Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Yeast Blending Update

From several posts ago I whipped up an American Brown Ale in which I chose to blend to strains of dried yeast.  I spoke about the purposes of trying the blend in Yeast Blending post.

Now more than a month later I am prepared to share some results!

My primary goal with blending US-05 with S-04 was to see if the super flocculating S-04 would help to pull out the low flocculating US-05.  US-05 always seems to take more time to clear out, flocculation starting somewhere after day 10 in primary.  S-04 on the other hand tends to finish up and start flocculating within 3-5 days.

In this first pass experiment, I was pleased to witness that the total yeast suspension was falling out of solution very rapidly within 5 days.  By 14 days my final gravity (1.012) was achieved and the beer was basically clear.  I used a glass carboy just for the purpose of monitoring the yeast activity.  The yeast cake was very tight (as you see with S-04), but not as firm as you normally see with S-04 alone.  Perhaps this is a result of the combination with the lower flocculator US-05.

The secondary result is the taste.  I would say that the flavor is stil very English.   The ester profile still seems like the traditional S-04.  I would have thought that the two yeasts would have maybe made a mellower English profile.  The flavor is still good though and I would probably try this blend again when shooting for a well attenuated English styled ale.
Hop flavor did seem a bit diminshed though.  For all the Cascade hops in there I would have expected more bitterness.  But the hop “pop” you get when using US-05 alone isn’t there.  Again, this sort of profiles the English yeast again.  I think the bitterness and flavor gets a little lost with the roasty malts and the ester profile of the S-04.

Head formation and retention seemed to be normal for either yeast.

Overall, then I don’t think that the blend really gave me something in between the US and English profiles.  Perhaps the clean-ness of the US-05 just still lets the S-04 character shine through.  While this is not an extensive test (and I hate making and reading about one time experiments as a definitive answer), I found the results useful.  I will definitely try this experiment again as working with the dried yeasts is easy.  A great test for this “co-flocculation” experiment would be to blend some German Hefe-style yeast with S-04 and see how much of that pulls down.  I would not be looking forward to those flavor combinations though.

If it ever warms up here and I get my garden hose unburied from the snow, I’ll brew up the Cascade Pale Ale to accompany the Brown Ale…with the yeast blend for sure.

BREW ON!

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9 Comments

  1. claybeer

    Very cool trick! It would be interesting to add a fresh starter of the S-04 to a beer that is almost completely finished fermenting with US-05, hopefully just getting the flocculation help from the S-04 while minimizing the flavor products of S-04 fermentation.

  2. Ted

    Thanks a lot. This post rocks. It’s got my brew-brain wheels spinning.

    I’ve often thought about blending yeast strains mostly for flavor impact. Never thought about using a high-flocc strain to clean up a cloudy one.

    claybeer, I was going to suggest the same sort of thing. Also, using the high-flocc strain at secondary/bottling/kegging might work as well (more sediment but clearer beer).

    And you’ve got me thinking about how this technique could be applied to cleaning the house. The super cleaners could come around after the cloudy cleaners and the whole place will look brand new. Anyhoo.

  3. It would be interesting to use us-05 and a champagne yeast together. Or, to ferment these two beers of the same wort separately and blend at bottling…

  4. claybeer:
    Interesting thoughts, I wonder though (through the yeast cell life cycle) how important going through a real fermentation phase is for flocculation characteristics. SO just pitching a bolus of S-04 into a nearly completed ferment may not work. But it may work for just the same reason. I’ll write that one down on the list of potential things to try. Nice thoughts.

    Marcus:
    I would think that blending at bottling would do little for a good yeast interaction as the two yeasts would have already flocculated with themselves seperately and fallen out. Again like I said to claybeer, the biochemistry (my other life) of flocculation may be dependent upon other factors that would have preceded the bottling peroid. More research into how yeast cells flocculate is need to develope these good hypothoses.

    BREW ON!

  5. Dustin Olsen

    Need to know if someone has tried using an ale and a lager yeast together. A.K.A. The original cream ale yeast style

  6. Dustin:
    Thanks for the comment.
    Is that really the “original” yeast for the style a blend? I don’t know one way or another. Certainly you can blend two strains for any beer. With the lager and ale strain blend though you’d better be sure that the ale strain is going to do something at the temp you are pitching (or vice versa) because too low a temp the ale strain may just drop out and that would be a waste. Too high and the lager yeast may put out fruity esters or higher alcohols that you just don’t want either , ruining the clean profile of the Cream ale. Those are just my thoughts.

    BREW ON!

  7. James

    I just brewed five gallons 1.066 American Brown Ale today using 1 whole pack of S-05 and 2.5 grams of S-04. I only did this because I ran out of S-05. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  8. John

    Look forward to the update, James.

  9. Brandon

    On Dustin’s comment above, I thought about this, and wanted to know the same for a while. But I think the option would be to ferment with the Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ale) first, and just before the end of it’s cycle introduce Saccharomyces pastorianus (lager). The initial temperature obviously warmer for the first cycle, and cooler temperature for the secondary. I do believe I read somewhere that there are Belgian brewers that ferment the same way temperature wise, but I am not sure what types of yeast used. Of course those would be trade secrets to some degree.
    Mike, you said it and finished it sort of. I think some testing should be tried if it hasn’t been done yet. But I am wondering what quality one would be trying for to finish with a lager over an ale yeast.

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