This year White Labs has teamed up with The Yeast Bay to produce their artisanal liquid yeast and bacteria cultures with ordering directly from White Labs! That means more strain variety and even bigger brewing opportunities! White Labs Brewing Co. jumped at the opportunity to feature a larger strain variety and trialed the WLP4030 Franconian Dark Lager Yeast.
Franconian Dark Lager is a single strain of Saccharomyces pastorianus that hails from the Franconia region of Germany. This yeast exhibits a short lag time and has flavor profile characteristics that complement dark, roasted malts. While the dark malt complementarity makes this yeast a perfect fit for any big malt driven dark lagers like our oktoberfest.
New Exclusive Fermentation Society Strain
We also brewed with our newest yeast blend, WLP808 Mythical Hammer Lager Yeast Blend. Newly exclusive with our interactive Fermentation Society, we teamed up with Asheville Local, Clawhammer Supply on producing “A lager strain robust enough to handle extra pressure from fermentation as well as producing a relatively clean profile that also accentuates hops would be rad.” We didn’t want to succumb to the pressure of not delivering on their ask. In the dark depths of the caves, we beveled and ironed some of our favorite strains to be included in this blend. The result was a yeast blend that ferments both at pressurized and unpressurized fermentations.
The result, a multifaceted lager yeast blend, also capable of pressurized fermentation, creates a beer that is elegant and crisp, with subtle citrus aromas. From American Light Lagers to Cold IPAs, Mythical Hammer transcends the boundaries of lager beer. Although this fermentation didn’t undergo pressurized spunding. The resulting beer came out with taste and aroma notes of soft pretzel crust and some mild spice undertones.r
Which one wins?There is no lopsided winner in this face-off, and the resulting beers can be characterized by a few similarities. It’s important to emphasize they both produced a delicious Oktoberfest style characterized by a hint of residual sweetness in the finish. Aroma notes slightly differed with the WLP808 Mythical Hammer Lager Yeast Blend invoking pretzel crust and the WLP4030 Franconian Dark Lager Yeast leaning toward Hawaiian Bread notes. In terms of fermentation performance, WLP4030 attenuated a bit further but did require more time to reach the final gravity. While the results have been split, all our beers can be judged side-by-side to deem a favorite strain as well as paired with other fermented food. So come check out tasting rooms in San Diego, CA, and Asheville, NC!
Experimentation is at the heart of White Labs Brewing Co. Yeast strains are mindfully chosen to showcase the role yeast plays in producing a delicious beer. How do we do this? One batch of wort, same ingredients, a single variable -> split-batch fermentations using two different strains. Our extensive yeast bank is used to select strains that typically match the style of beer, but keep an eye out for a curveball that may just “create” expressive new flavors, styles, and possibilities!
Strain Selection Matters
Just like picking your favorite hop variety, (Simcoe, Cascade, Amarillo, etc.) and designing your grist bill (Golden Promise, Maris Otter, Chocolate Malt), the choices are endless for yeast. Most yeast strains are regional and derived from generations upon generations of brewers repitching their house culture. Similar to the uniqueness of a house sourdough culture. In our catalog, you’ll find strains spreading all across the globe, from German hefeweizen strains to clean American strains and even kveik yeast hailing all the way from Norway.
Image 1. BJCP Flavor Wheel
A different strain can change:
- Flavor and Aroma – Over 600 different flavor and aroma compounds can be produced
- Attenuation Rates – How many sugars are eaten and how much alcohol is produced
- Flocculation – This is how well the yeast clumps together to be collected for reuse in different beers and may affect appearance from cloudy to clear
- Mouthfeel – From a crisp bitter finish to a more pleasant round taste. Even yeast can play a role in glycerol production either creating a thin to thicker mouthfeel of the beer.
- Bitterness, Acidity, Color – The interaction between hops and yeast is still being explored and studied. But yeast can have an effect on IBU reduction, how acidic a beer is perceived as well and sometimes a color change as well.