Safale S-04 - A Guide To Using S-04 Yeast (2024)

Safale S-04 - A Guide To Using S-04 Yeast (1)

Safale S-04 by Fermentis is possibly the most popular dry English ale yeast on the market. It is the yeast I have most experience of using both as a homebrewer and as a commercial brewer.

S-04 is a British yeast strain that is highly flocculent and fermentation times are pretty quick. This is what made it great for brewing cask ales in a commercial brewery setting where you want the yeast to settle quickly after a beer racked in a cask.

Safale S-04 also has plenty to offer the home brewer too and some of its characteristics make it good for brewing drinks other than beer so let’s take a look.

Table of Contents

Safale S-04 Profile

As mentioned above, Safale S-04 is perfectly suited to brewing cask ales because it ferments quickly and flocculates quickly.

S-04 Flocculation

When beer is packaged into a cask a certain amount of yeast goes into it. When cask beer is delivered to a pub the yeast gets roused back into suspension and the sooner it flocculates the better the beer clarity will be when served. Typically this means cask beer can be served in a couple of days of delivery into the cellar.

Fast Fermenter

The speed if fermentation from S-04 can catch you off guard. In just 2 or 3 of days of activity and the krausen (yeast head) at the height of fermentation will fall back into the beer.

I have seen countless threads in forums and questions asked here about whether the yeast is working properly when in reality it is doing exactly as intended.

S-04 Attenuation

At the recommended fermentation temperature of 20°C, the attenuation of S-04 is between 72 – 75%. This may be slightly affected by factors such as mash temperatures and grist.

In my experience, the attenuation from batch to batch using S-04 is very dependable.

Low Esters

The fermentation range suggested for Safale S-04 is between 15-20°C (59-68°F) which is fairly for a lot of ale yeast.

At this temperature, I personally have found there’s low discernable ester production. When you raise the temperature beyond 20°C / 68°F you might find more esters and other flavours are detectable, along with the higher temperature is a more vigorous fermentation.

Key Figures For Safale S-04

Fermentation Temperature: ideally 15-20°C (59-68°F)

Flocculation: Very high

Attenuation: 72 – 75%

Alcohol Tolerance: 9 – 11% ABV

Yeast Cell Count: > 69,000,000,000 (69 billion) per 11.5g sachet

Safale S-04 Beer Styles

S-04 is recommended for many British and American beer styles and especially for cask ales, although this is less relevant to home brewers.

English IPA, ESB, Pale ales, blonde ales, stouts, porters, old ales, barleywines, red ales, mild, brown ales.

All these styles are suitable candidates for Safale S-04 as long as they are below 11% ABV at which point you might find residual sugars are under attenuated.

S-04 Unusual Uses

I have personally used S-04 for drinks that aren’t beer with good results.

I have made hydromel a lower ABV fruit mead, ginger beer and cider with S-04 and they have benefited from a little residual sweetness that is left by S-04 even when using simple sugars.

How To Pitch Safale S-04

Pitching dried yeast tends to be fairly simple.

There is, however, some confusion around whether yeast starters or rehydration is necessary or even detrimental but Fermentis has clear instructions on how to pitch S-04.

Direct Pitching

Fermentis have published themselves that yeast viability and profile are not affected if Safale S-04 is pitched directly onto the wort surface.

Pitching directly is simply a case of sprinkling the yeast directly from the package onto the wort covering the entire surface, avoiding clumps. There is no need for stirring or mixing the yeast in, the yeast will rehydrate in the wort and then sink into solution.

It is also suggested that pitching a few degrees above fermentation temperature is ideal. Pitching the yeast direct and then cooling down to fermentation temperature after pitching.

Rehydrating Prior To Pitching

Fermentis instructions indicate rehydrating the yeast in the following manner:

Sprinkle the yeast into 10 times its weight (115ml for 1 sachet) of sterile water or boiled wort at a temperature of 25 to 29°C (77°F to 84°F). Leave the yeast for 15 – 30 minutes before swirling the vessel and pitching into the wort.

How Long Does Safale S-04 Last?

The information published about S-04 suggests a shelf life of 36 months from production date.

Yeast cell viability will decrease in this time so I would suggest rehydrating yeast before pitching if your yeast sachet is more than a year old. You might also consider making a yeast starter if your yeast is a couple of years old to ensure yeast health and build more healthy cells.

How To Store S-04

The ideal conditions to store S-04 and most dried yeast is in the fridge or at temperatures of less than 10°C / 50°F.

Dried yeast can be stored at ambient temperature but the yeast viability will be less than it would if stored at cooler temperatures.

Once a package is opened it is recommended to use within 7 days.

