Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Religious Conversion

After years of using the Saf-04 English ale yeast, a dried twin of a Whitbread strain, I have decided to make a change. This is reasonably significant as I have always been an avid and vocal supporter of the strain. Recently however I have been finding that particularly when dealing with low gravity beers the yeast has been producing a lot of diacetyl, in addition a few people both pro and amateur brewers have been remarking that Saf-04, or 1099 its liquid twin, seem to hide hop aroma. My silver medal winning IPA was brewed with Saf 05, the dried version of 1056 which traces its history to the English Nottingham strain via the Ballantine Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewery in the US. I’m going to use this strain for awhile and see how my beers fare. Today I’m brewing the first batch of Berhampore Best Bitter with the new yeast.


Just to be clear, I’m still firmly in the dried yeast camp. If you really needed proof that you can brew fantastic beer with dried yeast you need look no further than Barry Hannah, Brewer of the Year at the SOBA Homebrew Championships and runner up for Best in Show with his unanimous gold medal Mild. Barry only uses dried yeast.

16 comments:

Kempicus said...

Hmmm i use S04 religiously and now that you mention it i do have trouble getting the amount of hop aroma that i want...i even tried dry hopping in the bottle as an experiment!

John said...

Is Safale 05 the same thing as US-05 (formerly us-56 I think)? If so, in my experience, it's extremely clean tasting and can leave a "flavour hole" in the middle of an English bitter.

I'm currently searching for something to fill the gap in my Jolly Roger Ale, my latest favourite is WLP007 which the web reckons to be a Whitbread variant although I have got a starter of WLP013 on the go too, the search may never end - and that's the best thing about home brewing - you can please yourself!

Keep us posted on your thoughts!

Barry Hannah said...

Thanks for the kind words Kieran. I tend to agree with John, you might find the S05 a little clean - not fruity enough for a really tasty bitter. For higher gravity and hoppy beers it's fantastic, it's well attenuative and lets the hop flavours shine through, but for subtle lower gravity British session ales you might find it lacks depth. Be very interested in your findings though. Have you ever tried Windsor? I tried it in a < 1.040 bitter and the beer wasn't great but there may have been other reasons for that. I'd like to give it another shot. You can get it from craftbrewer.com.au - along with dried Nottingham - from Canada!

yalnikim said...

S05??? you may as well get a german lager strain Herr Haslett-Moore. Can I interest you in a few packets of 34/70?

Nah, seriously, I'll be interested to come around and have a taste. I've not used US05 on anything low gravity but have been very pleased with it on all my stronger beers. Only complaint is that it really needs some time to fully clean up the acetyldehyde (my pet hate, along with under-attenuation). I've got that sussed now though, always give it some extra time or a few days at a higher temp late in the piece.

Inerestingly, I've never had any diacetyl issue with 04 (though I do often wonder - am I a little diacetyl blind or is everyone else misinterpreting something? Maybe I'm "green apple" rich and "butterscotch" poor...).

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

I would probably describe myself as green apple rich and butterscotch poor, but there has definitly been some issues with s-04, will see how this 1044 best goes with 05.

Matt said...

I have to jump on the bandwagon and say my limited experience with S-05 has been similar to those finding a "flavour hole". I rarely brew above 5% though - milds and bitters. The fact that I have a tough time getting the beer to clear makes me even less enthused with 05. I probably prefer Notthingham to S-05, not that I use either much but I feel like it gives me a little more character.

I am diacetyl insensitive as well.

yalnikim said...

My S04 problem - its a little too easy to get isoamyl acetate (banana esters) when it gets a bit warm, especially notice it with the chocolate malts.

I'd like the same yeast but I'd like it just a little more temperature tolerant.

Barry Hannah said...

Speaking of diacetal, might be a good idea to switch. Wouldn't want a case of the dreaded "popcorn lung" - http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=358&ContentID=54744

Martin said...

My first 2 batches have been Saf-04 and I've been very happy with them. My current batch is based on an American Pale Ale recipe so I'm giving US-56 (other name for US-05) a go.

I was thinking of giving the liquid Wyeasts a go after that but I need to rein in my cashflow a bit so I may stick with the dried stuff.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Im back after being internet starved for a week or so, I have put donw a batch of Summer ale with one fermentor with us05 and one with so4

yalnikim said...

Ah, the classic battle. I've tried it a couple of times and S04 - both times - has been far more to my taste. Both beers, admittedly, were more suited to a characterful yeast. Must try it with a stronger, hoppier beer.

Barry Hannah said...

I've got an American brown nearly ready to keg with 04 - was out of 05. At 1.018 FG it's completely and disapointingly under attenuated but first tastes aren't too bad at all. 1.060 OG. Lots of Cascade.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

some residuals in a brown isnt the end of the world.

John said...

S04 is reckoned to have ~73% attenuation so 1.018 from 1.060 isn't too far off.

Out of interest how much yeast did you pitch? As a rule of thumb if the wort is over 1050 I'll pitch 2 packs of yeast to stop it struggling, although I'll pitch two packs into most beer as a matter of course.

Barry Hannah said...

I pitched 1 rehydrated pack. Ever so slightly under-pitched bit not too bad especially as I rehydrated - rehydrating is paramount. Usually I'd brew a mild first and use some of the slurry off that but this was a hodge podge in a rush.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

The Best I brewed with us-05 was racked day before yesterday, big green apple thing going on. However Im not convinced this is the yeast, I think the plastic underback that I collect the run off in for double keg batches is harbouring infection. Its pre-boil but still seams to be f@#king things up as single keg batches which dont go thru this bit of kit seem fine.

Oh for a stainless kit eh?