Jump to content
ADI Forums
jeffw

fruity yeast strains

Recommended Posts

What yeast strain do people like for fruity esters for bourbon and or malt whiskey?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

English Ale strains fermented on the warm side.  Some might say Belgians or Saison, but there are a number of these strains that are high phenolic/clove producers, and that comes through loud and clear in the distillate.

Both Nottingham and S-04 have a nice balance of fruitiness when fermented on the warm side without significant off-flavors.

Also remember to underpitch your yeast to force higher ester production.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have a temperature range you like on the Nottingham and s-04 (high temp above the list range)?  I have never played with an ale yeast because they are ferment so low temp wise.  That said, doing a bunch of trial 120 or so gallon wash for malt (lautered), so keeping temp down should be pretty easy.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exceed the recommended temperature in both cases.  Nottingham is fairly clean in the recommended range, but will get very fruity as you push it.  78-80f is a good place to start.  TIGHT temperature control is KEY.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember, you aren't making beer.  Fermenting either of these hot will give you a fairly sharp, solventy beer.  On the still you can control this with your heads cut.

Goes without saying that if you want to drive higher fruity flavors, you are going to have to dip into the late heads to get there.  Otherwise, all you did was create a bigger heads cut, and made less whiskey.  Let these two ferment without controlling temp, and you are going to be pulling massive heads cuts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My TLDR response is that any ale and even lager strain, used in usually warm conditions with a target final ABV of 6-11% in tandem with a distilling strain, will yield a plenty fruity character. Keep in mind these often won't be apparent in newmake but will return as the spirit ages.

Liquid Ales produce great character but should be adapted to a sanitized (boiled) wort nearly identical to the one you plan to ferment before addition. That means same pH, same gravity as the wort you're going to be producing. They tend to have a longer lag phase and since whisky worts/mashes are not boiled, this can result in some overwhelming bacterial character you may not want, so priming a touchy yeast you will use to have no lag phase or shock to a new environment first is a good idea.

Ultimately when deciding, I think you should nose a wort of your base material and be honest about what works with it. I think of this like making food. You don't combine an onion with strawberries and ham and expect great results. You would not pair an earthy, smoky tasting malt with something that smells like roses and lychee nuts, it would do a disservice to both elements... I recommend taking a lot of dry ale strains, fermenting them dry in tiny quantities and doing some good old fashioned nosing.  Try higher temperatures and slightly lower-than-average pitch sizes to increase fruit. Take each resulting beer, nose it at first from a distance, nose it a little more deeply, then empty the stuff into a sink, wait a few minutes, and smell the empty glass. That is literally what the head, heart and tail side will be like. The difference is drastic between strains, especially on the tail side. One will have a musty smell when the glass is empty, the other like apples and rosehips.

I guess, sorry to be long-winded, that ultimately fruitiness is not a crutch for character - not that I accuse you of that whatsoever - but the right approach is to work around your base material and develop character that harmonizes, plays off of, compliments and marries well with it.

Though!, I second the negative sentiment about phenol-producing yeasts - don't even bother exploring these - I have tried to use some fairly common strains (Lallemand Belle Saison) to attenuate and did not receive results I'd describe as likable in any situation for distilled spirits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys!  All of that sounds about like what I was planning.  I have been making bourbon and rye for several years, but I haven't played with yeast strains in a while.  I like the idea of reexamining my procedures and trying some new strains here and there.  Started off with 15 and 30 gallon barrels, but now that I am using 53s exclusively, the oak dominates less and it makes me more curious to play around with yeast strains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×