What are your favourite English yeasts?

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prosper

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I'm always working on my English beers, trying to zone in on the 'perfect' bitter or ESB. I'm discovering, more and more, the enormous impact that yeast selection has on the end-results on this style of beer. Many of the best commercial bitters have VERY similar (and subtle) malt bills. As with light lagers, good bitters really don't have any bold flavours to hide anything behind, and the subtleties of yeast and base malt are really the main players

As of this particular moment, my favourite Bitter and ESB strains are Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale and 1275 Thames Valley.

I found it a little odd that an Irish ale strain performs so well in English beers, but in a head-to-head against 1028, 1968 and 1084, I found that I preferred 1084 with its banana-apple-pear esters and slight tartness. I also find 1275 to be a finicky strain that wants to floc off early, and I really don't like working with it - but it does produce excellent 'woody' character in its beers that I really like.


I've heard excellent things about 1187 Ringwood, and plan on experimenting with that in a few batches next.


What are your thoughts on English yeast strains?
 

KingBrianI

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Ringwood produces the best bitter of all the british strains I've tried (s-04, nottingham. thames valley, thames valley II, 1968, yorkshire square ale, and more I can't remember). It is fussy though and I have a hell of a time getting it to attenuate fully. I think I'm going to have to start adding a portion of sugar to the grain bill in place of base grain in order to help attenuation. I've also noticed that while it produces really wonderful aromas and flavors early on in the fermentation, if you repeatedly rouse it for a couple weeks trying to get it to attenuate, it pretty well cleans up all those beautiful flavors. So I think the secret is to use some sugar in the grain bill, aerate very well before pitching, and then rouse the first couple days of fermentation introducing a bit of oxygen. Then either rack to secondary/keg/bottle after it finishes but before it cleans up too much.
 

jlpred55

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For ESB and Bitters I like 1275. Never had an issue with it wanting to flocc early. In fact I just brewed an ESB with it Friday and it is done today! I also like the Timothy Taylor strain (1469). I plan on brewing the BYO clone for the Best Bitter when the strain comes back out in the fall. I like 1028 for English IPA's and Pales as well.

I haven't gotten that balls up enough yet to use Ringwood- it scares me and I am not a fan of buttered popcorn either.
 

Freezeblade

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I generally use two english ale yeasts for everything.

Lighter beers, bitters, etc. I use WLP023: Burton ale.
Darker beers, milds, browns, porters I use WLP005: ringwood
 

BenS

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I'm with the OP. 1084 all the way.
 

GuldTuborg

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1318 is an underappreciated strain. It makes a nice, softly malty beer with pleasant and moderate esters. It's definitely one to use if you serve your beer at cellar temps - colder than 50F and it tends to lose most of its character. For cask type real ales, I love it.

My other favorite is 1028. It's a bit sharper and more robust than most English strains, but that's just why I like it. That all said, I've actually never used 1084, so maybe I'm the one missing out!
 
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prosper

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1084 was really the dark horse in that vertical. I only used it on a whim, and only because I had some from a previous batch in a mason jar in the back of the fridge.

1028 is great, too, but I'm finding I prefer it for *american*-style ales.
 

bierhaus15

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Ringwood produces the best bitter of all the british strains I've tried
+1

Search no more seekers of British bitters; this yeast makes one HELL of a English pint. Yes, lots of people don't like Ringwood - they find it too estery or buttery or flavorful (whatever you want to call it). But when fermented carefully with the utmost attention to ferment temperatures, rousing schedules, a long D rest and plenty of good karma, I think this is the epitome of the English strains. It produces wonderfully malty, complex, clear, and CLEAN beers.

I like Thames Valley a lot too. Probably my second favorite. 1968 is good, though I prefer it in my porters and stouts. I'm not a huge fan of 1028 and 1084. Better choices out there IMO.

S-04 is, IMO, crap. Nottingham, utility yeast for BMC crowd beer.
 

