Best Yeast for Alcohol [2022 Review]

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Yeast is an integral feature of any distillation process since it helps you get the product you seek. Although there are numerous options on the market, the article will assist you in determining the best yeast for alcohol.

Our Top Yeast for Alcohol

The three most important things to consider when choosing a fermentation agent are value, quality, and production end result. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Each situation will call for different considerations depending on what type of alcohol you’re making and how much output capacity you still have available within its system.

Brand
Distilamax MW
Safspirit USW-6
Bakers Choice Gold Yeast
Product
DistilaMax® MW Yeast for Grain Whiskies (Malted...
500 g Fermentis SafSpirit USW-6
Bakers Choice Gold Yeast 1lb (1)
Special Features
Displays a good alcohol tolerance of up to 15% v/v
Adapted to meet the needs of American whiskey, bourbon craft distillers
Recommended Usage: All Purpose, Donuts, Sweet Pastries, Conchas, Pan Dulce, All kinds of bread
Weight
1.1 Pounds
1.54 pounds
1.05 Pounds
Brand
Distilamax MW
Product
DistilaMax® MW Yeast for Grain Whiskies (Malted...
Special Features
Displays a good alcohol tolerance of up to 15% v/v
Weight
1.1 Pounds
Price
Brand
Safspirit USW-6
Product
500 g Fermentis SafSpirit USW-6
Special Features
Adapted to meet the needs of American whiskey, bourbon craft distillers
Weight
1.54 pounds
Price
Brand
Bakers Choice Gold Yeast
Product
Bakers Choice Gold Yeast 1lb (1)
Special Features
Recommended Usage: All Purpose, Donuts, Sweet Pastries, Conchas, Pan Dulce, All kinds of bread
Weight
1.05 Pounds
Price

Distilamax MW

DistilaMax® MW Yeast for Grain Whiskies (Malted...

At high-end pricing, Distilamax MW is the best overall yeast. It creates a congener profile that adds depth to the spirit while adding a fruity and spicy aroma.

It has a high ability to ferment maltose, maltotriose, and other starch-derived saccharides found in malted barley feedstock. This makes it suitable for the production of malt whiskey.

While Safspirit USW-6 can only resist a temperature range between 68 to 89.6 degrees, Fahrenheit Distilamax MW can resist higher degrees. It can resist a larger temperature range of 77 to 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing for speedier distillation and fermentation rate.

Even better, it is commonly known to have a 15 percent alcohol tolerance. Unlike the bakers’ yeast, which cannot tolerate more than 10% alcohol hence is why it is least preferred in alcohol production, Distilamax MW can exceed it by 5%.

Pros

  • Distilamax MW can ferment several sugars found in malted barley unlike bakers yeast which only works best with wheat.
  • Distilamax MW produces an alcohol with a good flavor and aroma which would otherwise have been unachievable if you used bakers yeast.
  • It has a high tolerance for alcohol of up to 15% v/v hence takes longer to attain the toxicity levels achieving higher level of ABV.

Cons

  • Distilamax MW is only available in the market in small quantities.
  • Prolonged contact or exposure to DistilaMax MW may cause irritation to the hands and eyes.
DistilaMax® MW Yeast for Grain Whiskies (Malted...
  • Selected for its ability to ferment maltose, maltotriose & other sugars of malted barley feedstock.
  • Produces a spirit with a highly acceptable flavor profile, as adjudged by Malt Whisky Manufacturers.
  • Displays a good alcohol tolerance of up to 15% v/v.

Safspirit USW-6

500 g Fermentis SafSpirit USW-6

The most well-known and best-performing strain for manufacturing American Whiskey is Safspirit USW-6. It’s also popular among top Bourbon distillers and other American whiskey manufacturers.

Safspirit USW-6 is a beautiful and delicate congener profile that works well with various grains and grain mixes. On the other hand, a baker’s yeast characteristic as a congener profile is limited; hence if used, one must undergo tedious trial and error experiments.

Despite its popularity as a grain distilled beverage aged in barrels, it is also a suitable alternative for grain distilled beverages aged in barrels. It can resist temperatures ranging from 68 to 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is only sold 17.6 ounces pouches, while on the other hand, if you are looking for a strain you can use severally, consider buying the baker’s yeast, which is available in bulk.

Even better, it has a tolerance for alcohol of roughly 15%. Unlike bakers, which record a 10% alcohol tolerance, Safspirit USW-6 can attain the Fermentation rate faster than the latter.

