Y is for Yeast | Devil's Peak Brewery's Craft Beer Glossary

Y is for Yeast


Yeast – those magical little cells that perform the back breaking work of turning grainy water into alcohol.

As Devil’s Peak prepares to unleash its delicious lager into the world, it’s important to understand how different strains of yeast create different types of beer. For instance – we won’t be using a Saison (ale) yeast to create a crisp, clean #DPBC lager.

Would it still ferment? You bet! But then we’d have a kind of weird hybrid – a lager’s hop and malt bill with a bright, yeasty Saison finish. And while that might sound interesting, it’s certainly not how we envision our lager!

So what’s the difference between ale and lager yeast? What do we gain by using one or the other?

I’m glad you asked.

Lager yeast is bottom fermenting and prefers lower temperatures. Ale yeast is top fermenting and thrives in higher temperatures. The differences in time and temperature make for some striking contrasts in the end product. .

With the extra time the lager has to sit and work things out with its yeast, its flavour has had time to mellow, even out, and soften. The run and gun style of ales tend to mean the yeast imparts more boldness and leaves behind more pronounced tasting notes. Estery notes, such as banana and stone fruit, can present themselves in ale. Your lager tends to be a bit smoother, crisper and more subtle in its taste and aroma. A lager yeast is there ferment. We don’t want it adding dynamics and flavour to the end product, because that is not what the style calls for.

So that’s why your Silvertree Saison can have notes of banana and bubblegum while your #DPBC Lager will have very low levels of yeast character in its finish.

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Photo Credit: SCA Conference

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