ucsd}!hp-sdd!martya
Internet : (or,
CSNET : martya%hp-sdd@hplabs.csnet
US mail : Hewlett-Packard Co., 16399 W. Bernardo Drive, San Diego CA 92127-1899 USA

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