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Josh
03-14-2013, 06:20
I am currently in a discussion with some Scotch drinkers (not that I don't drink Scotch myself) regarding the impact of yeast on the flavor of whiskey. They are convinced that it has none and that all the talk American distillers do about yeast is nothing more than marketing. You can all probably guess my opinion on the matter, but what say you? Does yeast have some impact, a great impact or none? Is it possible that yeast has an impact on American whiskeys but not Scotch ones?

wadewood
03-14-2013, 06:33
Yeast has an impact on flavor. With Bourbon it's easy to see because you can buy Four Roses SB offerings in 5 yeast strains and the difference is obvious. My local microwbrewery put a a series of beers that were variations on their standard recipes, changing only the yeast; again very obvious difference. I see no reason why it would be any different with any distilled spirit.

HighInTheMtns
03-14-2013, 06:46
Yeast has an impact on flavor. With Bourbon it's easy to see because you can buy Four Roses SB offerings in 5 yeast strains and the difference is obvious. My local microwbrewery put a a series of beers that were variations on their standard recipes, changing only the yeast; again very obvious difference. I see no reason why it would be any different with any distilled spirit.
This was going to be my answer too. Feed the Scotch drinkers some Four Roses, then they will have to change their tune, right?

MyOldKyDram
03-14-2013, 06:52
Yup. Need look no further than Four Roses. Well if you wanna look will further on the negative side maybe Jim Beam.

Trey Manthey
03-14-2013, 07:27
Everyone is saying, "Just look at Four Roses. They FIVE different yeasts!" Sounds cool, and goes with the "wholesome whiskey artisans" image they have cultivated. However...

How many of us have had an opportunity to taste more than the standard OBSV single barrel?

How many of us have tasted more than the standard single barrel side by side with another single barrel recipe?

Did those single barrels vary in any other way? Age? Mashbill? Proof?

Most of us will recognize that there can be significant variances in single barrels that have ALL of the same variables in place (yeast, mashbill, age, proof) except different physical barrels. So while I will accept that there is a possibility that yeast would create a significant difference in taste, I haven't tasted it personally. Furthermore, with all the other variables mentioned I'm even not sure I could taste a difference.

So, I'm with the Scotch guys. I think Four Roses just has a marketing gimmick in play. It distinguishes them in the marketplace. Well done.

Josh
03-14-2013, 07:29
Four Roses is exactly what I pointed to. I was told that they must be mashing at different temperatures for different yeasts and mashbills, making cuts at different points in the distillation(:skep:), or something else. Somebody even said that a guy at Diageo told him that yeast is all marketing, so he's inclined to believe that. I just wonder what makes the Scots so sure that it doesn't make a difference and that it couldn't possibly make a difference.

MyOldKyDram
03-14-2013, 07:34
Then they are marketing and barrel picking geniuses because there are indeed major differences flavor wise in all the yeasts. Maybe it's other factors in play, but I doubt it. Don't know what to tell ya.

T Comp
03-14-2013, 07:36
Everyone is saying, "Just look at Four Roses. They FIVE different yeasts!" Sounds cool, and goes with the "wholesome whiskey artisans" image they have cultivated. However...

How many of us have had an opportunity to taste more than the standard OBSV single barrel?

How many of us have tasted more than the standard single barrel side by side with another single barrel recipe?

Did those single barrels vary in any other way? Age? Mashbill? Proof?

Most of us will recognize that there can be significant variances in single barrels that have ALL of the same variables in place (yeast, mashbill, age, proof) except different physical barrels. So while I will accept that there is a possibility that yeast would create a significant difference in taste, I haven't tasted it personally. Furthermore, with all the other variables mentioned I'm even not sure I could taste a difference.

So, I'm with the Scotch guys. I think Four Roses just has a marketing gimmick in play. It distinguishes them in the marketplace. Well done.

A few of us here have picked barrels at the distillery and not me but others have succesfully identified blind the yeast types. Did you ever have an F yeast? You'd know it's no gimmick.

