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What characteristics do you look for in a yeast to pair with your recipe? Is there a common reference?

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3 Answers 3

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For me some styles showcase yeast like Belgians, Hefes, some English styles, etc. Others showcase malts or hops and yeast shouldn't play much of a role. For me I generally stick with some clean ale yeast like 1056 or Pacman for IPA's, Blondes, etc. And then obviously for something like a hefe I choose 3068.

As I reference, if you car about style guidelines, look at the BJCP style guidelines for whatever your making. They will usually mention what role yeast character should or should not play.

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I normally brew "to style", meaning that when I make a beer I choose ingredients that match a particular style. Right now I am drinking my Classic American Pilsner. I drink enough beers to know, in general, the flavor characteristics I like in a beer and choose a yeast that produces them.

Brewing to style narrows your yeast choices. When choosing a yeast for the CAP I reviewed the characteristics of the White Labs and Wyeast lager offerings. I also listened to the Jamil Show's episode on the style. From the flavor profile descriptions I choose a yeast that best suits my taste (and fermentation capabilities).

When not brewing to style, such as my Rye of the Hurricane recipe, I pick a yeast that compliments the flavors I want to get out of the beer. I like British ales, so I often choose London Ale III from Wyeast.

Some good advice, which I have yet to follow, is to really get to know a single strain of yeast. Brew a number of recipes with a single yeast. That way you know enough to make it produce the flavors you are looking for rather than choosing a yeast for the flavors it produces.

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There's a great reference for yeast and what characters they lend to beer that I use all of the time to figure out what flavors I want to incorporate into my brew from yeast.

BYO Yeast Guide

Back in another life, I was working on making a searchable yeast database, but that site is now mostly defunct and out of date. I still use that little app occasionally, though. I can't post two links in a post right now, so I can't give you a link. Maybe someday.

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Thanks for the link, I bookmarked it. Also, you can add links with the "annotation style" outlined in this guide: homebrew.stackexchange.com/editing-help –  Taylor Dec 15 '09 at 17:36
    
Ah, so you can. Here's the link to the tool I built a few years back. Like I say, out of date, but still fairly useful. thebrewguide.com/searchyeast.php –  topfermented Dec 16 '09 at 16:30
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