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Francois_Mtl
08/07/07 12:09 PM  
Mead yeast
Hi,

Did anyone ever tried to ferment beer using mead yeast? If yes how did it turn out?

Thanks,

Francois

Al B
08/07/07 12:46 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
Mead yeast? I've seen cider yeast.

I'm currently fermenting a barleywine with a sherry yeast (Saccharomyces fermentati -formerly known as Toloropsis delbrueckii).

Francois_Mtl
08/07/07 01:27 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
In fact I would like to experiment beer fermentation with other ferments then usual beer yeasts. I do not want a super attenuative yeast and thought that the WLP720 would be good for it.

Your sherry yeast fermentation seems pretty interesting. Where can this yeast be found?

Thanks,

Francois

Al B
08/07/07 01:43 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
Its a dried yeast: "Flor" Sherry obtained where wine yeast are sold. It is probably somewhat attenuative, so I'm trying a Barleywine - about 6 months old now.

But here's the catch: the sherry yeast requires oxygen for the pellicle or "flor" to develop on the brew needed to enhance its sherry - flavor characteristics (some brandy-soaked wood cubes were added too). A stopper with a filter was added on the carboy and the brew was filled to the top of the secondary fermenter. It now has a nice "flor" or pellicle of yeast. I don't know what it tastes like yet....

Caped Brewsader
08/08/07 03:24 AM  
Re: Mead yeast
interesting, I've been thinking of doing a split batch ferment of a red wine yeast and a saison yeast and then blending. Perhaps a quad split with sherry yeast and WY3787 could be interesting. The gears are spinning now
SteveG
08/08/07 10:35 AM  
Re: Mead yeast
Francois, my guess would be that mead yeast would not be designed to impart much character to let the character of the honey shine through. I think I have seen sweet and dry mead yeasts, is your interest in mead yeast specifically driven by a desire for something less attenuative like a sweet mead yeast? If so I would ask why not just adjust your mash? Lowering a finishing gravity is something a lot of brewers struggle with, I would think designing a beer to finish high would be fairly easy.
Francois_Mtl
08/08/07 01:30 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
Steve, yes I was looking at the sweet mead yeast and was also looking at mashing high (156 F) to keep a lot of residual sugar in the finnish beer. I have a sweet tooth :)

Francois

SteveG
08/08/07 01:57 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
You can do a lot by increasing the conversion temps even higher. I knew a supply shop owner who was making beer for his wife while she was struggling with cancer. She could not keep food down but beer seemed to be OK. So he made her brews that were extremely under attenuated, all that residual stuff actually served to sustain her nutritionally. At least it was better than nothing.

I can appreciate the sweet tooth, have a mouthful of them myself! Let me ask of a hypothetical beer, what would consider ideal for starting and finishing gravities?

Francois_Mtl
08/08/07 02:14 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
It would be starting around 1.090 and would finish around 1.030.

Francois

Baums
08/09/07 10:49 AM  
Re: Mead yeast
Francois, the 1.090 OG and 1.030 FG beer you desire has about 55% *real* attenuation, according to the standard formulas. (The *apparent* attenuation is of course 60/90=67%.)

In one controlled test, a mash at 70C (158F) produced 35% dextrins (unfermentables) and 16% trisaccharides. (The test was probably done with pils malt but I do not know.) Anyway, depending on how much of the trisaccharides are consumed by the yeast, such a mash would thus lead between 49% and 65% real attenuation.

I think most Belgian yeasts, or a yeast like Nottingham, would get you close to the high end, with other beer yeasts attenuating less to various degrees. I know *some* wine yeasts do not ferment maltotriose, and would hit the low end. Unfortunately I don't know what they are. I do know that Lalvin KIV-1116 CAN ferment maltotriose (and by the way is POF negative).

If the idea is just to make an beer with lower attenuation then I think the mead yeast is an unknown, so unless you want to try it for some other reason, like Steve said I think you would be better off with a low or medium attenuating beer strain and a higher-temp mash.

SteveG
08/09/07 11:41 AM  
Re: Mead yeast
I've know brewers who could not get a 1090 wort below 1030!
Francois_Mtl
08/09/07 11:59 AM  
Re: Mead yeast
Ok the idea is a mix of three circumstances...

1- I have been thinking for a few months to ferment a beer with wine yeast as an experiment.

2- I have been to Tokyo 2 years ago and tasted the Hakusekikan's brown ale which I really liked. A friend of mine just came back from Japan and spend time with the brewer and learned that he was using often wine yeast in his beers so I thought this one could have been one of them. This brown ale is bold and has 8% alc/vol.

3- We had our annual homebrew gathering last weekend which held a competition as well. The competition hold an imposed category which the style is voted during the previous year. We voted Brown ale for next year.

So the idea of brewing something similar came to my mind. As wine yeast seemed to be pretty attenuative et though the sweet mead yeast could be an alternative but I wanted to get feedback from people that could have used it for beer fermentation.

Thank you for your feedback!

Francois

SteveG
08/09/07 01:06 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
Understanding I know nothing of the Japanese brown ale of which you speak, I think the question here is why do they use the wine yeast? For example, Belgian yeasts tend to be quite attenuative leaving dry - but remarkably flavorful - beers. Over the years it has been common for me to converse with homebrewers who are certain that, say, Westmalle Dubble must have a whooping finishing gravity. They are mistaken, it is the boldness of the beer that causes that misperception.

