Yeast is what turns our wonderful wort into a bubbly brew. These little critters set to their work in our cooled wort and magically change the sugars we have created in our mash tuns, or poured from our cans of extract, into beer by the means of fermentation. All yeasts are different in small ways, just as people are. That is to say we are all people that breath in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide, but we all are different in our own special ways. Yeasts are exactly the same. They all consume sugar and convert it into carbon dioxide and alcohol, but they all do so in similar but different ways that produce similar but different flavors. You can use yeast in several forms, and the most common to home brewers are Dried Yeasts and Liquid Yeasts.
We recommend using a liquid yeast every time you brew. It may cost a few pennies more per glass of beer but it is well worth it. Dry yeast will work fine if you can not find a liquid yeast source, but you will taste the difference. One way to reduce the characteristic ╥dried yeast flavor╙ is to control the temperature of the fermentation. Keep the fermenting wort at 68 degrees Fahrenheit by using a temperature controlled refrigerator and external thermostat. For considerably less money you can place your bucket/carboy in a cool bath of ice water with a wet towel or t-shirt draped over it and this will wick the cool water up and around the carboy/bucket keeping it cool.
Dry yeasts are easy to use. They come in a small paper pouch and all you have to do is tear them open and pour the yeast in to your wort. You can also hydrate your yeast by pouring it into cooled boiled water for 10 minutes prior to adding it to your fermenter.
Liquid yeasts used to scare many home brewers because they came in a “smack pack” that required several days to grow the yeast up to a usable amount. Several companies now offer liquid yeasts in pitchable quantities that is you do not have to grow it up in a starter a few days before use after activating the ╥smack pack╙. Pitchable yeast needs to only be warmed up for several hours before adding it to your cooled wort. Take it out of the refrigerator and set it on the counter when you begin your mash, or half an hour or so before you begin your hour-long boil if using extract. It comes in a vial or tube you simply open and pour into your wort. Easy as 1..2..3..!!!!
The yeast we list here are from the companies that we have had the most experience in dealing and brewing with. Listed in Zymurgy Vol.21 No. 4 Nov/Dec 1998 is an extensive list of liquid yeasts by company. We will not attempt to reproduce that list here, but instead offer a smaller list of yeasts you will find in this book, and in your local homebrew store.
By each yeast are three items you will need in order to understand how that particular strain will work. First is the attenuation rate that is how much of the extract the yeast will turn into alcohol and carbon dioxide. If you have a starting gravity of 1048 (12 Plato) and are using yeast such as White Labs 001 that has an attenuation of 73 to 80, then you can expect your final gravity to be between 2.4 and 3.24 depending on the types of grain in your recipe. The second item listed is the flocculation of the yeast, that is how much yeast “sinks” or “drops outs” of suspension after fermentation is complete. A high rate of flocculation would result in a clear beer, and a low rate would yield a cloudy beer such as a heffeweizen. Lastly we have listed the optimum fermentation temperature range that the yeast performs at best. That does not mean that if you cannot control the temperature of the fermentation that you should not use liquid yeast. You most certainly should use one; your results will still be far better than if you used dry yeast.
White Labs www.whitelabs.com/
WLP001 California Ale 73-80% / Medium / 68-73 :Clean flavor with good balance. You can brew most styles using this yeast.
WLP002 English Ale 63-70% / Very High / 65-68 : Classic ESB strain, some residual sweetness, good in milds, bitters, porters and English stouts.
WLP003 German Ale 2 73-80% / Medium / 65-70 : Good for Kolsch, Alt, and German Pale Ale. Strong sulfur component reduces with age, clean but more esters than 029
WLP004 Irish Stout 69-74% / Medium to High / 69-74 : From one of oldest stout producers in the world, slight diacetyl, balanced by light fruitiness.
WLP005 British Ale 67-74% / High / 65-70 : More attenuative than 002, produces malty beers, excellent in all English styles.
