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From the lab - family tree of White Labs yeast

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Northern_Brewer

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At http://beer.suregork.com/?p=3919 Suregork and friends have worked out the identity of most of the White Labs yeasts that had their genomes sequenced and phenotypes assessed by Gallone et al 2016. Unfortunately once you look closely, quite a lot of the pheotype assessment clearly went wrong and was not repeated (either that or WLP001 doesn't grow at 16C, and WLP099 doesn't produce any esters!!), but a couple of things stand out :

We already knew that some British yeasts - WLP026 "Marstons", WLP037 "Sam Smiths" and
WLP038 Manchester - fell amongst the Belgian saison yeasts in the more "primitive" Group 2 of beer yeasts. In fact Wiper & True made a Yorkshire saison with WLP037 and it was explicitly mentioned by Pete Brown as he named them one of his breweries of the year. Their website implies they did a saison with another yeast - presumably WLP038 as it's the other POF+ one - but it doesn't seem to have made an appearance commercially.

They've got a lot of ester and fusel data (albeit incomplete, as mentioned above, ignore any number that's the lowest in its column) for growth at 30°C (86F). Two that stand out for esters without many fusels are WLP036 Dusseldorf Alt and WLP050 Tennessee Whiskey - both might be interesting warm-fermented for left-field NEIPAs or Belgians. Conversely WLP023 Burton looks particularly clean at warm temperatures. I certainly intend to have some plays with them just making unhopped starters at different temperatures to see how they smell.

About 10% of the ale strains they sequenced are used for commercial lager production - even some Belgian-y Group 2's (what are the closely-related Czech and US commercial lagers BE039/40 close to Duvel in Group 2???). One intriguing one is WLP800 Pilsner ("Urquell") which seems very similar to WLP320 American Hefe ("Zum Uerige via Widmer") - as Suregork suggests, it could be interesting to make a lager with that hefe yeast?

It's reassuring that the ale parents of the two "true" lager hybrid groups, Saaz & Frohberg, both seem close to the kolsch yeasts. Suregork's placed a couple there with his own analysis but a greater selection also show up there in a slide that's part of a wider presentation about all this kind of stuff by the head of the lab that did the original research (it's well worth watching the whole thing if you're interested in this area).

Frustratingly, the two yeast with the most uncertainty about them are what appear to be the European yeasts that gave rise to the US family of "clean" yeasts. It looks like they originated with something similar to ?WLP515 "de Koninck" by way of ??WLP030 Thames Valley - it might be interesting to play with them and compare to Chico, BRY-97, San Diego and friends. Although it's worth emphasising that even if the genome as a whole is very similar, small differences in the DNA can mean big differences in brewing characteristics - for instance saison yeast BE034, WLP565 and WLP566 are almost identical at the genomic level, but have distinct phenotypes.

Anyway - kudos to Suregork & co for working all this out, hopefully White Labs will now unblind these yeasts "officially".

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suregork

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Thanks for posting a thread about the topic :) it sure is an interesting topic, and all the phenotype data should hopefully be very valuable to the (home)brewer now that the strains are known (at least with some confidence). Special thanks to all the contributors in the comment section in my original post on the topic. I only got the ball rolling, they helped finish the puzzle. I recommend reading the comments as well as there is great information there on brewing history and strain background. It would deserve a blog post of its own, but I'm not the correct person to put one together :)
 
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Northern_Brewer

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There's now an update with a bunch of Wyeast and dry strains, albeit not all of them :
http://beer.suregork.com/?p=4030

Some key points -
S-04 is nothing to do with Whitbread, it's closest to 006 Bedford and 013 London
BRY-97 is absolutely nothing to do with the Chicos but is a distant cousin of S-33/Windsor
Brewferm lager is in the same (ale) group
1968 is more closely related to Conan than WLP002 (although 002 is a cousin)
1098 is a sibling of WLP017 Whitbread II but is not that close to the Whitbread B group
1469 is a sibling of WLP022 Essex
WB-06 is close to the Duvel strains
 