Pros

  • Its congener profile is excellent and sensitive. Its counterpart, the bakers yeast, has little known about its characteristics; hence one must partake in trial and error experiments before achieving the desired congener profile.
  • The yeast is effective in a wide range of grains and grain mixes.
  • It’s also a suitable choice for grain-distilled beverages that have been aged in barrels.

Cons

  • You must pay a dime to purchase the costly Safspirit USW-6 while you can get bakers yeast that is affordable and available.
  • Ferments much more slowly at low temperatures.

Bakers Yeast

Bakers Choice Gold Yeast 1lb (1)

Making whiskey washes with Baker's Choice Gold Yeast is an acceptable choice. Because the flavor congener profile is unavailable, you will have to rely on trial and error to determine the results from each brand, which is not the case with the Safspirit USW-6, which has a sensitive and outstanding congener profile.

However, because baker’s yeast isn’t designed for alcohol production, there isn’t much knowledge regarding the flavor characteristics.

Baker’s yeast cannot take high alcohol concentrations, so keep your mash around 10% ABV to avoid straining the yeast. However, if you want to brew alcohol with a high concentration, you should choose the DistilaMax XP, which handles up to 15% alcohol concentration.

Pros

  • The yeast is readily available in bulk as compared to the DistilaMax XP, which is commonly available in 17.6-ounce pouches.
  • Bakers yeast is gentle on hands when used for distillation as it does not irritate when touched.
  • Although information about the flavor characteristics of bakers yeast is limited it guarantees your end-product a pleasant taste especially for gin, rum, corn whiskies, etc., where flavor is critical.

Cons

  • It best works with wheat rather than barley.
  • It results in a fairly dry finished ferment with noticeable esters.
Bakers Choice Gold Yeast 1lb (1)
  • Bakers Choice Gold provides 10 20% more activity in doughs with high sugar levels
  • Vacuum packaging ensures freshness, consistency and minimal activity loss until opened
  • Provides uniform fermentation throughout your baking system

DistilaMax LS

DistilaMax® LS Yeast for Fruit and Agave...

DistilaMax LS can withstand high temperatures and is specifically intended for tequila, fruity brandies, or mezcal.

It produces a wide spectrum of flavor congeners well suited for these spirits hence, leading to improved complexity and fruity aromas.

DistilaMax LS displays a wide range of temperatures for fermentation, including low temperatures. It can endure a larger temperature range of 86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit where the production yield for alcohol is highest.

It has an 18% alcohol tolerance, though you probably won’t need to go that far. On the other hand, it will be tough to get a final ferment to above ~12% ABV since baker’s yeast isn’t designed to handle high alcohol concentrations.

Pros

  • The DistilaMax LS demonstrates fructophilic abilities and works well in a wide pH and temperature range.
  • It produces a low level of foam during fermentation and does not produce a lot of acetic acid.
  • It has a lower nitrogen requirement that is absent in DistilaMax MW and other distillers strains.
  • It displays a short lag phase that is suitable for competition against contaminating bacteria.
  • It produces a wide spectrum of flavor congeners well suited for mezcal, tequila and fruity brandies.

Cons

  • It is only available in the market in 17.6-ounce pouches. Bakers yeast, on the other hand, available in bulk.
  • DistilaMax LS is not friendly to work with and can cause corrosion to the hands.
DistilaMax® LS Yeast for Fruit and Agave...
  • Displays a wide range of temperatures for fermentation including low temperatures.
  • Demonstrates a short lag phase which helps to compete against contaminant bacteria.
  • Has a fast fermentation rate in a wide pH range.

Features to Consider for Yeast for Alcohol

When producing an alcohol product with little or no specialized yeast, things can get problematic. They get much more puzzling when considering other options for the specific yeasts available, such as making rum with wine yeast. In these situations, you must examine a number of factors, including.

DistilaMax MWSafSpirit USW-6Bakers Yeast
pH Range3.8-5.35-64-6
Temperature range77-91.4 degrees F68-96.8 degrees F90-96 degrees F
Alcohol Tolerance15%15%10%

Attenuation (Potential Alcohol Yield)

Attenuation is the amount of accessible sugar that a yeast strain ferments into ethanol. When describing a yeast’s attenuation, you characterize it as a percentage or how low, medium, or high it can be. Safspirit USW-6, for example, ferments with high attenuation. The greater the attenuation, the more sugar turned to alcohol and carbon dioxide, and vice versa.

Because of inadequate consumption of the available sugar, strains with low attenuation may leave some residual sugar in your output. It affects the taste and texture of beverages such as wine and beer and the final product’s style. Choose a medium to high attenuation strain if you need a dry wine or beer.

