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Thread: Has anyone used Wyeast 4347 Eau de Vie?

  1. #1

    Default Has anyone used Wyeast 4347 Eau de Vie?

    How is this yeast? I ask because it seems to be the highest alcohol tolerance (21%) yeast Wyeast advertises. The local shop has a smack pack, and I was considering buying it to make a huge mead.

    Is it a worthwhile endeavor to try and make a 21% mead? Any special considerations? How do I calculate the necessary amount of honey and target specific gravity to get there?

    Thanks for the advice!

  2. #2

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    What you're describing is a sack mead. Try doing a search with "High Gravity" or "Sack" in the titles. You'll find a lot of info on the topic. I'd suggest reading a few of those threads, and then come back with questions.

    In general though, 18% ABV is very do-able with the right yeast. Going above that starts to get tricky.

    As far as Wyeast 4347 goes, I can't help you. No experience with it.

  3. #3
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    I don't have experience with that yeast, but I can tell you that with an alcohol tolerance that high....

    1) you won't be able to start with that high of a gravity as the osmotic pressure would be too great for the yeast to do their job.

    2) you would have something akin to rubbing alcohol. in order to make it more drinkable, you would have to backsweeten it with a lot of honey. With mead, the higher the alcohol content, the sweeter you have to make it in order to balance everything.

    3) Generally speaking, those yeasts are made for distillers, so they don't care too much about the flavors getting blown off in fermentation because most of them will be blown off in distillation anyways.

    What I suggest you can do is to make a 5 gallon batch of sugar water to see how the yeast works. Doing this is much cheaper then using honey and allows you to see what the yeast do.

    Hope this helps
    Michael


    Not all those who wander are lost.
    -J.R.R Tolkien

  4. #4
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    I like the sugar water fermentation idea. You will have an adventure trying to hit 21% abv, even if the yeast "says it will". No sense spending tons of money the first time out.

    Eau de Vie is a distillers yeast for sure. The name is just French for firewater. There is another distiller's yeast available in a large-pitch pack, can't recall the name right now, but in any case people pick it up every so often and try to make rocket fuel. This other yeast pack is supposed to finish the fermentation in 24 hours! As much fun as 20% abv sounds, a 14% mead is much more enjoyable IMO. The extra glass you need to get bombed is not a hardship.

    As far as calculations go, there is a Mead Calculator hosted right here! Check the column of links on the left, or the links on the left from the main non-forum page.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  5. #5

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    If you dont mind experiementing, it would be an interesting thing to try!

    I would give it a go on a small scale (1 gal max probably), make sure you give it lots of nutrients, step feed it, etc

    Then bottle it and put it aside in a dark cupboard for 2 years minimum.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the feedback. I doubt I will ever try anything like this. The one batch of mead that I have made to date ended up at 13.6%, which is plenty dangerous, especially considering that I never brewed a beer bigger than about 7.5-8%. I was just curious about the possibility when I saw the info on a Wyeast pamphlet.

    The people that I know that are into distilling generally use Turboyeast.

    As far as the 4347 itself, I will probably pick it up and try a more conventional dry mead recipe just to see if the strain has any special characteristics that would merit adding it to the yeast bank. I'll let you all know how that turns out.
    Last edited by IvanhoeMT; 04-21-2012 at 09:29 AM. Reason: Add info

  7. #7

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    Just throwing an idea out there, what if you use a yeast that is much better at retaining aromas & flavours to get it up to 14-15% or whatever, and then pitch a starter of the Eau De Vie and gradually step feed it up to 21% (or wherever it peters out)?

  8. #8
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    Yo

    So I've tried Eau De Vie in the ABC group brew in the patrons area, I was aiming for 21% and semi dry but ended up with 18% and very sweet even with step feeding and a starter.

    I've considered it again, but I warn you it is tough, you may actually need to ferment it warm to get it to go.

    On a side note eau de vie did a nice job in my brew, actually pretty nice and neutral.
    Go On, Take The Honey and Run

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by machalel View Post
    Just throwing an idea out there, what if you use a yeast that is much better at retaining aromas & flavours to get it up to 14-15% or whatever, and then pitch a starter of the Eau De Vie and gradually step feed it up to 21% (or wherever it peters out)?
    Getting a new yeast colony established in a 15% abv environment is probably as hard as getting to 21% with the original colony.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  10. #10

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    I've used it a few times. 17-18% is normal for it. I have not been able to get it to go any higher. A friend swears by it, but his stuff is so sweet after, I wonder if he really gets 21% or not.