ESBrewer

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Highly interesting and it shows that not all strains actually came from those breweries that K.England tables suggest (or then the strains have diverged quite a bit). I agree that Fuller's strain is not identical to 1968 (or wlp002). I have only brewed once with the yeast extracted from Fuller's bottles and the temperature was not optimal for comparison, but the marmeladiness definitely seemed most evident in the batch brewed with the strain extracted from the bottle. Going to brew another batch of ESB with their bottling yeast on Monday and it will be interesting to see how it tastes when fermented at the optimum temperature. So badically the very same observation that suregork mentioned.
 

harrydrez

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Highly interesting and it shows that not all strains actually came from those breweries that K.England tables suggest (or then the strains have diverged quite a bit). I agree that Fuller's strain is not identical to 1968 (or wlp002). I have only brewed once with the yeast extracted from Fuller's bottles and the temperature was not optimal for comparison, but the marmeladiness definitely seemed most evident in the batch brewed with the strain extracted from the bottle. Going to brew another batch of ESB with their bottling yeast on Monday and it will be interesting to see how it tastes when fermented at the optimum temperature. So badically the very same observation that suregork mentioned.
What was your pitch rate? Is it possible the bottle cultured yeast was underpitched? According the the brewstrong podcast: questions with fullers, part 2 I believe, they use the same pitch rate for their chiswick bitter, london pride, and ESB. I'm betting the marmalade comes from the stress of underpitching.
 

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It would be nice to compare WLP002 to 1968 to a sample of yeast from a Fuller's cask or bottle to see which of the commercial strains is a match. It seems like neither of them might be the real deal.

Out of curiosity, roughly how much does it cost to test a sample of yeast? Seems like the kind of thing that would lend itself to crowdsourcing efforts.

I'm in the process of trying to grow some yeast from the dregs of a single bottle of Fuller's 2017 Vintage Ale. Fingers crossed...
 

ba-brewer

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The diagram in the first post had quite few more strains tentatively matched, is the latest updated diagram only showing confirmed yeast strains?
 

suregork

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Yes the latest updated diagram only contains the WLP codes for the confirmed strains.

Prices for whole genome sequencing are going down all the time. At the moment, you can sequence a strain for as low as 100 USD (Illumina sequencing, ~30x coverage).
 
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Northern_Brewer

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Gah - I lost a longer reply.

What was your pitch rate? Is it possible the bottle cultured yeast was underpitched? According the the brewstrong podcast: questions with fullers, part 2 I believe, they use the same pitch rate for their chiswick bitter, london pride, and ESB. I'm betting the marmalade comes from the stress of underpitching.
You misunderstand - the true Fuller's yeast is meant to taste of marmalade. The fact that 002 and 1968 don't really give that marmalade is a strong indication that either they're not from Fuller's, or at the very least they've evolved away from the original. See eg

The head brewer talking about their yeast : "it has a very orange-y, marmalade-y flavour"
Fuller's themselves on Vintage 2017 : "hints of rich orange marmalade come through from the famous Fuller’s yeast"

It would be nice to compare WLP002 to 1968 to a sample of yeast from a Fuller's cask or bottle to see which of the commercial strains is a match. It seems like neither of them might be the real deal.
You are not the first to have that thought.... :)

As an aside, at the weekend I had it confirmed from John Keeling himself that it's the production yeast in the bottle - they centrifuge all their bottled beer clean, then reseed with 0.5 million cells/ml. Although they only use the "single" strain they've used since 1976 in everything now, even the historical recreations, apparently it now looks like two strains on DNA.

