From what I hear they do make for different flavours, but the more mature the
wine, the less strong these flavours
appear. I plan to experiment with some montrachet & champagne yeast versions of
the same wine this year to see how much
affect I can deduce.
Each strain of yeast has its own temperature
range, pH and other variables at which it does
best. In my opinion, yeast will not contribute
flavor or taste on its own BUT the conditions
under which you expect it to do its work should
be taken into account when you select the strain.
Others may not support this opinion and I welcome
I had a situation a couple years ago in which I
fermented my backyard vineyard grapes outside
during a relatively cool October. I used Pasteur
Red. I had to bring the wine inside after about
two weeks because (I learned from experience) the
Pasteur Red does not do very well at 50 degrees.
The wine eventually finished and it was fruity but
the color and body were lacking. I think I would
have had a lot different tasting wine had I used
something like EC 1118.
I now use a different yeast in cool conditions.
The Pasteur Red, however, does very well under
In summary, it was the conditions the yeast was
expected to do its thing in and not the yeast
itself that made a difference.
I suggest you experiment and divide your must into
several lots and try a different yeast on each -
under the same conditions, of course.
Short answers are: Yes, absolutely and for sure.
Most of the characteristics of a particular yeast are imparted in the early
stages of fermentation.
There are times when more than one yeast is used. An example being when you
want a really dry wine, you might start out with the yeast that gives you
the primary taste you're after. Then you might use a champagne yeast in an
attempt to ferment as much of the sugars as possible. The end result being
both the flavour and dryness that your're after.
In my opinion, the yeast does not contribute
directly to the flavours. Each strain has its
temperature range, pH range and acidity that it
will perform best and thus possibly allow
flavours ALREADY PRESENT IN THE FRUIT to come out
or be suppressed. This is my personal opinion
and I am sure there are those who will disagree
I have never done the following but I think it
would lend some insight:
Make a water sugar solution to about 22 brix and
bring it up to a pH of say 3.5 - no fruit or
flavouring and ferment with different yeast. My
bet is that you will not get that "Blackberry",
"Plum" or whatever descriptor you choose to use.
I know that the yeast manufactures make all kinds
of claims that their yeast will add such and such
flaovours but I ain't buying it.
Some have claimed to use different yeast on a
divided lot of the same fruit and fermented and
could tell a difference. Again, there may be a
difference but I doubt the Yeast produced the
flavours. Different strains merely allowed the
flavours already present in the fruit to come
Also, I have seen differences in the exact same
fruit with divided lots in different fermentors
or carboys and the exact same treatment and yeast
used. This is just one of the mysteries of
My understanding is they're not saying that the yeast produces all
those flavours and aromas on its own, rather that the yeast acts as a
catalyst that emphasizes certain characteristics. In that view it's
not black or white, i.e, the environmental characteristics like pH,
temperature, etc. of course contribute to how the yeast performs but
that doesn't preclude the yeast from making its imprint on the must.
I'm not very good in picking up subtle differences between batches
done with different yeasts, but I've had one very clear case where the
result went along the lines of what the yeast company said - we used
D21 and D254 on Petite Sirah and the D21 batch had noticeably more
acidity in the end, not by measurement but on the palate. This was
still obvious after 1 year of aging.
Over the years, I've come up with some yeast favourites for different
wine styles, and the selections were originally based mostly on the
purported style effects of the yeast, with the environmental factors
like temperature range just as a rough preselection step. So even if
some or most of the marketing blurbs were just hype, I'm happy with
the practical results.
Interesting, thanks for the clarification Paul.
I asked because I have had problems getting to my local wineshops lately and had
similar problems with their delivery
charges. I ran out of champagne yeast, but have a jar full of Montrachet comp
which I have been using for the last four
gallons I have made, despite three of the recipes specifying champagne yeast...
