A Guide to Cider Fermentations

Guide To Cider Fermentations - Cider Yeast

Who doesn’t love a crisp, refreshing cider in any season? The artisanal cider market is changing the way cider is perceived in America, from a sugary sweet beverage to a complex unique alternative to beer. White Labs has several products to help you create the perfect hard cider.


Yeast Matters 

Many recipes for cider suggest a wine strain or a package of generic dry yeast. We’re here to tell you that yeast choice for your cider does matter. If you don’t believe us, split your batch into two fermentations and try them side by side. We’ve seen so many beautiful ciders with some of the following liquid yeast strains: 

Yeast and Bacteria Suggestions
WLP001 California Ale Yeast
WLP002 English Ale Yeast
WLP028 Scottish Ale Yeast 
WLP611 New Nordic Ale Blend Yeast
WLP616 Funky Cider Blend
WLP645 Brettanomyces claussenii
WLP648 Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois Vrai
WLP650 Brettanomyces bruxellensis 
WLP653 Brettanomyces lambicus 
WLP672 Lactobacillus brevis
WLP677 Lactobacillus delbrueckii
WLP693 Lactobacillus plantarum
WLP715 Champagne Yeast
WLP773 Scottish Cider Yeast Blend
WLP775 English Cider Yeast

Yeast Inoculation Rates  

In cider, inoculation rates correlate with how fast the fermentations take place. If you’re looking for a slower fermentation to preserve fruit aroma, a lower inoculation rate can be valuable.

Pitch Rate
350,000 cells/mL for 12 Brix must can result in an 8 to 10 day fermentation at 20C

If you're looking for a more foolproof fermentation, check out our pitch rate calculator for pitch rate suggestions!

Yeastman calculator graphic

Working with high gravity brews or lower fermentation temperatures?

Nutrients are Necessary

Nutrients should be added to warm water, dissolved, and then added before fermentation. Most must is insufficient in nitrogen; we recommend adding YAN (Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen) concentration at ~150g/BBL. Our nutrient recommendation is SeltzerMaxas it adds nutrients to fermentation to help reduce off-flavors such as sulfur without adding additional flavor. 


Make It Wild 

that contains everything you need to create a tart funk-forward cider. WLP616 Funky Cider Blend are just a few organisms we carry to create that natural cider funk. Alternatively, check out our Lactobacillus sp.or bacteria like Torulaspora sp. or Brettanomyces sp. Creating a spontaneously fermented cider can be difficult with must that has been pasteurized. Try using alternative microorganisms to create a more unique and complex cider. Wild yeasts such as


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Hard Cider Tech Sheet

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Brettanomyces claussenii

Originally isolated from strong English stock beer in the early 20th century, this yeast has low-intensity Brettanomyces character and is closely related to Brettanomyces anomalus. This strain produces fruity, pineapple-like aroma with an earthy hay-like background aroma and aroma note.

Pitch Rate Calculator

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Saison/Brettanomyces Yeast Blend I

This blend combines a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain from Saison Blend I and two unique Brettanomyces isolates. The Saccharomyces strain is a strong attenuator that produces a delightful ester profile of grapefruit and orange zest and imparts a long, dry and earthy finish to the beer. The Brettanomyces strains are both good attenuators that produce complex fruity esters and mild funk, and add a bright character to the beer.

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Saison/Brettanomyces Yeast Blend II

This blend contains two saison-style Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates and two Brettanomyces bruxellensis cultures.  This unique combination produces a beer that is bursting with classic saison esters and earthiness, with a rustic kick of Brettanomyces fruitiness and funkiness.

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Funky Cider Blend

This is a blend of two Saccharomyces strains combined with some Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. This blend results in a slight tartness and a mild funk aroma that will result in less than two weeks. Light pellicle will form because of the Brettanomyces.

Pitch Rate Calculator

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Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois Vrai

The vrai (“true” in French) Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois. This infamous strain should be used for primary fermentations due to its ability to highly attenuate. It has a robust, complex sour character with aromas of pear.