Out of curiosity, roughly how much does it cost to test a sample of yeast? Seems like the kind of thing that would lend itself to crowdsourcing efforts.
It's amazing seeing the way genome sequencing has come down, compared to the first human sequence which cost nearly US$1bn, aside from all the associated R&D into technology. The thing with all this stuff is that almost any standard molecular biology lab can do this kind of stuff - DNA generally works the same whether you're studying cabbages or human cancer. So while the upfront cost of the equipment is not trivial, a lot of labs have it. Then if you can find someone who can provide the labour, the marginal costs really aren't that great, although eg the enzyme you need for Saaz/Frohberg lager typing is maybe $100-200 for a 0.1ml vial, but that is enough for hundreds of reactions.

Basic PCR fingerprinting like isomerization did on Julius is <$1/sample - we need more of a reference bank of fingerprints but once we have that then one should have a good chance of assigning an unknown yeast to a broad subfamily - certainly good enough for eg saying if it is eg Chico vs BRY-97 vs Whitbread B.

Traditional sequencing gives you 200-300 "letters" of actual DNA code for mebbe $10. Since we have far more references for sequence thanks to the genome sequencing people, in most cases you should be able to tie something down to a strain (if it's already been sequenced), or at least pretty close. There will be some cases where you need more sequencing to be done though.

Then there's genome sequencing, which gives you all 12 million "letters" and a definitive answer for $100+

The above is just a rough ballpark for consumables only, on the assumption of small-scale jobs - you would still need labour and capex/lab charges on top of that but it gives you a feel for things.

Beer DeCoded are an open source project based near Lausanne taking a slightly different approach using some of these tools to look at the mix of yeast species in different beers - see eg here. They found 30-odd species just in Chimay Red.
 

Derp

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You are not the first to have that thought.... :)
I just received a response from Suzanne at Brewlab, so I'll soon have the real deal on hand, along with a few other yeasts. I see many split batches in my future. :)

Thanks for your DNA post. Informative as always.
 

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Any concern with freezing temps this time of year getting slants mailed from Brewlab in the UK? I've just resigned myself to waiting until spring to order to avoid the risk of the yeast arriving DOA...
 
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Northern_Brewer

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Any concern with freezing temps this time of year getting slants mailed from Brewlab in the UK? I've just resigned myself to waiting until spring to order to avoid the risk of the yeast arriving DOA...
You shouldn't worry too much about the UK end - in general we have a rather milder climate than much of the US. There's risk of mild frosts - say -2C from October to April in much of England, which should be fine for stuff in the distribution chain as long as it keeps moving (eg don't order on a Friday or go for non-express delivery in December). You might get -5C to -10C for a couple of days in Jan/Feb but not every year. And of course in this day and age it's easy to look up the weather forecast for Sunderland and take a view - we've had a pretty mild autumn this year, so it's looking OK for the next 10 days.

I'd be far more worried about what happens your end - but even then I wouldn't sweat it _too_ much. Yeast do have to survive winter on the bark of trees, without being wrapped up in a nice tube with lots of packaging as insulation. Again, it's more a question of it keeping moving, so avoiding traffic disruption from snow etc. No doubt our Finnish contingent can comment more on moving yeast around in winter!
 

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If you’re successful id be interested to do a swap or trade for some.
I used the dregs from 2 bottles of 2017 Vintage Ale, but after 10 days nothing grew. I just dumped a year-old packet of Wyeast 1728 in the flask to avoid wasting 3 liters of starter wort. It should get going soon.

I just ordered the (reputed) Fuller's strain from Brewlab in the UK and it should ship early next week. Shipping is a big chunk of the cost, so I also ordered slants of Timothy Taylor, Cullercoats and Belhaven...or something similar to them, ;). Cost was £34.10 shipped to Texas.
 
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Northern_Brewer

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Shame about the Vintage - what strength wort was it in? I would have probably stepped it up in a small volume of say 1.020 before going straight to 3l.

£34.10 (<US$11/yeast) isn't pretty good - that's the price of Yeast Bay in the UK, and is less than the rarer ones like Gigayeast.