Josh
03-14-2013, 07:39
Everyone is saying, "Just look at Four Roses. They FIVE different yeasts!" Sounds cool, and goes with the "wholesome whiskey artisans" image they have cultivated. However...

How many of us have had an opportunity to taste more than the standard OBSV single barrel?

How many of us have tasted more than the standard single barrel side by side with another single barrel recipe?

Did those single barrels vary in any other way? Age? Mashbill? Proof?

Most of us will recognize that there can be significant variances in single barrels that have ALL of the same variables in place (yeast, mashbill, age, proof) except different physical barrels. So while I will accept that there is a possibility that yeast would create a significant difference in taste, I haven't tasted it personally. Furthermore, with all the other variables mentioned I'm even not sure I could taste a difference.

So, I'm with the Scotch guys. I think Four Roses just has a marketing gimmick in play. It distinguishes them in the marketplace. Well done.

Good! A contrary opinion! I was hoping for that. :grin:


I have had had the opportunity to taste all the different recipes in single barrel form.

I have tasted multiple recipes side by side, including stuff from barrels with the same yeast strain but different mashbill. I detected a common thread between the two. It's easiest to see this in the F yeast, since it's so different from the others.

Yes, they do vary in other ways.

The problem with the argument that Four Roses' 10 recipes are a gimmick is that those 10 recipes come from when 4R was producing bourbons for blending. By the time Four Roses was selling bourbon in America again, the 10 recipes were already well established as a part of their MO. So it at least wasn't a gimmick to start with.

p_elliott
03-14-2013, 07:40
The master distillers will tell you it's 25% mash bill 25% yeast and 50% barrel. And yes Trey I have had FRSB where the only variable was yeast and it does make a difference. You can order/get these from TPS judge for yourself.

Wryguy
03-14-2013, 07:43
IMHO, some great points have been made, but to say that 'yeast is all marketing' is pretty biased and shows that Diageo doesn't want you thinking about the fact that they have eliminated many different strains of yeast in their moves toward a more corporate and profitable monoculture Scotch industry. Ask yourself why is some sourdough bread better than others? Why do the best bakeries keep their sourdough-starter kicking for decades? The secret is in the yeast. Granted distilling spirits is a different beast than baking, but I'm hard pressed to believe that all yeast is the same. I applaud diversity in the marketplace and in my choices, and in general. As for being able to detect a difference in how my whisk(e)y tastes because of yeast variations, I can't say I'm there yet, but it gives me something to strive for (or fool myself with, depending on your perspective).

Trey Manthey
03-14-2013, 07:49
Sounds like the whole "do cables make a difference?" argument that goes back and forth on my audiophile forums. Those with the "golden palate" claim that the difference is night and day. As a skeptic, I am unwilling to accept this as a truth until I prove it for myself. So unless someone can offer me irrefutable scientific evidence, I would be unsatisfied until I can take part in a double blind test with two single barrel whiskeys that have the same age, mashbill, and proof.

At least with this argument, the worst that can happen is you have a few extra bottles of FR whiskey laying around. :)

Trey Manthey
03-14-2013, 07:53
You can order/get these from TPS judge for yourself.

Which recipes would you recommend I purchase to best highlight the differences between yeasts?

Josh
03-14-2013, 07:54
Sounds like the whole "do cables make a difference?" argument that goes back and forth on my audiophile forums. Those with the "golden palate" claim that the difference is night and day. As a skeptic, I am unwilling to accept this as a truth until I prove it for myself. So unless someone can offer me irrefutable scientific evidence, I would be unsatisfied until I can take part in a double blind test with two single barrel whiskeys that have the same age, mashbill, and proof.

At least with this argument, the worst that can happen is you have a few extra bottles of FR whiskey laying around. :)

Well, you never know what the bourbon sample fairy may send your way.

portwood
03-14-2013, 07:55
Most people would agree that the barrel itself has an impact on taste to the point that two barrels filled with the same spirit sitting side-by-side for the same amount of time can produce aged whisky that tastes different. Therefore, the impact of yeast should be tested on new make spirit with all other variables the same except for yeast.

