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Wine Yeast Profiles

The following is meant to be a rough guide of what type of flavors, fermentation, and residual sugar of various yeast strains. Hopefully you will have a better idea of what is available to you for fermenting your wine, fruit wine, or mead after looking through them. If you have any further questions about which yeasts to use, you might want to talk to your local home brew folks, they may have some wisdom to impart about their own experiences with various yeast strains. Ultimately the flavors you want to impart to your wine depends on your own personal tastes, so there is no one right yeast for any given wine.

Champagne

  • Premeir Cuvee, Red Star
    This Prisse de Mousse strain is fast-starting, clean and neutral. A popular choice because of its consistently strong fermentation characteristics and high alcohol tolerance, up to 18%. The first choice for champagne and sparkling wines. Also good for restarting stuck fermentations. Ferments between 50 and 80 degrees.
  • Champagne, Lalvin
    This Prisse de Mousse strain is fast-starting, clean and neutral. A popular choice because of its consistently strong fermentation characteristics and high alcohol tolerance, up to 18%. The first choice for champagne and sparkling wines. Also good for restarting stuck fermentations. Ferments between 50 and 80 degrees.

White Wine

  • Montrachet, Red Star
    Versatile all purpose wine yeast with complex flavors and aromas. Ferments strongly and has a high alcohol tolerance. Well suited to Chardonnays and other dry, full bodied wines. Ferments between 60 and 80 degrees.
  • Pasteur Champagne, Red Star
    Neutral flavor profile, recommended for dry wines. Despite the name, this yeast should not be used in sparkling wines (use Premier Cuvee). Alcohol tolerance up to 17%. Ferments between 60 and 80 degrees.
  • Pasteur Chanpagne, Wyeast
    Used in many white wine fermentations, and also some red wines. Also used for secondary fermentation of barley wine. Ferments crisp and dry, ideal for base wines in champagne making. Low foaming, excellent barrel fermentation and good flocculating characteristics. Dry White Wines, Spumante, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer.
  • Montepllier, Lalvin
    A vigorously fermenting, dominant strain that will overcome wild yeast, and ferment well in a must that is low in nutrients. Brings out the freshness of white grape varieties, especially Suavignon Blanc. Alcohol tolerance to 14%. Ferments between 59 and 86 degrees.
  • Narbonne, Lalvin
    This low foaming strain is a very rapid starter that will produce smoother, more aromatic wines that will mature quickly, as it limits phenol extraction and neutralizes malic acid up to about 40%. Well suited for whites, concentrates and nouveaus. Ferments between 59 and 86 degrees.
  • White Wine, Lalvin
    This yeast will produce white wines of superior quality. The complex carbohydrates impart an enhanced mouthfeel. This vigorous fermenter is well suited to Chardonnays, Roses, and wines that will have a malolactic secondary fermentation. May also be used in meads in conjunction with yeast supplements. Ferments between 50 and 86 degrees.
  • Chardonnay, White Labs
    Dry wine yeast. Slight ester production, low sulfur dioxide production. Enhances varietal character. A good choice for all white and blush wines, including Chablis, Chenin Blanc, Semillon, and Sauvignon Blanc. Fermentation speed is moderate. Ferments between 50 and 90 degrees.
  • French White Wine, White Labs
    Slight ester production, low sulfur dioxide production. Enhances varietal character. Good choice for all white and blush wines, including Chablis, Chenin Blanc, Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc. Fermentation speed is moderate.
  • Merlot Red Wine, White Labs
    Neutral, low fusel alcohol production. Will ferment to dryness, alcohol tolerence to 18%. Vigorous fermenter. Well suited for Cabernet, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon.
  • Cabernet Red Wine, White Labs
    High Temperature tolerence. Moderate fermentation speed. Excellent for full-bodied red wines, ester production complements flavor. Also suitable for Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Steinberg, Wyeast
    Classic German yeast from the Rheingau District produces full-bodied wines with great depth, dry smoky characteristics with a sharp finish, drier than Rudesheimer. Riesling, Sylvaner, Moselles, Liebfraumilch.
  • Mead, Dry, Wyeast
    Best choice for dry mead. Used in many award-winning meads. Low foaming with little or no sulfur production. Use additional nutrients for mead making. Mead, Fruit Mead, Herbal Mead, Dry Ciders, Cysers.

Sweet Wine

  • Cote des Blancs, Red Star
    Also known as Epernay II. Recommended for meads and ciders, as well as fruit wines, particularly apple. Imparts a fruity aroma in both red and white wines. A slow fermenter that works best between 50 and 80 deegrees. This strain will not ferment to dryness at the low end of that range, leaving residual sugar resulting in a sweeter wine.
  • Chablis, Wyeast
    Produces extremely fruity profile, high ester formation. Allows fruit character to dominate aorma and flavor profile. Finishes slightly sweet and soft. Fruity white wines. Chardonnay, Chablis, Ciders, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Gris.
  • Rudesheimer, Wyeast
    Produces distinct Riesling character. Rich flavor, creamy, fruity profile with nice dry finish and a hint of Riesling sweetness in the aftertaste. Rhine Wines, Fruity Ciders, Riesling, Ice Wine.
  • Steinberg-Geisenheim, White Labs
    German in origin, this yeast has high fruit/ester production. Perfect for Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Moderate fermentation characteristics & cold tolerant. Ferments between 50 and 90 degrees.
  • Sauternes, Wyeast
    Clean aromas with mild fruit and a hint of spice. Complex profile with intense fruit character on the palate. Finishes balanced, soft, and dry with lingering fruit character. For Late Harvest, Dessert and Ice wines.
  • Sweet Mead, White Labs
    This yeast is less attenuative than the champagne yeast, leaving some residual sweetness. Slightly fruity and will tolerate alcohol concentrations up to 15%. Good for sweet mead, cider, blush wines, Gewurztraminer, Sauternes, and Riesling.
  • Mead, Sweet, Wyeast
    One of two strains for sweet mead making. Leaves 2-3% residual sugar in most mead's. Rich, fruity profile complements fruit-mead fermentation. Use additional nutrients for mead making. Ciders, Cysers, Fruit wines, Ginger ale, Cherry, Raspberry and Peach.
  • Flor Sherry, Red Star
    This yeast may be used for the production of sherry base wines, and must be used for the secondary, aerobic (submerged) sherry fermentation. It readily produces the aldehydes and acetals characteristic of true flor sherry.