WLP008 East Coast/Alt Ale 70-75% / Medium to High / 68-73 : “Brewer Patriot” strain, similar neutral character as 001 but less attenuation, less accent on hop bitterness, increased flocculation, and a little tartness.
WLP023 Burton Ale 69-75% / Medium / 68-73 : From Burton on Trent, provides subtle fruity flavors like green apple, clover honey, and pear. A really unique yeast. Great for all English styles, excellent in porter and stout.
WLP028 Edinburgh Ale 70-75% / Medium / 65-70 : Reproduces malty, strong Scottish-style ale, some sulfur requires lagering to reduce. A great yeast.
WLP029 German Ale/Kolsch 72-78% / Medium / 65-69 : From a brewpub in Cologne, great in Alt and Kolsch. Slight sulfur produced disappears with aging, produces super clean lager-like ale.
WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale 72-76% / Low / 68-72 : Produces classic German heffeweizen, banana and clove nose, cloudy appearance.
WLP320 American Hefeweizen Ale 70-75% / Low / 65-69 : Produces Oregon-style heffeweizen. NO banana or clove nose produced, some sulfur, but clean, cloudy.
WLP800 Pilsner Yeast 72-77% / Medium-High / 50-55 : Classic pilsner strain from Czech Republic. Somewhat dry, malty finish, best for European pilsner production.
WLP810 San Francisco Lager 65-70% / High / 58-65 : Can be used at 50 F to make lager styles other than California Common, ferments up to 65 F while retaining lager characteristics.
WLP820 Oktoberfest/Marzen Lager 65-73% / Medium / 52-58 : Very malty bock like style, not as dry as 830. Starter encouraged or lager longer.
WLP830 German Lager 74-79 / Medium / 50-55 : One of the most widely used in the world, very malty and clean, great for all German lagers, pilsners, Oktoberfest, Marzen.
WLP838 Southern German Lager 68-76% / Medium-High / 50-55 : Nice malty finish and balanced aroma, strong fermenter, produces slight ;sulphur and low diacetyl.
WLP840 American Lager 75-80% / Medium / 50-55 : Dry and clean, very slight apple fruitiness. Sulfur and diacetyl are minimal.
WLP920 Old Bavarian Lager 66-73% / Medium / 50-55 : Finishes malty with slight ester profile, used in Oktoberfest, Bock, and Dark Lagers.
WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale 74-78% / Low / 67-74 : Slightly phenolic and tart, used to produce Wit.
WLP500 Trappist Ale 73-78% / Medium / 62-65 : Great for Trappist style dubel and tripels, distinct fruitiness and plum flavors. Personal guess is Chimay.
WLP550 Belgian Ale 72-78% / Low / 68-78 : Saisons, Belgian Ales, Reds, Browns, and Wits can be brewed with this one. Phenolic and spicy flavors dominate, less fruit than 500
Wyeast 1007 German Ale Yeast 73-77% / High / 62-68 : Ferments dry and crisp leaving a complex yet mild flavor. Produces an extremely rocky head and ferments well down to 55 deg. F. A good balance of sweetness and tartness.
Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale Yeast 72-75% / Medium / 58-68 : Banana estery flavor. With both clove-like phenolics and alcohol spice. Tartness often develops over time. Ferment warm or with inadequate aeration and you’re likely to get a bubblegum-like note. Intended for abbey beers, and works very well for that. And, depending on the wort composition, lots of banana notes.
Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale 73-77% / Low / 65-75: Neutral flavor yeast with moderate to high alcohol tolerance. Fruity nose and palate, dry tart finish.
Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast 73-77% / Medium / 60-72 : Rich minerally profile, bold woody slight diacetyl production. Optimum fermentation temperature: 68 deg. F. Complex, woody, tart, with strong mineral notes. Some of my favorite beers have been brewed with this yeast.