MyOldKyDram
03-14-2013, 07:56
This is all a very clever way for Trey to score some free booze. ;)

higgins
03-14-2013, 07:56
Ideally we would eliminate the whole debate about individual palates and taste tests between barrels. If the yeast really do matter, then the difference is in the chemicals they produce during fermentation that make it through the distillation process and into the final product. Certainly this is of interest to Four Roses, and something that they could test objectively at their labs. I'm assuming that they don't release that sort of proprietary information, though.

DaveOfAtl
03-14-2013, 08:03
In the name of science, I am also happy to accept samples to determine the impact, if any, of the 4R yeast strains. :grin:

Trey Manthey
03-14-2013, 08:15
Most people would agree that the barrel itself has an impact on taste to the point that two barrels filled with the same spirit sitting side-by-side for the same amount of time can produce aged whisky that tastes different. Therefore, the impact of yeast should be tested on new make spirit with all other variables the same except for yeast.

Excellent suggestion. Let's petition Jim Rutledge to put together a new make sampler pack for the SB trainspotters! Gift shop only, of course.

I certainly would welcome any visits from the bourbon sample fairy.

Brisko
03-14-2013, 08:25
Pretty sure Seagrams thought it made a difference, with their library of 300 yeasts...

Here's a thought: we know that yeast-making, from capture to propagation, was a highly prized art among early American distillers. Perhaps the emphasis on yeast here has as much to do with tradition as it does effect.

Another thought, is this yeast-making tradition more a central European thing? (The Beams were, I believe, German). Perhaps the ethnic heritage of the American distillers plays into this. I don't know enough about Scottish distilling to know whether they had such a tradition but it's clearly gone now, as they all buy bulk yeast.

Tom McKenzie ought to weigh in on this.

squire
03-14-2013, 08:28
Of course yeast has an impact on flavor, be it beer, bread or Bourbon. This is why Beam continues to use the old National Distiller's yeast to ferment Old Grand Dad mash rather than standard Beam yeast.

p_elliott
03-14-2013, 08:29
Which recipes would you recommend I purchase to best highlight the differences between yeasts?

OscarV has a post on here that has what all the yeast do to the bourbons. Pick 2 bourbons with the same grain mash bills and 2 yeast that are exact opposite of each other.

rndenks
03-14-2013, 08:36
I remember seeing this on Chuck's blog awhile back, and did some digging.

http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2013/02/beam-descendants-hope-to-revive.html

Seems like a lot of trouble to go through if yeast does not have an effect on the taste. Although it is also a "strange" coincidence that it all is occurring the day before their big anniversary and release. Hopefully it is both yeast and marketing.

Personally, I am to green to know the true impact. However, if it didn't have an effect on the taste these distillers would be buying it from a company to save time and money. Remember that is all about $$$

HighHorse
03-14-2013, 08:40
Most people would agree that the barrel itself has an impact on taste to the point that two barrels filled with the same spirit sitting side-by-side for the same amount of time can produce aged whisky that tastes different. Therefore, the impact of yeast should be tested on new make spirit with all other variables the same except for yeast.

This was discussed by Jim Rutledge at length this past weekend. Going back to the time he began in R&D they went through many, many variations of yeast and distilled them in mini stills in the lab measuring everything scientifically. The taste & smell comparisons were made on fresh make and his contention has always been that the measure of good bourbon must be made on what goes in to the barrel. In '91-'92 when he moved from NY to KY he had only 6 months to bring the quality of FR up to his expectations. The stuff they were making was ranked near the lowest their 4-point scale went until he eventually came up with the combinations that ranked at the top of the scale. All of these tests, tastings, & nosing were on fresh make when the yeast show the greatest variable. The others being the water and the quality of the grains.

