It goes without saying that you'll need to use the best yeast for distilling if you want to make the best spirits. You can't make a quality end product if you start with low-quality primary ingredients. And yeast might be the most important ingredient, as it facilitates the whole process.
Yeast is used to convert sugars into alcohol during the distilling process. The yeast "eats" the sugar from the mash, releasing energy in the form of carbon dioxide and ethanol. The ethanol is then collected, concentrated and refined to create a variety of spirits.
There are different kinds of yeast for distillation. Each kind produces a different type of alcohol. In this article, we'll tell you what the best kind of yeast to use to create the best end product from your home still.
Best Yeast For Alcohols
OUR TOP PICK
Turbo Yeast is one of the most popular yeasts for distillation. It's an all-purpose yeast that will work with any sugar source. It's easy to use and works well in both batch and continuous operations.
It's up to 18% alcohol. Though it is very easy to use, the taste it provides is one that's not exactly the best. However, depending on how you adjust your ingredients, this can be overcome.
Turbo Yeast is great for making things like bourbon, single malt whiskeys, alcohol wash, and surprisingly, corn liquor.
Turbo Yeast's manufacturers have even come out and said that Turbo Yeast was created to produce "a very clean wash with minimal congeners". Congeners are impurities found in alcohol. These impurities give the final product its flavor.
Turbo Yeast's 48hour Fermfast packets even go so far as to boast that they can create 14.5% ABV in 48 hours. Turbo Yeast also has different types of yeast depending on the types of alcohol you want to make, like rum, high-grain vodka, and even fruit schnapps.
- Minimal congeners
- All-purpose yeast
- Fermfast can create 14.5% ABV in 48hrs
- 18% alcohol
- Requires lots of sugar to cover the sharp taste
This yeast is known for its ability to create a crisp, clean, refreshing beer. It is perfect for those who want a lighter style ale. It's ideal for those who don't mind drinking something that tastes more like a soda than beer.
The main difference between this yeast and turbo yeast is that White Labs' WLP002 English Ale Yeast is less aggressive when compared to turbo yeast. This means that it won't convert sugars as quickly.
White Labs WLP002 yeast has a lower alcohol content than turbo yeast. This makes it perfect for producing lighter styles of alcohol.
WLP002 yeast is also better suited for making larger beers because it doesn't convert sugars as fast as turbo yeast does.
White Labs' WLP002 Yeast creates a slightly sweeter beer. However, it does so without adding too much sweetness. This makes it perfect for those who prefer their beers to be lighter and cleaner tasting.
White labs' WLP002 yeast is good for creating ales, stouts, porters, and IPAs. It's also great for making lager.
- Crisp, clean, and refreshing
- Light sweet taste
- Lighter body
- Not suitable for heavy styles
Safale US-05 American ale yeast is another excellent choice for those looking to make a lighter style of alcohol. Like white lab's WLP002 English ale, Safale US-05 American yeast is perfect for making a lighter style of alcohol like lagers or ales.
Like other yeasts, Safale US- 05 American ale yeast needs some time to convert sugars into alcohol. But unlike turbo yeast, Safale US- 5 American ale yeast requires only about 8 hours to reach full conversion.
Safale US - 05 American ale yeast is also quite versatile. It can be used to make lagers, ales, stouts, and even IPAs.
Safale US - 05 American Ale Yeast produces a medium-bodied beer. This makes it ideal for those who want to drink a beer that isn't overly sweet.
If you're looking to make an IPA, then Safale US - 05 American yeast will work well for you.
- Easy to use
- Takes longer to ferment than turbo yeast
Fermentis Safale S 04 German ale yeast is one of the best choices if you want to make a dryer, crisper, and fuller-bodied beer. This yeast is perfect for making hefeweizens, wheat beers, and even bocks.
Fermentis Safale S - 04 German ale yeast is very similar to turbo yeast. They both require around 12 hours to fully convert sugars into alcohol.
Fermentis S - 04 German ale yeasts are also pretty easy to use. You just need to add them to your wort and let them do their thing.
