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Best Cider Yeast

Through internet research and informal polling, I have come up with the list for the best yeast to make hard cider.

I am not sure if it is THE list, but it’s the best from what I gathered.

In the past, I have used a Champagne yeast strain and it made a very dry cider.  I was looking for a better alternative.

Here is my list for the best cider yeasts:

  • Lallemand Nottingham Ale
  • Safale S-04
  • White Labs WLP775 English Cider Yeast

Again, this list is based on asking people online about what they use and reading forums, blog posts, brewing websites, etc.

I haven’t used any of these personally but before the end of October, I will.

Mike is heading to a Local Home Brew Shop in Cambridge, MA tomorrow and I gave him this list as a guide.  I don’t have a preference outside of using something that isn’t champagne yeast.

It was interesting that Wyeast and Mead yeast did not make the list.  Hmmmm.

Any other thoughts?



2011 NERHBC Entries


Raspberry Mead Update


  1. Thomas

    I use Montrachet yeast combined with apple must to make a killer apfelwein. It is not obscenely dry (hits between 1.002 and 0.998), and leaves a pleasant light apple flavor.

  2. Andrew

    I wish you had posted this 2 weeks ago when I started a 10 gallon batch of cider! I used a Champagne yeast string, which I agree has made it rather dry in the past. I would have loved to try something else. Let me know how the others turn out!

  3. Typically I use Lalvin K1V -1116. I think that it’s intended to be used for white wines, but it always ends up pretty good.

  4. Justin McLeod

    Thanks for the tips! I have never made cider and as a new homebrewer I would love to have a batch of hard cider for Christmas! Cheers!

  5. Sorry Andrew. I will post how this year’s cider turns out.

    A couple of years ago, we pressed our own apples but I think the old press needs some TLC and we don’t have time this fall to do everything right.

    I can see us in the future pressing apples from Mike’s crab apple tree.

  6. chris

    Lalvin d’47. Leaves a residual sweetness in meads but I’ve never used it for cider.

  7. Matt

    I just made a 5 gallon batch with Montrachet wine yeast. The guy at the homebrew store said he has always had good cider results using it. I also added 2 pounds of sugar and 1 pound of honey to the batch so hopefully everything works out ok.

  8. Bizzy

    I’ve been doing this awhile, although I haven’t tried the recommended I have been using wyeast and that is really hard to beat. I am very surprised that didn’t make this list the only thing I can think of is maybe the price?

  9. Bizzy

    I have since ordered all three through midwest and will try soon.

  10. Thanks Bizzy – Let us know which one you like the most.

  11. Nathan

    I tried two dry stains for a cider. One was Safale S-33. It was horrifyingly poor for cider. It is a poorly attenuating yeast, and stopped at 1.008 down from 1.056. S-33 totally stripped the apple character out of the cider.

    The second yeast I tried was Safale US-05. Very strongly attenuating which is not typical for this yeast. It went from 1.058 to 1.000. So 100% apparent attenuation. After some extended aging, the apple character is quite nice. It seems to have died or at least severaly weakened since early attempts to bottle condition some of the samples were essentially uncarbonated. But this could be a function of time and alcohol (about 7-8%).

    So avoid S-33. US-05 worked well.

  12. Randy

    A year ago in the fall 2011 I made up 5 5-gallon batches of cider from my orchard. Three I used Champagne yeast, 2 I used Safale s-04. This last fall I started with a Safale S-04 batch. Great flavor. I felt it had a fruity tone, although not tied to any particular fruit. Not a taste expert. I then went to a champagne batch. Ouch. Not nearly as good. The champagne has a alcohol after taste. A clear winner in Safale. I add that after drinking the champagne batch for a while, the flavor is fine. Just can’t compare with Safale.

  13. mark

    I made 5 gallon batch using 2 back of safale 04, Im very confident that it’s going to taste the same as fresh apple juice. Set up the gravity to 8% Alc/Vol

  14. bushy

    hey there, im looking to collect 400kg of pink lady apples (free, beggars cant be picky!!!) and intend on making cider (hard, in us terms, im from uk, now in aus) and want that apple juice taste with a good strong alc % i know the apples are sweet and not ideal for cider making alone but its all i have. any thoughts on this? i may be able to come by some granny smith or similar but of a far lesser quantity. i like the sound of marks comments above, 8% and juice flavour. so safale 04 , any other comments? thanks in advance. bushy. ps, pleased to ‘meet’ you all!

  15. Hey bushy,

    To get around 8% ABV, you will probably want to add some sugar to get the starting gravity up. To get a real apple taste, I think backsweetening at bottling works. Read this thread to learn more about backsweetening at bottling:


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