KyleWolf

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I am curious about what people think of 1335, British Ale II. While I dont think it gives a traditional british profile, it is a pretty dependable yeast. Just curious. It is the only british yeast I have used up till now
 

dirty_martini

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I'm with you there, 100%. However, I really do find that I'm taking a liking to Windsor
I've never used notty or Windsor, but I don't understand the hate for S-04. It's basically my house yeast. I use it for anything non-Belgian. Everything from bitters to IPAs to stouts to barleywines. I get the attenuation I want (which I control with mash temps.). I can go from cleaner flavors at cool temps to softly ester at slightly higher temps. Oh, and it's half the price and no starter. It's my go to yeast. Period.
 

petep1980

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1098 seems to be forgotten around here. I have used that and 1028 for my bitters, and the 1098 has been great. It's really fruity out of the fermenter, but not so much from the keg.

1028 is meh. It has too much pumpernickel or something to it. I'd just assume use Notty over that.
 
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prosper

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I've never used notty or Windsor, but I don't understand the hate for S-04. It's basically my house yeast. I use it for anything non-Belgian. Everything from bitters to IPAs to stouts to barleywines. I get the attenuation I want (which I control with mash temps.). I can go from cleaner flavors at cool temps to softly ester at slightly higher temps. Oh, and it's half the price and no starter. It's my go to yeast. Period.
I think I'm mainly just bored with S-04. I've used it a lot in the past. It DOES make some nasty-ass esters on the warm side, though, so I mainly stick to using it at cooler temperatures, and there I find it's just too clean for british beers. I also find it attenuates too much for my tastes - it's far more attenuative than any of the liquid strains discussed here, and nearly as attenuative as US-05.

That makes it unsuitable as an english yeast IMO. It is, as you've noted - decent for a lot of other beers where clean(ish) and dry are desirable.
 

sleepystevenson

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My last batch - 26 +/- gal. of ESB - I split into 5 carboys and pitched a different yeast in each one. I pitched WLP002 English, WLP005 British, WLP004 Irish, WLP051 Cali 5, and
Wyeast Denny's Favorite. Temps were controlled in the mid 60's. (Don't have my notes right now) Surprisingly, each one had the same FG. All of them were good, though there is definitely a difference in each one. My favorite is the WLP005 British, which had a nice rounded flavor. My second fav was the WLP004 Irish. The WLP002 was more malt accented. The Cali 5 and the Denny's were crisper and more hop forward.

Another interesting difference was the color - which varied a few shades with the different yeasts. (again, I don't have my notes to go into specifics.)

For my next beer - either a Northern English Brown Ale or a British IPA, I am gonna split the batch into 2 fermenters and pitch the WLP002 and WLP005.

It is nice to get slightly different beers out of the same batch, while learning what flavors different yeast strains produce.
 

bierhaus15

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I think I'm mainly just bored with S-04. I've used it a lot in the past. It DOES make some nasty-ass esters on the warm side, though, so I mainly stick to using it at cooler temperatures, and there I find it's just too clean for british beers. I also find it attenuates too much for my tastes - it's far more attenuative than any of the liquid strains discussed here, and nearly as attenuative as US-05.
+ 1

Ferment at high-ish temps and you get an estery yogurt flavor and ferment too low and you get a somewhat clean, non-English tasting beer. Though, I just hate the stuff. If you want to brew an English beer, there are so many better yeast choices available.
 

KingBrianI

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Ringwood FTW. Gotta know what you're doing, but DAYUM. The payoff is worth it.

Bob
Bob, just the man I was hoping would pop up. I remember reading that you worked in a brewery that used the ringwood yeast, and that you suggested some ways to deal with its somewhat..ah...finicky..behavior. I can't find that info now and would be indebted to you if you could tell me how to get this yeast to attenuate. I'm having a hell of a time getting my best bitters to drop below 1.015. I've also noticed that the wonderful flavors and aromas it creates are mostly lost when it's allowed to "clean up". Besides taking it off the primary yeast cake immediately following complete attenuation, are there any ways to lock in those yummy flavors?
 