Interestingly, he told us of a visit by another barrel picking group .. likely noted earlier on this thread .. where they literally picked out the different yeast formula. Something he said neither he nor anyone else at the distillery had been able to do!

higgins
03-14-2013, 08:43
Here's an idea. Go back and tell them that all the talk Scottish distillers do about peat is nothing more than marketing. Someone at Diageo even said so.

p_elliott
03-14-2013, 08:45
Distilleries keep samples of their yeast in several places around the world so it can't be destroyed. That's how important it is to them. One master distiller was quoted as saying if you control the yeast (meaning at that time the liquid yeast) you control the distillery.

MyOldKyDram
03-14-2013, 08:48
What a very Duneish thing to say.

The Yeast must flow.

Yeti
03-14-2013, 08:56
Every component matters, so of course the yeast does. Bruichladdich, and to a lesser extent Arran, are doing a lot of exciting things with different barleys from local farms in Scotland. Would they bother with that if all barley was the same? Or would there be whisky aged in countless varieties of casks (new, refill, sherry, PX, rum, cognac, hogshead, butt, puncheon, quarter cask, etc. etc. etc.) if there wasn't variation and uniqueness to be found and exploited? It is probably true that there's less focus (or even no focus) on yeast as part of scotch whisky culture because the recipes and yeasts were standardized centuries ago and nobody has deviated, but I'm inclined to believe that if you used some drastically different yeast in a bottle of Balvenie Doublewood, there would be more people than not who notice.

Wryguy
03-14-2013, 09:01
What a very Duneish thing to say.

The Yeast must flow.

My high school self would have had a field day with that one. :lol:

Josh
03-14-2013, 09:09
Every component matters, so of course the yeast does. Bruichladdich, and to a lesser extent Arran, are doing a lot of exciting things with different barleys from local farms in Scotland. Would they bother with that if all barley was the same? Or would there be whisky aged in countless varieties of casks (new, refill, sherry, PX, rum, cognac, hogshead, butt, puncheon, quarter cask, etc. etc. etc.) if there wasn't variation and uniqueness to be found and exploited? It is probably true that there's less focus (or even no focus) on yeast as part of scotch whisky culture because the recipes and yeasts were standardized centuries ago and nobody has deviated, but I'm inclined to believe that if you used some drastically different yeast in a bottle of Balvenie Doublewood, there would be more people than not who notice.

It's funny you would mention Bruichladdich's barley experimentation, because the that's how the whole issue of yeast popped up. I said I was skeptical of the impact of barley variety on the finished product and I said that I thought yeast had a bigger impact on the taste of the final product than barley strain and everybody jumped in to tell me how very wrong I was. I stand by that, but since I haven't tasted any Bruichladdich product ever, I'm not in a good position to judge.

Anyway, I think the idea of a Scottish distiller trying a different yeast strain is an excellent one. Let's hope somebody in that business is reading this!

callmeox
03-14-2013, 09:12
The higher the proof off of the still, the lower the impact of the mash on the distillate.

Yeast may not matter with malts, but is sure does on bourbon.

Beer&Bourbon
03-14-2013, 09:48
The higher the proof off of the still, the lower the impact of the mash on the distillate.

This is along the lines of what I was thinking. Yeast certainly makes a difference in the beer. There are a bunch of microbreweries and home-brewers that could give you evidence of the difference between the chosen yeast strain. I'm certain the same is true with bread yeast (but I have no personal experience with this). That said, do those differences translate into the distillate?

There is very little difference in vodka regardless of what went into it originally. The fermentables used vary widely and I presume yeast strain matters very little - you just want something that will convert the most sugar to alcohol. Since bourbon comes off at a much lower proof other factors before distillation matter much more. If they want to argue that barley has more impact, I'd ask them to prove it (since that's what they've essentially asked you). What compounds make it through the distillation process that are different between different strains of barley? I'm not sure how far they'll get down that field, but we know that different yeast strains can tolerate different levels of alcohol and grow optimally at a variety of temperatures. These traits suggest various evolutionary pressure that has altered their genome. I imagine the enzyme repertoire is different between different saccromyces species, but you'd have to search more for that information.

