Safale S-04 - Fermentis

Post #1 made 2 years ago
Hi,

I've read numerous posts on this forum from members who've used S-04. I've used 5 other yeast strains to date, and S-04 is now the 6th. No other yeast has dropped out so quickly. What I mean is that high krausen only lasted a day, and then the surface was clear! I.e. no krausen but still plenty of fermentation taking place (bubbling like soda). I've never brewed a lager style, which I understand use bottom fermenting yeast strains, but I imagine this is how a lager strain would behave. Ambient room temp is 16C and carboy temp showed 19C at peak activity. By comparison, a different English strain remained floating on the surface for +2 weeks, and would only settle out when I cold crashed the beer.

What have your experiences with S-04 been like? I'm intrigued how much the various strains differ in fermentation 'behavior'.

Cheers
BDP

Post #2 made 2 years ago
Yeah, S04 has high flocculation. I've used it quite a few times, and it typically reaches FG in about 3 days for me. Of course, there is still other work for the yeast to do at this point ... but it's quick to get to this point.
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Post #3 made 2 years ago
SO4 is a pretty violent yeast so a blow-off tube is advisable. That's great you pitched at 16 C (61 F). I've never been a huge fan of it; I usually use US-56. I must say that on one side by side brew a mate did, the US-04 was heaps better so I should have another crack at it :scratch:.

I wouldn't say SO4 behaves like a lager yeast. Lager yeasts aren't anywhere near as violent in my experience.

:peace:
PP
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Post #5 made 2 years ago
I recently brewed a dark mild ale that I split between 3 different yeasts.

S04 - a packet 2 years out of date and had been kept in the freezer (I purchased when in date BTW).
Fullers - cultured from Bengal lancer.
WLP023 - a slant from Yeasty over a year ago from the Hobgoblin thread.

The S04 finished twice as quick as the others, and dropped clear exactly how you mentioned. The Fullers dropped clear as well, just not quite as quickly.

What still amazes me is that these beers are so different, purely due to the yeast used (same wort, same ferment temp & times etc).
What is even more interesting is that on taste tests I keep swapping which is my preferred one. I dont know whether this is my palate or the beer changing.
G B
I spent lots of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I squandered
I've stopped drinking, but only when I'm asleep
I ONCE gave up women and alcohol - it was the worst 20 minutes of my life
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Post #6 made 2 years ago
Thanks Mally. Sounds like normal behaviour for S-04 then.

Bottled this evening, after 12 days in primary @ 17C.

OG: 1.056
FG: 1.020

Surprised by the higher than expected FG. Recipe stats from BCS has FG=1.016. Gravity sample certainly did not taste sweet, and in my experience the priming sugar may dry it out a bit more.

Will post back here when the tasting results are in, approx 4 weeks from now.

Cheers!

Post #7 made 2 years ago
First tasting after 3 weeks in the bottle. I like what this yeast has done, and it sticks well to the bottom of the bottle. A nice, clean pour. I'll continue to use it for English style ales.

On a side note, I only added the finely ground roasted barley at the start of temperature ramp up to mash out, so it was in there for around 30 minutes. Next time I might tone this back a bit, to reduce the somewhat acrid bite on the finish. I'd also like to try a cold steep addition on another version. Has anyone tried this method with satisfactory results?

Cheers
BDP

Post #8 made 2 years ago
I have never tried cold steeping, but always end up adding dark colour grains towards the end of the mash as you did. Let us know your findings BDP if you do.

BTW, those high flavour notes (harsh) often mellow out with conditioning. In fact the flavours seem to change one week to the next (for the better usually).

At least you like it which is good news, I have heard people either love or hate S04 (Whitbread). So much so, that the 3 beers I mentioned above, the S04 has almost gone, the others seem unscathed!
G B
I spent lots of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I squandered
I've stopped drinking, but only when I'm asleep
I ONCE gave up women and alcohol - it was the worst 20 minutes of my life
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Post #9 made 2 years ago
I'm not sure if you are into liquid yeast, but give WLP002 a try. Same "painted to the bottle" sediment, about as quick at fermenting ... but I like its ester profile MUCH more than S04.

I just did a pale ale that fermented a bit warmer due to human error, and have ruined beer with S04(and Nottingham) at the same temperature range. The WLP002 seems much more forgiving to me, or at least to my taste buds.

I plan to try the 007 at some point as well considering my high attenuation needs, but the 002 seems to be doing my bidding for now.
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Post #10 made 2 years ago
I've ruined beer with Nottingham too, so I know what you are talking about there Rick. Now I aim for the low end ale fermentation temps. In fact, am busy fermenting an English IPA with Nottingham at 64F.

I was using liquid yeasts for most batches but have switched back to dry recently. Want to see how things compare. Was finding that building starters was a bit of a pain. Will note your recommendation should I feel the urge to use a liquid yeast again. Thanks!

Mally, thanks for the reminder about the mellowing affects of time on the darker beer. Will be interested to see how it changes. Was going to wait for the 4 week mark before I sampled, but I cracked at 3 weeks ... :drink:

Cheers
BDP
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