Beer Maverick

Beer Yeast: The Complete Guide

Browse 430+ Yeast Strains:

Beer would just be sugar water without yeast. Yeast chew up sugar and turn it into alcohol and a host of other by products.

Read More: Yeast Substitution Chart

For the most part, home brewers rely on two types of beer yeasts to make our favorite concoction. Ale and Lager yeasts are the two most common. While work essentially the same, there are a few minor differences between the two that make each one their own species.

Ale Yeasts (Top Fermenting)

Ale yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) rise to the top of the fermenter as they propagate and work at chewing up sugars. This is what is meant by “top fermenting”. These yeasts typically work between an ideal temperature range of 60-73 °F (18-22 °C), although some individual strains can go lower or higher than that. This temperature range is perfect for home brewers as it is fairly easy to maintain regardless of circumstances.

Some ale strains produce fruity esters while they ferment while others produce a remarkably clean profile with very little character added. Flocculation and alcohol tolerance is across the board from low to high, so no matter the beer you want to brew, an ale strain will likely work just fine.

Ale yeasts are used to of course brew ales, but also stouts, porters, wheat beers, kölsch and blondes.

Popular Ale Yeast Strains

Lager Yeasts (Bottom Fermenting)

Working at colder temperatures than Ale strains, Lager yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) also ferment much slower. Most lager yeast strains ferment at the bottom of the fermenter, and work within the temperature range of 44 to 60°F (7-15°C).

Lager yeasts are commonly average at eating all the available sugars and are highly flocculant, meaning they drop out of the beer so it becomes clear.

The colder temperatures lager work at inhibit the production of chemical products or off-flavors that can be more pronounced in ales. This is why lagers have a so-called “cleaner” taste than ales with a more pronounced malt backbone. You would use lager yeasts to brew… wait for it… lagers(!), but also pilsners, bocks, Märzens, and dortmunders.

Others

There are a handful of yeasts that are not Ale or Lager, and each one has their own special flavor and profile.

Brettanomyces bruxellensis are used to create “brett” style or tart beers and have extremely high attenuation rates. Brett yeast strains are commonly pitched in the secondary fermentation stage.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae variety diastaticus strains (sometimes identified with a STA1 label) are also known to be extremely high attenuators due to the “contamination” of the STA1 gene. Many of these strains are considered good for making Saisons.

Bacteria-positive yeasts are strains that are known to have a bacterial strain housed within them. Many of these “blends” are used for creating sour beers due to the sourness added by the bacteria. There are some yeast packets available that are 100% bacteria, which add flavor but no alcohol.

Yeast Characteristics

Each yeast strain has its own characteristics that make them unique and suitable for different bear styles. There are five major qualities that pertain to each particular yeast strain. Most of these qualities are expressed in ranges because the surrounding elements and ingredients of the beer have just as much to do with how these yeasts perform.

Attenuation

Attenuation refers to the percentage of sugars in the wort that end up being converted into alcohol. Attenuation is often referred to in either percentages or with “low”, “medium” or “high” terms.

  • High Attenuation: 78% and higher
  • Medium Attenuation: 73% to 77%
  • Low Attenuation: 72% and lower

Alcohol Tolerance

Alcohol tolerance refers to how much alcohol the yeast can sustain before becoming inactive. As the alcohol content (ABV) increases, the yeasts begin to “go to sleep” and stop fermenting. The more alcohol a yeast strain can handle, the higher the ABV will be in the finished beer.

  • Low: 5% and lower
  • Medium-Low: 4-8%
  • Medium: 5-10%
  • Medium-High: 8-12%
  • High: 10-15%
  • Very High: 15% and higher

Flocculation

Flocculation refers to the tendency of yeast to form clumps called “flocs” that drop as fermentation finishes. Yeast flocculation can be classified as high, medium, or low. Highly flocculating yeasts sink to the bottom of the fermenter more quickly and produce a clearer beer.

Optimal Temperature Ranges

As we touched on above, ale and lager strains ferment at vastly different temperatures. What doesn’t change between the two kinds is that if the temperature is too high or too low, bad things can happen. If the temperature is too low, fermentation could be slow to start or never finish. If it’s too warm, you risk producing off-flavors that’ll force you to dump the beer down the drain.