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prosper

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I've heard quite a lot or good things about Ringwood (and also that it's a bit of a princess to use), so I would also appreciate any usage tips anybody would care to share
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

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I've heard quite a lot or good things about Ringwood (and also that it's a bit of a princess to use), so I would also appreciate any usage tips anybody would care to share
I was just gonna sit back and hope that happened anyway.....But yeah....I'm waiting too! :)
 

jmo88

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I've heard quite a lot or good things about Ringwood (and also that it's a bit of a princess to use), so I would also appreciate any usage tips anybody would care to share
I've used it a few times. It flocculates really well, which makes it difficult to attenuate fully. A little bit of rousing now and then helps keep them going. I've also read that it needs open fermentation, or at least a simulated one. Apparently the yeast will go dormant from the pressure of closed fermentation. I just rested the bucket lid on the fermenter during the active part of fermentation and sealed it up when the krausen started to fall. I then roused every day or so to get it fully attenuated. I'm not sure if I needed to do that or not; I didn't do one closed. Every time I've used it it's been an open ferment.
 

KingBrianI

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jmo, could you expand on what type of beers you've done with it and what the OG and FG were?

As for me, I've done several iterations of a best bitter I'm attempting to perfect. I've done it with and OG ranging from 1.042-1.045 and always mash around 150 for 90 minutes. The recipe is mostly MO with about 6% carastan and 50 g of pale chocolate malt. No matter how much I aerate (pure O2 through a stone) rouse, add nutrients to the boil, introduce a little O2 during ferment, pitch larger than needed starters, etc. it always finishes out at 1.015. I'd ideally like to get that to 1.009-1.011. I always ferment in a bucket with the lid closed, but I can't imagine the slight pressure introduced by the CO2 having to escape through the airlock has much effect. Maybe I'll just rest the lid next time to see if it helps.
 
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prosper

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I'm thinking: ferment in a corny keg. Give a shot of CO2 down the dip-tube occasionally to keep things in suspension.

I wonder if my fermentor will fit on top of a stir-plate....
 
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prosper

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jmo, could you expand on what type of beers you've done with it and what the OG and FG were?

As for me, I've done several iterations of a best bitter I'm attempting to perfect. I've done it with and OG ranging from 1.042-1.045 and always mash around 150 for 90 minutes. The recipe is mostly MO with about 6% carastan and 50 g of pale chocolate malt. No matter how much I aerate (pure O2 through a stone) rouse, add nutrients to the boil, introduce a little O2 during ferment, pitch larger than needed starters, etc. it always finishes out at 1.015. I'd ideally like to get that to 1.009-1.011. I always ferment in a bucket with the lid closed, but I can't imagine the slight pressure introduced by the CO2 having to escape through the airlock has much effect. Maybe I'll just rest the lid next time to see if it helps.
1.015 isn't especially high. That's 67% attenuation. Wyeast claims 68-72%, which would mean 1.0126-1.0144: you're really not far off. Maybe that's just as far as this yeast goes?
 

KingBrianI

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1.015 isn't especially high. That's 67% attenuation. Wyeast claims 68-72%, which would mean 1.0126-1.0144: you're really not far off. Maybe that's just as far as this yeast goes?
I don't know, it's got to be able to get a little lower. I imagine it could get 75% attenuation if everything is done right. I think maybe the open fermentation and replacing some of the base malt with sugar will get me down where I want to be. I'm hoping Bob has some other secrets that will help too! :D
 

jmo88

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Here are the three batches I did with this. All successive, two weeks apart. The first one I missed my OG because I used a new supplier and a different crush and needed to raise the OG with DME.