Fermentis German ale yeast is also versatile. It can be easily used to make all kinds of beer including lagers, ales, and stouts.
Fermentis' Safale S - 04 Germany ale yeast is not recommended for making strong beers. If you plan on using this yeast to make a stronger beer, then you should consider either brewing with higher gravity or using more hops.
- Great for making hefe weizen
- Doesn't make very high-quality beer
White Labs WLP029 California lager yeast is another great option for those who want to brew a crisp, clean, and refreshing lager. This yeast is perfect to make a light-bodied beer like a hefeweizen.
White Labs Wlp029 California lager yeast works in the same way as turbo yeast. Both require around 10 hours to reach full conversion of sugars into alcohol.
White Labs WL029 California lager yeast produces a medium-bodied lager. This makes it ideal to drink while watching TV or playing video games.
If you're planning on making a hefeweizen, then white labs WLP029 California lager yeast is the right choice for you.
- Clean tasting
- Very low esters
- Low hop flavor
- Produces a bit too much carbonation
Lalvin EC 11 18 Belgian Ale Yeast is a fantastic choice for those who want to make a rich, complex, and flavorful beer. This yeast is great for making a wide variety of different types of beer including ales, stouts & porters.
This Belgian ale yeast has been specially selected by Lalvin for its ability to produce a lot of ester flavors. These esters give Belgian ales their characteristic fruity aroma.
This Belgian ale yeast is very easy to use. All you have to do is add them to your worts and let them do their job.
Lalvin EC1118 Belgian ale yeast is also fairly versatile. It's suitable for making almost any type of beer, from pale ales to stouts.
The main drawback of Lalvin EC1118 is that it doesn't produce very high-quality beer. The reason why is because it produces a lot of diacetyl, which gives off a buttery flavor.
- Rich flavored
- Good at producing esters
- Not good at producing high-quality
Finding the right type of yeast can be tricky. Especially when it seems like yeast has its own secret language with words you don't quite understand.
Here in our buyer's guide, we go over all the possible information you could need when trying to find the right yeast, and define any keywords.
Yeast is an organism that converts sugar (sucrose) into ethanol (alcohol). There are two types of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Zygosaccharomyces bailii. Saccharomyces cereviseae is the most commonly used yeast by home brewers due to its versatility.
Which Yeast To Use
There are several factors that determine what type of yeast will work best for you. First, you need to know how much alcohol you want to end up with. If you want a lower level of alcohol, then you'll probably want to choose a yeast that produces less alcohol than one that produces more.
You should also consider whether you want to make a dry or sweet beer. A dry beer is made using a higher percentage of malt extract compared to water. Whereas a sweet beer uses more water than malt extract.
Dry beers tend to have a lot of hops, whereas sweet ones usually contain a lot of caramelized malts.
Finally, you need to think about the style of beer you'd like to make. Some styles such as American IPAs are really picky about the type of yeast they use. They prefer a certain type of yeast that produces lots of esters.
Other styles like British Pale Ales are generally happy with just about anything.
There are three main categories of beer: lagers, ales, and hybrids. Lager beers are made with a specific type of yeast called saccharomyces pastorianus. Ales are made with yeasts that belong to the genus Saccharomyces. Finally, there are hybrid beers where both strains of yeast are used.
If you're looking to brew a low alcohol beer, then you'll want to choose a strain of yeast that produces less alcohol. In general, these are referred to as "clean" yeasts. Clean yeasts include Lalvin D47, White Labs WLP001, Fermentis Safale US-05, and Wyeast 1056.
On the other hand, if you want a higher alcohol content, then you'll want a strain of yeast that makes a lot of alcohol. These are known as "dirty" yeasts. Dirty yeasts include Lalvin EC1118, Wyeast 2124, and White Labs WLP029.
Dry Vs Sweet Beer
A dry beer is made by adding a large amount of malt extract compared to the amount of water. This causes the wort to ferment out quickly. On the other hand, a sweet beer uses more water than malt extract.
