I just finished bottling my first brewing effort with a yeast I have not previously used. The yeast in question is Safale s-04 which is billed as a dry version of the famed Whitbread Brewery's in-house strain of yeast.
Like other Fermentis products, this yeast goes to work quick. Just dump the envelop in the fermentor and you will see noticeable activity within the hour. A large head of yeast did not develop and after four days the yeast had dropped. On day eight I bottled. The beer came out crystal clear. The final gravity was 1004! This yeast had fermented my beer nearly to water! Further, in spite of not forming a large yeast head, a very thick yeast cake had formed in the bottom of the fermentor. I probably could have saved some for repitching.
The flavor is excellent. It has a almost lager-like tartness with a pleasant grainy base. Obviously, it is light bodied but did not seem watery. I look forward to drinking this once it is fully conditioned.
What may pose a problem for me is carbonation. I had decided that with this beer I would once again go the traditional route and not prime the beer before bottling. Just bottle it and wait three months for it to carbonate and condition naturally. However, with a final gravity of 1004, I worry that there is not enough fermentable material left for it to carbonate. I shall find out. I will either have an awesome Real Ale, or some great tasting flat beer.
Deer Reader, I shall keep you informed.