With all of that said, the 4R SB tasting that a number of SB folks participated in last year saw major differences with the same mash bill among different yeast strains. I think to more definitely test your question though, you'd want to get 5-10 bottles of the same mashbill, same yeast strain to determine the influence of the barrel. You could then compare between yeast strains with some level of confidence that the differences you were noting were due to yeast strain (not barrel differences). I think you won't be able to answer this definitively with just tasting though because of the number of uncontrolled variables in your experiment (numerous barrel variables, warehouse variables, temperature variables, age, proof, grain variables, accidental variables - differences in tanking, bottling, lines used, aeration time, UV exposure on a shelf, and on and on).

AaronWF
03-14-2013, 09:51
Single malt is just that: 100% malted barley. From what I understand, all but two Scottish distilleries buy their malt from only a few malting houses, the exceptions being Springbank, which floor malts all of their own barley, and Kilchoman (I think?) which does some of their own malting, but not all.

So, the fact that each distillery is essentially using the same base of ingredient might mean that they all use the same yeast that has already been discovered to ferment the malt most efficiently. If you can't tell, I'm talking out of my ass here, but I've been forced to reach my own mostly-chemisterially-ignorant conclusions on this subject thus far.

Now, when I think of sourdough, I think of yeast, and although I understand that sour mash means something a little different, it still makes sense to me that yeast would play a predominant role. The more variations of grain used in bourbon mash as compared to 100% malt could mean that there is not one yeast that is demonstrably more efficient than others for use in fermenting, hence the focus in the bourbon industry on the taste properties of yeast.

I have tasted single barrels of all the FR recipes, and while I have experienced a fairly wide variety of profiles within the same mash/yeast combination (owing, I suppose, to the mysterious nature of spirit interaction with wood as well as barrel placement), I have also become familiar with the kind of profile I can expect from an individual yeast. It may not make as big a difference as barrel placement, but I'm absolutely convinced yeast plays a big factor in the taste of bourbon.

Rarnold
03-14-2013, 09:52
Upon catabolism of wort components (sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and sulphur compounds) to essential growth metabolites, Saccharmoyces cerevisiae will produce and excrete a variety of secondary metabolites that are detectable organoleptically.

These secondary metabolites (esters, fatty acids, alochols, vicinal diketones, organic acids, and sulphur compounds) are regulated by the expression and catalytic properties of enzymes organized into complexes. These enzymes themselves are regulated, at the most basic level, by gene expression.

Whether or not the genes required to produce a secondary metabolite (be it the end product or an intermediate) are expressed is certainly influenced by other factors aside from yeast strain type, such as mash composition, fermentation temperature, and chemical communication of the yeast with other microorganisms in the fermentation (ie quorum sensing).

However, there is no doubt that the strain type has a significant role in which genes are expressed (DNA -> RNA -> protein). In fact, one group of genes with the highest expression variability among S. cerevisiae strains are those whose transcription is relevant for fermentation progress. For example, ARO9 and ARO10 genes that code for proteins involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids and production of fusel oils via the Ehrlich pathway show very high expression variability among strains [Carreto et. al. Expression variability of co-regulated genes differentiates Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. BMC Genomics, 2011].

Whether or not these secondary metabolites carry over through distillation/maturation and make an impact on the final product has never been, to my knowledge, scientifically documented. But, from experience, I believe that they do.

Rob Arnold
MSc Biochemistry

Yeti
03-14-2013, 09:53
I think the Bruichladdich Über Provenance series - http://www.bruichladdich.com/whisky-shop/classic-whisky/uber-provenance - is a very cool product line both in theory and practice. The Bere Barley 2006 is probably my favorite >10 years old single malt, and can "hang and bang*" with whiskies three times its age and twice its cost. Extremely good whisky.

Sorry for the thread drift toward barley and scotch, back to yeast and bourbon!


* İHulk Hogan, 1985

squire
03-14-2013, 10:12
All the details matter, how often have we heard about a retiring Master Distiller instructing his successor not to change anything.

SFS
03-14-2013, 10:16
Upon catabolism of wort components (sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and sulphur compounds) to essential growth metabolites, Saccharmoyces cerevisiae will produce and excrete a variety of secondary metabolites that are detectable organoleptically.

