Co-Fermentation Yeasts

edited April 2020 in General

I was just wondering if anyone has any experience or thoughts on co-fermenting with multiple yeast strains.

I just finished a Manuka Smoked whisky with great success where I fermented half the wash with EC-1118 and the other half with Distilamax MW.

As I experiment with other whiskys I want to reduce my volumes a bit and rather than ferment 2 batches one after the other I want to try and do one ferment with both yeasts.

I'm just not sure given EC-1118 is a killer yeast so will it kill/ out compete the MW strain?

I will give it a try but am curious if anyone has done it and how it worked out.

When pitching should I just half the dosages of each yeast? Or do they both need to be pitched at the full dose?


  • edited April 2020

    Keep in mind you can vary the pitch volumes of each yeast, and can also inoculate sequentially. Both techniques can compensate for killer factor.

    For example - pitch EC 12-24 hours later if using a sensitive yeast - or a yeast that has poor attenuation.

    Sky is the limit.

    Manuka honey though- I’d want to ferment that as cold and slow as possible to preserve aroma. I’d even want to distill that separately - keeping lots of those mid/late heads to blend in. Far more heads than I’d consider using from the whiskey.

  • @grim thanks for that, I might start with the MW and pitch the EC after 24 hours.

    With the Manuka I fermented it at 22 degrees, I have to say after tasting the white spirit it's turned out really well. I'm excited to see how it goes on oak, this is my first whisky.

  • Speaking of manuka honey, recently it's magic medicine in the senior community. It's an oddly effective laxative. (You don't want the particulars)

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • Well maybe this could be the world's first laxative whisky... follow it with a prune smoothy

  • Back in the old days they used to doctor up whiskey with prune as a way to artificially 'mature'.

  • @grim if I were to start with one yeast and add another at say the halfway point would you suggest pitching both yeasts at the full dose or at half dose?

  • I wouldn't wait as long as the halfway point, but the later yeast would likely need to be full dose, otherwise it would likely be overshadowed/outcompeted.

    In this scenario, you might cut the initial yeast to half-dose.

  • Thanks for that, I might try pitching the second yeast 1/3 of the way through (open to suggestions though).

    First inoculation at a 50% dose and then a second inoculation at a full dose 1/3 or 1/4 of the way through.

  • The risk there is infection or funk from underpitching to start. I wouldn't do it personally. Extended lag phase etc.

    Underpitching has yeast in growth phase for longer where they are making more of a yeast character as well. If that is your aim, it will be one of the side effects.

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