Tuesday, August 16, 2011

White Labs San Diego Super Yeast

At this years NHC Conference in San Diego I was excited to hear about a new yeast by White Labs.  

Here is a description from White Labs:
WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast
A super clean, super-fast fermenting strain. A low ester-producing strain that results in a balanced, neutral flavor and aroma profile. Alcohol-tolerant and very versatile for a wide variety of styles. Similar to California Ale Yeast WLP001 but it generally ferments faster.
Optimal Fermentation Temperature: 65-68F
Attenuation: 76-83% +
Flocculation: Medium-High
Alcohol Tolerance: High

Currently I have this yeast in my Janet's Brown #3 or Classic Version from "Brewing Classic Styles".  Also I have this in my Porter which is also from "Brewing Classic Styles". ( Which I brewed at the same time ).  I have them both fermenting at 63-64 so it will strange to see how they compare to the classic WLP001.

Reading online I am getting mix reviews on this strain.  Most people from what I can gather jumped at the chance for a fast fermentation but did not look at the optimal yeast temperature.  From what see this creates a longer fermentation period.  Up to 6 to 7 days if you have the wort at 72-ish.  Scott P from Big P Brewing used it in a blond recently and just sent me a picture.

The left is Safale 05 and the right is WLP090 (San Diego Super Yeast)  You can clearly see the one on the right is clearer than the left sample.  Both of these are still at the time of the picture.  He fermented at 68 in a SOB box but it took over 6 days of active fermentation to finish out.  


Danny with Deeper Roots Brewing Brewed with it on July 31st.  He did a Russian Imperial Stout.  The yeast was used with a Jamil style starter and has not finished out correctly.  He did ferment at 72.  He active fermentation was over 10 days.  The starting gravity was 1.080.  Yesterday he checked the FG and it was still at 1.024.  In my brewing with WLP001 I have taken that yeast (with an appropriate starter) from 1.100 down to 1.018 over 2 weeks.  

Today I e-mailed White Labs about the issue to see if they have any information on this.  When I report back I will let you know.

I also checked my 2 beers and they are going strong in the fermentation chamber at 63.  I added my dry hops (and added it to wrong beer, sucks might have a hoppy porter) I did not take a gravity reading yesterday. 


Last night I started to raise my fermentation temp(s) up from 64 to 66 degrees.  My fermentation is slowing as of this morning.  I haven't taken a gravity reading yet.  My plan is tonight take a reading and transfer to secondary Friday after work if the readings are what I expect. 


Saturday morning I transferred both of the beers into Secondary and took the final gravity readings.  The Porter was at a 1.014 and the Janet's Brown was at a 1.012.  I have brewed both these before (we, really close) with the WLP001 and they finished a little lower.  They both had a little activity in the airlock, so they might be able squeeze out another point or 2 of lower by the time they are kegged.  

As for the taste,  I have to say they were both very clean, almost to clean for my tastes.  I got no esters, no yeast contributions at all.  I like the character that yeast give the beer style.  With this style of yeast I think that's lacking with both these beers.  Or honestly, maybe me fermenting in the closet all these years at 74 - 78 has just messed up my ability to judge "good" homebrew. Maybe I have become accustomed to off flavored yeast.  


I have the Brown in the keg fully primed as of today.  I did do a Gelatin wash to to clean up this beer as best as possible.  

Should be drinking one tonight.

And I did.......Well 2 of them after a long 17 hour day at the office.  I have say, I really liked it.  This Janet's Brown is just to different from the last 2 I've brewed before the compare them side by side.  But the WLP090 has a couple of things really going for it.  

  • The yeast ferments very clean, with the WLP001 I sometimes get a sweet cracker taste at the end of the drink, before the aroma hops.  Now this might have to do with the controlled fermentation this was done it or a yeast quality. 
  • The beer appeared cleaner with very little flocculation or suspension of the yeast in secondary.   This was noted before adding the Gelatin during kegging.
  • The fermentation time is greater than the advertised.  Why did I put this in the "good" area of the yeast?  Well to be honest, I just don't trust a yeast or a batch of beer that can completely ferment out in 3 days.  Maybe they should change the wording on the vile.  To 3 days of active fermentation plus a couple days extra.  I'm sure the marketing guys would love that.

1 comment:

  1. Good info, Chris. If Danny and Scott couldn't get the fermentation they wanted, I've got my doubts about the yeast. But I'm looking forward to your thoughts.


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!