These secondary metabolites (esters, fatty acids, alochols, vicinal diketones, organic acids, and sulphur compounds) are regulated by the expression and catalytic properties of enzymes organized into complexes. These enzymes themselves are regulated, at the most basic level, by gene expression.

Whether or not the genes required to produce a secondary metabolite (be it the end product or an intermediate) are expressed is certainly influenced by other factors aside from yeast strain type, such as mash composition, fermentation temperature, and chemical communication of the yeast with other microorganisms in the fermentation (ie quorum sensing).

However, there is no doubt that the strain type has a significant role in which genes are expressed (DNA -> RNA -> protein). In fact, one group of genes with the highest expression variability among S. cerevisiae strains are those whose transcription is relevant for fermentation progress. For example, ARO9 and ARO10 genes that code for proteins involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids and production of fusel oils via the Ehrlich pathway show very high expression variability among strains [Carreto et. al. Expression variability of co-regulated genes differentiates Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. BMC Genomics, 2011].

Whether or not these secondary metabolites carry over through distillation/maturation and make an impact on the final product has never been, to my knowledge, scientifically documented. But, from experience, I believe that they do.

Rob Arnold
MSc Biochemistry

Welcome aboard Rob, and thanks for the on-point post. I invite you to fill out your profile, and/or make a post in the "New to SB.com" forum. Nice to have another chemist around.

HighHorse
03-14-2013, 10:27
Upon catabolism of wort components (sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and sulphur compounds) to essential growth metabolites, Saccharmoyces cerevisiae will produce and excrete a variety of secondary metabolites that are detectable organoleptically.

These secondary metabolites (esters, fatty acids, alochols, vicinal diketones, organic acids, and sulphur compounds) are regulated by the expression and catalytic properties of enzymes organized into complexes. These enzymes themselves are regulated, at the most basic level, by gene expression.

Whether or not the genes required to produce a secondary metabolite (be it the end product or an intermediate) are expressed is certainly influenced by other factors aside from yeast strain type, such as mash composition, fermentation temperature, and chemical communication of the yeast with other microorganisms in the fermentation (ie quorum sensing).

However, there is no doubt that the strain type has a significant role in which genes are expressed (DNA -> RNA -> protein). In fact, one group of genes with the highest expression variability among S. cerevisiae strains are those whose transcription is relevant for fermentation progress. For example, ARO9 and ARO10 genes that code for proteins involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids and production of fusel oils via the Ehrlich pathway show very high expression variability among strains [Carreto et. al. Expression variability of co-regulated genes differentiates Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. BMC Genomics, 2011].

Whether or not these secondary metabolites carry over through distillation/maturation and make an impact on the final product has never been, to my knowledge, scientifically documented. But, from experience, I believe that they do.

Rob Arnold
MSc Biochemistry

You took the words right out of my mouth.

smokinjoe
03-14-2013, 10:41
Upon catabolism of wort components (sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and sulphur compounds) to essential growth metabolites, Saccharmoyces cerevisiae will produce and excrete a variety of secondary metabolites that are detectable organoleptically.

These secondary metabolites (esters, fatty acids, alochols, vicinal diketones, organic acids, and sulphur compounds) are regulated by the expression and catalytic properties of enzymes organized into complexes. These enzymes themselves are regulated, at the most basic level, by gene expression.

Whether or not the genes required to produce a secondary metabolite (be it the end product or an intermediate) are expressed is certainly influenced by other factors aside from yeast strain type, such as mash composition, fermentation temperature, and chemical communication of the yeast with other microorganisms in the fermentation (ie quorum sensing).

However, there is no doubt that the strain type has a significant role in which genes are expressed (DNA -> RNA -> protein). In fact, one group of genes with the highest expression variability among S. cerevisiae strains are those whose transcription is relevant for fermentation progress. For example, ARO9 and ARO10 genes that code for proteins involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids and production of fusel oils via the Ehrlich pathway show very high expression variability among strains [Carreto et. al. Expression variability of co-regulated genes differentiates Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. BMC Genomics, 2011].