Flavor Profile

Defining a yeast strain’s flavor profile is difficult, and takes some guess work. When a manufacturer says that their strain imparts a “fruitiness”, they don’t mean that it actually adds fruit. They mean that the esters produced by the yeast kind of taste like fruits.

Yeasts can do so much to transform the final flavor of your beer. They can accentuate your beer’s maltiness or hoppiness profiles, or add fruity, sweet, or dry finishes.

Beer Yeast Database

Beer Maverick has compiled the largest and most complete yeast database anywhere online. We’ve spent months getting the attenuation, optimal temps, descriptions and more for over 400 beer yeasts.

Bootleg Biology

AURORA, Classic American, Classic English, Funk Weapon #1, Funk Weapon #2, Funk Weapon #3, NEEPAH Blend, OSLO, S. arlingtonesis, Saison Parfait, Sour Solera Blend, Sour Weapon L, Sour Weapon P & The Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend

East Coast Yeast

Berliner blend, BugFarm, Farmhouse Brett, Flemish Ale, Kellerbier, Kolschbier, Nordic Farmhouse, North East Ale, Old Newark Ale, Saison Brasserie Blend & Scottish Heavy

Escarpment Labs

American Ale, Anchorman Ale, Ardennes Belgian Ale, Arset Kveik Blend, Belgian Sour Blend, Berliner Brett I, Biergarten Lager, Brett B, Brett D, Brett Q, Brussels Brett, Cali Ale, Cerberus, Classic Witbier, Copenhagen Lager, Czech Lager, Dry Belgian Ale, Ebbegarden Kveik Blend, English Ale I, English Ale II, English Ale III, Foggy London Ale, Fruit Bomb Saison, Fruity Witbier, Hornindal Kveik Blend, Irish Ale, Isar Lager, Kolsch Ale, Krispy, Lactobacillus Blend 2.0, Lactobacillus brevis, Mexican Lager, Munich Lager, New World Saison, Old World Saison Blend, Ontario Farmhouse Ale Blend, Saison Maison, Skare Kveik, Spooky Saison, St-Remy Abbey Ale, St. Lucifer Belgian Ale, Stirling Ale, Uberweizen, Vermont Ale, Voss Kveik, Weizen I & Wild Thing

Fermentis

SafAle BE-134, SafAle BE-256, SafAle F-2, SafAle K-97, SafAle S-04, SafAle S-33, SafAle T-58, SafAle US-05, SafAle WB-06, SafBrew DA-16, SafBrew HA-18, SafBrew LA-01, SafLager S-189, SafLager S-23, SafLager W-34/70 & SafSour LP 652

GigaYeast

A TOUCH OF SPICE BELGIAN ALE, ALTSTADT ALE, AMERICAN LAGER, Bavarian Hefe, BELGIAN ABBEY ALE, BELGIAN MIX, BELGIAN TRIPEL, BELGIAN WIT, BERLINER BLEND, BRITISH ALE #1, BRITISH ALE #2, BRUSSELS BRUXELLENSIS, BRUX BLEND, CZECH PILSNER, FARMHOUSE SOUR, German Ale Yeast, GERMAN LAGER, GIGAYEAST LACTO, GOLDEN GATE LAGER, GOLDEN PEAR BELGIAN, Hornindal Kveik #5, IRISH STOUT, KOLSCH BIER, Kveik #1, NorCal Ale #1, NORCAL ALE #5, PORTLAND HEFE, QUEBEC ABBEY ALE, SAISON #1, SAISON #2, SAISON BLEND, SAISON SOUR, SCOTCH ALE #1, SOUR CHERRY FUNK, SOUR PLUM BELGIAN, Sweet Flemish Brett, TART CHERRY BRETT & VERMONT IPA

Imperial Yeast

Barbarian, Bartleby, Cablecar, Citrus, Darkness, Dieter, Dry Hop, Flagship, Global, Gnome, Harvest, House, Independence, Joystick, Juice, Kaiser, Kveiking, Loki, Napoleon, POG, Pub, Rustic, Sour Batch Kidz, Stefon, Suburban Brett, Tartan, Triple Double, Urkel & Whiteout