Red Wine

  • Montrachet, Red Star
    Versatile all purpose wine yeast with complex flavors and aromas. Ferments strongly and has a high alcohol tolerance. Well suited to Chardonnays and other dry, full bodied wines. Ferments between 60 and 80 degrees.
  • Pasteur Champagne, Red Star
    Neutral flavor profile, recommended for dry wines. Despite the name, this yeast should not be used in sparkling wines (use Premier Cuvee). Alcohol tolerance up to 17%. Ferments between 60 and 80 degrees.
  • Pasteur Red, Red Star
    This yeast is a strong fermenter and produces full-bodied red wines. Particularly well suited for grapes from the Zinfandel and Cabernet families. Ferments between 60 and 80 degrees.
  • Chateau Red, Wyeast
    Ideal for red or white wines, which mature rapidly with Beaujolais type fruitiness, and for bigger reds requiring aging. Low foaming, low sulfur production over a broad temperature range. Cabernet, Red varietals, Gamay Beaujolais, Zinfandel, Rhone, Burgundy and Pinot Noir.
  • Bourgovin, Lalvin
    This strain comes from the Burgundy region of France, and is a moderately quick, low foaming yeast. Achieves full extraction in red wines. Stabilizes color and tannin throughout fermentation and aging. An emphasis on ripe berry, peppery/spicy and fruit aromas is noted. This is the best strain to use in Pinot Noir or other full bodied red wines. Tolerance up to 14%. Ferments between 59 and 86 degrees.
  • Bordeaux, Wyeast
    Produces distinctive intense berry graham cracker nose, jammy, rich, very smooth complex profile, slightly vinuous. Well suited for higher sugar content musts. French Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Petite Syrah, Rioja, and Valdepenas.
  • Chianti, Wyeast
    Rich, very big, bold, well rounded profile. Nice soft fruit character with dry crisp finish. Excellent choice for most Italian grape varieties. Barolo, Barbera, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Chianti, Valpolicella, Sangiovese.
  • Merlot Red Wine, White Labs
    Neutral, low fusel alcohol production. Will ferment to dryness, alcohol tolerence to 18%. Vigorous fermenter. Well suited for Cabernet, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon.
  • Cabernet Red Wine, White Labs
    High Temperature tolerence. Moderate fermentation speed. Excellent for full-bodied red wines, ester production complements flavor. Also suitable for Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Assmannhausen, Wyeast
    Red wine yeast from Germany with intense fruity characteristics. Ferments slower than most red wine strains. Enhances vinifera character in French American hybrids. Cold tolerant. Red German Wine, Riesling, Red varietals, Merlot, Red French American hybrids, Beaujolais.
  • Assmanhausen, White Labs
    German red wine yeast, which results in spicy fruit aromas. Perfect for Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Slow to moderate fermenter which is cold tolerant. Ferments between 50 and 90 degrees.
  • French Red Wine, White Labs
    Classic Bordeaux yeast for red wine fermentations. Moderate fermentation characteristics. Tolerant of lower fermentation temperatures. Rich, smooth flavor profile, Ferments between 60 and 90 degrees.
  • Zinfindel, Wyeast
    Dominating, strong fermentation characteristics. Alcohol tolerant to 18% (v/v). Ideal for Zinfandel, pinot Noir, Syrah or any high sugar must. Good choice for restarting stuck fermentations.

Other

  • Malo-Lactic Wine Culture, Wyeast
    Fresh liquid cultures of Leuc. Oenos ER1A and EY2D provided rapid and complete malic acid to lactic acid reproduction to balance and soften wines. This malo-lactic culture is suitable of a pH 2.9 or greater and cellar temperatures as low as 55 degrees.
  • Sake #9, Wyeast
    Sake yeast #9 used in conjunction with Koji for making a wide variety of Asian rice based beverages. Full bodied profile with true Sake character. Sake, Nigori, Dai Gingo, Fruit, Plum Wine and Rice Beer.
  • Eau de Vie (Water of Life), Wyeast
    A very good choice for alcohol tolerance and stuck fermentations. Produces a very clean dry profile, low ester and other volatile aromatics. 21% alcohol tolerance. Cordials, Grappa, Barley Wine, Eau de Vie and Single Malts.
  • Cider, Wyeast
    Crisp dry fermenting yeast with big, fruity finish. Creates a nice balance for all types of apples, pears and other fruit or fermentables. Allows fruit character to dominate the profile.
  • Port Wine, Wyeast
    Mild toast and vanilla nose. Mild fruit profile with balanced depth and complexity. Very dry finish. Dry red and white wines, add brandy for classic ports. Used for big red wines and high sugar musts.

 

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