High ester yeast for whiskey

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High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:34 am

I started this thread as a place to discuss using high ester producing yeasts in whiskey ferments. We were starting to get off topic in the pure acids for esters thread. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=67010&start=60#p7485884

Let the discussion begin.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:19 am

Good call RHB.

Well then, let's get started:
http://whiskyscience.blogspot.com/2011/ ... vours.html
Ester formation depends on the amount of fusel alcohols and organic acids in the wort, but also on the activity of alcohol acetyltranferase enzymes (ATAase I and II), which in turn depends greatly on the yeast strain.


https://www.gastrograph.com/blogs/gastr ... ation.html
There are however different amounts and ratios of esters produced by each different strain of yeast within a species. These different ratios are the result of the yeasts making different kinds of organic acids and alcohols to react and create esters. The yeast will make esters out of whatever acids and alcohols are available. However some yeast produce different acids preferentially.


https://www.bruichladdich.com/article/b ... filtration
Esters are the largest group of aroma compounds (36) giving pleasant, very intense aromas. Esters of fatty acids are first formed by enzyme reaction of yeast during fermentation, and then the reaction between fatty acids and alcohol.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby der wo » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:10 am

Single Malt Yinzer wrote:
There are however different amounts and ratios of esters produced by each different strain of yeast within a species. These different ratios are the result of the yeasts making different kinds of organic acids and alcohols to react and create esters. The yeast will make esters out of whatever acids and alcohols are available. However some yeast produce different acids preferentially.

This is a hint, that the yeast produce acids and alcohols. And the esters are produced without activity of the yeast. There is no "high ester yeast", but "high acid yeast".

Edit: Or, when I read the whole links, perhaps it is a bit more complicated than I would like...
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:20 am

der wo wrote:
Single Malt Yinzer wrote:
There are however different amounts and ratios of esters produced by each different strain of yeast within a species. These different ratios are the result of the yeasts making different kinds of organic acids and alcohols to react and create esters. The yeast will make esters out of whatever acids and alcohols are available. However some yeast produce different acids preferentially.

This is a hint, that the yeast produce acids and alcohols. And the esters are produced without activity of the yeast. There is no "high ester yeast", but "high acid yeast".

Edit: Or, when I read the whole links, perhaps it is a bit more complicated than I would like...


Perhaps the correct title would be "high ester PRODUCING yeasts for whiskey". In terms of yeast selection does it matter if the yeast makes the esters or the precursors. I think that is just semantics, but the end product is the same.

Yes, ester production in spirits is a complex subject. But I don't that we have explored it enough here. That is why I started the original thread and is my current avenue of exploration. I already know how to mash, ferment and distill. I now want to repeatably get the flavor profile that I like .
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:48 am

Speaking about actual yeast strains, I've found my best stuff came from Safale US-04, US-05 and Fermentis M1.

Process wise (for repeatability):
- 6-7 gallon batches
- aim for ~ 1.080 sg
- Open Ferment
- White Lab yeast nutrient
- Water bath with aquarium heater (set at 70f)
- Aquarium pump in the water bath
- 7 day ferments

I use the aquarium pump more to cool it during fermentation so I don't get too high a temp. It normally goes to 76 or so when fully fermenting. I plan on trying higher temps (80-99). A local rum guy does 100+ (Maggie's Farm Rum).


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2223249/
Precursor concentration is the limiting factor for ethyl ester synthesis.


Der Wo and I both have tried adding tails into our ferments. Tails don't contain esters but they do have the higher alcohols and fatty acids that are precursors to esters. I know with my experiments my ester profile had gone up - one person said it had a heavy smell like rum. I figured that was a success.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:22 am

Single Malt Yinzer wrote:Speaking about actual yeast strains, I've found my best stuff came from Safale US-04, US-05 and Fermentis M1.

Process wise (for repeatability):
- 6-7 gallon batches
- aim for ~ 1.080 sg
- Open Ferment
- White Lab yeast nutrient
- Water bath with aquarium heater (set at 70f)
- Aquarium pump in the water bath
- 7 day ferments

I use the aquarium pump more to cool it during fermentation so I don't get too high a temp. It normally goes to 76 or so when fully fermenting. I plan on trying higher temps (80-99). A local rum guy does 100+ (Maggie's Farm Rum).