Lallemand

LalBrew Abbaye, LalBrew Belle Saison, LalBrew BRY-97, LalBrew CBC-1, LalBrew Diamond Lager, LalBrew Koln, LalBrew London, LalBrew Munich Classic, LalBrew New England, LalBrew Nottingham, LalBrew Voss, LalBrew Windsor, LalBrew Wit, Prise de Mousse Wine Yeast, Sourvisiae & WildBrew Philly Sour

Mangrove Jack

Bavarian Wheat, Belgian Ale, Belgian Wit, Bohemian Lager, California Lager, Empire Ale, French Saison Ale, Liberty Bell Ale, New World Strong Ale, US West Coast & Workhorse

Muntons

Muntons Premium Gold & Muntons Standard Ale

Omega Yeast

ABBEY ALE C, ALL THE BRETTS, ALT, AMERICAN LAGER, AMERICAN PILSNER, AMERICAN WHEAT, Bavarian Wheat I, Bavarian Wheat II, BAYERN LAGER, BELGIAN ALE A, BELGIAN ALE D, BELGIAN ALE DK, BELGIAN ALE O, BELGIAN ALE R, BELGIAN ALE W, BELGIAN GOLDEN STRONG, BELGIAN SAISON I, BELGIAN SAISON II, Belgian Wheat, BIERE DE GARDE, BRETT BLEND #1 WHERE DA FUNK?, BRETT BLEND #2 BIT O'FUNK, BRETT BLEND #3 BRING ON DA FUNK, BRETTANOMYCES BRUXELLENSIS, BRETTANOMYCES CLAUSSENII, BRETTANOMYCES LAMBICUS, BRITISH ALE I, BRITISH ALE II, BRITISH ALE III, BRITISH ALE IV, BRITISH ALE V, BRITISH ALE VI, BRITISH ALE VII, BRITISH ALE VIII, C2C AMERICAN FARMHOUSE, CL-50 ALE, DANISH LAGER, DIPA ALE, EAST COAST ALE, ESPE KVEIK, FRENCH SAISON, GERMAN BOCK, GERMAN LAGER I, GERMAN LAGER II, GRAND CRU, GULO ALE, Hefeweizen Ale I, Hefeweizen Ale II, Hornindal Kveik, HOTHEAD ALE, IRISH ALE, JOVARU LITHUANIAN FARMHOUSE, KOLSCH I, KOLSCH II, LACTOBACILLUS BLEND, LAGER I, LONDON ALE, Lutra Kveik, MEXICAN LAGER, NORTHWEST FARMHOUSE BRETT, Oktoberfest, PACIFIC NW ALE, PEDIOCOCCUS, PILSNER I, PILSNER II, SAISONSTEIN'S MONSTER, SCOTTISH ALE, TROPICAL IPA, VOSS KVEIK, West Coast Ale I, WEST COAST ALE II, WEST COAST ALE III, WEST COAST ALE IV, WEST COAST LAGER & WIT

RVA Yeast Labs

Chico Ale, Chiswick Ale, Hoptopper Ale, Manchester Ale, Oktoberfest Lager & Pacman Ale

The Yeast Bay

Amalgamation - Brett Super Blend, Amalgamation II - Brett Super Blend, Beersel Brettanomyces Blend, Brettanomyces Bruxellenis TYB261, BRETTANOMYCES BRUXELLENSIS - STRAIN TYB184, Brettanomyces Bruxellensis - Strain TYB207, Brettanomyces Bruxellensis - Strain TYB307, Brettanomyces bruxellensis - Strain TYB415, Brussels Brettanomyces Blend, Dark Belgian Cask, Dry Belgian Ale, Farmhouse Sour Ale, Flanders Specialty Ale, Framgarden Kveik, Franconian Dark Lager, Funktown Pale Ale, Hazy Daze, Hazy Daze II, Hessian Pils, Hornindal Kveik, Lactobacillus Blend, Lactobacillus brevis - Strain TYB282, Lida Kveik, Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend, Mélange - Sour Blend, Metschnikowia reukaufii , Midtbust Kveik, Midwestern Ale, Northeastern Abbey, Pakruojis Lithuanian Farmhouse, Saison Blend, Saison Blend II, Saison/Brettanomyces Blend, Saison/Brettanomyces Blend II, Sigmund's Voss Kveik, Simonaitis Lithuanian Farmhouse, Transatlantic Berliner Blend, Vermont Ale, Wallonian Farmhouse, Wallonian Farmhouse II & Wallonian III Farmhouse