Whether or not these secondary metabolites carry over through distillation/maturation and make an impact on the final product has never been, to my knowledge, scientifically documented. But, from experience, I believe that they do.

Rob Arnold
MSc Biochemistry


You lost me at "Upon"... :D

sailor22
03-14-2013, 11:11
Yeast matters, quality and character of original ingredients matters, fermentation temp matters, type of still matters. All those things added together probably account for 30 to 40% of the taste - the rest is the aging process including barrel, wood, location and ambient temp. will account for 60 to 70% of the flavors. That's what two noted master distillers have told us in recent weeks here at the local Whiskey Society events.

BTW - in the conversation with Jim Rutledge that High Horse referenced earlier Mr. Rutledge said they don't make any cuts at all for heads and tails. So that would eliminate the heads and tails cuts variable someone mentioned. Also it seems every time I ask about the corn used I'm told #2 dent is the standard used by all the major distilleries. Rutledge stressed that there are differences in the quality in that grade. Balcones, High West and probably some other micros use blue corn to get a different product.

squire
03-14-2013, 13:21
I'll take the word of the Masters.

drunk
03-14-2013, 13:34
Which recipes would you recommend I purchase to best highlight the differences between yeasts?

Trey, I didn't see anyone reply, but if you want an easy comparison, pick up a Q yeast and compare it to a standard OBSV. It's the "floral" one, but I'd call it perfume-y. It's like the IPA of the Four Roses line-up. The F yeast is the second most distinct one with grassy or minty notes.

Trey Manthey
03-14-2013, 14:09
Thanks! I have placed an order with Party Source for OBSF, OBSQ, and OBSV.

DaveOfAtl
03-14-2013, 14:12
Looking forward to your impressions.

tmckenzie
03-16-2013, 03:53
Yes, yeast matters. here is a kicker though. It has been my experience that not so much on rye mashbills that have no corn in them, and malt mashes. It makes the biggest difference in corn based whiskies. And the same yeast will give 2 different flavor profiles I have found, based on what type of yeast mash it is grown in. Sweet or soured yeast mashes. Sour yeast mashes, soured by lacto produce fruit profiles, when the same yeast grown sweet, may not be fruity Amazing how yeast react to different environments. They have to adapt and when they do, they make different flavors.

squire
03-16-2013, 07:47
Good point about yeast adaption Tom. I remember the story of when Seagrams owned the LDI plant they tried to reproduce on of their more popular whiskys in a Canadian plant and discovered the specific yeast for that recipe wouldn't adapt to the colder climate there.

benpearson
03-16-2013, 10:53
For those who would like some sort of scientific explanation look to Rarnold's post (very well put)...or you can read a brief summary of the chemistry here. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf60170a002) Basically different yeasts produce different congeners which in turn produce different flavors when aged.
I find it interesting that the topic of Weller/Pappy/Maker's/Bernheim hasn't come up...but that may be too complicated to digest. I don't know for sure the lineage of the different producer's yeasts.
As far as four roses goes, yes there is a difference between the 10 recipe's. I would like to think I can blind taste the difference, but I have run across barrels that have surprised me both in barrel tastings at 4R and in bottles I have picked up at various retailers. I doubt that yeast is the only variable in distillation. If memory serves me correct the practice originated in having 5 separate distilleries and a central warehouse.
As a retailer we are starting on a series, where instead of picking our favorite blindly from all the recipes we are asking for 6-8 samples of just one recipe. Picking our favorite one, and having it bottled. Sort of our way of not being biased towards a particular recipe. I've noticed a lot of people picking F yeast lately, and I feel it's mainly because it stands out as so different from what has been available in the past. I have nothing against F, but I think it's important to focus on all the recipe's not just one. We have started with OBSO and OESO, when those have mostly sold we will go on to OBSK and OESK, etc. At the end we will most likely have held back some bottles from each to taste at a special event.