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2223249/
Precursor concentration is the limiting factor for ethyl ester synthesis.


Der Wo and I both have tried adding tails into our ferments. Tails don't contain esters but they do have the higher alcohols and fatty acids that are precursors to esters. I know with my experiments my ester profile had gone up - one person said it had a heavy smell like rum. I figured that was a success.


Good article. One thing that I noticed and ran contrary to my expectations is when talking about fermentation parameters:
An exception is the addition of UFAs, which results in a decrease in the concentration of all ethyl esters.


So I would guess that addition of tails to the ferment was successful because they had the higher alcohols as well. From reading this my planned experiment of adding carboxylic acids to the ferment would be counter productive, but adding to low wines may be beneficial. This part of the discussion should probably be replicated in the pure acid thread.
John Barleycorn must die.
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The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:59 pm

One of the intriguing things I found in whisky science magazine, was the length of fermentation time that the heavily estered/phenolic single malt take. Oban, Ardbeg, laphroaig and lagavulin can let their ferments run ninety hours (I believe the average Spayside is around thirty hours) ...To me that says they either have a bacterial ferment running and/or, the yeast strain needs extra time to make the profile their looking for. I'm interested in trying safbrew WB06 because it's touted as giving a high phenol content as well as high esters. That's my jump off point, I'll try WB06 in an malt wash without any smoked grain to start, and get a bench mark for any further tests to come. So low pitch rate, low aeration and higher than normal fermenting temperatures and we will see. I'll do a small batch to start...I'd like to get three fifths of forty proof out of it, as I don't want to make a lot of spirit that sucks canal-water though a straw, and I have no idea what I'll get until I start. The Good, The bad or The Ugly!
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:31 pm

KB, I'll be interested in your experiments. Unfortunately my setup is not scalable for less than 50gal mashes/ferments. So my experiments will probably result in a lot of "sucks canal-water though a straw" :) But that's the way it is. Fortunately I have a 3" x 36" CCVM so I will probably have more "neutral" than I know what to do with.
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The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby der wo » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:01 am

RedwoodHillBilly wrote:
der wo wrote:
Single Malt Yinzer wrote:
There are however different amounts and ratios of esters produced by each different strain of yeast within a species. These different ratios are the result of the yeasts making different kinds of organic acids and alcohols to react and create esters. The yeast will make esters out of whatever acids and alcohols are available. However some yeast produce different acids preferentially.

This is a hint, that the yeast produce acids and alcohols. And the esters are produced without activity of the yeast. There is no "high ester yeast", but "high acid yeast".

Edit: Or, when I read the whole links, perhaps it is a bit more complicated than I would like...


Perhaps the correct title would be "high ester PRODUCING yeasts for whiskey" .

If a high ester yeast is a yeast which produces more and special acids, it makes a special flavor, which we could amplify with a catalyst like sulphuric acid. If a high ester yeast is a yeast with enzymes which catalyst esterification, we could make every yeast being a high ester one by adding a catalyst.
Probably both is right...
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:55 am

Alcohol acetyltransferases and the significance of ester synthesis in yeast: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11015726

Synthesis of esters requires two substrates: alcohol and carboxylic acid. Esters can be formed via a chemical reaction but the reaction rate is too slow to account for the amount of esters present in beer.


Acetyl-CoA:isoamyl alcohol acetyltransferase (AATase I) catalyses the production of short-chain and medium-chain aliphatic esters from isoamyl alcohol or ethanol and acetyl-CoA30.


In short, no catalytic acid is not needed, this enzyme acts as the catalyst. It also appears that they believe that most esters are formed by enzymatic activity, not chemical activity. This would make me look to the fermentation versus low wine/finished spirit for the most ester production.

I also need to understand chemistry better. This article was way above my reading level. :)
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:48 am

Another article by one of the authors of the above paper:
"The Saccharomyces cerevisiae alcohol acetyl transferase Atf1p is localized in lipid particles"
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... .1100/full

Not a catchy title but packed full of good info.