It takes longer to ferment out, but this allows the brewer to add more sugars before fermentation starts.
In order to create a dry beer, you'll need to use a strain of yeast that ferments sugars well. The most common examples of this are S. cerevisiae strains. However, some people prefer to ferment with a different species of yeast. One example of this would be Wyeast 1272.
Sweet beers are made by fermenting with a strain of yeast that prefers to eat complex carbohydrates rather than simple sugars. Examples of this would be Z. bailii strains.
The brewing process involves boiling the ingredients in water until it reaches a specific gravity of 1.040. This means that the level of dissolved solids is equal to one gram per milliliter.
Once the wort has reached its target density, the brewer adds the malt extract. He or she then adds the grain and stirs everything together so that all the grains are evenly distributed throughout the liquid.
Next comes the addition of any flavorings, spices, or herbs. After all of these additions are complete, the wort is transferred into a fermentor.
The next step is pitching the yeast. Pitching refers to the introduction of yeast cells into the wort. To do this, the brewer pours the wort from the fermentor into another container. Then he or she mixes the yeast with the wort.
The mixture is left to sit at room temperature for around an hour before being transferred back into the fermentor.
Once the wort is mixed with the yeast, it's time to start the fermentation process. During fermentation, the yeast will consume the sugars from the malt extract. They also produce carbon dioxide gas, which pushes up on the lid of the fermentor.
When the fermentation stops, the brewer can rack the beer off the sediment into bottles or kegs.
There are many types of beer, each with its own unique characteristics. Some beers have been created over thousands of years, while others were developed within the last few decades. Many brewers are experimenting with new styles of beer, trying to find something that suits them best.
Frequently Asked Questions
Finding the right yeast can be tricky and leave you with more questions than answers. Here we try to change that and answer as many of those questions that you could have.
What Is The Difference Between Ale And Lager?
Ale and lager are two very similar styles of beer. Both are fermented using ale yeast, however, they differ in how much sugar is added during the brewing process.
Lagers tend to be sweeter than ales because they contain less fermentable sugars. Ale yeasts work better when there are high levels of fermentable sugars present.
How Long Does It Take For The Yeast To Get Started?
It depends on the type of yeast used. A lot of commercial breweries use baker's yeast. These are usually fast-acting and easy to pitch. If you're just starting out, you may want to buy a pack of dried yeast.
Dried yeast is cheaper than fresh yeast and doesn't need to be activated. You'll need to add some warm water to activate the fresh yeast. If you don't know what kind of yeast to use, ask your local homebrew shop.
How Often Should I Re-Pitch My Yeast?
This really depends on the type of beer you're making. Most people recommend re-pitching once every week or so. This gives the yeast enough time to multiply and become active again. However, if you're making a strong ale, you might only need to re-pitch after three weeks.
Can I Make Different Kinds Of Beer With The Same Yeast?
Yes! All yeasts are capable of producing different flavors and aromas depending on the environment in which they live. As well as this, different strains of yeast will react differently to certain ingredients.
This means that you can brew the same recipe but by changing the strain of yeast you use, you can end up with a completely different beer.
Is It Possible To Make Beer Without Any Alcohol?
Yes, it's called 'sour' and it's actually quite popular among craft beer enthusiasts. Sour beers are made by adding bacteria to the beer. Bacteria naturally occur in the air and on surfaces.
It's these bacteria that give sour beers their distinctive taste. There are several ways to create a sour beer. One way is to add lactobacillus bacteria to the beer. Another method is to add acetic acid (vinegar) to the beer.
So there you have it. The best yeasts for distilling. There are many types of beer, each with its own unique characteristics. Some beers have been created over thousands of years, while others were developed within the last few decades.
Many brewers are experimenting with new styles of beer, trying to find something that suits them best. Many brewers are now experimenting with new varieties of beer as well. They are looking at creating lighter versions, stronger versions, and even ones that are gluten-free.
The face of homebrewing is always changing, and so are the yeasts. But for now, these ones should do you perfectly.