Wyeast 1056 American/Chico Ale Yeast 73-77% / Low to Medium / 60-72 :Ferments dry, finishes soft, smooth and clean, and is very well balanced. The cleanest of the bunch, but mutation-prone. This is Sierra Nevada’s yeast. Probably the best available all-around yeast, this strain can be used for anything, without embarrassment.
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale Yeast 71-75% / Medium / 62-72 : Slight residual diacetyl is great for stouts. It is clean smooth, soft and full bodied Soft, round, malty; the least attenuative of the Wyeast line. Very nice for any cold-weather ale, at its best in stouts and Scotch ales.
Wyeast 1098 British Ale Yeast 73-75% / Medium / 64-72 : Ale yeast from Whitbread. Ferments dry and crisp, slightly tart and well balanced. Ferments well down to 55 deg. F (12 deg. C). Optimum fermentation temperature: 70 deg. F. Tart, crisp, clean. Great in pale ales and bitters, good in porters.
Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale 72-76% / Medium / 62-72 : Produces classic British bitters, rich complex flavor profile.
Wyeast 1338 European Ale Yeast 67-71% / High / 60-72 : Ale yeast from Wissenschaftliche in Munich. A full bodied complex strain finishes very malty. Produces a dense rocky head during fermentation. Optimum fermentation temperature: 70 deg. F (21 deg. C). It’s clean and malty, especially well suited to Altbier.
Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale 67-71% / High / 64/72 : Highly flocculent ale yeast with rich, malty character and balanced fruitiness. High degree of flocculation makes this an excellent strain for cask-conditioned Ales.
Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale 69-73 / High / 55-70 : Rich, smoky, peaty character ideally suited for Scottish style ales, smoked beers and high gravity ales. Lagering time recommended.
Wyeast 2565 Kolsch 73-77% / Low / 56-64 : A hybrid of Ale and Lager characteristics. This strain develops excellent maltiness with subdued fruitiness, and a crisp finish. Ferments well at moderate temperatures. Best when aged for a month.
Wyeast 2007 Pilsen Lager Yeast 71-75% / Medium / 48-56 : Classic American Pilsner strain. Specific for pilsner style beers. Ferments dry, crisp, clean and light. (11 deg. C). It is worth mentioning that this yeast strain is reportedly used quite a bit in St. Louis.
Wyeast 2035 American Lager Yeast 73-77% / Medium / 48-58 : Unlike American pilsner styles. It is bold, complex and woody. Produces slight diacetyl. This yeast allegedly is the one used by August Schell in New Ulm, MN.
Wyeast 2042 Danish Lager Yeast 73-77% / Low / 46-56 : Rich, yet crisp and dry. Soft, light profile which accentuates hop characteristics. Optimum fermentation temperature: 48 deg. F (9 deg. C).
Wyeast 2112 California Lager Yeast 72-76% / High / 58-68 : Warm fermenting bottom cropping strain, ferments well to 62 deg. F while keeping lager characteristics. Malty profile, highly flocculent, clears brilliantly. Allegedly, the Anchor steam yeast.
Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast 69-73% / Medium / 46-54 : Ferments clean and malty, rich residual maltiness in high gravity pilsners. Allegedly, one of the four Pilsner Urquell yeasts.
Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager Yeast 73-77% / Medium / 46-54 : Lager yeast strain used by many German breweries. Rich flavor, full bodied, malty and clean.
Wyeast 2278 Czech Pils 70-74% / Medium / 46-54 : Classic pilsner strain from the home of pilsners for a dry, but malty finish. The perfect choice for pilsners and bock beers. Sulfur produced during fermentation dissipates with conditioning.
Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager Yeast 73-77% / Medium / 48-64 : Lager yeast from Wissenschaftliche in Munich #308. One of the first pure yeast available to American home brewers. Sometimes unstable, but smooth soft well rounded and full bodied. Optimum fermentation temperature: 50 deg. F.