White Labs

Abbey Ale Yeast, Abbey IV Ale Yeast, American Ale Yeast Blend, American Hefeweizen Ale Yeast, American Lager Yeast, Bastogne Belgian Ale Yeast, Bavarian Weizen Ale Yeast, Belgian Ale Yeast, Belgian Golden Ale Yeast, Belgian Saison I Ale Yeast, Belgian Saison II Ale Yeast, Belgian Strong Ale Yeast, Belgian Wit Ale Yeast, Belgian Wit II Ale Yeast, Belgian-Style Ale Yeast Blend, Belgian-Style Saison Ale Yeast Blend, Brettanomyces Claussenii, British Ale Yeast, Burlington Ale Yeast, Burton Ale Yeast, California Ale Yeast, California V Ale Yeast, Charlie's Fist Bump Yeast, Coastal Haze Ale Yeast Blend, Copenhagen Lager Yeast, Cream Ale Yeast Blend, Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast, Dry English Ale Yeast, Düsseldorf Alt Ale Yeast, East Coast Ale Yeast, Edinburgh Scottish Ale Yeast, English Ale Yeast, French Saison Ale Yeast, German Bock Lager Yeast, German Lager Yeast, German/Kolsch Ale Yeast, Hefeweizen Ale Yeast, Hefeweizen IV Ale Yeast, High Pressure Lager Yeast, Hornindal Kveik, Irish Ale Yeast, London Ale Yeast, London Fog Ale Yeast, Mexican Lager Yeast, Monastery Ale Yeast, Oktoberfest/Märzen Lager Yeast, Old Bavarian Lager Yeast, Opshaug Kveik Ale Yeast, Pacific Ale Yeast, Pilsner Lager Yeast, Saccharomyces Bruxellensis Trois, San Diego Super Ale Yeast, San Francisco Lager Yeast, Southern German Lager Yeast & Super High Gravity Ale Yeast

Wyeast

American Ale, American Ale II, American Lager, American Wheat, Bavarian Lager, Bavarian Wheat, Bavarian Wheat Blend, Belgian Abbey Style Ale, Belgian Abbey Style Ale II, Belgian Ardennes, Belgian Dark Ale, Belgian High Gravity, Belgian Lambic Blend, Belgian Saison, Belgian Schelde Ale, Belgian Stout, Belgian Strong Ale, Belgian Style Blend, Belgian Wheat, Belgian Witbier, Berliner Weisse Blend, Bière de Garde, Bohemian Lager, British Ale, British Ale II, British Cask Ale, Budvar Lager, Burton IPA Blend, California Lager, Canadian/Belgian Ale, Czech Pils, Danish Lager, Denny's Favorite 50 Ale, English Special Bitter, European Lager, Farmhouse Ale, Flanders Golden Ale, Forbidden Fruit, French Saison, Gambrinus Style Lager, German Ale, German Wheat, Hella Bock Lager, Irish Ale, Kolsch, Kolsch II, London Ale, London Ale III, London ESB Ale, Munich Lager, Munich Lager II, North American Lager, Northwest Ale, Octoberfest Lager Blend, Old Ale Blend, Oud Bruin Ale Blend, Pacman, Pilsen Lager, Pilsner Urquell H-Strain, Ringwood Ale, Rocky Mountain Lager, Roeselare Ale Blend, Saison-Brett Blend, Scottish Ale, Staro Prague Lager, Thames Valley Ale, Thames Valley Ale II, Weihenstephan Weizen, West Coast IPA, West Yorkshire Ale, Whitbread Ale & Wyeast Bohemian Ale Blend

Yeast  Largest Yeast Database

Beer Maverick has compiled the largest and most complete yeast database anywhere online. We've spent months getting the attenuation, optimal temps, descriptions and more for over 400 beer yeasts. Browse all yeasts »