What are the differences between top-fermenting and bottom-fermenting yeasts

Monday, February 20, 2023
As you are likely well aware, beer is a fermented beverage that is made from malted grains, hops, water, and yeast. 

Yeast is a crucially essential ingredient in the beer-making process as it converts the sugar from the malted grains into alcohol and carbon dioxide, giving the beer its characteristic flavor, aroma, and texture. 

There are two main types of yeast used in beer-making: top-fermenting and bottom-fermenting yeast.

Top-fermenting yeast, also known as ale yeast, is so named because it ferments at the top of the beer during the brewing process. 

fermenting top and bottom styles

This type of yeast is typically used to make ales, which are known for their fruity and spicy flavors, as well as their high alcohol content. 

Top-fermenting yeast requires warmer temperatures to ferment properly, typically between 60-70°F, and will produce a lot of foam during the fermentation process.

In contrast, bottom-fermenting yeast, also known as lager yeast, ferments at the bottom of the beer during the brewing process. 

This type of yeast is typically used to make lagers, which are known for their crisp, clean taste and low alcohol content. 

top and bottom fermenting yeast

Bottom-fermenting yeast requires cooler temperatures to ferment properly, typically between 45-55°F, and does not produce as much foam during the fermentation process.

The difference in the temperature requirements of top- and bottom-fermenting yeast has a significant impact on the brewing process. Because top-fermenting yeast requires warmer temperatures, the fermentation process is faster and more vigorous, producing a beer with a higher alcohol content and more complex flavors. 

Bottom-fermenting yeast, on the other hand, requires cooler temperatures and a longer fermentation process, resulting in a beer that is lighter in both alcohol and flavor.

You may be interested in this really wild way of adding wild yeast to make lambic beer


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