Shea Comfort began dabbling in home brewing in 1996. This History of Art and Philosophy major didn’t choose to become a Yeast Whisper. Some names can’t be chosen, they just come along.
Having read extensively the books of the day he is, suffice to say, a self taught technical yeast expert. “You realize you have to get some type of competency in science…basic formulas, concepts, ideas and just get use to it [the language of science].”
But, “You can be really good with science and the numbers and still make average wine.”
In 2011, Shea began focusing on cider. “You need tools to do the job.”
Shea began with trials with yeast, oaks, tannins.
Around 7-8 years ago (2010) after stepping away from a winery startup, Shea was looking for a job. It was during this time, that friends began calling him a “Yeast Whisper”. The name stuck and it was then that he began working with Lallemand, a manufacturer of yeast.
“If you want to get competent on this and learn more and go deeper about this you have to have an understanding of the science.”
What is a glaring problem for cider makers?
- When makers say, “We are a cider, we are not beer, we are not wine we are a cider. Look at cider as wine.”
All the wine making approaches of winemaking makes perfect sense for cider.
Shea says to make sure to understand acidity, balance and structure, skin fractions, perfumes, and mineralogy. Know how to blend.
Quotes to ponder from Shea:
“Understand that you can get amazing complexity even if the cider is dry.”
“Cider is a wine made with apples.”
“Technically Perry is a Pear Cider”
Is there a difference between liquid yeast and dry yeast?
If done well, there should be no difference between a liquid or dry cultured yeast.
Shea’s baseline recommendation for a good cider yeast.
– Any champagne yeast such as a DV10, EC1118
– Ask, “What white wine yeast would re-enforce apples?”
Lalvin DV10 – again has neutral sensory impact. It stays true to your original fruit
Lalvin EC118 (Prise de Mousee) neutral esters
Produces a lot of SO2 (up to 30 ppm) and can inhibit malolactic fermentation
1. Lallemand yeast
Shea’s tips for managing a cider so that it doesn’t go completely dry
- Cold crash,
- Use Sulfites
- Bottle and keep in the fridge
Contact Shea Comfort
Ask for the following 6 #CiderGoingUP Campaign cider supporters – By supporting these cider makers, you in turn help Ciderville.
- Kurant Cider – Pennsylvania : listen to Joe Getz on episode 14
- Big Apple Hard Cider – NYC : listen to Danielle von Scheiner on episode 35
- Oliver’s Cider and Perry – Herefordshire/UK ; listen to Tom Oliver on episode 29
- Santa Cruz Cider Company – California : listen to Nicole Todd on episode 60
- The Cider Project aka EthicCider– California
- Albermale CiderWorks : listen to Chuck Shelton on episode 56
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