View Full Version : D-47 vs 71b (or other favorite yeast?)

07-27-2012, 03:50 AM
In my online research, I overwhelmingly found a lot of supporters of both D-47 and 71b yeasts. After reading more descriptions and a few experiments and mead making journal logs, I decided to go with D-47 for my first, but I'm wondering...

does anybody want to contribute any ideas on which they prefer? Or, more specifically, what is your preferred yeast for:

sweet or semi-sweet
dry or semi-dry

I'm doing a bochet (hopefully balanced or very slightly semi-sweet or semi-dry when finished) with D-47, but I plan on doing a sangiovese pyment with grapes from my vineyard in the fall, and for this I was thinking of doing a dry, sparkling one with orange blossom honey... was thinking maybe premier cuvee would be a better choice for this?

And on a different note, could you use ale yeast in order to obtain weaker / lower ABV meads or force more residual sugars?

07-27-2012, 09:42 AM
IMO, its easier to remember when to rack, than it is to ponce about with temp management.

So its 71B for me.

Plus I don't like champagne yeasts. I'd go with K1V for the pyment.

07-27-2012, 11:04 AM
I haven't really done enough meads to be an expert... but I am partial to EC-1118, they say it's a champagne yeast, but it usually leaves me with a dry to simi-dry mead with a light, crisp flavor (when using delicate berries). When I make a dessert mead, I've taken to adding a bit of bread yeast to my 1118... I think it gives a bit of a "cobbler" feel/flavor to my stuff (could be a trick of the mind though).

Yo momma
07-27-2012, 12:01 PM
71b and Kv is my favorite though RC is geting great reviews from my berry meads and wines.

07-27-2012, 12:46 PM
Please take whatever I say with a grain of salt- I’ve only been doing this for about 2 years now, so I am no expert. After trying a most of the popular yeasts, I have come to use KV1-1116 and EC-1118 for almost everything that I make now. I know that there are probably better yeasts for certain tasks, but the ease of use and wide temperature range, coupled with lowish nutrient needs outweighs the marginal advantage that I have found with the others. Plus, I have not experienced any problems with leaving the mead on the lees longer than recommended. KV1 seems to better at retaining delicate aromas and flavors, but EC-1118 seems to be a bit “cleaner”- meaning that it doesn’t seem to add any flavors of its own. When it comes to sweet or dry, I prefer to back-sweeten, so having a yeast with a high alcohol tolerance means that you can use one for both dry and sweet meads, and you don’t have to worry about the ABV.

07-27-2012, 12:52 PM
Thanks for the quick replies!

I had also seen the 1118 being used often, but it seemed like people were preferring that mostly for dry (sometimes sparkling) meads...

But I'm going to keep that one and the KV1 under my belt for the pyment in a few months... (I think I'm leaning toward 1118 for some reason, though... maybe just that I've seen it mentioned more often than KV)

07-27-2012, 05:22 PM
To answer your ale yeast question: yes you can use them for mead. Most will still get to 12-15% abv, so don't count on them leaving a ton of residual sugar. Those "attenuation" numbers are for beer worts, which have a significant amount of more complex sugars. They are also relative, since they are based off a "standard wort" and not what you're actually going to ferment.

I've heard Mexican Lager is good for mead, though haven't tried it myself yet.

07-28-2012, 12:11 AM
At my local home brew store, I saw a pack of yeast from a supplier I didn't recognize... it was German. The yeast just said "Mead" on the pack.

Does anybody know what this is or how well it might work?

07-28-2012, 05:25 PM
I'm a big fan of 71V-1116, particularly fermented cool. 71B is a great mead yeast, but I've noticed that leaving it even on the fine lees for too long can have a negative impact on the taste. With D47 and 1116 I've left small amounts (what didn't fit in the secondary) in bottles on gross lees for months and even over a year without it tasting bad (it does give it yeast affected flavor though for sure).

Chevette Girl
08-04-2012, 10:29 PM
I spent a couple hours over my vacation reviewing my mead log book and found that I used a lot of EC-1118 and K1V1116 in my early brewing years. They're both good solid yeasts and I never really noticed any significant flavour losses that some folks see with EC-1118. They're both good on the lees too so I'd use either of them again for a sparkling mead since I bottle-carbonate. I'd also use either of them for any traditional mead too, I'd rather stabilize and backsweeten or step-feed than aim to have residual sugar right from the get-go, I think I've finally gotten over the "high test" phase in brewing where all you want to go for is alcohol content.

I've been happy with the results from D-47 for traditionals and metheglyns, and the first time I used it I didn't really pay attention to the temperature and it was fine, but I only use it during the cooler months because my house isn't air-conditioned. I will probably use it more often for my winter brewing, I want to see how it does for mels myself.

71B is a nice yeast if you can remember to rack it off the lees. Which apparently I'm not so good at, so I think I'm going to part ways with it for a while for fear of ruining a batch due to neglect.

RC-212 is a fussy-pants nutrient hog, but if you treat it right, the results are quite good and I'm going to be trying to use this yeast more often now that I've decided I'm better at paying attention at the beginning of a ferment than halfway through. It's supposed to be good for anything fruity so I'm going to be trying more mels with it, I have made a really good crabapple cyser out of it once I got it past its barfy stage. It's one I'd consider sending to the Mazer Cup, and definitely worth all the fussing about with nutrients and stinky yeast...

All that, and I still love playing with bread yeast and JAO variations. If you like it sweet, start with the JAO recipe and see where it can take you. If I'm aiming for sweet and drinkable within a few months, 3.5 lb honey and bread yeast is where I start. I may try a JAO-like experiment with a beer yeast once I start making beers, but currently I have no experience at all with beer yeasts.

08-12-2012, 09:02 PM
I like 71B or D47 for Meads, though they each have their favorite temperatures and nutrient needs. I also use 71B for berry melomels.

I use EC-1118 for SkeeterPee (backsweeten with honey to make "Bee Pee") or anything that is a "hostile environment" for fermentation. Fermax and Fermaid do make yeast management a whole lot easier!

I like to use KV-1116 for Apfelwein and Cysers. I like the balance of ABV without losing a lot of the subtle flavors.

drink up!


08-13-2012, 01:26 AM
71B and K1V have been very strong fermenters for my first batches. The 71B imparts a noticeable.. ester-y nose, is it? I've been sticking with 71B for anything with whole fruits, and I like the way the flavours blend. I haven't been able to get a proper idea of my K1V batches (braggot and cyser) since they haven't finished yet. So we'll see what kind of characteristics it adds.

I really like the clean end result of RC-212, but I will say, it ferments much slower unless closely cared for. I find the RC-212 forms such a compact sediment that I have to stir it up, or else it works at a crawl compared to the others I mentioned.

D47 is out of the question until winter, and I have yet to play with EC-1118.