Not many home brewers realise that yeast is one of
the most important ingredients that can make or
break a beer. It comes in a number of different
forms which I will list below.
This yeast is dried yeast that most home brewers use as a matter of convenience. It is best used rehydrated before pitching as this will save a lot of time. All you have to do is sprinkle the packet into about four ounces of lukewarm water and give it a stir. Leave it covered for about half an hour then just pour it into the wort and stir in. The problem with this yeast is that it contains an industrial enzyme called amyloglucosidase. This enzyme will break down the residual dextrins in the wort which will result in a thinner beer than what you would normally expect. The only other problem with this yeast is that it takes a little longer before the yeast starts working.
This is the best yeast for home brewers by far and the only problem with it is getting a supply from a friendly local brewery. All you have to do with this yeast is to pitch it straight into the wort and, bingo, after a few hours its fermenting away.
These are yea
sts that come in a glass phial, and though they are relatively more expensive they are true brewery yeasts and do a fine job. They come in a lot of different strains (London ale yeast and Burton ale yeast) to name a few. All you have to do with these yeasts is to pitch the glass phial straight into the wort. There’s a few things to consider when you choose a yeast and one of the things to know is does the yeast flocculate or not. You may wonder what this is all about but I will explain. If a yeast flocculates at the end of fermentation the yeast cells clump together and drop out of solution which will result in a clearer beer. If the yeast is non flocculating the beer is left very cloudy after the fermentation which will need a good fining agent to clear the beer. Windsor yeast (and bread yeast) are non flocculating yeasts.
These are glass phials of true brewery yeast ready to be cultured up. These are supplied by Brewlab of Sunderland university. You will have to make a starter before you can use these yeasts but the good thing is they come in a wide variety of strains depending on your geographical area. Most beer yeasts prefer about 20 degrees temperature for a good fermentation. but lager yeasts need to be a lot lower at about 13 degrees.
So the next time you come to brew a beer, remember that yeast is a very important ingredient in your beer and it not only ferments your beer it has a dramatic influence in the taste and body.