Blind Tasting Mangrove Jack YeastsThanks for reading the first episode log of Come and Brew It! A new web video series sponsored by TBI that we hope will educate and possibly even entertain our homebrew brethren. We need some practice, but we’ll get there. Now, onto the experiment!

Ever wonder how different yeasts might change the same wort? Like trying new brands? We do. And with a variety to choose from in our inventory, why not do an experiment? So, we took advantage of a demo day and we brewed up 10 gallons of our Johnnie’s English Ale kit as part of a customized all-grain HERMS system demonstration. Then, we split that 10 gallons out to try a different English ale yeast on each.

So, that’s four different 3 gallon fermenters filled with 2.5 gallons of the English Bitter. And that’s four different dry yeasts, including Mangrove Jack’s M07 - British Ale, Mangrove Jack’s M03 – Newcastle Dark, Mangrove Jack’s M79 – Burton Union, and Fermentis S-04. All of them pitched dry at the same time and kept in the same refrigerator at the same temperature (68F) for over two weeks before we bottled with Cooper’s Carbonation Drops. But before all that, we sampled. This is what we found for the flat beer right out of the fermenters:

M79 – Burton Union (1st place) OG: 1.042 FG: 1.006 Tasting Notes: Best clarity of the samples, huge fruity ester-filled aroma, and more body than expected for attenuation. This example was immediately chosen by all present as the favorite without carbonation.

M07 - British Ale (2nd place) OG: 1.042 FG: 1.006 Tasting Notes: High bitterness with a great aroma of malt and hops, but lower on esters. Driest sample with the most apparent bitterness. Second favorite example without carbonation.

M03 – Newcastle Dark (3rd place) OG: 1.042 FG: 1.012 Tasting Notes: Sweetest sample with the most body. Lower aroma, esters, and bitterness than expected. Third favorite example without carbonation.

S-04 (4th place) OG: 1.042 FG: 1.006 Tasting Notes: Low aroma characteristics for hops and malt, but yeast aroma was noticeable. It had a low emphasis on the hops in general with lower apparent bitterness and flavor, and a softer, sweeter mouth feel than expected. Good clarity.

Interesting results. But not as interesting as the reaction to the carbonated final results. It’s surprising how much carbonation can change things. First, we sampled again at the shop with some questionable characters. Then, we went out to find the opinion of experienced judges—including Grant Wood of Revolver Brewing—at the 2014 Bluebonnet Brew-off, the largest AHA and BJCP sanctioned single site homebrew competition in the United States and the first leg of the Lone Star Circuit.

To see everything that happened, go watch our first episode of Come and Brew It! Because when all was drank and done, the rankings shifted quite a bit with the British Ale in the lead (through multiple on and off camera tastings), followed closely by the Newcastle Dark, while surprisingly leaving the S-04 and the Burton Union in the dust.

All in all, it was a good experiment to prove just how much a simple yeast change can affect your beer. Obviously, this one was geared toward the Mangrove Jack series of yeasts, but we thought it best to start with our newest yeasts first, while including a familiar control like S-04. So stay tuned, we still have plenty of yeasts to work with and compare for later experiments!

We had fun making the episode and we hope you enjoyed watching it. We also hope you come around again next time.

For more about Mangrove Jack’s Craft Series yeasts, go here.

Brew Better Beer: Brewing great beer instead of mediocre beer really can be as simple as taking the time to experiment and try new processes or ingredients. Don’t be afraid to do something different and always look toward improving your process to keep getting the best results from the best practices. If you’re short on time, but really want to try something new, then work on a brewing schedule to find the best time to experiment AND continue to keep your cellar stocked with great beer.

Items of Interest: Dry Yeast Fermenters Temperature Controllers Johnnie’s English Ale kit