« on: August 27, 2015, 11:56:05 PM »
I wouldn't necessarily say that British ales are "my thing", but I do go through phases where I brew a lot of them.
WLP002/WY1968 - The Fullers strain, and probably my favorite of those I've used. It can be quite fruity (stonefruit with a bit of pear), but that's something I'm typically looking for in something like an ESB. It isn't as attenuative as other ale yeasts, but I routinely get in the mid/upper 70's for an attenuation percentage by rousing the yeast and increasing fermentation temps at the end. This is my go-to strain for bitters.
WLP037 - This is a winter platinum strain from White Labs. It is labeled as their "Yorkshire Square" yeast. I haven't seen confirmation of which brewery it comes from, but to my palate it tastes dead-on for Sam Smith's. It's comparatively low on the ester side, but it does produce this bizarre, almost medicinal phenolic note initially. Thankfully, that fades a bit over time. This yeast does seem to enhance the malt more than the hops. It is more attenuative than Fullers, but also even more flocculant. Seriously, this drops like concrete and starters end up looking like a lava lamp. It's good for drier Bitters, Nut Browns, Porter, and even makes a damn nice English Barleywine. I tried it in an Old Ale, but it ended up a bit too dry for my tastes.
S-04 - This is a decent dry ale yeast. I find it to be lower on esters than a lot of other British strains, but still easy to pick out as British. One thing that bothers me is that I tend to notice a strong "bready" note from it. In paler beers it stands out more. For that reason I tend to reserve this one for stouts, porters and roastier brown ales. I tend to reach for something else when it comes to brewing pale ales.
WLP013 - This is another yeast that has a lower amount of esters, but still tastes characteristically "British". This is a good attenuator, but a bit slower to clear compared to other British strains. I grew up on Harpoon, and the ester profile from this strain reminds me a lot of their house strain. It's moderately fruity (mostly pear) with a touch of dry oakiness. It tends to accentuate the malt a bit, but not at the expense of hops. It's a nice choice for ESB's, EIPA's, and it makes a nice base for spiced beers.
My wish list is WY1469 (Timothy Taylor) and WY1768 (Youngs). I will definitely be taking one of these for a spin this winter.