The magic of yeast
Often referred to as the "heart" of brewing, yeast is a living organism that transforms humble ingredients into the complex and flavourful elixir we know and love as beer.
Let's delve into the role of yeast in the brewing process and explore the distinct personalities of Safale S-04, which is our most commonly used yeast at Wildcraft, Belgian yeasts, and lager yeast., which is a completely different beast to the ales...
The Yeast's Role: Fermentation Maestro
Yeast is the workhorse responsible for fermentation – the process that converts sugars from malted grains into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This alchemical transformation not only gives beer its intoxicating properties but also shapes its flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel, alongside the water, grains,and hops.
Safale S-04: The Reliable Performer
Safale S-04 is the most widely used yeast here at Wildcraft. Its a dry ale yeast strain known for its reliability and versatility. It produces ales with balanced flavours and a relatively clean profiles. This yeast is a popular choice for a wide range of beer styles, from English bitters to porters. It contributes subtle esters and creates a smooth finish, making it a go-to for homebrewers and professionals alike.
Belgian Yeasts: A Symphony of Complexity
Sometimes, especially with our fruitier beers we need something a little more complex, something that will add a character all of its own, enter the Belgian yeasts.
Belgian yeast strains are like the artists of the yeast world, adding layers of complexity and distinct flavors to the brew. These yeasts produce a variety of fruity and spicy esters, creating beers with characteristics ranging from clove-like phenols to bubblegum notes. For example, the famous Belgian strain Wyeast 3787 imparts a spicy and peppery character, elevating styles like Belgian Dubbels and Tripels to a realm of exquisite taste and aroma.
Lager Yeast: The Cool Composer
Yes, our Vienna lager is darker than most lagers, yes it has a biscuity base from the use of vienna malts and Munich, yes, it is still very much a lager, why?
Because lagering is a process, not the drink, a process which requires a special kind of yeast:
Lager yeast, unlike its ale counterpart, thrives at cooler temperatures. It ferments beer slowly and creates a cleaner, crisper taste profile.
Lager yeasts often produce fewer fruity esters and fewer phenols, allowing the malt and hops to take the center stage. We allow our lager to slowly ferment for 8 weeks, giving it tonnes of great crisp character.
Yeast Management: A Balancing Act
Yeast management is a delicate balance of providing the right conditions for yeast to thrive. Temperature control, oxygen levels, and nutrient supply play crucial roles in ensuring a healthy fermentation process.
Yeast is a living organism that requires attention and care to perform at its best.
The Art of Yeast Selection
Choosing the right yeast strain is like selecting the perfect brushstroke for a painting. It shapes the final product and brings your creative vision to life. From classic to experimental, there's a yeast strain to match every brewer's aspiration. Remember that the flavors and aromas you enjoy in your pint of Wildcraft beer are the result of yeast's tireless work. Safale S-04, Belgian yeasts, and lager yeast are just a few examples of the diverse cast that we use, So, next time you savor that complex, well-rounded pint of Wild Bill Hiccup or Wild un-Bongo, raise a toast to the silent but essential star – yeast.