Wyeast 3056 Bavarian Wheat 73-77% / Medium / 64-70 : Blend of top-fermenting strains producing mildly estery and phenolic wheat beers.
Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Wheat 73-77% / Low / 64-70 : Saccharomyce delbruckii single strain culture for German wheat beers. Cloudy appearance.
Wyeast 3333 German Wheat 70-76% / High / 63-75 : Subtle flavor profile for wheat yeast with classic weisse profile. Clear wheat beer is produced.
Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity 75-80% / Medium / 64-78 : Robust top cropping yeast with phenolic character. Alcohol tolerance to 2%. Ideal for Biere de Garde.
Wyeast 3942 Belgian Wheat 72-76% /Medium / 64-74 : Estery low phenol producing yeast from a small Belgian brewery. Apple and plum like nose with a dry finish.
Wyeast 3944 Belgian White Beer 72-76%/ Medium / 60-68 : Slight phenolic character for classic Belgian styles including Grand Cru. Alcohol tolerant.
3278 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis blend 71-75% / Low – Medium / 65-75 : Belgian Lambic style yeast with rich, earthy, odiferious character and acidic finish.
Dry Ale Yeasts
As mentioned earlier dry yeast will work well in a pinch but there is no reason to not use a liquid yeast if you can purchase one. Some dry yeast strains preform better than others, but that is also a matter of personal opinion. A favorite is listed first!
Dry yeast should be rehydrated before use. This can be done by sprinkling the dried yeast into approximately 10 times its own weight of sterile water or wort and stirred, then left to sit covered for 15 minutes. Then the creamy mixture is pitched into the fermenter with the awaiting wort at the appropriate temperature. This ╥awakens╙ the yeast and allows it to become acclimated to a new wet environment. Nine out of ten times I brew and use dry yeast I have not hydrated the yeast and it always works out fine. If you hydrate you should notice the wort to start fermentation quicker and by all means this is a good thing!
SO4 Ale Yeast – a good English strain, very flocculent, forms a compact sediment and ferments quickly, neutral English character, can be estery if the temperature is not held below 70F.
S189 Lager Yeast – Originating from a famous German University, reported to be the most popular lager yeast worldwide. Develops the best of its lager characteristics when fermented at 50-57 degrees ferinheight. High sedimentation, good in Pilsners.
Coopers Ale Yeast : The Coopers is quite fruity fermented at 65F. It’s not phenolic at all and all the flavor is a very clean fruitiness.
Glenbrew Special Ale Yeast : Specially designed for use in “all malt” beers. Contains a special enzyme to obtain extremely low terminal gravities.
Edme Ale Yeast : Starts quick. Produces some fruity esters. Attenuative. Good reputation.
Lallemand Nottingham Yeast : This yeast is remarkable for its high degree of flocculation. It settles out very quickly and firmly. Very good reputation. Quick fermentation at 62F. It’s very clean and only very slightly fruity in the keg, but tastes/smells nutty in the bottled version. Nottingham appears to be relatively attenuative (more so than the Coopers). Many new Brewpubs in the 90s used and still use this yeast as a house strain or backup yeast in case there liquid cultures failed them.
Lallemand Windsor Yeast : Produces a beer which is clean and well balanced. This yeast produces an ale which is estery to both palate and nose with a slight fresh yeast flavor. Very good reputation. Not as quick as the Nottingham.
Munton-Fison Ale Yeast :Starts quick. Produces some fruity esters. Attenuative. Fair to good reputation. It is reported that a phenolic taste is no longer a problem due to some strain changes.
Red Star Ale Yeast : This brand had a very bad reputation in the past, and for a while
production was suspended. A different strain (AHY 43391) was selected by the company and is now being sold as Red Star Ale Yeast. The new strain is much improved! Apparent attenuation 76-78%.
Whitbread Ale Yeast : Fast starter. Distribution switched to Crosby and Baker with a change in the yeast. Very good reputation despite past quality problems.