Choosing Style-Specific Yeast Strains

Beer tasting board with selection of beer styles

For a while now, hops have been hogging the limelight when it comes to marketing and talking about craft beer. Cans and bottles routinely list the hop varieties used as well as additional information on how and when they were added to the brew.

What is less well-documented, but still of great importance, is the yeast that’s used to power the fermentation process and turn sweet, hoppy liquid into something much more enjoyable. Like hops, there’s a wide range of yeast available to brewers, and choosing the right one will put you on track to nailing the style, appearance and flavour profile you’re after.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 12 popular beer styles, exploring the nuances that make each style distinct and the yeast strains that contribute to these attributes.

1. Pale Ale: Pale ales are renowned for their balance between malt and hop flavours. American ale yeast strains, such as our BSY-A010 San Diego are an excellent choice. San Diego provides a clean fermentation profile, allowing the hop flavours to shine while maintaining a solid malt backbone.

2. India Pale Ale (IPA): IPAs are all about bold hop character. To enhance the hop-forward nature of this style, consider using ale yeast strains BSY-A010 San Diego, BSY-A012 Michigan or BSY-A011 New England. These strains produce a range of flavours from neutral profiles to fruity esters that complement intense hop flavours without overpowering them.

3. Wheat Beer (Hefeweizen): Hefeweizens are known for their distinctive banana and clove flavours. German wheat yeast strains, such as BSY-A007 Munich are a perfect choice. Munich contributes the desired ester profile, resulting in a refreshing and flavorful wheat beer.

4. Belgian Tripel: Belgian Tripels are strong, complex beers with spicy and fruity characteristics. Belgian ale yeast strains, such as BSY-A001 Bruges or BSY-A003 Liege, are perfect for this style. They produce spicy phenolics and fruity esters, creating a unique flavour profile that defines the Belgian Tripel.

5. Stout: Stouts are rich, dark beers with flavours of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee. English ale yeast strains, such as BSY-A017 Newcastle or BSY-A029 London, are well-suited for stouts. These strains enhance malt complexity while contributing subtle fruity notes that complement the malt’s robust flavours.

6. Porter: Porters are known for their balance between roasted malt bitterness and malt sweetness. English ale yeast strains, like BSY-A016 Dublin or BSY-A017 Newcastle, work harmoniously in this style. They enhance the malt profile while adding subtle fruity esters, resulting in a well-rounded porter.

7. Pilsner: Pilsners demand a clean and crisp profile. Classic German lager yeast strains, such as BSY-L002 Freiberg or BSY-L005 Pilsen, are the ideal choices. These strains perform well at lower temperatures and provide a clean fermentation, allowing the delicate malt and hop balance to shine.

8. Oktoberfest/Märzen: For traditional Oktoberfest or Märzen beers, German lager yeast strains like BSY-L003 Augsberg or BSY-L007 Bohemia are recommended. These strains produce clean, malty profiles that beautifully complement the style’s rich caramel and toasty flavours.

9. Belgian Witbier: Belgian Witbiers are refreshing, spiced wheat beers with citrusy notes. Belgian ale yeast strains, such as BSY-A005 Brussels or BSY-A065 Mons are perfect for this style. They contribute the desired phenolic and ester profile, enhancing the beer’s fruity and spicy characteristics.

10. Saison: Saisons are farmhouse ales known for their fruity, spicy, and earthy flavours. Belgian saison yeast strains, like BSY-A005 Brussels, BSY-A052 Charleroi or BSY-A064 Ardennes thrive in the warm fermentation temperatures required for this style. They impart peppery phenolics and fruity esters, creating a complex and refreshing beer.

11. Scottish Ale: Scottish ales boast rich malt profiles with caramel and toffee flavours. Scottish ale yeast strain, BSY-A0XX Edinburgh, is the top choice. This strain enhances the malt complexity while contributing a clean fermentation profile.

12. American Amber Ale: American Amber Ales feature a balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness. American ale yeast strains, like BSY-A010 San Diego, are ideal for this style. San Diego provides a clean fermentation profile, allowing the malt and hop flavours to shine in harmony.

Yeast strain selection is a crucial aspect of brewing, and understanding how different yeast strains contribute to popular beer styles can elevate your brews to new heights. Whether you’re brewing a hop-forward Pale Ale, a complex Belgian Tripel, or a rich Stouts, each beer style requires a specific yeast strain to achieve its signature characteristics.

By carefully considering the flavour profile of each style and selecting the appropriate yeast strain, you can craft exceptional beers that captivate the taste buds of beer enthusiasts.

So, experiment, explore, and let the yeast strains guide you in creating brews that leave a lasting impression. Cheers to the art of yeast strain selection!

Winter is here!

Colder weather definitely sends out in search of darker beers. This weekend, we went for one last time to enjoy the wonderful selection of beers crafted by Mitch and his team up at Newstead!

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