Although residual sugars do not alter or influence the ultimate taste of your alcohol, it is still essential for economic reasons. Low attenuation means wasted sugar and should be avoided to reduce unnecessary costs. As such, use highly attenuative yeast strains to minimize sugar waste.

Half filled beer

Alcohol Tolerance

Alcohol and yeast are poisonous to all microorganisms. The amount of alcohol a yeast strain may make before attaining hazardous levels and destroying the cells is determined by its alcohol tolerance.

Most other bacteria have developed to tolerate lower percentages of alcohol than yeast, and some strains handle alcohol better than others. This is due to the selective pressure on yeast utilized in various beverages.

Wine yeasts, for example, can withstand a high percentage of alcohol, around 15 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Beer yeasts are less tolerant, with some strains recording up to 18 percent ABV. Although baker’s yeast is heat-hardy, it records the lowest ABV at 6-8%. Breweries Yeast and turbo yeast can withstand ABVs of 18% and 21%, respectively.

The more sugar you may add to your wash before fermentation to increase the alcohol output during extraction, the stronger the alcohol tolerance of the yeast. It’s preferable to select a yeast that can handle the desired alcohol percentage.

Ideal Fermentation Temperature Range

Within a particular temperature range, all yeast strains perform optimally. Because yeast cells get stressed at high temperatures, the alcohol’s flavors and aromas may adversely affect unregulated. At a lower temperature range than optimal, the fermentation pace becomes sluggish as the yeast’s function is slowed.

The ideal fermentation temperature range for DistilaMax XP and DistilaMax MW are 77 to 96.8 and 77 to 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The temperature of the fermentation chamber is crucially important in the sensory components created during fermentation. It should be closely monitored and maintained.

While some alcohols ferment at lower temperatures, some ferment at higher temperatures. Hence, during the regulation of some strains, use caution and care because they are particularly temperature-sensitive during fermentation.

Fermenting at a higher temperature range allows for speedy distillation and fermentation rate. However, if you’re making rum, sour mash whisky, or other specific alcoholic beverages, a greater fermentation temperature than usual is recommended. Flavor and fragrance chemicals are formed at these extremely high temperatures.

Sensory Profile

The collection of scents and flavors that yeast will generate is perhaps the most significant aspect to consider when picking a yeast for alcohol. Diverse yeast strains produce different scent and flavor profiles while using the same juice due to strain-to-strain changes in metabolic activity. Safspirit USW-6 exhibits mild aromatics, while the DistilaMax XP is appreciated for its thorough scents and flavors.

Many winemakers and rum distillers experiment with various yeast strains to obtain a certain flavor and fragrance characteristic. The flavors may vary when employed in fermentations with various raw materials.

Temperature, pH, yeast nutrition, aeration, and other environmental conditions influence yeast performance and ultimately the final product.

pH range

The pH range is far more crucial for yeast health than it is for determining the flavor profile. The optimal pH range varies by strain and is typically between 3 and 4 for Fruit and Wine Yeasts and 4-6 for Beer and Grain Yeasts. Distilamax MW and DistilaMax XP, for example, both exhibit a pH range of between 3.8 to 5.3.

It would be easier for it to survive in very acidic environments if it had a better tolerance for low pH. The pH of sugar washes can decrease below what typical yeast strains can tolerate, posing an issue.

Use Potassium Carbonate to raise the pH and prevent the yeast from dying due to extremely acidic circumstances. However, this necessitates routine monitoring and daily additions.

Yeast for alcohol

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Ok to Store Yeast in the Freezer?

Yes, freezing dried yeast is acceptable and will help to extend the shelf life. Dry yeast can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated for about a year and frozen for more than two years. If you choose to keep your liquid yeast at room temperature, you should use it right away or store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

What Is the Difference Between Liquid Yeast and Dried Yeast?

Dry yeast is less costly, easy to use, and generates excellent fermentations. It has a shelf life of up to 3 years and is more resistant to warm storage or transportation circumstances than liquid yeast. It also doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s used.

What Yeast Produces the Most Alcohol?

Turbo yeast. A type of yeast that produces higher quantities of alcohol (ABV percent) in a shorter time and has a high alcohol tolerance. Turbo yeast, unfortunately, produces more fusel oils, ethyl acetate, dead yeast cells, and undesirable taste cognizers.

Conclusion

Yeast is an important component of the fermentation process. The type of yeast you choose for fermentation affects the flavor and scent of your final product. As a result of selecting the right yeast, you’ll get a finished product that tastes better than any store-bought spirit.