    I will say at 18% this is a very clean yeast. It makes a nice sweet sac. Some other yeasts leave some off flavors at that alcohol content.
    - Jeff

  11. #11

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    How about making and aging some good tasting mead and then freeze-concentrate it?(These people dont think its distillation) ... I think its called honeyjack(?)

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jens183 View Post
    How about making and aging some good tasting mead and then freeze-concentrate it?(These people dont think its distillation) ... I think its called honeyjack(?)
    I've done this method with beer and homemade alcohol before to get around the distillation issue.
    " ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAKeyser View Post
    I've done this method with beer and homemade alcohol before to get around the distillation issue.
    I haven't bothered to check for an original source, but I've read that ATF does consider that distillation. Granted, since there is no special equipment involved, if you are just doing it for personal consumption by friends and family, I doubt they'd bother busting you or even know you are doing it.

    (I've considered making applejack that way)

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChadK View Post
    I haven't bothered to check for an original source, but I've read that ATF does consider that distillation. Granted, since there is no special equipment involved, if you are just doing it for personal consumption by friends and family, I doubt they'd bother busting you or even know you are doing it.

    (I've considered making applejack that way)
    Years ago when I used this method to make my imitation of homemade schnapps I looked over the law to see if there were any legal issues to it and I could not see any as they usually mentioned stills and steam and I was using neither. I was looking at how the process related to a homebrewer so I'm not saying that somewhere out there a reference to the method isn't published, but this is the method they use to make Ice Beer so I don't see why it can't be used by homebrewers.
    " ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChadK View Post
    I haven't bothered to check for an original source, but I've read that ATF does consider that distillation. Granted, since there is no special equipment involved, if you are just doing it for personal consumption by friends and family, I doubt they'd bother busting you or even know you are doing it.

    (I've considered making applejack that way)
    I believe it's a grey area. There's a few threads on here discussing it. Often times, when regulations don't specifically address something, it's up to the individual ATF representative to make the call. So, it may or may not be legal depending on who you talk to.

  16. #16

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    Freeze distillation is not necessarily illegal in the US (to my knowledge, this is how ice-beer is made), but some states and localities might frown on it, it depends on which definition one uses for "distillation". If you decide to try it, just remember: unlike using a still, you are also concentrating the fusels and cannot easily remove them from your freeze-distilled beverage (why ice-beer gives a hangover more often than regular beer, IMO); whereas, when using a traditional still, you would remove the fusels by discarding the heads.
    I could be wrong, and I can't site many sources as I've read too many to recall exactly where I came across the information.
    Life is too short to take the "Long Way" ~ Me

  17. #17
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    The basic idea is that freezing a beverage and removing water literally isn't distillation, it's concentration. Distillation removes something from it's remaining constituents.
    If I recall the last thread we saw this in said that it is legal, of course it is not if you are selling it, bit then it is always illegal to sell your homebrew without a license.
    Go On, Take The Honey and Run

  18. #18

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    The batf considers concentrating alcohol, including by means of removing the water in the form of ice, to be distillation. Real world word meanings are not important to the us government. They have their own definitions. Take ale as an example. In brewing it describes a process using certain yeast and temps. To the batf it means higher alcohol content. Another example is calling mead wine!

    Any brewery in the us that does it has a license to do so. Anyhow, they should! However, I don't know of any american ice beer that is really made by removing the ice anymore. I could be wrong though.
    - Jeff

  19. #19
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    I know Canada does ice beers like that, I remember seeing the commercials. According to Wikipedia, it's still made in the 'States too. Although apparently it gets watered down again afterwards on your side of the border:
    "Although "icing" increases alcohol content, most of the United States breweries simply add water back into their beer after the icing process to bring the alcohol content back down to nearly the same levels. Otherwise the beer would qualify as a "beer concentrate," which is illegal under ATF rules governing beer production."
    ...and you wonder why we tease you about your beers

    I did look into it myself and it's perfectly legal to freeze-concentrate here, I've done it a couple of times and it made my really good maple mead into a phenomenal liqueur-strength sipping drink, and my kind of blah kiwi wine into a much stronger blah that's not much fun on its own but pretty good if I use it to fortify something else. Or soak fruitcake in...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
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