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S-04

Just brewed an ESB with S-04 for the first time recently because my frozen 1968 crapped out. I’ve always turned my nose up at this yeast because of less than stellar reviews. But this was absolutely the best ESB I’ve ever made. It had the best mouthfeel of any beer I’ve ever made. Really malty, silky and smooth. Seems to have less esters than other Brit yeasts. Forget 1968 and 1318. From now on, it’s S-04 for me. :cheers:

i used it once a while back. and havnt since because of all the bad reviews like you mentioned.

i will again soon. i tried nottingham for the first time and really like it

I think that S-04 is a good English strain and have had good luck with it.
I always have it on hand anyways since its my bottling yeast of choice.

I brewed a couple of batches last year with S-04 and they turned out great, aging/conditioning for a couple extra weeks really helped the flavors to meld. As many others have noted in other threads, fermentation kicks off really quickly and can be pretty violent for a day or two. Blowoff hose is definitely required for this one.

Also no reason to not keep a couple of packs in the fridge as cheap insurance in case something doesn’t work. The dry ones have great shelf life.

I’ve had good luck with S-04 in imperial stout and mild. Early next month I’ll be splitting a batch of bitter: some with S-04 and some with a different yeast.

Glad to see others like this yeast as well. US-05 seems to get all the dried yeast attention around here. The pack I used was actually expired after sitting years in my fridge as a backup. Now if only there was a dried lager yeast as good.

Rookie, would like to hear how the different yeasts compare.

Put me in the minority here, but there’s something that S-04 brings to the flavor party that my palate really doesn’t like. I’ve tried it in mostly English milds and ESB’s, and each ends up with the same underlying flavor. My palate equates it with a dusty chalkboard… So if I need an English ale yeast, I go with WY1945.

S-04 has been banned from my home brewery…

[quote=“brwrboy69”]Glad to see others like this yeast as well. US-05 seems to get all the dried yeast attention around here. The pack I used was actually expired after sitting years in my fridge as a backup. Now if only there was a dried lager yeast as good.

Rookie, would like to hear how the different yeasts compare.[/quote]

It’s hard to find but Saflager 189 is supposed to be pretty good.
I plan to brew the first sunday of may, would go with the last sunday in april, but it’s my wife’s birthday and we’re having a tea party with the grandkids: not missing that, even for brewing. 8)
I have some munton’s yeast for emergancy use and want to ferment a gallon of bitter with one of the packs to see what I’m dealing with. If it turns out good I’ll keep it seperate, if not I’ll blend it back in with the S-04 fermented part or dump it

What temps are you guys that are getting good results fermenting at? I had read to ferment this relatively warm, but the one time I tried it the ESB turned out horrible. The worst was the smell.

I think I fermented it too warm - iirc it was about 72 degrees.

[quote=“JohnnyB”]What temps are you guys that are getting good results fermenting at? I had read to ferment this relatively warm, but the one time I tried it the ESB turned out horrible. The worst was the smell.

I think I fermented it too warm - iirc it was about 72 degrees.[/quote]

I would never let it get above 66-68F. The only thing I would let go into the 70s is a saison. Temperature control is key for any beer.

[quote=“brwrboy69”]
I would never let it get above 66-68F. The only thing I would let go into the 70s is a saison. Temperature control is key for any beer.[/quote]

+100

keep your ale temperatures in the low to mid 60’s. keep in mind, that the temperature in the core of the fermenter, during fermentation, is warmer than ambient temp.

for example: if its 65 degrees in your house, your beer will be warmer than 65 degrees. sometimes more than 5 degrees warmer. yeast heat things up during active fermentation

so if you fermented at 72 degrees, it could have actually been 75+

And this is how you get bad reviews of a perfectly good yeast IMO. Throwing a fermenter in a closet where the temp is “in the mid 60’s” ain’t the same as a ferment temp of 65. Rant off.

I’ve found the fermentation temperature needs to be pretty exact for S-04. Too warm and the esters are overpowering, too cool and you don’t get enough esters for an english ale. I think this yeast performs quite well if held at 65-67, which is a bit warmer than I’d usually recommend for ales.

The couple of batches that I made with S-04 did generate some pretty wild smells, in particular a dark brown ale that I made had tons of blowoff, overflowed the blowoff container and ran all over the counter and into a puddle on the floor. It had a really nasty smell similar to butterscotch (heavy diacetyl?), with some other flavors in there. I think mine were at about 67 degrees ambient temp, so the beer was likely a few degrees above that.

Luckily none of that smell ended up in the finished product. I think the comments about temp control are spot-on, because this is such a vigorous fermenter it creates a lot of its own heat, bumping up the byproducts as well. A lot of those age out over time, and could be part of what makes the ales taste British. I’m planning to make another batch and split it between US-05 and S-04 to see what the different flavor characters are.

So, I just pitched some s-04 on a quasi-ESB (using American 2-row and a variety of leftover specialty malts from everywhere but England…heh) and it’s just now getting into active fermentation. I’m using ice water, towels, and a fan to hold temps at around 67 as per the sticker thermometer on the carboy. The other two carboys in the room, which are in the “clean up” phase of primary, register 72 or 73 degrees.

Just want to confirm that those strips are telling me the temp of the contents of the carboys, not the ambient temps (unless of course the contents are at ambient temp). Is that right?

It should be telling you the temp of the beer as long as you don’t have the thermometer submersed in the water, the the towels covering it, and the fan blowing right on it.

With a tub of water and 3-4 frozen water bottles, I can keep my beer at 64 degrees when my ambient is 78.

Right on, just making sure!

And, yeah, I need to get more bottles. I only have one, so I just keep dumping ice in. Heh.

I use the bottles from the extract kits.

The LME bottles? Good call. Mine are long gone. I always punched holes in the bottom anyway to help them pour a little better.

[quote=“Rookie L A”][quote=“brwrboy69”]Glad to see others like this yeast as well. US-05 seems to get all the dried yeast attention around here. The pack I used was actually expired after sitting years in my fridge as a backup. Now if only there was a dried lager yeast as good.

Rookie, would like to hear how the different yeasts compare.[/quote]

It’s hard to find but Saflager 189 is supposed to be pretty good.
I plan to brew the first sunday of may, would go with the last sunday in april, but it’s my wife’s birthday and we’re having a tea party with the grandkids: not missing that, even for brewing. 8)
I have some munton’s yeast for emergancy use and want to ferment a gallon of bitter with one of the packs to see what I’m dealing with. If it turns out good I’ll keep it seperate, if not I’ll blend it back in with the S-04 fermented part or dump it[/quote]

First weekend in may had a strength draining cold, third in three weeks, so no brewing. Will try again this coming weekend.

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