Why is All of my Homebrew Tasting the Same?

So, you've got a few beers under your belt, but you are noticing a similar flavor between all of them. This is a good thing if you've been making the same beer every time. But, if you have made 6 different beers and there is a constant/similar/consistent flavor in all of them, then take a look at the yeast you are using.

If you are in the habit of using dry yeast in all of your beers, then that is your problem. In the more recent years, dry yeast has started to come out with some different strains, but for the most part, the yeast has been the same type. An ale yeast strain is the same, sometimes even between different companies.

Dry yeast is great for the fact that it shows the start of fermentation faster than liquid.

(That's because if you just pour the dry yeast into your beer it tends to stay toward the top of the fermenter. It then starts eating the sugar, and you notice the fermentation right away because the CO2 doesn't have far to travel. Liquid yeast will tend to be heavier, and will want to sink toward the bottom of the fermenter. The yeast will start to work on the bottom, and then work its way upward. It just takes longer for the CO2 to make it to the top.)

Liquid yeast comes in many different varieties, and every strain of yeast will produce a different flavor profile. Some will make the beer dry, some malty, some buttery, and so on. Yeast plays a huge role in how your beer turns out. We like to say that a 1/3 of your flavor comes from the grains/malt, 1/3 comes from hops, and the final 1/3 comes from the yeast. Sure, there are some other things that can influence flavor, but these are your big three. Don't take yeast for granted as a major flavor enhancer to your beer. You can make the same beer with 3 different yeasts, and get 3 totally different beers.

If you are having problems with a consistent flavor in all of your beers, switch to liquid yeast. Let's face it, commercial breweries rarely, if at all, use dry yeast because it is not a versatile as liquid yeast. Plus, good luck finding a dry, true Trappist ale yeast. Liquid yeast can get so specific to a style of beer that it actually comes from the town a beer is made in. We have strains available that are as specific as the beer itself. Pilsner Urquell liquid yeast is available, for example.

If you are not using dry yeast, then take a look at what strain of liquid yeast you are using. Maybe the kits you are making are all calling for American/ Californian Ale yeast. If you are using the same strain every time, then you are going to get the same results as using dry yeast all the time. Try switching it up a little. Instead of using American Ale, try American Ale II. There will be a major flavor difference between the two.

Have fun, and experiment with the different strains of yeast available to the home brewer today.

It wasn't long ago that the only yeasts available to home brewers were dry or American Ale liquid. By the way, don't use bread yeast for your beers. They aren't designed for beer, and can leave you with a less then pleasurable drinking experience.