Author Topic: British Ale Yeasts  (Read 10053 times)

Offline johnnyb

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British Ale Yeasts
« on: August 27, 2015, 07:56:36 pm »
I stopped drinking British style ales years ago but recently I tried a nice English pale ale and enjoyed it. I'm getting a bit sick of APA's and AIPA's so was thinking of brewing an English pale soon.

All I know is I do not like the Ringwood yeast because a local brewpub uses it for almost every beer in their lineup and I got sick of it. And I once tried Safale S-04 for an ESB and it produced a sulfur bomb. (Which apparently did get a bit better with age according to the friend I left the keg with.)

So any ideas for what yeasts I might like for a nice English pale ale? Something with some character but not super duper fruity would probably suit me.


Offline BrodyR

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2015, 08:16:02 pm »
The ordinary bitter I have on nitro atm was fermented with the Fullers strain (WLP 002) which I've been enjoying. The only other two English yeasts I've used so far are the aforementioned S-04 & some Ringwood I got from a local brewery. Out of the 3 I've liked 002 the most. Really high floc, Low attenuation, good character but not too overpowering. Took about 2 weeks on the yeast to finish up and for the diacytel to clean up.

Offline troybinso

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2015, 09:46:33 pm »
Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire is my current favorite. Just the right combination of flavor contribution, attenuation, and clarity. Great for bitters and more reliable/less finicky than WL002/WY1968.

Offline nspake

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2015, 11:48:09 pm »
Where do I start? "British" (Scottish, English, Irish, and Welsh) ales are my thing. As mentioned previously, I love using WLP002/Wyeast1968 (Fullers) for the definitive Fullers taste - if you don't want that flavour profile, don't use it. :-)

The other ones I really like are WLP023 Burton Ale, supposedly the same strain as Wyeast Thames Valley Ale although I'm not personally convinced. I'd have to do a side-by-side comparison. Regardless, I love both of those yeasts for a variety of malty or hop forward British styles. They are not necessarily "clean" as in Chico-clean but they aren't the Fullers flavour either. The Burton does have a bit of fruit, pleasantly. Kristen believes them both to be the Brakspear strain.

As also mentioned, I love Wyeast West Yorkshire (allegedly the Timothy Taylor yeast) but it does have a lot of character (for me, in a good way, but if you're trying to avoid that...). If you've had the pleasure of tasting "Landlord", or, I'll throw in Black Sheep Ale, Wychwood Hobgoblin, or Theakstons XB, as they are similar in brewing technique/character and you like that flavour profile, use the West Yorkshire. If you do, keep in mind that the prototypical method of fermenting with a "Yorkshire" yeast is with a Yorkshire Stone Square system. I won't go into details, but simply, to get the most out of this yeast, ester-wise, consider recirculating/rousing the yeast in your fermenter every few hours for the first few days. (It goes without saying, maintain sanitation).

Two very specific yeasts I can recommend: available all year is Wyeast Northwest Ale and the seasonal White Labs Bedford Ale Yeast. Northwest Ale has a confusing but valid name. The strain allegedly originated at Gales Brewery in Horndean, England but is used by Hales in Washington state. Gales was purchased by Fullers a number of years ago and a few of the original Gales beers are now brewed by Fullers using the Gales yeast. Gales HSB is an incredible and quite unique ESB style beer but you can only get it in the UK, sadly. The Northwest Ale strain does a great job at replicating its flavour - it is quite malt forward. As for the Bedford, I can state first hand, if you want to brew a Well's Bombardier clone, you cannot do it without the Bedford Ale yeast, again seasonal from White Labs. Listen to my appearance on Jamil's "Can You Brew It?" for Well's Bombardier for more details.

Incidentally, I did the interviews for CYBI for Fullers, Black Sheep, Wells, Wychwood, Meantime, and my only US brewery, Ska, as well as discussing the Fullers Parti-Gyle method on a recent Brew Strong episode. So, yes, "British" is pretty much my thing.

Those are the "British" strains I've used and have liked. The others, I have used but have not been enamoured with - excepting the seasonal White Labs "Essex Ale", I want to try it. Oh, and finally, I have friends, and even Pro brewers (in the UK) who have used dry Nottingham and have been very pleased. I've also had great results from Fermentis S-04 but I'd highly recommend hydrating either strain before use. I can tell you, S-04 is one of, if not, the best dry ale strain as far as quick primary fermentation and beer clarity. That sucker really packs down in the bottom of the fermenter and gives you a very clear beer. My only gripe is I've had a few beers turn out too estery with it, and not necessarily in a good way. However, don't take that to heart, this was years ago and I would handle the yeast quite a bit differently now - I guess it's time for a Brulosophy (Marshall) experiment. :-) [Highest respect for that man and his compatriots at the website/blog].

My two pence. Hope that helps, not hinders. :-o


Neil Spake

Offline erockrph

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2015, 12:56:05 am »
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.
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Offline quattlebaum

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 01:45:04 am »
I do enjoy the west yourkshire however perhaps the obvious wy1098 ( British ale) strain is my go to for English pales. It's really balanced and not fruity at all. Try the 1098 you want be disappointed

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 06:41:38 am »
I have used Wyeast 1028 for British IPAs and Barleywines, and like the mineral profile and esters.

WLP-022 is right up there with 1469 and 002/1968 for me. A different ester profile and not as flocculant as the Fullers stain, but does leave a brilliant beer once done.

Neil, I enjoyed the interviews I have listened to, good work there.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2015, 02:40:32 pm »
1968 is the bomb. My favorite yeast for a few years now.

I don't find it finnicky or have any attenuation issues with it.

For dry yeasts I've used Nottingham and Windsor.  I am not a fan of Nottingham but the two yeasts used in combination are outstanding.

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Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2015, 03:24:50 pm »
I use s-04 out of convenience reasonably often. In my experience if you keep it below 68F or so it is pretty clean but it can get estery very quickly above those temps. I didn't cool a recent batch down enough and pitched at 70F although most of the fermentation temp was in the low 60s. It is a bit too estery for my liking...
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Offline johnnyb

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2015, 07:58:49 pm »
Wow, some great replies! Thanks all. I'll need to go through this carefully before choosing which one to try first.

Offline chumley

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2015, 08:21:30 am »
I like the aforementioned Fuller's, West Yorkshire, and WLP023 Burton yeasts.  Another great yeast worth mentioning is Brakspear, WY1275 Thames Valley.  It finishes a bit drier than Fuller's, but still has those wonderful fruity esters.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2015, 08:35:28 am »
+1 to 1275 for drier bitters - great strain. I actually like it a little better than Fuller's, which is great. Aside from those I love 1469 and really like 1028 especially in porters. Hard to go wrong with any of those. I would like to try the WLP037 at some point.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2015, 09:01:55 am »
I have the same opinion of S-04 as Eric. I find that its too bready. I've only used it in pale styles, so don't know its utility in darker styles. But I'm not especially enamored of that yeast. It certainly does have a English flavor to it. I find that its very nice when the beer is young, but it change for the worse over time.

Neil, very nice writeup. Good information! It seems I'm going to have to listen to BN again.
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Offline stpug

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2015, 09:45:30 am »
I've had good results with 1187 even though everyone seems to hate it :D

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: British Ale Yeasts
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2015, 09:59:07 am »
London Ale III, which I believe is the Boddington's strain, is a fairly neutral English yeast if you're out to avoid too much yeast flavor. If you decide to get off the English ale kick you can keep using that yeast to brew those Vermont-style IPA/APAs.
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