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What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

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What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby Pop Larkin » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:33 pm

Hi All

I just thought I would through out the question "what yeast do you all use for your whiskey/bourbon & why"?
To date I have been using Kroger own brand bread machine yeast, mainly because it's cheap & plentiful (& because I'm cheap) & I can got down to the store & simply pick up a jar without the hassle of mail order or searching questions at the brew shop.
I have recently began to wonder how the yeast changes the flavor profile of you spirit, so I thought "why not ask the guys" :D !

So I'm asking "the guys" that you lot have found works best for you & why.

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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby Izzy_Britton » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:49 pm

I have been using Safale US-05 dry ale yeast. 11.5 gram packets

like you i am cheap (i prefer to think i am 'thrifty'), I had been using redstar dry bakers yeast for my sugar washes but when i started my ujssm washes i decided to try a better yeast and a whole lot less of it because i was and still am under the impression that the yeast changes the flavor of your wash.

3$US a pound for redstar dry bakers yeast and i was pitching upwards of 2 pounds for 55 gallons of sugar wash, then emptying the barrel for distillation cleaning the barrel and starting all over again with new yeast.

with ujssm i am leaving the grains in the barrel, and have only had to add more yeast on two separate occasions in two separate barrels. seems the yeast remains active after draining majority of fluid off grains. makes sense. also my first ujssm i used the recommended 1 packet yeast to 5 gallons wash, i have only added 1 packet per 10 gallon wash when there was an issue after about the 5-6th generation, and most recently in barrel number 2 after about the 11th generation.

in the end i am quite pleased with the outcome of the ujssm and i honestly have no idea if the yeast makes any difference on flavor of the distilled spirit.

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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby dutchmancreek » Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:12 pm

I've had really good results with "Prestige Whiskey Yeast with AG". http://www.brewhaus.com/Whisky-Yeast-wi ... 6C103.aspx. It's kind of my standard yeast.

I've also used EC-1118 and Red Star Champagne yeast with pretty good results. I've never had really good results with bread yeast and always recommend against "turbo" yeasts (I used it years ago on neutral with poor results).

I try not to skimp too much on something as important as yeast. Of course, as Izzy said, if you are doing UJSM you will have a huge yeast base and can re-start or start other fermenters with it. I've gone 14 generations with out ever adding additional yeast, and I'm sure others have gone many more.
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby punkin » Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:32 pm

I use Danstil C distillers dry yeast. Because it's designed/bred for grain and sugar washes and is high temp tolerant.


I use a cupful of an active ferment to start additional ferments. :wink:


I have little or none of the dry stuff left, and really should build a stirplate and breed some. I may well do that when the summer comes..
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby mikejwoodnz » Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:41 pm

For my Scotch whisky (malt style), not American Whiskey (bourbon style), I collect about 1 litre of the lees after I make Muntons Premium Irish Stout (kit) and keep it in the refrigerator in a 2 litre milk bottle until I need it (also add a teaspoon of sugar). To activate it I take it out and put it in the sun to warm then add some of my ready to ferment wash, say about 500 mls ,give it a shake to assimilate then leave it for a while then add to the fermentables stirring well. I do this because my grandfather told me that in Scotland they made the best whisky by using Irish Stout yeast :beer:
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby vb » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:40 am

I used bakers yeast for my rum and UJSSM for quite a while, but was getting hit or miss results. I switched to using EC1118 and Coopers Brewers yeast, made a huge difference to my results. now I still use bread yeast, but I boil it first so it becomes food for the good yeast.
Once you get a ferment going, its easy to reuse the yeast.
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby eternalfrost » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:54 pm

i just use whatever beer brewing yeast i have on hand. do mostly UJSM where the yeast bed gets reused over and over but also the occasional all grain mash. brewers yeast is for sure nicer then bakers for this, but ive not found much difference between the specific strains of brewers yeast. my process isnt anally fine-tuned enough for the slight change in yeast to make a difference.


Violentblue wrote: now I still use bread yeast, but I boil it first so it becomes food for the good yeast.
Once you get a ferment going, its easy to reuse the yeast..


^yup pretty much this.

also, PSA: when piggy-backing washes, its great to scoop out some of the yeast sludge and boil it up to break down the nutrients in the corpses and toss it back in
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mutant beasties for me

Postby brantoken » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:59 am

I started with ec-1118 last fall, it stalled in the winter months, I added some red star bakers yeast, to get things going.

