Yeast #002 - Fermentis S-04

Recipe

Malt

100% Briess Brewer’s

Hop Schedule

30.7 IBU Magnum @ 60min

Yeast

Fermentis S-04

Process

Mash In @ 50C, 0min

Beta Rest @ 60C, 30min

Alpha Rest @ 70C, 30min

Mash Out @ 78C, 15min

Boil 75min

Chill

Ferment @ 20C, 7 Days

OG: 12.9P — IBU: 30.7 — ABV: 5.0%

Aroma

Specific aromas

Ripe Blueberry, Ripe Strawberry, Plum, Vanilla

Flavor

Specific flavors

Ripe Blueberry, Ripe Strawberry, Plum

Impression

Initially Sweet, Thin, Bitter & Dry Finish

The Ale

Fermentis S-04. The manufacturer advertises this yeast as the cask-conditioner, best suited for ales requiring clarity through yeast flocculation. Recipes calling for the use of S-04 are English in nature, ranging from English bitters, summer milds, & malty brown ales. It has a medium attenuation, high flocculation, & per Fermentis, a surprisingly high alcohol tolerance. Aside from the flocculation, it seems the desired trait from this yeast are its esters, reported to provide a smattering of fruity esters to compliment whatever ale it is used in.

I pitched on a simple wort to allow the yeast’s properties to take center stage. It fermented the ale quickly & flocculated hard, allowing a refreshingly clean bottle transfer directly from the fermenter. No bottle chunks. The ale conditioned @ room temperature for 4 weeks before the 1st tasting. When poured, almost no bottle rub made it into the glass. When Fermentis advertises that this yeast flocculates, they aren’t exaggerating. The resulting ale-in-glass is crystal clear. I’d say 90% as clear as a lager, which is great for an ale conditioned @ room temperature. There is a nice, pillowy white head.

Positives

The flocculation, obviously. For anyone that bottles, they should give this yeast a try. The fruity esters are expressive, resulting in some interesting flavor & aromas that would be hard to duplicate with any other method. I can see why English styles request this yeast, as I’m sure it pairs beautifully with the floral characteristics of most English hops. I’d use it to ferment anything that would benefit from additional flavor, especially because the medium attenuation would provide a luscious mouthful. If only I had a beer engine… wonder how it would do in an NE IPA?

Next Time

I don’t recommend brewing this exact beer unless you are determined to experience the specifics of this yeast. Though S-04 has much to offer, without the supporting cast of flavorful malt or colorful hops, the beer is a bit too simple. I’d like to try a similar recipe, but with an English hop like East King Goldings & a more substantially kilned base malt. Also, I recommend watching that fermentation temperature. I fermented @ the high end of the range & I am right on the cusp of “esters gone wrong”.

Yeast #001 - Fermentis S-33

Recipe

Malt

100% Briess Brewer’s

Hop Schedule

17.7 IBU Magnum @ 60min

Yeast

Fermentis S-33

Process

Mash In @ 60C, 0min

Saccharification Rest @ 67C, 90min

Mash Out @ 78C, 15min

Boil 75min

Chill

Ferment @ 20C, 7 Days

OG: 12.6P — IBU: 17.7 — ABV: 4.5%

Aroma

Specific aromas

Vanilla, Chamomile, Daisy

Flavor

Specific flavors

Chamomile, White Tea, Plum, Grape Skin

Impression

Sweet, Slightly Cloying, Light, Refreshing

The Ale

Fermentis S-33. There isn’t much out there on the internets about S-33. The manufacture describes it as a “General purpose ale yeast with neutral flavor profiles […] gives beers a very good length on the palate […] recommended for specialty ales and trappist type beers.” My understanding is that a specialty-type ale is an ale without an official category or style. There is much debate on brewing forums if S-33 originates from a Belgian strain or an English strain. So, in an effort to get an idea of how it brews, I devised a SMASH ale to allow it to express itself.

After pitching on fresh wort, S-33 fermented quickly without notable incident. Post bottling & while cleaning my fermentation vessel, I noticed that fermentation residue had stuck to all sides of the fermenter. It was a little odd, and hasn’t happened to me before, but after a swirl & soak in PBW, it came off no trouble. The capped bottles conditioned for 4 weeks at room temperature before I had my first glass. When poured, S-33 mostly remains at the bottom of the bottle. Though the bottle dregs aren’t as compact as an English cask yeast, they are tighter then the typical American yeast I’ve used. In the glass, the ale is pale yellow, slightly hazy when chilled, & has a tall, long lasting white head.

Positives

I am proud how S-33 held its own! The ale had unique aromas & flavors though the ingredient list was so simple . Given the standout floral aspects of both the aromas & the flavors, I’d like to use it to ferment a dry blonde ale, mashed with lightly kilned malt and boiled with floral-focused or noble hops. It might also work well in a wheat ale, accentuated with real fruit or flowers in the grist. I’m truly looking forward to further recipe trials with S-33.

Next Time

I’ll mash at a lower temperature to dry the beer out. I’ll also increase the bitterness because an IBU of 17.7 is not enough to balance the malty sweetness & yeasty esters.

It is fruity in the aroma & vanilla-y in the flavor. It would be a good beer for someone transitioning into beer-drinking.
— My Wife