Pitch Rate Calculator

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Brettanomyces bruxellensis

A classic strain used for secondary fermentation in Belgian-style beers such as lambics. It creates a medium-intensity, earth-forward character in finished beer. A historic brewery in Belgium uses this yeast in secondary fermentation and bottling to produce the signature flavor of its beer.

Brettanomyces bruxellensis yeast allows for the development of its signature "barnyard" flavor, a favorite of many home and professional brewers alike.

Pitch Rate Calculator

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Brettanomyces lambicus

This yeast produces a high intensity of the traditional Brettanomyces characters in beer, such as horsey, smoky and spicy flavors. As the name suggests, this strain is found most often in lambic style beers but is also commonly found in Flanders and sour brown ales.

Pitch Rate Calculator

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Amalgamation I Brettanomyces Blend

Amalgamation is the union of our six favorite Brettanomyces isolates from our library. Each isolate produces a unique bouquet of bright and fruity flavors and aromas. The resulting beer is dry with complex fruit-forward flavor and aroma of berries and citrus, accompanied by some funk on the palate.

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Amalgamation II Brettanomyces Blend

Amalgamation II is a blend of 5 Brettanomyces bruxellensis isolates that showcases qualities of each isolate: The lemon tart and restrained funk of the Beersel isolates and TYB184, the SweeTarts™ character of TYB207, and the tropical bouquet of pineapple, guava, mango and papaya esters of TYB261.

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Amalgamation V Brettanomyces Blend

A blend of three strains of Brettanomyces bruxellensis that imparts a complex array of tropical and dark berry fruit esters. All three strains in this blend are quick to grow and develop character, highly versatile, and can be employed in primary fermentation, extended aging or bottle conditioning to quickly develop complexity in any mixed fermentation beer.

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Beersel Brettanomyces Blend

This blend combines Brettanomyces bruxellensis strains isolated from a lambic produced in the Beersel area in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant, and produces a balanced profile of bright fruitiness, restrained funkiness and crisp tartness.

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Brussels Brettanomyces Blend

Comprised of two Brettanomyces bruxellensis strains isolated from a unique lambic produced in the Brussels region of Belgium, the isolates in this blend produce a pronounced barnyard funk with mild tartness and fruitiness.

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Lochristi Brettanomyces Blend

This blend combines Brettanomyces bruxellensis strains isolated from a unique beer produced in the Lochristi area in East Flanders. One strain provides a moderate funk and light fruitiness, while the other strain adds a more assertive fruitiness dominated by hints of strawberry.

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Brettanomyces bruxellensis strain TYB184

Isolated from a rustic American farmhouse-style beer, this single strain of Brettanomyces bruxellensis is attenuative, produces a tart citric acidic-like character and an ester profile of lemon/pineapple with a restrained funk.

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Brettanomyces bruxellensis strain TYB207

Isolated from a Belgian-inspired brewery in the Northeastern United States, this single strain of Brettanomyces bruxellensis exhibits good attenuation and produces a tart tropical fruit ester profile reminiscent of SweeTarts™.

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Brettanomyces bruxellensis strain TYB261

Isolated from a unique mixed fermentation beer produced in the Midwestern United States, this Brettanomyces bruxellensis isolate exhibits a mild tartness and soft funk with a solid backbone of tropical fruit esters (papaya, guava, pineapple, guinep). This strain is highy active and produces a thick krausen.

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Brettanomyces bruxellensis strain TYB307

This is a single strain of Brettanomyces bruxellensis isolated from a California brewery that utilizes a diverse array of organisms in the production of their eclectic beers. This strain exhibits a lemony-tartness with hints of hay and mild funk, and has a crisp and dry finish. 

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Brettanomyces bruxellensis strain TYB415

This isolate is a single strain of Brettanomyces bruxellensis hailing from a brewer of all things sour and wild in the Mountain West. This strain exhibits a strong profile of complex tropical fruit that is dominated by pineapple with a noticeable earthiness. This strain is highly active and produces a thick krausen.

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Oud Vat Brett

Oud Vat Brett is a single strain of Brettanomyces bruxellensis isolated from a  spontaneously fermented beer aged in a specific large format wooden Vat, known for its complex Brettanomyces-derived character. This fast acting strain produces a mixed dark berry quality with earthy undertones and a thick krausen.

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