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  • From: Terence Bradshaw <>
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  • Subject: [NAFEX] Re: liquid yeast
  • Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2003 11:45:22 -0400

As a cidermaker producing 30-100 gallons per year, I've played around with yeasts a fair bit.  I agree that yeast culture has a very significant effect on wine and cider quality.  In various years I've done multiple 5 gallon batches of the same must, each fermented with different yeasts, including wild yeasts from the fruit and press I use.  Overall, foe cider, I found the wild yeasts present the most complex and pleasing flavors.  This assumes that your fruit have a good culture of yeasts and/or your press has accumulated them. My friend who presses for me, and many others, has a wood press, never presses fungicide-treated fruit, and does not sanitize the press aside from a good washing down.  This unit holds an excellent population of yeasts which have built up over the years.  Consequently, sweet cider from this press ferments very quickly, and oxygen exclusion is very important to avoid acetification.
I have used other presses, including a commercial unit which is sanitized and follows HACCP code and therefore does not, I feel, have the yeast inoculum inherent on it.  I have used this press for my fungicide-treated fruit which should also have lower populations of yeast present and invariably different yeasts at that. 
As I said, I prefer the character of ciders from the natural yeasts when possible.  Of the commercial yeasts, I have used the powdered forms and while they will ferment, they do not seem to offer as clean a profile as the pure liquid cultures.  Dry yeasts generally come in a narrow range of selections, inludng ale, lager, champagne, and other wine yeasts.  I am not a fan of ale yeast, as it requires too warm a ferment which tends to volatilize the aromatics in the finished cider.  I have not tried lager yeasts, but suspect that these may work better at a 45-50 degree F ferment.  Champagne I am not fond of, as it totally dries out the cider an also throws off your aromatics.  Some of the other wine yeasts aren't bad, including Montrachet and some of the white wine products.
Generally the liquid yeasts offer much greater selection, as the link given will show.  I have had excellent success with Wyeast's cider and mead yeasts.  While they may cost a little more, you're getting a better, more stable product, and one packet can go a long way if you step culture to increase to pitching amount.

Just my $0.02


We just recently had a wine buyer come to visit & I was talking to him
about my rustic wine making process & he made the point repeatedly that
quality of wine has as much to do with the complexity of the yeast
culture as the fruit itself.  He said many of the memorable home made
wines which he's sampled over the years have used liquid yeast
cultures.  Have others used these & what kind of success have you had? 
He pointed me to the website listed below as being very high quality
yeast.  He thought the difference would be especially noticeable for
small fruit wines such as currant, gooseberry, elderberry etc..


Terence Bradshaw 
Pomona Tree Fruit Service        
1189 Wheeler Road
Calais, VT 05648        

The views represented are mine and mine only...

  • [NAFEX] Re: liquid yeast, Terence Bradshaw, 08/01/2003

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