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Whistledown

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There seems to be a lack of liquid yeasts (in Melbourne) especially White Labs. Is this a temporary situation or do I have to look for other alternatives. I have tried Bluestone Munich and am quite impressed however at the moment Bluestone don not have the range of the major US suppliers.
 

peteru

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I've had the pleasure of brewing a couple of batches with Bluestone Michigan and it gave me great IPA and Pale Ale results. It is certainly a good alternative to a few of the classic White Labs strains.
 

peteru

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Bit of an update on the Bluestone yeasts.

I've had three batches out of the single Bluestone Michigan yeast (Pale Ale, IPA and a Red Rye IPA). First batch attenuated exactly as advertised (73.6%) and produced excellent results. Subsequent batches were pitched on top of the yeast cake or used a generous amount of rinsed yeast from the previous batch. For each repitch, I added one capsule of White Labs yeast nutrient to the last 10 minutes of boil and used about a 60 second injection of O2 into the fermenter. Those batches attenuated to about 80% and also provided excellent results.

The Michigan yeast isn't particularly hyperactive and did not cause a big krausen blowout as some other yeasts do. The yeast is perhaps a bit slower to start than some other strains, but once it is going it powers on at a steady rate and gets the job done reasonably quickly. My fermentation profile has been in the 18℃ range for the first 3-5 days, then up to about 22℃ for another 3 days. I use a blow off tube up until I get to about 3/4 of the expected attenuation, then dry hop and finish the fermentation with a spunding valve set to about 80kPa. After the three day 22℃ D-rest step, I lower the temperature to about 8℃ and let the beer clear up for another week or so, then do a closed transfer to a hot-purged keg. Very drinkable result ;-)

I've also had the pleasure of being involved in a collaboration brew using the Bluestone Pilsen yeast. This one was built up to a very large and healthy starter before being pitched into a 60+ L batch of Czech Dark Lager. Again the yeast attenuated as advertised and produced an excellent result. The resulting brew won the 2022 NSW comp and scored 95.5.

Although my direct experiences with Bluestone yeast are only limited to two strains, Flat Rock Brew Club members had the opportunity to test a number of other Bluestone yeast strains. The brew shares that we had at the club meetings were very respectable in all cases. As with any yeast, best results will come once you get to know a particular strain, but from what I tasted so far, Bluestone Yeast certainly have good yeasts that deliver as promised.

About the only criticism I have so far is that the information on the packaging does not match the information on the website and neither of those are detailed enough. I've seen some more detailed information being shared on the forums, which is certainly helpful, but that info and more should be easily available through the Bluestone Yeast website. For extra points, Bluestone should probably engage with the brewing community either through participating in forums or at least have more regular posts in their own blog website section. Perhaps a recipe featuring one of their yeasts once a month, together with detailed observations on how that yeast performs and how a brewer can manipulate the fermentation profiles to get the most out of that strain.

Final verdict: Definitely consider adding Bluestone Yeast to the shopping list when planning the next batch.
 

starkers

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At risk of derailing this further into a thread about Bluestone, I think you can expect their offerings to expand. When I reached out to them and asked why none of their Belgian strains were available anywhere, they were nice enough to reply:

Sorry, but we haven't released any Belgian strain to the homebrew market yet. The viability of the belgian strains is a bit more unstable and we have been working on a new storage media that gives better viability. It is an issue with all commercial belgian strains. We just don't want to release those strains until we can guarantee 80% viability after 6 months. We hope to release them soon, once we have finished the testing.
Sounds to me like they're interested in bringing more yeast to more homebrewers. I'm keen.
 

Whistledown

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I am now on my third batch of Bluestone Pilsner and would not use anything else. The freshness of the yeast, the 200B cell count and as confirmed by a super quick response from Derek Lacey of Bluestone - 80% viability after 6 months. Above all this yeast gives me exactly what I am looking for regarding the taste of the end product. It worked brilliantly with my German Pilsner, Munich Helles and Festbier.
 

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