Specific Wine Yeast Strains



In today's response on the question of whether there are more or less "beer yeasts" these days, Dr. Cone mentioned that many yeasts currently considered to be "wine yeasts" may produce excellent beer.

 

In his book "Farmhouse Ales," Phil Markowski reports that it is speculated that the primary Dupont strain descends from red wine yeast. He also reports that fermentation at Dupont is similar to red wine fermentation in many ways (temperature, duration, philosophy). So experimenting with wine yeasts is something I've been thinking about a bit.

 

Can you elaborate on this? Are there specific strains marketed by your company that would be good candidates for experimentation? Are there any "red flags" or "green lights" that one should look for in commercial descriptions of wine yeasts, when trying to identify strains for experimenting?

 

Is it likely that most wine yeasts will lead to estery, Belgian-style flavors? Finally, are there specific wine yeasts you know of that give brettanomyces-like leathery flavors, but in a more controlled or predictable way than a pure brett culture would?



In today's response on the question of whether there are more or less "beer yeasts" these days, Dr. Cone mentioned that many yeasts currently considered to be "wine yeasts" may produce excellent beer.

In his book "Farmhouse Ales," Phil Markowski reports that it is speculated that the primary Dupont strain descends from red wine yeast. He also reports that fermentation at Dupont is similar to red wine fermentation in many ways (temperature, duration, philosophy). So experimenting with wine yeasts is something I've been thinking about a bit.

Can you elaborate on this? Are there specific strains marketed by your company that would be good candidates for experimentation? Are there any "red flags" or "green lights" that one should look for in commercial descriptions of wine yeasts, when trying to identify strains for experimenting? Is it likely that most wine yeasts will lead to estery, Belgian-style flavors? Finally, are there specific wine yeasts you know of that give brettanomyces-like leathery flavors, but in a more controlled or predictable way than a pure brett culture would?

I greatly appreciate any guidance you can give.

Thanks,
Matt

RESPONSE:

Matt, Thank you for showing an interest in exploring wine yeast for brewing. There are two basic test that usually separate beer yeast from wine yeast:

1. Phenol off flavor or POF test. Most beer yeast are POF negative. A few of the wine yeast that I have tested were POF positive.

2. Ability to ferment maltotriose. Beer yeast usually can ferment maltotriose, most wine yeast cannot. To me there is no big deal if the yeast cannot ferment the maltotriose. The mashing procedure can minimize the amount of maltotriose present in the wort and the unfermented maltotriose just gives you more body, mouth feel and perhaps a slight sweetness.

I am sure that there are more fermentation characteristics that tend to separate wine from beer yeast.

There is one very famous wine yeast that is both POF negative and can ferment maltotriose. It is probably the largest selling wine yeast strain in the world. It is Lalvin K1-V1116. It was used in a beer kit for several years and it was the yeast of choice in a Canadian brew pub for several years.

For those that produce garlic beer, honey beer, cherry beer, pumpkin beer, etc. I would think that you would be willing to experiment with Lalvin 71B-1112, wine yeast, that is used for the production of Nouveau Beaujolais wine in the Beaujolais region of France. The fruity nose definitely comes through in the beer. A purest would not like it, but someone looking for a new style beer might like it. I liked it. It was not my favorite in the tasting, however, I would have ordered a second glass.

Let me know if you try any of the wine yeast for brewing and the results.

I am not aware of any safe brett type yeast.

Clayton

 

In addition to Claytons response... there are a couple of breweries that use Champagne yeast for their wheat beers which results in a more fruity wine like flavour that is apparently more appreciated by women. There were also two breweries in Germany who used the Lalvin 71B in their wheat beer and got a slight peach flavour.

Because these wine strains don't use maltotriose as Clayton mentioned these breweries used the wine yeast together with their regular culture yeast. But you have to be careful because some wine yeast possess a "killer" factor which may kill your brewing strain. Lalvin 71B is a safe choice because it does not have this factor.

Tobias

 



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