And one of the joint authors from the above paper: Dr. Kevin Verstrepen - http://www.kuleuven.be/verstrepen/en
"Physiology, ecology and industrial applications of aroma formation in yeast"
https://academic.oup.com/femsre/article ... cations-of
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby MDH » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:49 pm

This isn't an "either one or" situation. Yeasts produce both esters and acids. Both conditions that lead to esters, and acids that will lead to more esters with time during distillation and spirit aging is the correct goal.

Standard brewing yeast can be engineered to produce fatty aldehydes and even high amounts of terpenes by overexpression of specific genetic traits. T73 is a wine strain which produces three times the amount of linalool as the next most similar strain. Esters are only one part of the equation.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:20 pm

We have made some inroads into understanding where the flavor profiles originate...Remember we started off with "outside the fermentation" muck-pots and dunder holes for Dark Navy Rums...The attitude toward how this could explain some of the really deep flavors in brandy, bourbon and scotch, has lead us here, just how much of the original flavors we seek in our spirits could be derived from the yeast strains we use...before we get into external bacterial fermentation or bacterial infections of the primary ferment (see the other posts if you haven't already) We found the magazine articles that verified that this is practiced in both the Rum and Brandy industries...so all we have to do is to go after the "golden fleece" as it pertains to our own hobby expectations...that said what other yeasts could yield some of the results were looking for?
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:20 pm

A thought occurred to me late last night...How much of the esterification/phenolic reaction is actually happening in the pot while we run the distillation?
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:36 pm

kiwi Bruce wrote:A thought occurred to me late last night...How much of the esterification/phenolic reaction is actually happening in the pot while we run the distillation?


While I can't (yet) quantify it, I would expect that it is quite a lot. This because that dehydration is an essential part of creating esters from alcohols and carboxylic acids. The sequestration of H2O from the reaction is essential to a reasonable reaction rate. This is one of the reasons that H2SO4 is a good catalyst. Distillation also helps in H2O sequestration.

There is a short reference here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ester#Other_methods
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:24 am

Single Malt Yinzer has this in another post ...I'll link to it again...good reading
YEAST AND ITS EFFECT ON THE FLAVOUR OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 370.x/epdf

Intro text.jpg


Thank you Single Malt Yinzer!
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:27 am

You're welcome Bruce.

So my next step: My wife's friend's husband is a PhD genetic researcher. He's also a whiskey fan. I plan on enlisting his help in understanding yeast and how we can make it work better for us to produce esters and other flavor compounds. I don't expect this to be quick work but over time we should be getting some really solid information on how to help create more flavorful products.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:45 pm

kiwi Bruce wrote:Single Malt Yinzer has this in another post ...I'll link to it again...good reading
YEAST AND ITS EFFECT ON THE FLAVOUR OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 370.x/epdf

Intro text.jpg


Thank you Single Malt Yinzer!


I'm sure that this is partially true, but I don't believe that this is the whole story.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:31 pm

RedwoodHillBilly wrote:I'm sure that this is partially true, but I don't believe that this is the whole story.


Baby steps, that's what we're doing, baby steps...The journey of a thousand taste tests starts with a single sip.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:00 pm

kiwi Bruce wrote:
RedwoodHillBilly wrote:I'm sure that this is partially true, but I don't believe that this is the whole story.


Baby steps, that's what we're doing, baby steps...The journey of a thousand taste tests starts with a single sip.


What is this single sip that you talk about? :D
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:36 am

The single sip that starts the journey of a thousand taste tests...
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby MDH » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:07 am

Look at non saccharomyces strains e.g. Pichia Fermentans, move over to high-ester ale yeasts from standard offerings (WLABS, WYEAST) then also look at high attenuating finishing strains to cleave out the remaining sugars (e.g. "Trois"). Use all three at different stages with the conditions I suggested before (low pitch rate, high ferment temp) and you can maximize esters.

I personally view the mission of absolutely maximizing esters as not ideal. Maximizing any character is not ideal, such a Peat. What's the deal with the pursuit of Whisky so peaty that you can barely taste anything else? I really do not want to drink Bruichladdich Octomore every night. I just don't. A Whisky with so many esters that it smells like a glass of bubblegum and strawberries is just not endearing.

