British Yeast Comparison

One of the benefits of joining a home brew club is the collective brewing power that can be harnessed to fast track the learning process. Could you imagine trying to brew gallons of similar beer, within a similar time frame, in order to evaluate one against 8 or 9 others? That’s a lot of beer to get through for the average amateur brewer. But when joining forces with others, you can make big leaps forward in brewing knowledge without the headaches (pun intended) of trying to manage it as an individual.

The initial idea for this comparison brew, which is becoming a more regular occurrence at WHBC, was to evaluate dry vs liquid yeast and try to draw some meaningful conclusions about using one or the other. To keep variation to a minimum, taking different equipment profiles, batch sizes and processes between brewers as a given, the member of the club taking part were paired up based on their brew day equipment. The recipe for everyone would be the same, with the same water profile and added salts. This was done by procuring some large bottles of low-cost mineral water from a major supermarket, and adding gypsum and calcium chloride based on g/l of total water.

I had the honour of creating the recipe. For this to work, we’d need plenty of different strains within the same beer style, and as much as possible a direct dry to liquid equivalent for each brewer pairing. Some of the data on this was a little inconsistent, but it was clear that British ale had many different strains that could work well for this experiment. I then set about coming up with a simple recipe to put the yeasts to the test.

Recipe

SG: 1.055
IBU: 46
SRM: 11
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.4%
Batch size: 20L

4.25kg Golden Promise
500g Dark Crystal (75 SRM)
250g Torrified Wheat

40g Target 8.2%AA @ 60 mins (First Wort)
20g Bramling Cross 6.0%AA @ 5 minutes
20g Bramling Cross 6.0%AA Steep 10 minutes @ 85C

Mash at 67C for 60 mins

For those that were brewing with kits, we decided on an easy-to-get-hold-of Woodford’s Wherry, which seemed close enough for our purposes.

Yeast list

EquipmentYeast Strain
3vWyeast 1469 W Yorks
3vMangrove Jacks M15 Empire Ale
3vLallemand ESB
3vWhite Labs WLP002
3vWyeast 1968 London ESB
BeerTorrentWyeast 1275 Thames Valley
BeerTorrentMangrove Jacks M36 Liberty Bell
GrainfatherWyeast 1099 Whitbread
GrainfatherLallemand Windsor
KitWyeast 1335 British Ale II
KitLallemand Nottingham Ale

Those wonderful folks over at Malt Miller allowed us to create the recipe on their generator, and order multiple of the same. All that was left was to then order the different yeasts. I ended up with Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley for use with the Hopcat 30L.

Annoyingly, the recipe I set on Beersmith used an old default profile. As such, I ended up with 22L @ 1.050 instead of 20L @ 1.055. I really should have checked that before I started, but hopefully it wouldn’t affect the results too much. My ‘brew buddy’ also went to 1.050 OG, so it should still be a good comparison.

Records are being kept by all brewers of all fermentation aspects: OG, lag time, primary fermentation time, FG, total time in fermentor, flocculation, FV type, pitching & fermentation temperature, and apparent attenuation.

Tasting day is set over the next two months, with the number of beers evenly split. Part two of this post will be centred around the tasting notes and whether we can draw any conclusions from this experiment.

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