Cullercoats in particular is fun, I've not heard reports of what Brewlab's TT is like.
 

Derp

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Shame about the Vintage - what strength wort was it in? I would have probably stepped it up in a small volume of say 1.020 before going straight to 3l.
I began with a few ounces of low-gravity wort and let it spin for about a week. It didn't look promising at that time, but I crossed my fingers and dumped it all in the larger starter, but still nothing after almost another week. There's no way of knowing whether those bottles baked in the Texas sun for a period of time.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. At least I had the chance to drink two tasty bottles of beer.
 
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Northern_Brewer

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Yeah, I guess the further from home it goes, the more of a risk that is. I fancy my chances with fresh 1845 better (and it's just won CAMRA's Champion Bottled Beer so hopefully turnover will improve a bit)

Still, as you say, that 2017 Vintage is lovely (at least in cask), the 2018 was less to my taste.
 

Derp

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Yeah, I guess the further from home it goes, the more of a risk that is. I fancy my chances with fresh 1845 better (and it's just won CAMRA's Champion Bottled Beer so hopefully turnover will improve a bit)
I've seen 1845 in the States in the past, but it's been years. I don't think I've ever seen it in Texas.

An importer told me a few years ago that Texas required a thorough (and expensive lab analysis) of every beer, as well as $1000 per year, per brewery. I think that keeps a lot of beers out of Texans' reach.
 

SanPancho

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I used the dregs from 2 bottles of 2017 Vintage Ale, but after 10 days nothing grew. I just dumped a year-old packet of Wyeast 1728 in the flask to avoid wasting 3 liters of starter wort. It should get going soon.

I just ordered the (reputed) Fuller's strain from Brewlab in the UK and it should ship early next week. Shipping is a big chunk of the cost, so I also ordered slants of Timothy Taylor, Cullercoats and Belhaven...or something similar to them, ;). Cost was £34.10 shipped to Texas.
Nice. If you get a good pitch grown up let me know.
 

ba-brewer

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Yes the latest updated diagram only contains the WLP codes for the confirmed strains.

Prices for whole genome sequencing are going down all the time. At the moment, you can sequence a strain for as low as 100 USD (Illumina sequencing, ~30x coverage).
I was just looking at your chart and see WLP515 has a question mark, is that intentional or something that was missed? Seems to be the only one with a question mark.
 
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WLP515 is one of the handful that White Labs haven't confirmed, there's a tempting slot in the Chico group for a yeast of Belgian origin, but it's just guesswork at the moment. I've brewed with it once and it's certainly very clean and hop forward, I was hoping to get some more this September but the chaos at White Labs means that my suppliers couldn't get hold of it. I may have a bottle of the last batch lurking in the back of the cellar somewhere. I've got the alleged equivalent Wyeast (3655 Schelde) and got as far as getting a bottle of de Koninck for harvesting but then managed to drop it, I'd been hoping to compare the three side by side.
 
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So Schelde is somewhat phenolic? Interesting. Could be that de Koninck are using a multistrain with both POF- and POF+ strains, they say 515 is somewhat simpler than de Koninck or 3655.
 

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The last release of WY3655 is for sure phenolic, finishing off a Belgian pale ale now and it is clearly present.

A few years back I thought WY3655 was the cleaner of the two but of the last releases of the two yeast WLP515 is the cleaner one now. Either I mix up the jars at some point during a few years of keeping the yeast going(was not using slants then) or my latest brewing process has changed the behavior. Most likely the first case.

I believe both seem POF+ but did not find anything explicit in my notes. I have notes of pear and apple aroma and also sulfur for wlp515 but no clove or spice. I need to reslant my WLP515 so I can see if get anything from the starter.
 

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In the latest diagram I do not see WLP029 or WLP076. I have used WLP076 in a few IPAs and golden ale like beers and it seems to let the hops come through nicely. I thought I seen that WLP076 has a british origin and I am curious to see where that one fits. It appears to take off fast getting to about 75% of it's target attenuation in a couple days but then goes to a slow roll and drags out getting to final gravity about a week or more later.
 
