In today’s blog we’re going to focus on the best hard cider yeast options because there are few pleasures in life more satisfying then making your own successful batch of hard cider to enjoy with loved ones.
Even more satisfying is a cool Blake’s Hard Cider on a hot, summer day which you can find at your local Kroger’s and/or Meijer’s location store shelves.
The hard cider yeast comparison below will give you a general overview of the kind of results you can expect following proper home brewing techniques.
THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION:
Which Yeast Is BEST Hard Cider Yeast Starter?
The answer to this question may come as a surprise but, the answer is, “None”.
There’s enough wild yeast (and bacteria) in whole apples and unpasteurized, raw cider for the fermentation process to take care of itself naturally.
But it comes with one catch.
If it’s great, how do you do it again?
Perhaps if you have a consistently good batch of apples you grow and look after yourself that’s fairly reliable, than you may be able to depend on it’s wild yeast consistency, but what if you’re purchasing whole apples from an orchard or unpasteurized, raw cider from a secondary source? It’s a dice roll.
One batch could be fantastic. The next may only be suitable for vinegar. It’s a risk that’s not worth taking if you’re not confident in how it will turn out, especially if you’re new to cider making. It can be beyond fustrating throwing out entire batches of spoiled hard cider relying on wild yeasts alone.
Instead of taking unnecessary risks on your cider production, stack the odds in your favor with the following best hard cider yeast options:
Champagne Apple Wine Yeast
Have your pick of Lalvin EC-1118 or Red Star Champagne dry yeasts, White Lab’s 715 Champagne or Wyeast’s 4021 Pasteur Champagne, people who tend to ask for champagne yeast usually do so because that’s what the recipe calls for. And they’re spot on. The majority of cider recipes call for champagne yeast and for good reason.
First because professionals use it. Secondly because it’s a solid performer guaranteed to do a stand-up job converting simple sugars into alcohol.
The one caveat is it works “too” well. The end result is more of a ‘wine tasting’ cider.
Most homebrewers end up with alcohol resembling little to no apple characteristics unless they back sweeten. Champagne yeast, if not balanced properly, is much too aggressive for a pitch-it-and-forget-it strategy and may not be ideal for the beginner brewer unless you’re aiming for that particular taste.
Nottingham Dry Beer Yeast
A homebrewers go-to stable yeast because it’s much less aggressive than champagne yeast leaving a bit more residual sugar than champagne yeast so more of it’s apple character shines through. Works well for sweet ciders and cysers with pasteurized juice, although not so well for unpasteurized cyser. It cold crashes well with any juice.
Black Rock Cider Bread Yeast
Provides a nice summer brew with sweetness to the cider and around 8% ABV. Great while out in the sun and quite refreshing.
Vintner’s Harvest’s VR21 & R56
Cambridge Manager, Eamon Poplin from beerbrew.com said, “I tried the VR21 for the first time on a whim. I tend to prefer ciders that still retain some sweetness, along with some of the original apple flavor. VR21 does both quite well. I’ve had great success with the R56 as well, especially when I add the sugars I use to boost the gravity.”
White Labs Specialty Cider Yeast
White Lab’s WLP775 English Cider and Wyeast 4766 Cider are quickly becoming popular choices because commercial cideries use them. If they’re using it for their production, it’s worth experimenting to see if you can create your own cider masterpiece.
Regardless which yeast you decide use, remember to take plenty of notes of the entire process from beginning to end. There’s nothing more frustrating than making the best cider you’ve ever made and had in your life only to forget how you created it.
Meanwhile, we have mastered the art of fermentation and yeast production to bring you some of the best hard ciders Michigan has to offer right here in Armada, MI.
If you want to save yourself the time, trouble, money and hassle experimenting with different yeasts to get the desired result you’re looking for, or if you simply want to supplement your own cider production, why not get a guaranteed and consistent experience with Blake’s Hard Cider?
You can grab yourself a six-pack can of our best hard cider at your local Kroger’s or Meijer’s location near you!
And as always my friend, drink responsibly.