The significance of COMPASS on silencing of the FLO and MAL genes, located close to telomeres, was studied in different Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains that fermented high concentrations of maltose (20%) with different efficiency. In one particular fast maltose-fermenting yeast strain, with constitutive expression of FLO11, the expression of FLO1, FLO5 and FLO9 was induced during fermentation of high concentrations of maltose or glucose. In another strain the expression of mainly FLO1 was induced. Mutants of these strains with a defective COMPASS, however, formed very large aggregates of cells earlier in the fermentation and more pronounced than the wild-type. The formation of the large flocs was dependent on calcium ions and was inhibited by mannose. The flocculation displayed by mutants defective in COMPASS was due to increased amounts of FLO1, FLO5 and FLO9 transcripts. COMPASS-mediated silencing of the MAL genes was detected at the later stages of fermentation in strains that fermented high concentrations of maltose slowly and incompletely, while silencing was not detectable in strains that fermented maltose fast. Thus, COMPASS, in addition to the MAL genes, is also involved in silencing the expression of the FLO1, FLO5 and FLO9 genes. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.