Which Yeast?

Get advice on making beer from raw ingredients (malt, hops, water and yeast)
Post Reply
leeh555
Sober
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:05 pm
Location: Tenterden, Kent

Which Yeast?

Post by leeh555 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:23 pm

My apologies if this is a silly (or repeated) question but I have a query regarding Graham Wheeler's Brew Your Own British Real Ale book. I am a relatively new AG brewer and need all the help I can get! :?

To date I have used Greg Hughes book for recipes but received a copy of Graham's for Christmas. Graham's book does not specify the yeasts to be used in his recipes. I have looked through the book but can see no guidance (I may well have missed it!). Am I missing the something obvious?

Thanks Lee

MTW
Drunk as a Skunk
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:04 pm
Location: Just outside Scarbados

Re: Which Yeast?

Post by MTW » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:41 pm

No, you're not. It's probably not the time for me to be critical of the fact that yeasts aren't suggested, with the author having died just recently, but IF you want your beer to be as close as possible to the original, I would suggest getting the closest yeast you can to the brewery's own. This may be through checking whether the strain is commercially available through White Labs or Wyeast (this may help), getting in touch with Brewlab (if you're willing to grow it up from slants), or culturing something up if you can get dregs of the primary yeast.

PS, if you have no joy with that, perhaps ask for suggestions on here for a particular beer. Some brews may benefit from the 'original' strain more than others.
Busy in the Summer House Brewery

leeh555
Sober
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:05 pm
Location: Tenterden, Kent

Re: Which Yeast?

Post by leeh555 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:02 pm

Many thanks MTW. I'm not desperate to get exact matches to the original. Happy to brew nice drinkable beers resembling some of my favourites. I just wanted to ensure that I didn't completely stuff up a brew by using an inappropriate yeast for the recipe - this is where my lack of experience shows! I think I will follow your advice and check on here for suggestions when I plan a brew using one of Graham's recipes. Sad to hear of Graham's passing. I have read a fair bit of good stuff from and about him. Lee

User avatar
Jocky
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2039
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:50 pm
Location: Epsom, Surrey, UK

Re: Which Yeast?

Post by Jocky » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:07 pm

I believe that Graham didn't recommend yeasts partly because he believed that every brewery essentially had their own house yeast that had evolved over time. I would also think that when the first couple of versions were published that it was hard to get any more than a couple of kinds of brewing yeast.

While he's correct, to me a lot of British beer's character comes from the characterful yeasts, so it's a shame that there isn't a suggestion in this direction.

For now just get an English ale yeast, any one will do. You won't mess anything up by doing so, and in a couple of years when you're a bit more knowledgeable you might come back and rebrew the recipe choosing a different one that you've found produces the kind of flavours you like.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

jaroporter
Drunk as a Skunk
Posts: 983
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:12 pm
Location: Garden of England

Re: Which Yeast?

Post by jaroporter » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:08 pm

if you search around the forum you'll find Graham's reasons for not specifying yeasts. the only negative issue i think that has come of it is that so many new brewers design recipes by picking malt and hops and then just using whatever yeast they got on hand. yeast gives the most distinctive of flavours in a brew and in order to hit a certain profile in my opinion you want to work in the opposite direction.

the good thing about Graham's recipes are that they are solid, traditional foolproof recipes that will work with almost any british ale yeast!
dazzled, doused in gin..

User avatar
PeeBee
Piss Artist
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:50 pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Which Yeast?

Post by PeeBee » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:12 pm

The GW book was printed at a time (not so long ago) when UK home-brewers will still getting used to a decent selection of dried packet yeasts. WYeast were about but it was generally perceived that spending that amount of money on yeast was a waste of time.

So it was quite reasonable for GW to have presumed you'll be using your favourite "British" packet yeast - there was only a handful to pick from. And if he had picked out, say, Danstar's Manchester yeast we'd be sitting around now wondering where to get it from.

That link "MTW" added: There has been a few rude comments about the accuracy, I believe GW dished some dirt on it too. Still, if its the best guidance you can find...

leeh555
Sober
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:05 pm
Location: Tenterden, Kent

Re: Which Yeast?

Post by leeh555 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:46 pm

Thanks for all the responses (and so quickly too!). This is very helpful. The explanations make sense and I can understand the rationale (I'm glad I didn't miss something obvious in the book). I'll bear all this in mind when I use Graham's (and others) recipes. I'm sure that as my experience grows I'll gain a better understanding of ingredients, processes, etc. and create some interesting beers. :shock:

Thanks again guys.

User avatar
Dennis King
Telling everyone Your My Best Mate
Posts: 4072
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:52 pm
Location: Pitsea Essex

Re: Which Yeast?

Post by Dennis King » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:25 pm

A lot of us have brewed Grahams recipes over many years so tell us what you are thinking of brewing and we may be able to pass on our own experiences with various yeasts.

leeh555
Sober
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:05 pm
Location: Tenterden, Kent

Re: Which Yeast?

Post by leeh555 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:38 pm

Thanks Dennis. Planning to try a pilsner next but that's a Greg Hughes recipe so I've got the yeast for that. Will do one of Graham's after that so will come back for advice then.

Post Reply