Saturday, January 17, 2009
Before I go into the review of this yeast I am going to provide the profile of this yeast from the Fermentis website:
A well-known, commercial English ale yeast, selected for its fast fermentation character and its ability to form a very compact sediment at the end of the fermentation, helping to improve beer clarity. This yeast is recommended for the production of a large range of ale beers and is specially well adapted to cask-conditioned ales and fermentation in cylindro-conical tanks. Sedimentation: high. Final gravity: medium.
That wraps it up in a nutshell, but Fermentis S-04 is simply an awesome yeast. If you thought US-05 is a good yeast then S-04 is even better for certain styles of beer. The best thing I love about S-04 is that it's a monster. If you are looking to turn a beer around in a very fast way then this is, in my opinion, the only yeast to use. I've made ESB's, IPA's, Pale Ales, Porters, Stouts, and even lighter style beers like Amber Ales with this yeast. I've literally turned around a beer in one week using this yeast. It's a beast and just chews right through fermentation within 4-5 days tops with normal gravity beers (1.045-1.060). After 6 days in primary I'll keg it and force carbonate it and be serving it in one week!
Not only does S-04 chew through fermentation but the other great aspect of it is its flocculation ability. S-04 flocculates out hard and fast. In five days you'll see a very compact form of yeast sediment at the bottom of your fermenter. That's another reason why you can turn beers around really fast. You don't have to worry about waiting around for the yeast to drop out.
One other thing about S-04 is that it will leave you with a higher final gravity than US-05. I usually achieve an attenuation rate of 70%-75% with this stuff and that usually leaves me with final gravities ranging from 1.015-1.020. I've even used this stuff in an Oaked Scottish Wee Heavy and it turned out fantastic.
S-04 also has a very clean profile to it which allows the malts and hops to shine through even more, displaying the very core of your craft and your beer.
So if you are in a pinch and need to turn around beer then S-04 is the yeast for you. It's my second go-to yeast if I don't have US-05 on hand. If you haven't tried S-04 out I highly recommend doing so because you won't be disappointed. Fermentis makes some truly awesome yeast products and I can't wait to see if they put out other dry yeasts in the future.