Good, approachable whisky is about different elements in balance and harmony. So that is my two cents so far on this pursuit.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby OtisT » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:44 am

Single Malt Yinzer wrote:Der Wo and I both have tried adding tails into our ferments. Tails don't contain esters but they do have the higher alcohols and fatty acids that are precursors to esters. I know with my experiments my ester profile had gone up - one person said it had a heavy smell like rum. I figured that was a success.


Interesting observation on the rum qualities in your whiskey. I just finished a batch of Bourbon where I added aged Bourbon backset and feints to my low wines, and my spirit contained specific qualities I find in my rum. I assumed this is a specific set of esters I am making that is shared, though where they come from I am not sure yet. (Maybe backset/feints, maybe yeast type, maybe ferment temp?)

Inspired by this thread, I'll try another Bourbon using the same recipe/process but with a new yeast to compare results. It just so happens that I am saving a small sample from each jar of my recent Bourbon spirit run, for some education talks on cuts, so I will do the same for the next run to compare samples. I'll need to re-read this thread to help me pick my next yeast. Any suggestions for something that would contrast well against a bakers yeast? My last batch was HBB using Bob's Red Mill bakers yeast pitched at 87 deg F.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby zapata » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:24 pm

Just droppin this where maybe relevant. Some rum nerds (boston apothecary) rave about the Schizosaccharomyces pombe yeasts used in some rums. Wonder what it would do for whiskey? Can't say because I can't find a commercial source for a beverage pombe strain, just bio engineering strains which may or may not be desireable. If I could, or felt like gambling on one of the research strains, I'd try it on whiskey.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:16 pm

I've been reflecting on what a tiny quantity we're taking about with "high ester" content in whisky. Most high peat smoked single malts have phenol/ester levels of 100 parts per million in each liter of spirit. That's 0.013 of an oz per US gallon or 8 drops in a gallon of whisky. I have trouble getting my mind around parts per million...but drops in a gallon, that I can see. :wtf:
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby Single Malt Yinzer » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:46 pm

MDH wrote:I personally view the mission of absolutely maximizing esters as not ideal.


We're like kids with a new toy, we'll eventually move on to some other aspect of the flavor profile. But it is good for us to research this. I don't believe that non-commercial distillers have gone this far into the subject before. It will give us another tool in the toolbox for creating our own unique flavor profiles. I believe that we're starting to form a mashing/fermenting process from start to finish that will enable use to create big flavors. The ability to repeat the process with consistent results and understand why is the key. Right now we're still exploring the individual pieces.

And I want to thank you for your contributions. Seriously, your knowledge of distilling is incredible. You always manage to drop a extra little nugget of knowledge on us no matter what the subject. :thumbup:
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:11 am

OtisT wrote: Any suggestions for something that would contrast well against a bakers yeast? My last batch was HBB using Bob's Red Mill bakers yeast pitched at 87 deg F.


I'm heading in the direction of the high ester producing yeasts from Safbrew, like WB06. But they aren't cheap...$10.00 a pop. The Belgian beer yeasts all look promising. Combined with stressing the yeast this should produce good results.
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby OtisT » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:04 am

kiwi Bruce wrote:
OtisT wrote:
I'm heading in the direction of the high ester producing yeasts from Safbrew, like WB06. But they aren't cheap...$10.00 a pop. The Belgian beer yeasts all look promising. Combined with stressing the yeast this should produce good results.


Thanks Bruce. So to stress the yeast, do you mean low pitch rate, low airiation, and high temp ferment? ( from your previous post). I don't think you mean to make a really high Sugar/ABV wash to stress the little fellas at the end of the run.

Follow up question is how does this stress impact your ferment times?

Just a few clarifying questions:

What do you consider high temp for a ferment? Are you talking about keeping things at the top of the temp range for a given yeast, or above that top end value? I typically hold my ferment temps at 90 deg F, or within 5 deg F of the top of the listed range for the first few days at least.

Low pitch rate? Curious what this protocol may look like? I typically use more yeast than I need, 70-90g of bakers yeast in 30 liter (8 gal) of water/grains, and I pitch it all up front. My temp usually rises to 100 within first 12 hours then drops back down after 24 or so. How would you spread pitching of yeast out for a low pitch rate?