So back to the Tokyo brown ale, the reason they use a wine yeast (maybe it was a finishing thing) could well have been to drop the final gravity lower than their house beer yeast could. After all, it is a fairly strong beer. If that's the case, the mead yeast would give a very different effect. Not that that would be a bad thing, and not that I actually have any idea if that is the case. But its a decent explaination, and if it is the case you will likely end up with a very different effect - for better or for worse.

I'd love to get comment from someone who has dabbled in wine here. My impression, being someone that loves a good bottle of wine, is that the profile there is more a function of the grape than the yeast. That would lead me to believe that wine yeast may do its job without the flavor impact we all expect from a beer yeast. Is that somewhere close to true?

Francois_Mtl
08/09/07 02:00 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
My memories are far behind but my friends has the impression that the wine yeast would produce more esters and probably slightly different from regular ale yeast. But all of this is very subjective! to taste de difference I should brew one big batch split it and ferment it with two different strains, wine yeast and ale yeast.

SteveG
08/09/07 02:59 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
Interesting. My guess would be the opposite, but now I'm curious. I have some brewing planned for the near future, any such experiment would have to be after that. But I would love to know the outcome here.

My impression was always that wine can taste fruity cause its made from fruit, but it is certainly possible that some of that character could come from ester formation. Pleasepleaseplease post your results! Steve

BPotts
08/09/07 03:00 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
I know the Kiuichi Brewery, which produces the Hitachino Nest beers, makes one or two ales with sake yeast (they also make sakes). Their classic ale, a very delicious Japanese interpretation of an english IPA, is aged in sake casks.... I'm not sure if there's a specific reason for using the yeast besides maybe higher attenuation and subtle flavor differences....
Francois_Mtl
08/09/07 03:06 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
I am planning to brew it this autumn but will surely post the results. Francois
ErikH
08/11/07 02:37 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
Not to get the thread off-topic but BPotts, my understanding is that Hitachino no longer uses sake yeast in their Red Rice Ale - the only product to my knowledge that had it.

And I think the beer has changed immeasurably for the worse because of it. The sake yeast added great complexity and sake-like aroma notes. Now it just seems sort of like a malty Irish Red Ale sort of thing to me, and I don't drink it at all.

BPotts
08/11/07 03:16 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
Interesting, do you know when they stopped using it? The last time I had the Red Rice was in March at a Michael Jackson tasting and it still had that funky rice smell/taste (maybe that was an older bottle). I think they also use the yeast in the their XH beer (I think that's what it is, if not it's X-something) which is a limited release high gravity beer, haven't tried it though....
ErikH
08/11/07 03:49 PM  
Kiuchi Brewery / Sake Yeast
I actually had the good luck to visit the brewery in 2004 and they were still using the sake yeast then. The brewer was quite friendly and told me some interesting technical details, such as that they colored the Red Rice Ale with 'nuka' or by-product particles of the red rice generated in the milling process (they make a sake with it also).

When I thought I noticed a change in Jan. '06, I emailed him and here is what he said:

"So your impression is correct. There was a small ( big? ) change. Perhaps, sake yeast is not used for the beer

that you drank. We treid brewing use Beer yest only. To know how will change the taest. But most biggest problem

is we are too much busy and the condition of yeast is not good sometime. Anyway I tested some things.

Then Red Rice Ale packed into bottle now is really good."

So, that's been my basis for figuring on the change - then again it's possible that they may have changed course again since then.

I did bring home a couple bottles of the XH then - I don't believe it's available in the US. I don't remember being particularly impressed by it - it was a fairly drinkable maybe 9-10% beer but didn't have that much character. Sake-like notes didn't make it through to me in it, anyhow.

I still have a great fondness for Kiuchi, but don't drink so much of their stuff - I will occasionally have a JCA (like the cedar touch!) or their New Year's Anniversary beer, though . . .

BPotts
08/11/07 04:15 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
Wow, I'm quite jealouse you were able to visit the brewery! My girlfriend got me a great glass from them (they just started selling them online from the importer)....indeed those are my favorite two as well, although I enjoy the ginger brew every once and awhile. At the MJ tasting B United brought these awesome bottles, I believe larger than the 750 mL bottle, of 2002 JCA. It was delicious! Last year I was fortunate to find a case of 2004 celebration ales, and I still have 3 or 4 left for continued aging.

Sorry to go off on a tangent but It's rare I find someone to talk about Hitachino with!

ErikH
08/13/07 11:18 PM  
Re: Mead yeast
The ginger beer is a little much for me. When I was at the brewery they had just made an oyster stout for a restaurant in Tokyo using oyster shells from Hokkaido (IIRC) that was quite creamy and good with a thick bone-white head.

I miss the old Red Rice Ale, though. I tried to make a clone of it a couple years back - maybe it's time to try again. I used the Wyeast sake yeast in addition to a Belgian strain(I think the WY sake yeast is known as #7 in the sake world) and black rice instead of red, but it ended up pretty under-attenuated somehow . . .

Good to chat about the wacky, ambitious brew-folks in Ibaraki with you though - if you ever get a chance to go I highly recommmend a visit. Quite friendly.

 
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