Batch 1: Ringwood Ale

OG:1.057
FG: 1.013
AA%: 76.3

Fermentables
UK Pale Ale Malt (Maris Otter) 10lb 8oz (85.7 %) In Mash/Steeped
US Carapils Malt 6.00 oz (3.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
US Caramel 80L Malt 4.00 oz (2.0 %) In Mash/Steeped
US Special Roast Malt 4.00 oz (2.0 %) In Mash/Steeped
Extract - Light Dried Malt Extract 14.00 oz (7.1 %) Start Of Boil

Hops
US Centennial (8.7 % alpha) 1.59 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 60 Min From End
US Willamette (4.8 % alpha) 0.53 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 20 Min From End
US Willamette (4.8 % alpha) 0.53 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 10 Min From End
US Centennial (8.7 % alpha) 0.71 oz Loose Pellet Hops used At turn off
US Willamette (4.8 % alpha) 0.71 oz Loose Pellet Hops used At turn off

Other Ingredients

Yeast: Wyeast 1187-Ringwood Ale

Mash Schedule
Mash Type: Full Mash
Schedule Name:Single Step Infusion (67C/152F)
Step: Rest at 153 degF for 60 mins

Batch 2: Same as batch 1, but without the DME

OG: 1.059
FG:1.012
AA%: 78.8

Batch 3: Ringwood IPA

OG: 1.071
FG: 1.012
AA%: 82.3

Fermentables
US 2-Row Malt 12lb 0oz (81.4 %) In Mash/Steeped
US Vienna Malt 2lb 0oz (13.6 %) In Mash/Steeped
US Carapils Malt 8.00 oz (3.4 %) In Mash/Steeped
US Caramel 10L Malt 4.00 oz (1.7 %) In Mash/Steeped

Hops
US Simcoe (12.2 % alpha) 1.59 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 60 Min From End
US Simcoe (12.2 % alpha) 0.71 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 20 Min From End
US Centennial (8.7 % alpha) 0.71 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 5 Min From End
US Cascade (5.0 % alpha) 1.76 oz Loose Pellet Hops used Dry-Hopped
US Simcoe (12.2 % alpha) 0.53 oz Loose Pellet Hops used Dry-Hopped

Other Ingredients

Yeast: Wyeast 1187-Ringwood Ale

Mash Schedule
Mash Type: Full Mash
Schedule Name:Single Step Infusion (67C/152F)
Step: Rest at 153 degF for 60 mins

As you can see each generation was getting more attenuated. I haven't kept the yeast up after batch 3.
 

KingBrianI

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Damn, hotter shorter mash and higher OGs and you're still getting lower than me. Maybe the open fermentation thing has something to it.
 

jmo88

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Damn, hotter shorter mash and higher OGs and you're still getting lower than me. Maybe the open fermentation thing has something to it.
I think so. Bob's posts actually got me doing this. He had a few good points about the effect of the open fermentation on this strain. I just took his word for it as he was so experienced in it.
 

bierhaus15

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Maybe the open fermentation thing has something to it.
I ferment all my Ringwood beers in carboys and have never had a problem with a batch under attenuating. Actually, I found that by giving the carboy a gentle swirl once or twice a day throughout initial fermentation, I can get about 80% attenuation with this yeast. Though I also keep the beer at a constant 65F during initial ferment (1 week) and then bring it up close to 72F for a few weeks of D rest. No loss of flavor either.

It's nice to finally see some love for Ringwood!
 

buzzkill

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I ferment all my Ringwood beers in carboys and have never had a problem with a batch under attenuating. Actually, I found that by giving the carboy a gentle swirl once or twice a day throughout initial fermentation, I can get about 80% attenuation with this yeast. Though I also keep the beer at a constant 65F during initial ferment (1 week) and then bring it up close to 72F for a few weeks of D rest. No loss of flavor either.

It's nice to finally see some love for Ringwood!
I used Ringwood for my first dozen brews (think dumb A$$ noob) and I loved it,and never had any trouble with it. I do like to swirl the fermenter though.

:mug:
 

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