Started out a bit rough, I am sure their is all sorts of cross breeding going on in there, surely war of some kind in the beginning, but in the end a great party mix! The mutant mix is doing really well in the heat with a nice slow ferment without a lot of head and tails. Taste is crisp and clean with good mouth feel and flavor. Hard to beat dumb luck, I have learned, so I am going with it. I think I am going to save this motley crue for later .
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:22 am

I've pretty much settled on Danstar Nottingham ale yeast. It's cheap, I've usually got a bunch on hand anyway, and it makes good beer. I've got no argument with the whiskey flavor, either.
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Re: mutant beasties for me

Postby punkin » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:01 pm

brantoken wrote:I started with ec-1118 last fall, it stalled in the winter months, I added some red star bakers yeast, to get things going.

Started out a bit rough, I am sure their is all sorts of cross breeding going on in there, surely war of some kind in the beginning, but in the end a great party mix! The mutant mix is doing really well in the heat with a nice slow ferment without a lot of head and tails. Taste is crisp and clean with good mouth feel and flavor. Hard to beat dumb luck, I have learned, so I am going with it. I think I am going to save this motley crue for later .



Unlikely to be any sorta war going on now...
The champagne yeast won long ago
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby zedzedtop » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:32 pm

I've used Wyeast American, Scottish, and Irish Ale, for guess what? Used to have clones of these in the fridge, but mostly buy fresh these days.
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby BW Redneck » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:47 pm

Zymurgy Bob wrote:I've pretty much settled on Danstar Nottingham ale yeast. It's cheap, I've usually got a bunch on hand anyway, and it makes good beer. I've got no argument with the whiskey flavor, either.


Same here. Nottingham ale seems to be rather mild as far as yeast goes. I like mild yeasts for whiskies because they let the grain show through.

I've tried red star baking yeast, but the flavor seems too sharp and heady.
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby BlueFlame » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:32 pm

im with Dutchmancreek, i use the whiskey yeast with AG, and have been using "Red Star Premier Cuvée"
yeast. trying to get away from the mail ordering with all of my grains and yeast. looking for a simple 1-2-3 yeast cultivation for yeast storage with low risk of infection.
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby msh » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:33 pm

I've been using Red Star Dry Yeast because there are no brewing supply shops in my area, and the only choices I can find are Red Star or Fleischmanns at the grocery store. It's cheap, readily available, and good enough for learning. I'll order something else from the internet after I learn a bit more about how the process works.
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Re: What Yeast Do You Use for Ya Whiskey?

Postby Usge » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:22 pm

I've only used the WD Whiskey Yeast with AG. Now use a combo with wild yeast that I recycle...although like Punkin said earlier about ec-1118...the WD probably won out a long time ago. None the less, it left the yeast profile with a honey/pollen nose that comes through in the end...kind of nice. I've never used any of the other yeasts, so I'm not sure what I'm missing (or not) there. But, I'm starting to want to experiment for this reason: Something is consistently causing distillate to sting/burn on the tongue out of my ferments that gets more concentrated when double run. My room temp is fairly moderate...not hot..but not cool either. It's usually around 75-80F this time of year on avg. That could have something to do with it (ie., need to ferment cooler given yeast). I get lots of fruit smell from my ferment..usually quite nice/floral and sweet. Its usually centered around apple/pear (ethyl acetate?) and is sweet. Sometime a little nutty smelling if I use malted corn. That usually means a good bit of esters, etc., being produced...which provides for good flavor.

The other thing I've tried, even though it wasn't meant for whiskey making, was baking soda. I put one teaspoon in each gallon of low-wines and feints for about a week. The most impact it had was on smell. Nothing smelled as much. But, tasting showed it had little impact on the resulting "sting" thing I'm trying to get of. If it did have impact on it, it wasn't very much. The resulting distillate/cuts had little to no odor at all. No nose. Was useless to oak it. And I did get a jar or so more than usual that was acceptable to drink...but the tongue burn was still there although more subtle. I know the baking soda is supposed to bond with ethyl acetate and form a compound with a higher boiling point...so not sure that rules that out as cause.

Normally, I do corn mash/sugar thin mash at around 10%. Also do all-grain mash at around 3-5%. My room temp average is usually somewhere between 75-80F. I usually do a strip/spirit. I'd like to use a wider profile cut for more flavor, without picking this up. Just tried Buffalo Trace white dog (mash #1) at about 125 proof, FULL of heads and tails flavors (WIDE cut)...and doesn't sting on the tongue at all if you just hold it in your mouth. According to info, they use a plate unit, and draw it off at lower proofs, and then run it through a doubler. Maybe it's my water? (I use brita filtered tap water). Too many variables. So, I need to start somewhere and experiment to see if I can isolate the cause...and learn to avoid it. Any and all suggestions welcome!
THANKS!!
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