Results from the Multi-Yeast Amber Beer Experiment

Back in October, RIFT kicked off its Multi-Yeast Experiment.  After brewing 50 gallons of wort together, each volunteer was given a carboy full of the amber wort to ferment with a yeast strain they had selected.  The goal was to explore how different yeasts can express different flavors – all with the same base wort to work from.

This past Thursday (12/16), during our December club meeting, seven of the resulting beers were pulled together and we were able to do a group tasting.  Overall, participants were very pleased with the results, although quite amazed by the range of characters and flavors the yeasts produced.  To quote quote one club member, “some of (the beers) you would swear were a totally different recipe”.

During the tasting, Mark L. was generous to step up and play scribe for the evening.  Below are his collected notes based on the groups discussion of each beer.  They are presented in the order the beers were tasted (from what would be considered the cleanest yeasts to what would be considered the highly estery yeasts):

German Bock (WLP833)
Brewer: Jeff W.
Approx. FG: 1.019
Aroma: Big malt, slight sulfur, some bannana(?)
Mouthfeel: Big/robust mouth
Flavor: Malty sweetness, straw/wheat, low to no caramel, big malt

German Lager (Local brewpub strain)
Brewer: John C.
Approx FG: 1.015
Aroma: Butterscotch (Diacytel?), no sulfur notes like the Bock
Mouthfeel: Slickness / oily on the tongue (diacytel?)
Flavor: Caramelly, peppery finish

European Ale (WLP011)
Brewer: Josh P. 
Approx FG: 1.010
Aroma: Fruity esters, pear, slight bannana
Mouthfeel: slightly dry, light body
Flavor: slightly fruity, balanced

Cry Havoc (WLP862)
Brewer: Mark L. 
Approx FG: 1.020
Aroma: Smokey, toasted, heavy malt, milky
Mouthfeel: medium to heavy body
Flavor: Caramelly, dry fruit, toast on initial sip

English Ale (S-04)
Brewer: Ron
Approx FG: 1.018
Aroma: Fruit esters, some malt
Mouthfeel: Soft, light body (due to carbonation?)
Flavor: Tart finish, slight maltiness, fruity

English Ale (S-04)
Brewer: Steve
Approx FG: 1.014 – 1.016
Aroma: Fruit and malt in balance
Mouthfeel: mediun, soft
Flavor: rounded, fuller maltiness, clean finish

Forbidden Fruit (Wyeast 3463)
Brewer: Bil H.
Approx FG: 1.018
Aroma: Complex, raisins
Mouthfeel: light to medium body
Flavor: complex ( a lot going on), dark fruit, slight pepper finish, low level dubbel(?)

Thanks again to everyone who participated either as a volunteer brewer or taking part in the tasting.  Both this and the Hop Experiments have been a rousing success and quite eye opening.  We’ll certainly revisit these types of group events again in the future.