Josh
03-16-2013, 20:56
Yes, yeast matters. here is a kicker though. It has been my experience that not so much on rye mashbills that have no corn in them, and malt mashes. It makes the biggest difference in corn based whiskies. And the same yeast will give 2 different flavor profiles I have found, based on what type of yeast mash it is grown in. Sweet or soured yeast mashes. Sour yeast mashes, soured by lacto produce fruit profiles, when the same yeast grown sweet, may not be fruity Amazing how yeast react to different environments. They have to adapt and when they do, they make different flavors.

That's very interesting, I was hoping to hear from a distiller about that. Any theories on why it doesn't make as much of a difference in rye and malt whiskeys?

Halifax
03-17-2013, 16:27
Thanks! I have placed an order with Party Source for OBSF, OBSQ, and OBSV.

Afterwards, I would also suggest OESQ, OESK, OESO and OESF. These are among my favorites. Especially the OESK. Enjoy!

ethangsmith
03-17-2013, 16:59
If yeast isn't important, than why do distilleries have yeast banks and yeast labs? Why do they cultivate yeast and create lactic sours? If the yeast doesn't have a flavoring role in the final product, it shouldn't matter....

FWIW- Dick Stoll told me that Michter's went from Beam yeast after Everett Beam left to a pre-packaged yeast. He said since they were all so familiar with the process, the change in yeast didn't affect the flavor all that much. They also took the pre-packed stuff and continued to cultivate their own lactic sour off of it as needed for consistency. This leads me again to believe that yeast does at least factor into flavor at least a little bit. I don't think it has a big impact, but in my opinion this is where some of the subtle flavors come from (Nuttiness, citrus, leather, brashness versus mellowness, etc.).

tmckenzie
03-18-2013, 03:23
I have no earthly idea. On rye, and I am retty sure this is what happened when they tried making ldi rye in canada, if you run rye fresh off of fermetation which can be 24 hours, you get one flavor, a more melay malty flavor. Spice, like that in ldi comes from secondary fermetaion. Letting a yeast flor from the air form a cap on the mash.

fricky
03-18-2013, 04:04
I was skeptical about the taste imparted by the various Four Roses yeasts. I was fortunate enough to be invited to their tasting lab where I was given the opportunity to taste white dog produced from their various yeasts. Although I don't enjoy drinking white dog, there were significant differences.

Beer&Bourbon
03-18-2013, 13:35
I was skeptical about the taste imparted by the various Four Roses yeasts. I was fortunate enough to be invited to their tasting lab where I was given the opportunity to taste white dog produced from their various yeasts. Although I don't enjoy drinking white dog, there were significant differences.

That's certainly a much better experiment, but most of us don't get to try the 4R unaged variants against each other. Since I don't much care for white dog either, this would be a purely academic exercise (but one that I'd likely invest in with a group if they make the white dog available).

Happyhour24x7
03-19-2013, 21:03
I was lucky to be invited to an event with Dave Perkins from High West, and one of the cool,whiskey geek things he brought was some samples from their OMG rye. apparently, that whiskey is made from a blend of 3 different distillates, all with identical mashbills and distilling time; the only difference is they use three different yeasts. he brought us samples of each pure distillate, unaged, the only variable between them the yeast strain. I can tell you they was a staggering difference between the three. that drove it home to me that yeast was a far more important component than I had thought prior to that event.

squire
03-20-2013, 06:43
I always appreciate first hand impressions HH, your experience mirrors what I would have expected.

HighInTheMtns
03-20-2013, 07:28
I was lucky to be invited to an event with Dave Perkins from High West, and one of the cool,whiskey geek things he brought was some samples from their OMG rye. apparently, that whiskey is made from a blend of 3 different distillates, all with identical mashbills and distilling time; the only difference is they use three different yeasts. he brought us samples of each pure distillate, unaged, the only variable between them the yeast strain. I can tell you they was a staggering difference between the three. that drove it home to me that yeast was a far more important component than I had thought prior to that event.
Interesting to see that Jim Rutledge's influence on HW extends even to different yeast strains.