Low Airiation? I typically whisk the hell out of my ferment for airiation just before pitching, then leave it alone until done or stalled. I have also tried using fish tank airiation stones and air pump before pitching, but that seemed like more work than just whisking. I typically won't re-introduce oxygen unless I am dealing with un-sticking a ferment. How do you keep airiation low?

Other than our resulting product, are there signs/symptoms of "stress" that we can monitor/measure to know if we are hitting the mark? (Ex. if you listen, can you hear the yeast bitching about all the stress in their lives? Maybe we can tell by smell? Other?).
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby kiwi Bruce » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:43 pm

OtisT wrote:
So to stress the yeast, do you mean low pitch rate, low airiation, and high temp ferment? ( from your previous post). Yes, Yes and Yes! I don't think you mean to make a really high Sugar/ABV wash to stress the little fellas at the end of the run. (according to Arroyo) It looks like we have to keep the sugar/ABV to around 8% I think it's to stop that horrid "yeast" bite

Follow up question is how does this stress impact your ferment times? It would appear that the times will need to be extented, the Spayside distilleries finish in 24 to 30 hours...the distilleries that I suspect are running high ester/phenol ferments are going as long as 90 hours...so 3X longer than normal

Just a few clarifying questions:

What do you consider high temp for a ferment? Are you talking about keeping things at the top of the temp range for a given yeast, or above that top end value? I typically hold my ferment temps at 90 deg F, or within 5 deg F of the top of the listed range for the first few days at least. your temps are running a lot higher than mine, I try to keep my temps under 75 F...so your temps are high compared to me, and probably just right!

Low pitch rate? Curious what this protocol may look like? I typically use more yeast than I need, 70-90g of bakers yeast in 30 liter (8 gal) of water/grains, and I pitch it all up front. My temp usually rises to 100 within first 12 hours then drops back down after 24 or so. How would you spread pitching of yeast out for a low pitch rate? I normally pitch a re-hydrated 5 gram dry pack into a 7 gallon wash...so half that sounds about right to me...2 1/2 grams in 7 gal

Low Airiation? I typically whisk the hell out of my ferment for airiation just before pitching, then leave it alone until done or stalled. I have also tried using fish tank airiation stones and air pump before pitching, but that seemed like more work than just whisking. I typically won't re-introduce oxygen unless I am dealing with un-sticking a ferment. How do you keep airiation low? Pour the warm wash directly into the fermenter, a little splash is OK but that's it...no rocking and rolling, shaking or bubbling...what this does is inhibit the yeast in it's aerobic phase and force them into the feeding state before they want to, hopefully making lots of ester/phenols in the process.

Other than our resulting product, are there signs/symptoms of "stress" that we can monitor/measure to know if we are hitting the mark? (Ex. if you listen, can you hear the yeast bitching about all the stress in their lives? Maybe we can tell by smell? Other?).[/quote] It has to be by smell...as the ester/phenols start to develop the aroma should over come the smell of a normal yeast ferment

It's all new to me too...lots of research and reading...precious little practical experience...but that, my friend, is about to change...I got my malt, I got my yeast (WB06) a little time and I'm away laughing.
As I said before...I don't want to end up with a load of product that tastes like canal water sucked though a straw, so I'm doing a small batch to start.
I'm not insane...I just help out at the assilum when they're low on patients.(1958 Goon Show)
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Re: High ester yeast for whiskey

Postby OtisT » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:50 am

kiwi Bruce wrote:It's all new to me too...lots of research and reading...precious little practical experience...but that, my friend, is about to change...I got my malt, I got my yeast (WB06) a little time and I'm away laughing.


Bruce, I'm there with ya brother, learning every day.

I'm starting a new 15 gallon bourbon ferment in a day or two and will try it with WB-06, as your suggested. We can compare notes. :-) Since the yeast is new to me I'm gonna run this batch as happy as I can (no stress). I'll stress the batch after that to see the difference.

FYI, Safebrew WB-06 is cheeper, way cheaper, here that what you said you were paying. It's less than $4 for a 11.5g dry pack. Is there some trade war going on between NZ and FR?

Otis
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