Your extensive guide to champagne yeast.
The taste and fizz imparted to any alcoholic beverage, like beer or wine, is all about the kind of yeast used in the production, along with the fermentation process. Due to this, finding the perfect yeast becomes quite essential to bring about a sparkling and spectacular taste to your beverage.
In today’s time, a special type of beverage yeast, the champagne yeast has taken the brewing industry by storm. However, what is champagne yeast, and what are its benefits? Well, you might want to read on to bubble up your knowledge!
What is Champagne Yeast?
First of all, we need to talk about what exactly champagne yeast is. Now, if you’re into brewing, you may have heard about the different kinds of yeasts used like brewer’s yeast and wine yeast.
Similarly, there’s champagne yeast, which is a type of neutral and clean yeast used for the production of champagne, cider, dry wines, and fruit juices. This type of yeast is mainly used to get tiny bubbles, along with some dryness in many beverages, including wine and beer.
Moreover, did you know that the term ‘champagne’, in champagne yeast, hasn’t originated from the use of this yeast but instead from the place of origin? Hence, champagne yeast has originated from the lovely regions of the Champagne province of France.
Types of Champagne Yeast
When it comes to champagne yeast, you can find mainly three types of champagne yeast. This differentiation takes place due to the many differences involved in the characteristics and fermentation process of the yeasts.
1. Premier Cuvee
Premier Cuvee, also known as Prise de Mousse, is a type of champagne yeast that is widely used for barrel fermentation. Barrel fermentation basically stands for a traditional brewing method where wine is brewed in barrels.
This champagne yeast is mainly known for its low-foaming nature and strong fermentation too. Moreover, it imparts a yeasty aroma which makes it suitable for secondary fermentation too, in the case of sparkling wines.
Lastly, some of the other properties include:
- Low flocculation
- 18% alcohol content
- Fermentation temperature required: 45 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 to 35 degrees Celsius
2. Pasteur Champagne
The next type of champagne yeast includes the Pasteur Champagne. This yeast is also used in the production of various sparkling wines, owing to its rapid fermentation.
Pasteur Champagne yeast is known for tolerating low-temperature conditions. Moreover, it can also tolerate medium as well as high alcohol conditions which makes it perfect for wine production.
Some of the other properties of Pasteur Champagne include:
- Strong fermentation and medium to low flocculation
- 13% to 17% alcohol content
- Fermentation temperature required: 59 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius
Lastly, Epernay is also an excellent champagne yeast that has originated from the Champagne province in France.
This type of champagne yeast is best for bottle fermenting as it is tolerant to cold temperatures and provides slow fermentation.
Some of the other properties of Epernay include:
- Slow fermentation and medium to low flocculation
- Fermentation temperature required: 50 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees to 21 degrees Celsius
Comparison Between Different Types of Champagne Yeasts
The table given below represents the differences between different types of champagne yeast.
|Characteristics||Premier Cuvee||Pasteur Champagne||Epernay|
|Fermentation||Strong fermentation||Rapid fermentation||Slow fermentation|
|Flocculation||Low flocculation||Medium to low flocculation||Medium to low flocculation|
|Fermentation Temperature||45F to 95F||59F to 86F||50F to 70F|
|Alcohol Content||18%||13% to 17%||Around 15%|
|Other Differences||Barrel Fermentation is implemented.||Can be fermented in moderate to high alcohol conditions||Bottle fermentation is implemented.|
Process of Using Champagne Yeast in Wine Production – Méthode Champenoise
Now, let’s understand how champagne yeast is used in various wine production techniques. To get the best champagne or sparkling wine, secondary fermentation is required. The champagne yeast helps in secondary fermentation with the help of Méthode Champenoise.
Given below is how the process of Méthode Champenoise goes:
- First, a mixture of champagne yeast and rock sugar (also known as liquor de tirage) is added to still wine.
- Then, the wine is added to bottles and capped with the help of beer bottle-like caps instead of corks.
- Inside the bottle, the yeast reacts with sugar and releases carbon dioxide. At this step, the fermentation temperature is decided to depend on the type of champagne yeast used.
- The sparkling wine is kept bottled in for years to get the best taste. Once the whole process is finished, the beer bottle-like cap is replaced with wire-caged cork.
In this way, the champagne yeast facilitates secondary fermentation in sparkling wine or champagne.
Benefits of Champagne Yeast
Using champagne yeast in beverages can help in enhancing the flavor and the whole experience of it. It is because this type of yeast has plenty of benefits such as:
1. Smaller Bubbles
Champagne yeast is known to add the cherry on the top of sparkling wine as it provides smaller bubbles.
The feel of smaller bubbles adds to the experience of drinking wine due to the enhancement in the taste and aroma. Moreover, these bubbles provide the drinker with a gentle fizz that’s usually absent in many beverages.
2. Dry Taste
If you have drunk champagne before, you may have noticed its characteristic dry flavor, which is also known as ‘brut’ in French.
Now, if you want to have a similar kind of dryness in supposing another drink, like ale, then you can get it with champagne yeast. So, you can get both the rich flavor of ale with the dry-finish of champagne.
3. Can Be Used For Sour Beer
Lastly, champagne yeast is used for making many sour beers too. It is because this kind of yeast has a subtle flavor that doesn’t dominate the taste of authentic beer. Moreover, it can tolerate acidic conditions which a simple brewer’s yeast cannot.
Hence, due to its neutral nature, champagne yeast can be used for sour beers too.
To conclude, each type of yeast has its own benefits and limitations. So, while on one hand champagne yeast offers a delectable champagne-like taste, other kinds of yeast have something else to offer too.
So, it depends on you to make a well-informed choice on which yeast you wish to use for your beverage to get the best out of it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Champagne Yeast and Brewer’s Yeast the Same?
No, both of these yeasts have their own taste and characteristics. For instance, champagne yeast imparts the taste of champagne (small bubbles, dry taste) specially to beer whereas brewer’s yeast is used for standard beer-making processes.
Is There Any Legal Age to Buy Champagne Yeast?
As of now, in the US, there’s no certain age limit for buying champagne yeast.
Is Champagne Yeast Top-Fermenting or Bottom?
Champagne Yeast, also known as Saccharomyces bayanus, is a top-fermenting yeast. Hence, the flocculating yeast gets to the surface during the fermentation process.
Check out our FAQs about Champagne yeast.