Author Topic: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative  (Read 363 times)

Offline joe_meadmaker

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WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« on: January 16, 2021, 02:15:25 PM »
I've been trying to brew a Burton Ale for literally a couple months.  The issues I'm having are nothing to do with the brew, but problems happening beforehand.  Today is my third failed brew day for this beer.  So far I have a broken jar that spilled my invert sugar all over the kitchen, and two failed starters.

I've made this beer twice in the past and have used WLP023.  But as mentioned, I've now had two failed starters.  This morning the starter (SNS) showed no activity and the yeast was just lying at the bottom.  I took a gravity reading (I think this is the first time I've taken a gravity reading for a starter) and it's right at 1.040, so nothing happening.  I don't remember ever having problems with starters in the past, so I'm pretty stumped.  This thread is from a few years back, but sounds like the same problem I've had, https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=30787.0.

Anyway, this post isn't meant for starter troubleshooting.  The next time I can schedule a brew day, I don't want to have to worry about a starter.  Any suggestions on a dry yeast alternative for WLP023?  I ran a couple searches online, and while not an exact match, most recommendations are for S-04.  I've read through the S-04 topic (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=35999.0).  It doesn't sound exactly like what I'm after, but it definitely could work.  Any other suggestions?

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2021, 02:53:18 PM »
How old was the culture?  How does the store from which you acquired it handle liquid cultures.  I have never had a starter fail to start, so something is either wrong with your process or you are purchasing old and/or poorly handled cultures.  How long ago did you pitch the starter?

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2021, 02:59:18 PM »
What are you seeking in a flavor profile?

Offline joe_meadmaker

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2021, 04:13:28 PM »
The 'Best by' date on the yeast was 02/28/21.  The only time in the past I had trouble with a starter was when I had the yeast shipped and it got way too warm during shipping.  But this failed starter with WLP023 is now twice in a row.  My process is pretty basic.  This starter was 1 gallon because I was intending to brew a 10 gallon batch.  I boiled a gallon of water and 1 lb of DME for 12 minutes.  Chilled it to room temperature, shook it up for about five minutes, and pitched the yeast.  The yeast had been out of my refrigerator for about 3 hours when I pitched it.  This was a little over 12 hours ago, around 10:00 (Eastern) last night.

The handling by my LHBS, I'm not certain of.  Because of COVID, no one can go in the store.  They only take online orders for pickup.  When you arrive at the store you need to call them, and they set your order outside.  I called them before ordering and asked about the handling of liquid yeast.  I was told that they don't pull it out of the fridge until they get the call that you're at the store.  Although the last one did feel a little bit warm to me for that to have been the case.

The general flavor profile I'm looking for is malty sweet caramel, bready, dark fruit.

Here's the recipe:

Maris Otter - 80%
Crystal 40 - 8%
Invert No. 4 - 12%

I also cold steep a few ounces of Black Patent and strain the liquid in at the end of the boil.

All EKG hops - 1 oz @ 90 min, 1.5 oz @ 60 min, and 2 oz @ 30 min.

OG around 1.075

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2021, 05:06:52 PM »
From what I have been reading, that culture does not enjoy the same longevity as most of the other White Labs culture.  I would refrain from purchasing a package of it unless the best by date was not at least four months away.

That being said, Nottingham or even Verdant IPA should get the job done in a pinch.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2021, 05:17:46 PM »
Nottingham and S-04 would both work nicely as a convenient substitute.
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Offline joe_meadmaker

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2021, 05:40:56 PM »
From what I have been reading, that culture does not enjoy the same longevity as most of the other White Labs culture.  I would refrain from purchasing a package of it unless the best by date was not at least four months away.

I hadn't heard that before.  I'll keep that in mind if purchasing this yeast again.

At the moment I'm thinking I'll give Nottingham a try.  I've seen this yeast pop up a lot in discussion, but I've never used it personally.  Thanks guys!

Offline fredthecat

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2021, 06:24:00 PM »
From what I have been reading, that culture does not enjoy the same longevity as most of the other White Labs culture.  I would refrain from purchasing a package of it unless the best by date was not at least four months away.

That being said, Nottingham or even Verdant IPA should get the job done in a pinch.


we're so many years into the game, but i still have to scrounge the web for tidbits of info about each yeast type. some day, i'm sure the info will be organized more clearly on yeasts idiosyncracies, recommended oxygenation for normal/high OGs, tested and more accurate attenuation rates, TRUE best befores for each particular yeast, rather than just a blanket "6 months from packaging date", etc.


Offline beerphilmcd

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2021, 04:25:12 AM »
From what I have been reading, that culture does not enjoy the same longevity as most of the other White Labs culture.  I would refrain from purchasing a package of it unless the best by date was not at least four months away.

I hadn't heard that before.  I'll keep that in mind if purchasing this yeast again.

At the moment I'm thinking I'll give Nottingham a try.  I've seen this yeast pop up a lot in discussion, but I've never used it personally.  Thanks guys!
Nottingham is my favorite yeast for reliability, fermentation behavior, VERSATILITY, and the end by product. (Assuming you have a form of fermentation temperature control) Notty is a fair bit cleaner than wlp023, less esters expressed as fruit etc. I’d ferment with it at 66 for 12-24 hours then raise/leave it at 68. Good luck!


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Offline BeerfanOz

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Re: WLP023 - Recommendations for dry yeast alternative
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2021, 08:16:58 PM »
I like burton ale but find it very fussy. I think verdant is the best dry uk strain in terms of yeast character. I really like it. I find Nottingham and S04 both a bit meh
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