I'd looked up the properties of Montrachet vs Champagne yeasts in a basic sense
and decided that the Montrachet was of
high enough alcohol tolerance and foaming tendancy didn't matter and the fruit I
was using wasn't extraordinarily
sulphured - and therefore I could use up my Montrachet comp while it was fresh,
even though it wasn't the recommended
I'd read - I think it might have been in Lum's excellent resource - that
different yeasts produce or as pp put it
'emphasise' different flavours. If the impact is marginal though, I will
happily 'make do' with an alternate yeast when
I haven't got the one mentioned. I had been making do but feeling a bit bad
about it, like I was going to rob myself of
the wines potential by using the 'wrong' one...
Thanks for the further info both, Jim
I agree that certain strains will metabolize
different acids differently. There is one strain
- I forget which one - that can gobble up Malic
acid. Unfortunately, I used it once in an Apple
wine and Voila - a very flabby wine. I should go
back a say that in addition to pH, temperature,
acidity - the type of acid in the fruit may or
should have a bearing on the yeast strain to use
- or not use, in my case.
If you are happy with certain yeast then I say by
all means go with it or them. You are probably
fermenting under roughly the same conditions
every year and what works for you works.
I wonder if anyone out there has fermented a red
wine with something like D-47 at a temperature
around 50 degrees.
My guess is that it would be very light and fruity
compared to something like the same must using
Pasteur Red and fermented at 85 degrees.
Now, did that fruity wine with hints of berries,
cherries etc. etc. result from the yeast or the
fact that the D-47 does quite well at lower
temperatures, completes fermention in reasonable
time and the Pasteur Red does not.
By the time the wine with the Pasteur Red
completed fermentation at the cooler temperature
(if it ever would go to completion), the wine
would have been on the skins for longer than the
normal time and I am sure there would be taste
differences due to that fact alone.
With all that said, I am more than willing to
experiment with different yeast, and I probably
That malic eater is Lalvin 71B, it's pretty useful on tart grapes.
The one thing I haven't noticed mention of is the amount of time
transpired before tasting. If you drink wines that are young, (like a
beer age, say just a few months old) I'm sure yeasts still have some
contribution to flavors. Once you get out to a year I think that is
overlaid by so many other things it just doesn't contribute much; the
yeast is gone anyway.
I absolutely agree that the conditions the yeast are used in have a
bigger influence and yeast should be chosen to match the conditions
and style you want. White wines in general are drunk younger and made
fruitier so a I would want a yeast that doesn't mind cold; reds
extract better at higher temperatures; the same yeast may or may not
be right there.
1 fail-safe yeast I really like is Lalvin K1V1116, it's pretty much
bulletproof. I always have some of that around.
If yeasts don't contribute to the long term flavor of the wine, then why
do the Barolo yeasts (like BRL97) and Bordeaux yeast (like BDX) make
such different styles of wine than KV1116?
Similarly, bread yeast used to ferment grapes imparts too strong a
flavor to be chosen to make wine.
Many of the flavorful/aromatic products of the yeast metabolic process
are volatile, and those volatile products will dissipate over time.
However, don't forget that there are low volatility metabolic products
I thought the problem with bread yeast was alcohol tolerance, I think
it's all the same species for wine, ale and bread; saccharomyces
cerevisiae. I not saying they don't contribute; I'm saying they are
one small piece of a bigger puzzle. I can use BDX on my Central
Valley Cabs or Merlot but they won't taste like a First Growth from
Bordeaux. I do agree they contribute, but I feel there are bigger
things to consider on a red than yeast strain. (I'm not an enologist
and this is Usenet so...)
I have had reds stick at a little below 0.5% RS lately, probably from
using RC 212 for example. I never had that on K1V. I'm drinking some
of those 5 year old K1V now and they are good; I don't think that
strain (or EC1118, my general purpose for whites) are
Another important point is perspective; I am making ordinary table
wine from ordinary grapes or pailed juice. It's good, well made
wine. If I had access to great grapes I might consider yeast strains
more carefully too though.
Yeah, that alcohol tolerance thingy is a big one for bread yeast .
Alcohol tolerance and fermentation rate (slow vs fast) are my biggest
factors in choosing yeast strain.
I was just addressing that the yeast-induced flavor portion is not