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”.