Mixing Different Yeasts in Fermentations

It is sometimes useful to use two different stains of yeast at the same time; one strain for flavor and another for the alcohol content. Sometimes distilleries will mix brewers yeast with distillers yeast - thinking that the brewers yeast will add a heavier, fatter, mealier quality to new spirit. Others reckon it makes no difference.

Ray writes ..
    It is quite a common practise to use a combination of yeast strains to acheive the desired result e.g. I have seen a good general purpose type yeast which is designed to go to around 13% mixed with a high alcohol yeast strain which is designed to go to 18% or higher, the idea being that the general purpose yeast does the majority of the work converting the sugar to alcohol then the high alcohol yeast kicks in and takes the percentage up to the next level. I haven't used that method for a long time but it seemed to work fine at the time.
Ted suggests ..
    Use the low alcohol tolerent yeast to ferment first to get as much of that yeasts "flavor " as is possible. Then add more of the first strain to your ferment to push it along a bit further. The reason for this is that most yeast can withstand high levels of alcohol for a while before they go into stasis (they aren't really dieing off). then go for the tolerent yeast. Be aware that in high gravity ferments that the number of yeast cells must be increased a lot!!! (High gravity is anything over 1.060) Most yeast producers won't tell you this but, many strains are mixtures of yeasts that have different profiles and variing flocculation habits. On your recipe, you could try two seperate ferments one at a low gravity and one high then combine for distillation.
The Omnipresent Mecakyrios does similar ..
    I like the "Two Fermentations" idea. I brew my batches (a hard Cider and Mead mix. Some call it a Melomel, but the taste is not like a Melomel at all) then use the following fermentation method: primary fermenter for about a month, rack into a secondary for about two months, rack into another secondary for about a month or two (depending on how the brew is doing), and if everything looks good I let it age for about a month and then distill it. After I distil it, I let it age for about three to six months.

    If I were to do the "Two Fermentations" idea, I could use the "flavor yeast" in the primary, and the "strength yeast" in the first racking of the secondary. Then I could shorten the first racking time and lengthen the second to even things out.


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