Safale S-04 - A Guide To Using S-04 Yeast (2024)


What temperature do you ferment Safale 04? ›

SafAle™ S-04 technical features. 50 to 80 g/hl at ideally 18-26°C (64.4-78.8°F).

What is the alcohol tolerance of Safale S-04 yeast? ›

Says that S-04 can only "re-ferment" beers of up to 6.5%.

What is the attenuation of Safale S-04 yeast? ›

Fermentis Safale S-04 Yeast Features:

Attenuation: 72–82% Alcohol Tolerance: 9-11%

Where does S-04 yeast come from? ›

Two yeasts commonly associated with this style are the liquid Wyeast 1318 London Ale III, said to be sourced from Boddington's Brewery, and the dry Fermentis Safale S-04 English Ale, which is known to have originated from Whitbread Brewery.

What temperature kills yeast fermentation? ›

130° F—140° F (55° C–60° C) Yeast cells die (thermal death point).

What is the best temperature to ferment a yeast dough? ›

Mix the dough with lukewarm 100°F (38°C) water, then ferment at 85-90°F (30-32°C). Temperatures above 90°F (32°C) may adversely affect the flavor of yeast bread. Pre-ferments that rise overnight need a cool temperature to help ensure that they don't over-ferment while unattended.

What ABV kills yeast? ›

Most yeast strains can tolerate an alcohol concentration of 10–15% before being killed. This is why the percentage of alcohol in wines and beers is typically in this concentration range. However, like humans, different strains of yeast can tolerate different amounts of alcohol.

What is the lowest temperature yeast can ferment? ›

In terms of fermentation, lager yeasts are routinely fermented between 40–54 °F (4–12 ºC) while ale yeast is used from 55–70 °F (13–21 ºC). The optimal fermenting temperatures of yeast vary considerably. Some ale yeasts for example, do not perform well below 65 °F (18 ºC).

What is the best yeast for the highest ABV? ›

One of the highest, if not the highest, alcohol tolerance yeast on the market today is called turbo yeast. It is a special type of yeast that yields ABV levels up to 25% in a very short time.

What is the difference between yeast attenuation and alcohol tolerance? ›

Hops have over thirteen datasets that we are able to dissect and analyze. Yeast (unfortunately for us) have only four: Attenuation – Refers to the percentage of sugars in the wort that end up being converted into alcohol. Alcohol Tolerance – Refers to how much alcohol the yeast can sustain before becoming inactive.

How can I increase my yeast attenuation? ›

Agitating the yeast can improve attenuation, but it shouldn't be overdone. Remember to change your fermentation time based on your attenuation rates.

What is the final gravity of S-04 yeast? ›

Description - Fermentis dried brewing yeast SafAle S-04 500 g. Universal top-fermenting yeast with excellent sedimentation characteristics. Ensures rapid fermentation and low final gravity (1008-1012 SG = 2-3 °Plato).

What yeast do bakers use? ›

S. cerevisiae is known as “brewer's yeast” or “baker's yeast” for good reason: it's responsible for the fermentation that makes beer alcoholic and allows a lump of dough to rise into a loaf of bread.

How long does it take for S-04 to ferment? ›

My experience also is that S-04 will usually be done in a couple of days, less than 3, and yeah Nottingham is maybe even faster. My last batch with Nottingham finished in 48 hours, 12.7°P down to 1.5°P.

What are the different styles of S-04 beer? ›

Beer Styles: Blonde Ale, English IPA, Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale), Oatmeal Stout, Southern English Brown, Special/Best/Premium Bitter, Standard/Ordinary Bitter, Sweet Stout.

What is the right temperature for fermentation? ›

According to the temperature, the fermentation process can be divided into normal-temperature fermentation (natural fermentation), medium-temperature fermentation (28°C–38°C), and high-temperature fermentation (48°C–60°C).

What temperature do you ferment distilling? ›

Temperature. Temperature control during fermentation is vitally important. Distilleries aim to maintain specific temperature ranges to encourage yeast activity and control the rate of fermentation, which is normally 20°C to 32°C.

At what temperature should fermentation take place ideally? ›

Consider the Dough Temperature

For most recipes at The Perfect Loaf, the FDT is around 78°F (25°C). If the FDT comes higher, say around 80 or 82°F (26 to 27°C), expect to need to shorten bulk fermentation due to increased fermentation activity.

What temperature do you ferment alcohol? ›

What is the ideal fermentation temperature? For red wine, wine fermentation temperature is generally in 20 ℃ to 32 ℃(68 ℉ to 89.6 ℉), high temperature is good for color and tannin extract, but when the temperature reaches 35 ℃ to 38 ℃(95 ℉ to 100.4 ℉), the fermentation will be aborted.

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