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Old 12-17-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
WolvinMaine
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Default British Yeast Comparison

Hello all,

I decided to try a comparison of various British yeast strains. I love bitters, and am on the quest for that perfect yeast strain, at least for me. I decided to do an experiment where I took my favorite English strain thus far, WY 1318, and compared side by side with some other strains. I brewed a single batch of beer, split it into 5 different vessels, and fermented each with WY 1318, WLP 007, WLP 013, WLP 023, and WLP 028 in identical conditions. I have used WLP 002 in other beers, and while I liked it, I did not enjoy it as much as WY1318, so that is why it was not part of this. I just had a chance to taste them this weekend, and thought I would share my impressions.

For flat out "English" character, and the yeast strain I think will make the best bitter of them all, I would go with WY 1318. Its ester profile is completely different then the others, more cherry/berry flavors then apple/honey. More malty, it did not express as much bitterness as the others. It is an incredible top cropper, so a good choice if you want to do open fermentation and harvest yeast that way. It also drops like a stone, and leaves a clear beer very quickly.

I thought WLP 007, which had a much more subdued ester profile, was probably the most versatile of the strains. I can see why this is a popular house yeast for guys like Stone. It is "English" enough to be used in a bitter, albeit a less flavorful one. It does have an apple nose and taste, but much more subdued. However it expressed both bitterness and malt well. I think it would do a good job in American styles, and seems to drop very quickly as well, leaving a nice clear beer.

WLP028 was really pretty clean, lots of maltiness highlighted, but the bitterness was there, not as subdued as in the WY1318. I think this would be a good strain for people looking to do a maltier "lager" style at ale temps like a bock, or looking for other relatively clean ale strains. I will play with this guy more. However, it was cloudy even several weeks out, so seems to hang in suspension longer.

WLP023 smells and tastes like cider and spice, and I did not care for it at all. Too sweet, all I could thing of was drinking mulled cider. WLP013 has a very musty/earthy smell, not fruity at all, but was the most crisp on the tongue and expressed the most bitterness. I did not care for it, but I can see it being the most hop friendly of the 5. Both of these were very clear as well.

If you want more details, you can find them posted on my blog below. I think I will stick with WY1318 for bitters, but will probably play around with 007 and 028 more for other styles. Any other strains you guys would recommend trying for that perfect bitter? Also, I would be very curious what sort of experience folks have had with WLP 028 and 007, as both seemed worth further investigation.

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Old 12-18-2011, 03:49 AM   #2
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1318 is my go-to, and I've been really happy with the bitter's I've made with it. Plus, it's really easy for me to get, too

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Old 12-18-2011, 12:31 PM   #3
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Yeah, looking over the list of yeasts at Wyeast and Whitelabs, nothing else grabs me. I have used the Yorkshire Square yeast form Whitelabs, WLP 037, and did not care for it at all. It had a strange, astringent taste which I just could not warm up too.

The one that really makes me curious is the WLP 028. I just don't like the peachy flavors I tend to get from Safale 05. I taste them even when fermented cool. I am looking for an alternative for my cleaner fermenting ales, and this maybe it, but I would love to hear if anyone else has tried it in an APA or something like that, and how it turned out.

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Old 12-18-2011, 12:40 PM   #4
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I'd be curious to know about that as well -- I've used the 1318 in just about any american/british style you can think of, and while it isn't the *best* yeast for a really hopped-up american IPA, it doen't do a bad job either, but s05 just doesn't really make me fall in love with it either, so an alternative that performs like an english yeast, but works better for pale ales would be cool.

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Old 12-18-2011, 12:57 PM   #5
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I have used wyeast 1098 and 1028 for bitters. I prefer 1098 by a significant amount. I found the 1028 would be more appropriate for porters. It definitely has a pumpernickel crust taste to it. 1098 is much fruitier, but it does subside with time.

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Old 12-18-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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My favorite so far is WY1099 Whitbread. It's got a nice balance between maltiness and fruitiness. I personally haven't had much luck with the famed fuller's strain WLP002. I've never been able to get similar character as fuller's with that strain. My beers always come out overly fruity despite fermenting cool.

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Originally Posted by WolvinMaine View Post
WLP023 smells and tastes like cider and spice, and I did not care for it at all. Too sweet, all I could thing of was drinking mulled cider.
I've got a bitter in the carboy fermenting with WLP023. I was really looking forward to see what this strain could do but now you really have me worried.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:18 AM   #7
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I have a coworker who is from Henley-on-Thames, and I use him for feedback on my bitters. Brakspear was the bitter of his youth, and he was quite excited when I told him I could get their yeast, WLP023. I feel kinda bad I have to break the news to him that I am not going to use it for a full batch. I hope you find it more to your liking.

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Old 12-20-2011, 02:24 AM   #8
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I just bottled the beer today so I was able to sample it out of the fermentor. I have to say it smelled really strange right out of primary fermentation. I definitely get a tartness from it. But I get loads of apple/pear character with a nice mineral background. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the flocculation of this yeast. The beer was quite cloudy still and the yeast bed wasn't compact at all. But I was very pleased with the character of the beer. Looking forward to sampling it once it's carbed up and aged for a couple of weeks.

EDIT: Forgot to mention this was in reference to WLP023

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Old 12-21-2011, 12:45 AM   #9
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How bout wlp005? Im about to bottle it soon and resuse it in my next 3 batches i plan on doing over the Hollidays.

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