hist-brewing: Champagne Yeast Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #649

JazzboBob at aol.com JazzboBob at aol.com
Fri Jul 21 14:13:08 PDT 2000

There are several strains of "Champagne Yeast" just as there are many wine 
and beer strains.  They are all related from the old days, but have evolved 
into separate strains with individual fermentation and flavor characteristics 
as they were used by individual breweries.  Each brewery develops a house 
characteristic and so the various strains reflect these different tastes.
Red Star is probably the most commonly available yeast, but there are several 
other manufactories available from suppliers.  Look for Lalvin, Lallemand, 
Gist-brocades, Wyeast, and White Labs.  My apologies for others that I may 
have left out since this is being written off the top of my head and not 
meant to be a definitive list.  There are other sources for a more 
comprehensive list of yeasts and characteristics.
Red Star Pasteur Champagne  I have found to have a very high alcohol 
tolerance and makes a very neutral flavor and aroma.  It can make the mead 
seem dry and austere without much honey flavor.
Red Star Premier Cuvee-formerly known as Prise de Mousse  I have found to be 
fairly alcohol tolerant, but not as high as Pasteur.  It is more fruity and 
sometimes will leave a citrus like aroma, particularly if you add acid blend. 
 It will allow the honey variatal aroma to come thru as well.
Red Star Cote des Blancs-formerly known as Epernay II  I have found to be the 
least alcohol tolerant.  It is very slow fermenting and can quit when still 
very sweet and in the 20 to 40 range.  It imparts a very fruity, sweet aroma 
while leaving unfermented residual honey sweetness.

Look at some commercial Champagnes and see where they are made.  Quite often 
the area and region in France will be shown.  I've had some Champagne from 
Epernay that was unmistakable in it's yeast signature.  Many Champagnes taste 
very dry.  Is this what you want in your mead?  Otherwise, experiment with 
other wine yeast strains.
Try brewing a large batch and splitting it between several fermentors.  Pitch 
each of the yeast strains and see what happens.  You'll be amazed at the 
differences between the "same" mead being fermented by each strain.
Bob Grossman
 From: brewinfo at xnet.com (BrewInfo)
 Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 16:26:15 -0500 (CDT)
 Subject: hist-brewing: champagne yeast
 Scotti writes:
 >   Wonderful!  Champagne yeast is supposed to add little or no flavor 
 >of it's own, but obviously some taste buds are more discriminating than 
 >others.  I've been using Wyeast's "Dry Mead" and it seems to speak to 
 >my taste buds, but I'll be interested to hear what you settle on.
 If I recall correctly, Wyeast's "Dry Mead" is none other than the Red Star
 Champagne yeast strain, just in liquid form.
 Personally, I prefer Premier Cuvee wine yeast for meads, although it
 requires some kind of finings or about two years to clear.  I haven't
 yet figured out which fining to use... I have several to choose from.
 Any suggestions?
 Al Korzonas, Lockport, Illinois, USA
 korz at brewinfo.org

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