View Full Version : Yeast Reference Chart?

05-11-2006, 06:20 PM
I have a request for all you experienced mazers:

Think it would be possible to complile a list of yeasts that would have a cross-reference to what type of mead they work best with?

I've learned more about yeast the last few posts I've made that I wish I knew before I made my first batch. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with what I've made so far. It's just that I know I would have selected a different yeast for a couple batches I made because I'm not particularly fond of extremely dry mead.

Perhaps such a reference chart already exists? I've been to the sites that were posted by Oskaar a while back which details the characteristics of variouos yeasts, but it is still not clear to me what yeast is the best strain to use for a particular mead recipe.

I'm sure I'm not alone, and am confident that a cross-reference chart would be beneficial to a lot of newbies such as myself.

As always, your help has proven invaluable .... (gonna' have to become a Patron soon !!!) ;)

05-11-2006, 07:17 PM

I don't know if even Oskaar could give you a "best yeast" for different styles of mead (although he could probably rule out some yeasts for certain styles)... it's very subjective to the tastes of the individual. My advice would be to experiment with the Lalvin yeasts. Make a 5 gallon batch of must and split it into (5) one gallon jugs, using a different yeast to ferment each. In this way you can become familiar with the taste and sensory contributions of each yeast. Keep Very Detailed Tasting Notes, and to be absolutely distinct... I wouldn't taste them all at one sitting. Try one, the next day another, keeping explicit notes. Do the same with a Pyment and a Cyser and you will start to get a really good handle on what each yeast contributes and how well it respects the varietal. Then you will know which yeasts you like for each style. Then you can branch out and try again with more yeasts. Wish it were as simple as what yeast is best... but hell, the adventure is 1/2 the fun.


05-12-2006, 12:05 AM

Is this what you're looking for?


05-12-2006, 12:50 AM

The chart should be taken with a grain of salt, a number of yeasts that are suggested for meads, for instance, don't do nearly as well as in taste comparisons as a number of other yeasts not specified for mead. I would tend to go more for the descriptions described in Lalvin's yeast in nature (http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_strains.php) chart as a reference for qualities I think would compliment my mead/Pyment/Cyser rather than the suggested styles list. But if you're doing a pyment and are hoping for something that crosses with a wine style your familiar with than I suppose it might be helpful. But remember it's more of a very basic guideline than a definitive list... and is way behind the times when it comes to good yeast's for making meads. For example EC-1118 is listed as good for dry meads, and while it will quickly take most recipes to dry... Not many on the forum would recommend its use in a dry mead. Trial is the best method, I suggest pouring through the above list of Lalvin's yeast descriptions, picking the ones whose qualities sound appealing, then going to Morewine (http://morewinemaking.com/browse.html?category_id=1314&keyword=&x=1&y=1&PHPSESSID=643905d0b085f44408cbb45db1290fc1) to pick them up and experiment with. Hope that helps.


05-12-2006, 04:34 AM
Hey Fwee,

I suggest that while reading up on some of the yeast applications and what types of wine they are used to make, that you get a couple of bottles of wine varietals discussed in the write ups. Taste the wine and note the character and flavor profiles, and then try to place those in the context of what honey you'll be using, and how those characters could complement/mix with the mead you want to produce. Obviously grapes and honey are two different things, but I have noticed that while the end product is different in mead and wine, the yeast influence tends to have some common points between the two.

Yeast reference charts are just that, reference material. The only practical way to really get a sense of what will work is to make mead with a bunch of different honey and yeast, using different methods. I've done this during the time that I've been mead and winemaking so I have a good idea of what works for me and what I like to make. My taste and suggestions are entirely subjective based on my preferences. One of the things the relatively new mead maker needs to be aware of is the context in which recommendations are being made.

I generally know what I'm going to end up with before I mix the must and inoculate it with yeast, so I throw my must together in a hurry. I smell, taste and candle (hold a 100 ml graduated cylinder to some light) it before I measure it for brix or gravity. Anyone who attended my little mead making demo at B3 in Riverside for the last Mead Day (November 2005) saw how quickly the must went together. I had everyone come over to smell the must and look at the viscosity so they would have something as a base comparison along with some basic must “look and feel” experience going forward. I demonstrated the quantitative and qualitative checks along the way using the refractometer, hydrometer, and pH Meter. These are necessary tools in my opinion, to keep one's batches consistent, assayable; and to ensure a vigorous primary that is fast, healthy and efficient.

Getting back to the yeast, one must know what the proper environment for the yeast they have chosen should be, and that’s where the reference charts come in handy. They have an ideal temperature range and nutrient level that needs to be considered when mixing up the must. Past that it helps to know the wine world application for that yeast, the nuances of the characters it imparts and what kind of honey and other ingredients it would compliment. The only way to really get a good grasp of that is to experiment with the yeast, different honeys and other ingredients.

Hope that helps,


05-12-2006, 09:24 AM
Hi Grant,

I am new to this addiction so please take this for what it is worth. I was shown how to make mead with EC-1118 back in October 05. After reading up on the posts from this crowd I expanded to the D47 and then to the K1-V1116. I like to experiment and did what Wrathwilde mentioned above, make a large batch of must and pitch the different yeasts to see what you come up with. I have to say, for me personally, in a cyser I prefer the K1-V1116 because it leaves a lot of the flavors alone during fermentation. D47 and 1118 were different. I was amazed at the differences. After reading the link from Wrathwilde I am now floored in the number of yeast available to testing!!!

So because tastes are personal, use the info as a reference and experiment to see what you like. Have fun at it, but be warned that it is damn addictive!!! >:D >:D >:D

05-13-2006, 06:26 AM
Thanks everyone .... guess I'll have to experiment and find out first hand myself ! 8)