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WLP029 and WLP030 have both been sort of unblinded by White Labs as close relatives and members of the 002/007 family, but we don't know exactly which one is which.

WLP076 may well be part of the British family, but it will be down in their list as Californian origin (as in "Sonoma") which makes it one of the problem ones that can't be confirmed for definite.
 

ba-brewer

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WLP029 and WLP007 being related I can see that, WLP030 not so obvious from my experience. WLP030 seems a bit more unpredictable for me with respect to attenuation compared to the other two, but it does ferment quite cleanly like the other two. I have been meaning to get more WLP029 and WLP007 as it been a while since I used them maybe I will give WLP030 instead.

In suregork's chart I see places where there are dots where two lines come together and some places where there is no dots. Is there any significance to the dot or lack of one?
 
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Yes - literally significance, the dots are telling you relationships that the software is >95% confident about. The way the software works, removing a sequence can shuffle around how the relationships look, but a dot says that a relationship still looks solid even if you remove a couple.

030 is a Vault strain, but it turns up as a seasonal sometimes.
 
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Vaguely on topic, this talk from Keith Thomas of Brewlab is a nice general introduction to modern ways of identifying yeast intended for brewers :
 

ba-brewer

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Thanks for the dot info and posting the video. In the middle of the video they showed the strain chart with POF and other characteristics identified or quantified. Is that available somewhere on the web?

I slanted wlp030 and a few others when they were released from the vault. I like the idea of the vault but something needs to change to get strains released a bit faster, maybe get breweries or suppliers to sponsor strains.
 
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They say it's from Gallone et al which was the original Leuven/White Labs sequencing paper, but I can't see it from a quick scan, it may be that Brewlab have done their own figure based on eg fig 5 in that paper.

Something that would make a significant difference, certainly for British strains, would be opening up the Vault to non-US customers - at the moment only people with US credit cards can express an interest. It also seems badly arranged how the Vault ignores seasonal releases - but at the moment White Labs seem in such chaos that any changes would probably just make things worse.
 

kmarkstevens

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It would be nice to compare WLP002 to 1968 to a sample of yeast from a Fuller's cask or bottle to see which of the commercial strains is a match. It seems like neither of them might be the real deal.
Pub supposedly is also the same yeast, but I liked it better in side by side comparisons. Even using only first gold hops, I couldn't get a hint of marmalade. I think you may be correct this isn't the fuller strain
 

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As an aside, at the weekend I had it confirmed from John Keeling himself that it's the production yeast in the bottle - they centrifuge all their bottled beer clean, then reseed with 0.5 million cells/ml. Although they only use the "single" strain they've used since 1976 in everything now, even the historical recreations, apparently it now looks like two strains on DNA.
Does this imply I could culture the Fuller's strain from London Pride?
 
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Does this imply I could culture the Fuller's strain from London Pride?
Sorry, I should have been more explicit, the above only applies to their bottle-conditioned beers. In the UK that means 1845 and Bengal Lancer of their core range, and specials like Vintage. But Pride, ESB etc are pasteurised and not bottle-conditioned, so they have no yeast.
 
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This article is about the realisation a few years ago that "Brett" Trois wasn't actually Brett. I've not seen anything about how it fits into the main Saccharomyces family tree though. But it ends with a little teaser from Troels Prahl of White Labs Copenhagen :
"We’re coming out with a pretty interesting paper here about hybrids," Prahl says. "One of the things that was remarkable when we got all that data about the sequencing was how many strains around the world are actually hybrids—which means that there are going to be several new reclassifications."

Heard anything on the grapevine @suregork?
 

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Calling all Yeastie Boys. White Labs is going to put all vault yeast into production on 1 July. Here's your chance to get something like WLP85 that is collecting an order every 6 months.
 
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