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WLP 038 Manchester Yeast Review

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Franktalk

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I ordered this somewhat obscure yeast from the vault which White Labs purged this summer. It came during the hottest month of the year, and it was almost 80 degrees F when it arrived.

There is not much information on the internet about this yeast, so I thought I'd share my experience. I read many threads, some written by well-respected yeast-o-philes, that postulated that it was POF+, and that it may also contain the dreaded diastaticus gene. The result of this reading was that I didn't know what kind of beer to make with it. Should I make a saison?

I had become interested in it because coming from Manchester, it might turn out to be the much sought after Boddington's yeast. The consensus is that it is a top fermenting Northern English yeast. So, to make a long story short, I decided to brew a Newcastle Brown Ale clone from the BYO magazine. But, I made a vitality starter, and it didn't start within 8-12 hours, so I pitched some Safale 04 that I had on hand. I left the starter sitting, and, guess what? It started fermenting. So, when it fermented out, I crashed it and decanted it, and it seemed like enough yeast had been propagated for another batch,

Meanwhile, I looked for information about it on the internet and found nothing conclusive other than the White Labs description which states: A top-fermenting ale yeast that is traditionally good for top-cropping. Moderately flocculent with a clean, dry finish. Has a low ester profile and produces a highly balanced English-style beer. They also have a disclaimer about the diastaticus. I did; however, run across a blog by Scott Janish about a yeast experiment. He split a batch of NEIPA between Wy1318 and RVA Manchester, which he postulated might be the same as WLP 038. The RVA Manchester, according to him is the Boddie's strain.

So, I had some cryo hops from Homebrew Con which I thought would be perfect for a NEIPA, and I figured go bold or go home. So, I went for it.

Well, I tapped this experimental beer today, and though it is young, it came out excellent. I found nothing to suggest that this yeast is POF+. It is relatively clean, though it does not dampen either the malt or the hops. The hops, especially are shining brightly. It does have somewhat of a dry finish, like they say, but the FG was 1.012. It is not bone dry. All the flavors of the beer are very bright and crisp. I can make out all the malts, two-row, honey, flaked wheat and oats clearly.

I can't tell if the yeast itself is fruity because the Columbus, Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops I used are creating a juicy fruit salad. What I can say, is that any flavors and aromas are certainly not clashing nor suffering from it.

So, my conclusion is that this yeast is NOT POF+ I do catch a subtle onion aroma, but I am sure that it's from the dry-hopped Simcoe. It could be the coveted Boddington's strain, or, at least, one of them. Certainly, it has all the attributes that would go into a hoppy, golden Manchester bitter ale.

What say you?
 

Mer-man

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...
I can't tell if the yeast itself is fruity because the Columbus, Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops I used are creating a juicy fruit salad. What I can say, is that any flavors and aromas are certainly not clashing nor suffering from it.
...
Certainly, it has all the attributes that would go into a hoppy, golden Manchester bitter ale.

What say you?
I say thank you for sharing your experience! You did kinda neutralize the evaluation with that hop bomb, but I cannot blame you -- it sounds fun.

I would love to hear how it comes out with perhaps a 100% golden promise or other good pale ale malt and generous hopping with a less west-coast IPA hopload.
 
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Franktalk

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I say thank you for sharing your experience! You did kinda neutralize the evaluation with that hop bomb, but I cannot blame you -- it sounds fun.

I would love to hear how it comes out with perhaps a 100% golden promise or other good pale ale malt and generous hopping with a less west-coast IPA hopload.
Well, I did harvest some for future brews. I think the next one is going to be a Boddington's recipe from Ron Pattinson's blog. It will be the 1971 recipe which I have brewed before, so I can have a point of comparison.
 

Northern_Brewer

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FWIW I suspect that the RVA strain has similar origins to 1318 - Scott's comparison sounds like the kind of variation you get from the same strain that's come down through different routes rather than a wildly different strain (as the saison-type WLP038 is to the Whitbread-y 1318). The whole thing about homebrew yeast with claimed UK origins is so woulda-coulda-shoulda that I wouldn't put too much weight on claimed brewery origins.

As for WLP038, about the only solid thing I can get on it is that Wiper and True made a "Yorkshire saison" with WLP037 based on a chat with White Labs's head of R&D pre-Gallone that "two classic British yeast strains look a lot in structure like the Saison yeasts they sell". WLP037 makes a great saison but although they said "The second yeast strain from White Labs is sitting in our pilot vessel now. More to follow…" we haven't heard anything more from them. I assume that the second yeast was WLP038, and that either something went wrong or it just wasn't interesting enough to be sold as an English saison.

I've got both of them in the fridge, not sure I'll get to brew with them before Christmas though. So many yeast, so little time....
 
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Franktalk

Franktalk

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I've got both of them in the fridge, not sure I'll get to brew with them before Christmas though. So many yeast, so little time....
When you get to them, I would be very interested in your thoughts. I'll share my experience with the Manchester golden ale that I'm brewing with the WLP038 this week when it is ready to drink in a couple of weeks.
 

ba-brewer

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I got wlp038 from the vault too, it was POF+ for me. Mild clove with a pear or apple ester, at times the beers aroma reminded me a little of apple pie. Attenuation only about 68%, cleared well did not really enhance malt flavor or aroma though.

simple recipe
88% maris otter
6% british crystal 70/80
6% corn sugar
30IBUs target 60min
4IBU golding 10min
1043 starting gravity
mash 152, ferment 68F 3 days then 70F 4 days
 
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Franktalk

Franktalk

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Thanks! I have it in an already kegged beer that is very similar to yours; I just haven't tasted it yet. You've given me a great reason to tap it tonight. I'll post the results.
 
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Franktalk

Franktalk

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I got wlp038 from the vault too, it was POF+ for me. Mild clove with a pear or apple ester, at times the beers aroma reminded me a little of apple pie. Attenuation only about 68%, cleared well did not really enhance malt flavor or aroma though.

simple recipe
88% maris otter
6% british crystal 70/80
6% corn sugar
30IBUs target 60min
4IBU golding 10min
1043 starting gravity
mash 152, ferment 68F 3 days then 70F 4 days
Okay, so I tapped my bitter. I do get a a subtle clove, more in the aroma than the taste. It is mixed with a nice floral hop bouquet. As far as apple pie, I do get cinnamon, but with dried fruits such as apricot, prune and maybe dried pineapple It is very complex fruitiness. No wonder that it enhanced my NEIPA. Also, I used #2 invert in my recipe, and I can taste that. The hop bitterness is balanced with the malt. It is as clear as a bell from the first pint, and the mouth feel is low to medium.

I'm onto my second pint now, and the more I drink it the clovier it gets. It is not a saison; it's too sweet. Is it a biere de garde? No, too fruity. Got to do some more experimenting! Maybe next time leave out the sugar.
 

Northern_Brewer

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This is all sounding very promising, far more like proper British yeasts than the average US lab releases. A hint of phenolics is absolutely normal for a percentage of British yeasts - Harvey's is a notable example.
 
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Franktalk

Franktalk

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Thanks for chiming in! Please let me know what your experience is when you get a chance to brew with it.
 

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