January 22, 2013

Yeast Project: Tasting RAM 1, 2 and 10

I know I've been posting a lot of tasting posts but this one relates to my yeast project so hopefully it's a little more interesting. I haven't had a chance to put more strains through the fermentation process but I did finally get around to tasting the first three strains I fermented. For the first three strains I used some left over runnings from a porter hopped and boiled down to a useful gravity. Unfortunately I ended up with a really bitter beer but it produced some interesting data so all was not lost. I definitely plan on using some DME for the other tests to get a more neutral beer to let the yeast shine through. Anyway, here's the skinny on these strains:

RAM-1 (WLP 300)

RAM-1 tasted pretty much the way you expect it to. At 65F it was extremely clovely with little banana. It did not taste very good in a hoppy porter. Not really a surprise there. I've already used this strain in a dunkelweizen with good success. Not really much more that needs to be said about this strain since it's a common homebrewing strain.

RAM-2 (Stroh)

The aroma from the strain was strongly caramel, which was probably driven by the porter but did not have such an obvious aroma with RAM-1. The flavor was also strongly of caramel with slight apricot notes and a little diacetyl buttery flavor in the background. The hop bitterness was particularly accentuated in this beer. Overall I wasn't terribly fond of it. I didn't think the sharp hop bitterness and caramel played particularly well together but maybe in a lighter beer it would work better.

RAM-10 (Blatz)

This strain was similar to RAM-2 with the caramel notes but unlike RAM-2 there was a really strong apricot presence. The aroma was prevalently apricot with some caramel and bready notes. It smelled a lot like an apricot cobbler or pie. Really good, actually. The flavor was slightly different. Very malt forward and the hop bitterness was subdued. The apricot was more restrained in the flavor but still present. Hints of diacetyl and sulfur in the background. Definitely the best of the three.

RAM-2 and RAM-10 were strains I initially hypothesized to be lager strains but after watching their very ale-like fermentations with thick krausen, I shifted to the hypothesis that these strains were actually ale strains. After tasting both, I am fairly confident each are lager strains. The apricot esters were very different from anything I have tasted or read about from ale strains but does relate more to the flavors of steam beer and some things I have read about lager strains. However, while my present hypothesis for both strains is that they are lager strains, I will have to do some follow up experiments in the future by fermenting at lager temperatures to see if they ferment out or stall like an ale strain would. I suspect I have another lager strain or two out there so I might hold off on that experiment until I have the chance to play with each strain so I can do one lager experiment with all the suspected lager strains at once.


  1. Might have missed a previous post, but what does "RAM" mean in your nomenclature?

    1. I mentioned it somewhere beforehand. These yeast strains come from a supplier who doesn't want to be named so as part of covering up the tracks I didn't want to use the identifiers they came with and gave them my own. I just numbered then 1-10 and through the initials of the name I use on all the beer boards to identify the strains with more than just a number. I probably stole the idea after reading the brettanomyces project one too many times.