Another piece of the puzzle
It’s the end of the yeast section of our course!
As always, it’s time to see how the ingredients we’ve learned about are used to make great beers…
Back to some of our most popular recipe kits, plus some we’ve picked out for their interesting yeasts.
So good we have two different kits! The difference is just the yeast, which makes this a great example of how much influence the yeast has.
The Boy Taylor uses our own NBS Ale Yeast, which is the “Nottingham” strain. Clean, relatively neutral, and high attenuating, this yeast finishes nice and dry, leaving plenty of room for the malt and hops to shine.
The premium Landlord kit uses Wyeast 1469 “West Yorkshire”. This is thought to be the same yeast as Timothy Taylor uses. Like “Notty”, this strain finishes dry, but is less neutral, with nutty and stone fruit-like esters. The result is a fuller finish on the beer with more of a chewy malt character.
Both kits taste great, so it’s up to you what character you’d prefer!
Last time around we talked about the difference between malt-forward beer styles (e.g. doppelbock, brown ale, porter) and hop-forward styles (IPA, pilsner, bitter). This is a Belgian Blonde, which is an example of a yeast-forward style. The malt and hop choices are still important, but the main flavour component is yeast.
The yeast here is Safbrew T-58, which is suspected to originate from the Chimay Abbey brewery. Full of spicy phenolic flavours, the yeast gives this the characteristic Belgian “snap” that makes this beer so refreshing and moreish.
This recipe is by the fabulous Oyster Boys, and they’ve done a great job of replicating the flavour of one of the best known hefeweizens. Hefeweizen is another yeast-forward style, and the secret of this recipe’s success is its choice of yeast.
Here we’ve got Wyeast 3056 “Bavarian Wheat”. This is actually a blend of two yeasts: a wheat beer strain that produces loads of banana and clove flavours, plus a more neutral ale strain. The subtlety of the ale strain softens out the extremes of the wheat beer strain, producing a really balanced and enjoyable beer.
Is this a yeast-forward beer? It’s hard to say, but it definitely wouldn’t be the same beast without the yeast and bacteria used. After mashing, the wort is boiled for just a few minutes to pasteurise it before being cooled down to 40°C. Then Lallemand Wildbrew “Helveticus Pitch”, a variety of Lactobacillus, is added to add the sourness Johnny wanted. The kettle is held at that warm temperature for three days while the Lactobacillus does its thing, then the wort is boiled to kill off the bacteria, before being fermented with Safale US-05. This is the famous “Chico” strain, which ferments clean and crisp, leaving space for the “Helveticus” and dry hop flavours.
As chronicled in their videos, Johnny also made a second version of the beer with Lallemand “Philly Sour” instead of the “Helveticus” and US-05. Philly Sour pulls double duty here, producing lactic acid as well as fermenting the malt sugars. The end result had a quite different character from the other beer, with a simpler lactic acid character but more of a mulled spice element that worked brilliantly in the final blend with cola.
Mixed fermentation (using both yeast and bacteria together) can produce some amazingly complex and interesting beers, but it is often seen as correspondingly complex to get great results. This recipe shows that mixed fermentation can be simple, easy, and can produce really fun beers!
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…
Next time, dive into the final section of our ESSENTIALS journey – a crystal clear guide to brewing water!